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ACCC brings action against Equifax

Wednesday 21 March 2018

The competition regulator has brought action against Equifax for a breach of Australian Consumer Law.

Allegedly, Equifax had been misleading customers to believe its paid credit reports were more comprehensive than those it offered free-of-charge.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), “Equifax also allegedly represented that consumers had to buy credit reporting packages for it to correct information held about them, or to do so quicker.”

The regulator said that, by law, the credit reporting company should have taken ‘reasonable steps’ to do this for free.

According to the ACCC, consumers are entitled to free access to their credit information once a year. In cases where credit was applied for and refused, consumers are entitled to free credit information within a 90-day period.

“We allege that Equifax acted unconscionably in selling its fee-based credit reporting services to vulnerable consumers, who were often in difficult financial circumstances,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
website indicates that, once an application is launched to view a credit report, the consumer is required to be provided with a report within 10 days of the request.
A History of Credit Errors
Equifax, formerly known as Veda Group, is no stranger credit reporting issues.

 A few months after Equifax had successfully acquired Veda Group in 2016,
ABC news reported that the OAIC was, at the time, concerned about the Veda processes as a custodian of information.
Then Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, said his office received about 500 complaints every year about Veda Group.

Screen shot from the OAIC website: