Massive TransUnion Settlement To Reveal Credit Scores

Did you have a credit card between Wednesday and 1987? Great! You’re part of a massive class action settlement with TransUnion. The credit reporting agency has agreed to fork out services worth over $100 to every cardholder as a way of saying “sorry for grossly violating federal privacy laws by selling your private data to businesses!”

Violated cardholders can select from two options:

(1) Basic relief. Free credit monitoring for six months, which gives you daily access to your credit report and credit score and 24-hour credit-monitoring service. This normally costs $59.75. Those who elect this option may get a cash payment if there’s money left from the $75 million settlement fund.

(2) Enhanced relief. An alternative enhanced set of services” in exchange for a full release of claims. This options includes nine months credit monitoring, a suite of insurance scores and TransUnion’s mortgage simulator service. This option normally would cost $115.50. You won’t be entitled to any cash payment under this option.

Option 1 could generate cash, but option 2 might provide your actual credit score, depending on which news outlet you believe. Option 2 has the potential to be worth significantly more to the average consumer.

Even better: “Under the settlement, a credit card number would not be required to sign up for either service. After the free service ends, TransUnion could not charge for an extension unless it was requested by the consumer.”

The settlement still needs to be approved, but if it is, it’ll be a huge win for consumers.

Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action, a national advocacy group based in San Francisco, called the settlement mind-boggling.

“It’s everything we tell consumers that they need to find out if they have problems with their credit,” he said. “They are getting information on how to improve it and information about whether they are creditworthy. This is astonishing.”

You can start filing claims on June 16 at the settlement website, or by calling (866) 416-3470.

Consumers will soon know the (credit) score [L.A. Times]
TransUnion Free Credit Score Settlement [Blueprint For Financial Prosperity]
(Photo: RobotSkirts)

Comments

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  1. kepler11 says:

    It doesn’t sound like a very punitive judgment for some reason. Transunion may be having to provide these services (credit monitoring, scores) that are nominally priced at something like ~$100 to every consumer, but it sure doesn’t actually cost them that much to provide it. So what’s the punishment?

  2. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    broken link to “settlement website”

  3. BeerFox says:

    I always love when a ‘punitive’ settlement is indistinguishable from a promotional offer. That 6/9 months of monitoring gets canceled automatically, right? TransUnion, you’re not salivating at the thought of thousands of cardholders forgetting to cancel the service after the passage of half a year, are you?

  4. @kepler11: a drastic decrease in income for the next 9 months since everybody who uses them has a credit card thus can apply, thus doesnt jave to pay for their ervices which they still have to provide.

    Plus : added bonus : They will survive the whole thing and there wont be more unemployed people.

  5. RetailGuy83 says:

    @kepler11: @BeerFox: RTFA! Not a judgement, it’s a settlement.

    oh, and “Under the settlement, a credit card number would not be required to sign up for either service. After the free service ends, TransUnion could not charge for an extension unless it was requested by the consumer.”

  6. ClayS says:

    @kepler11:
    Exactly, free credit monitoring for six months. $9.99 a month after that. Cancel at any time. No need to do anything if you wish to continue this valuable service, we will automatically renew for your convenience.

  7. sven.kirk says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: You cannot file a claim, phone or website, until June 16.
    Got to it via Google cache, but it errors out to when you try to read it.

  8. BeerFox says:

    @RetailGuy83: Yes, well, that would be why I used the term ‘Settlement’ and not ‘Judgement’? But good catch on the no-auto-renew clause, missed that one on the first skim through the L.A. Times link, glad to see this won’t just end up as a subscription-gathering service!

  9. BigBoat says:

    Can someone explain the comment about option two being the “truer” credit score? I’m not planning on getting any mortgage this year, so a (minimal) shot at free cash sounds better to me. But mostly I want to know my credit score.

  10. Charles Duffy says:

    @BeerFox, ClayS: If ‘yall would RTFA, one of the terms is that they’re not allowed to charge folks for continuing past the free period unless the consumer explicitly requests that extension.

  11. reiyaku says:

    this sounds good and all… guess ill have to wait and see whats the real verdict and the real entitlements to all who are affected..

  12. sabrinad says:

    My first impression upon seeing the headline of this article was that there was a security flaw in the settlement claims process and thus “revealing” the scores. I’m slightly saddened to learn that I haven’t got a new reason to point and laugh at someone this morning after all. Curse you, Consumerist!

  13. eighth_note says:

    This is only worth anything if TransUnion provides a FICO score and not FAKO score.

  14. rbb says:

    I’m sure the lawyers will see to it that no extra money is leftover from option one…

  15. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @BeerFox: “TransUnion, you’re not salivating at the thought of thousands of cardholders forgetting to cancel the service after the passage of half a year, are you?”

    RTFA.

    @Carey: “Even better: “Under the settlement, a credit card number would not be required to sign up for either service. After the free service ends, TransUnion could not charge for an extension unless it was requested by the consumer.””

  16. timmus says:

    I’m reminded once again why I hate litigation attorneys.

  17. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @ClayS: RTFA!

    ” After the free service ends, TransUnion could not charge for an extension unless it was requested by the consumer.”

    So you sign up for FREE and are not charged a thing unless you consent to it. Jeez. I know most companies are scummy and it’s automatic and ‘convenient’ renewal…but learn to read before saying stupid things.

    Disregard this if your post was made in sarcasm….

  18. .apostle. says:

    So, it will automatically start billing me after the free cycle ends?!?!

    NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!!

    ;) ///not serious at all.

  19. roadapples says:

    just more bullshit, none of these guys will have to sell there yachts, and who wants these “feel good” services for free anyhow?

  20. agb2000 says:

    @roadapples: 1. Their yachts, not there yachts.
    2. Your dismissive description of these services as “feel good” betray a complete lack of understanding of credit scores and protection. This information would be extremely valuable to most consumers.
    3. I agree with you that the settlement could stand to be a bit more punitive.

  21. viqas says:

    doesnt your credit score go down when someone looks at your credit report?

    I know capital one was looking at my transunion report every month and i freaked the shit out.

  22. Suttin says:

    Wait, so this is for anyone with a credit card for the past 21 years?

  23. Hawk07 says:

    @Suttin:

    Yeah.

    If you got one on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or today you’re SOL.

  24. Lordstrom says:

    I’m wondering what is to prevent TU from sending my ass to collections after the free period ends since they aren’t requiring a credit card.

  25. Buran says:

    How about you send me the $100 and call it even?

  26. chocxtc says:

    @Buran:

    Now that would be a much better settlement since I can get two free credit scores a year anyway

  27. Screw the “free” services. I want cash. I cut up all my credit cards three years ago and haven’t every looked back. Life it so much simpler without those greedy banks and credit companies in my wallet.

  28. avconsumer says:

    Ha!! Wow. That judge was paid off well I imagine. What a cop out.

    Justice my ass.

    And… can’t one GET a free credit report a couple of times a year anyway?! I mean.. who needs to check it daily? My credit cards are already monitored pretty well too, I believe.

    $75 million settlement – those must’ve been some pretty crappy lawyers. I imagine TransUnion netted quite a bit more than $75 million.

  29. DashTheHand says:

    I paid Equifax $9.95 for a years worth of FICO score updates, monitoring, and credit report changes/hits.

    So, why does option 2 sound like a ripoff to me? What I’d like back is my damn privacy and “no thank you” I do not want to deal with your credit monitoring from an already untrustworthy company, I’d rather take the cash payout of equal value.

    And what is the possible cash payout if there is any remaining from the 75 million? Are they “charging” for the free 6 month credit monitoring out of that amount and then offering up whatever may be left? How does this seem at all like a punishment? They’re just putting the money they should be paying to consumers right back into their coffers.

  30. Zephyr7 says:

    Will pulling the credit score like this still negatively affect it?

  31. asynja says:

    @Zephyr7:

    No, only you can see these “soft” pulls. They don’t affect your score at all.

  32. zgori says:

    A fair settlement would be permanent access to our credit score for free. These companies are scammers. Why do we need to pay to see their arbitrary, questionably accurate information about ourselves? Shouldn’t we have the legal right to know what companies are saying to each other about us behind our backs?

  33. MisterE87 says:

    Hmm…what if you already pay TransUnion for credit monitoring? I’ve had their TrueCredit service for about a year, and it’s great – it lists your FICO score, any updates or adjustments on your report, and it sends me an sms almost immediately when someone checks my credit report for $10/month. Since I am working on improving my credit score (I’m 21 and was unemployed for two months in 2006, which put a dent in my car payment history) this service recommended some credit cards to me that have worked wonders. From what I understand, it uses a soft inquiry, which doesn’t appear on your report and doesn’t affect your score.

    It seems lately that all these companies that release consumer information always tend to offer these services as restitution, and rightfully so, but they pay full price for these services to a third-party company. TransUnion is the PROVIDER of these services, and so this probably costs them next to nothing. I think it’s unfair, even with the cost of support going up (think call center support costs for the new customers)despite no additional revenue from the services.

  34. eeyore.conspiracy says:

    @timmus:

    I’m reminded once again why I hate litigation attorneys.

    You’d rather get nothing?