If you want to know if you were one of the 143 million people whose data was breached in a hack of Equifax’s data, the company has a website you can use to find out — but there appears to be a catch: To check, you have to agree to give up your legal right to sue the company for damages. The outrage that clause has now generated could complicate the company’s efforts — backed by Republican lawmakers — to block an imminent rule that would ban companies from forcing customers to agree to such provisions.
On Friday, social media users spotlighted fine print on Equifax’s website that appears to force users to agree to waive their class action rights if they use the company’s website to see if their personal data was exposed by the recent hack. It is precisely the kind of arbitration clause that a pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule is designed to outlaw — if Republicans and the Trump administration allow it to go into effect as scheduled later this month.
Federal documents reviewed by International Business Times show that in response to that 2016 rule, the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) — which says it is “the trade association which represents Equifax” — pressed regulators to back off the proposed prohibitions, saying the regulations would subject data companies to tough penalties if during a class action suit they were found to have broken the law.
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