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September 08, 2017

Too Little, Too Late - Equifax Adds Opt Out to Arbitration Provision regarding Data Breach

After a flurry of bad press and social media outrage (including from yours truly), Equifax has now added an opt out provision to the arbitration provision it snuck into the fine print for anyone accepting Equifax's "offer" of "free" credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

Couple of problems.  No one reads the fine print so they don't know about the arbitration clause, much less the opt out provision.  Why can't they just make it an opt in, if arbitration is such a great thing?  Of course, its not and they won't.

Second, the opt out provision is only available for a measly thirty days from when the data breach victim signs up for the "free" credit monitoring.  Equifax kept the data breach secret for longer than that!  Thirty days is way too short.

And, a common ploy on these opt out provisions for arbitration clauses is that, amazingly, the company whose arbitration clause it is almost always denies that the consumer ever opted out and then still try to force the consumer into proving that he or she opted out, instead of the burden being on the company to prove that the consumer agreed to arbitration. Equifax will likely try the same ploy since, as you can see, the play fast and loose with the rules.  Just do a pacer search for lawsuits where they have allegedly violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The data breach is a very bad thing.  But Equifax's reaction to the data breach (i.e. keeping it secret for almost two months and then trying to screw the data breach victims out of their rights) is the worst of all.  Equifax and its executives should pay and pay dearly for this.

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