Senator calls on Equifax to end ‘forced arbitration’


An Ohio senator wants Equifax to free consumers from an arbitration requirement.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, is calling on Equifax to immediately end a forced arbitration requirement from all services offered to customers following a data breach the company acknowledged Thursday.

In what is being called one of the largest exposures of sensitive financial data in years, Equifax Inc. — one of the biggest consumer credit reporting agencies — said it suffered a “cybersecurity incident” that could affect about 143 million U.S. consumers.

RELATEDEquifax breach exposes 143M: What you need to know

The company said it “discovered the unauthorized access” on July 29 this year and “acted immediately” to deal with it. The first public announcement on the breach, however, was Thursday.

In a statement from Brown’s office, the senator takes issue with Equifax including “forced arbitration clauses” in the terms-of-use conditions to which customers must agree when signing up for the services, “effectively forcing victims of the breach to sign away their rights to seek access to court.”

Brown’s statement also highlights and quotes the company’s arbitration clauses.

“It’s shameful that Equifax would take advantage of victims by forcing people to sign over their rights in order to get credit monitoring services they wouldn’t even need if Equifax hadn’t put them at risk in the first place,” Brown, a Democrat, said in his statement. “If Equifax is genuine about wanting to protect customers, it must remove forced arbitration immediately from TrustedID and any other services offered to victims of the data breach.”

On Twitter, the senator said: “Now it’s (Equifax) pushing credit monitoring w/a fine-print arbitration clause that requires victims to give up their right to seek justice in court.”

The arbitration clause, as quoted in part by Brown’s office, tells users they must agree that “all claims, disputes, or controversies raised by either you or TrustedID, Inc. arising from or relating to the subject matter of this agreement or the products … shall be finally settled by arbitration.”

A message seeking comment was sent to Equifax spokespeople.



Reader Comments


Next Up in Business

Construction finished for 50 new senior apartments in Dayton
Construction finished for 50 new senior apartments in Dayton

Apartments for seniors are quickly being leased at a newly built complex along lower Salem Avenue. Construction just finished on Audubon Crossing, but only 15 of the 50 units were still available as of Friday afternoon. The affordable housing community cost about $9.6 million to develop, according to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which awarded tax...
BLS: Dayton manufacturing grew 4 percent in past year
BLS: Dayton manufacturing grew 4 percent in past year

The latest federal numbers show that manufacturing employment grew four percent in the past year in the Dayton U.S. Census area. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, manufacturing employment, the Dayton area — defined by the federal government as Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties — grew by 1,700 jobs from October...
CareSource gets latest report card from state
CareSource gets latest report card from state

CareSource’s performance rating slipped in some categories on its latest report card from Ohio Medicaid, though retained high marks for its efforts to keep children healthy. The nonprofit insurer, headquartered in downtown Dayton, overall received 14 out of 25 stars, ranking 3rd out of the five insurers that privately manage Medicaid plans in...
Montgomery County home sales hit all-time high
Montgomery County home sales hit all-time high

Montgomery County has already recorded more real estate sales during 2018 than any year on record, the county auditor told more than 70 local government officials Thursday morning at an annual update. Valid residential home sales in 2018 just through November soared to 8,462, shooting 19 percent higher than 2016’s total 7,125 and above the previous...
Dayton VR company makes Austin Landing home
Dayton VR company makes Austin Landing home

A locally based creator of 3D virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality software is calling Austin Landing home. Fueled by partnerships with retailer Macy’s and other customers, Marxent moved from the Miami Valley Research Park in Kettering to Austin Landing just before Thanksgiving. RELATED: How much is Austin Landing worth? Owners trying...
More Stories