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December 31, 2012

Equifax buys CSC

Credit bureau Equifax recently purchased CSC Credit Services, Inc. for the price of $1 Billion.  CSC was one of the last (if not THE last) of the affiliate bureaus to the big three credit bureaus.  Back when I started suing credit bureaus using the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there were several affiliate bureaus to the credit bureaus, including CSC and one right up the road from here called Memphis Consumer Credit Bureau.  

The affiliate bureaus basically "owned" the credit files of consumers living in certain geographical areas, even though the data comprising the credit files were stored on one of the big three bureaus' computer systems.  CSC owned consumers' Equifax credit files from Texas to Indiana (I know because I have sued them in both states and many in between).  

This led to a lot of confusion for consumers, who would buy their Equifax credit reports, find an error, then dispute the error to Equifax.  At first, Equifax would just write the consumer back and say that Equifax did not own their file and they would have to contact CSC to dispute the error.  They stopped this practice eventually, probably because lawyers (myself included) kept arguing that Equifax, when it receives a dispute, has to investigate it, particularly when the disputed data is housed on Equifax's computer system.  Equifax never did agree, but started forwarding the disputes themselves to CSC to "investigate", instead of relying on the consumer to re-send the dispute.

The Equifax/CSC relationship made for trickier lawsuits, since Equifax retained the duty to "follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy" of the credit reports it generated, but shifted the responsibility for performing reasonable procedures to CSC since they owned the data that Equifax was publishing for the consumers located in CSC's ownership area.  So, in some cases you would need to sue both Equifax and CSC but in some (those involving only botched investigations) you could sue just CSC.

At least the purchase of CSC will possibly do away with some of the confusion, both for consumers and lawyers suing Equifax.  

Funny side note - I got word of the purchase of CSC by Equifax a couple of weeks ago (I'm slow to blog about it thanks to the holidays and a busy work schedule).  After hearing the news, I received a call from an Equifax attorney on the other side of one of my FCRA cases.  I told him about it and he had not even heard yet.  Then, a week or so later, he calls and leaves me a message to "let me know" that Equifax had purchased CSC.  Funny, I thought I had let him know, not the other way around.  Guess even Equifax's attorneys do not follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy.

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