Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Feds Sue TransUnion Over Credit Agency's Deceptive Subscription Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused the company of duping customers into signing up for products that they may not have wanted, in violation of a previous order

Getty Images

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing TransUnion and one of its long-time executives alleging that the credit company completely “disregarded” a previous order from five years ago to stop selling dubious credit-related products and marketing.

TransUnion entered into an agreement with the CFPB in 2017, agreeing to pay $13.9 million in restitution and $3 million in civil penalties, saying it would stop trying to sell customers credit monitoring subscription products and would provide an clear way for a customer to cancel a subscription if they no longer wanted it.

Instead of taking actions to stop these practices, the CFPB alleged Tuesday that TransUnion executive John Danaher looked for ways to keep the subscription revenues flowing. This included keeping a vague “checkbox” on the TransUnion website that signed customers up for products that they may not have wanted. This often happened when a customer used, the Federal Government's portal that gives every American access to their credit report from each of the bureaus free once a year.

The CFPB says that roughly 18% of TransUnion's annual revenue came from these services, which means it would have been a substantial hit to the Chicago company's bottom line if it were to stop the program entirely.

“TransUnion is an out-of-control repeat offender that believes it is above the law,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said. “I am concerned that TransUnion’s leadership is either unwilling or incapable of operating its businesses lawfully.”

In a prepared statement TransUnion called the CFPB's lawsuit “meritless” and said that the CFPB refused to meet with TransUnion to resolve this matter in the weeks and months leading up to the suit.

“We have been in compliance with our obligations and we remain in compliance with the consent order today,” the company said.

If you have bad credit, it can be difficult to get a loan. In part 2 of our Surviving Capitalism series, we break down how to find your credit score and what you can do to raise it.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us