The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced that it is suing TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States, for allegedly duping consumers into recurring payments.
In the lawsuit, the CFPB alleges that TransUnion engaged in deceptive practices.
The CFPB says TransUnion misled customers about the nature of its products and tricked them into paying a recurring fee that they did not accept.
How TransUnion allegedly misled consumers
The company used “digital dark patterns” to trick consumers into inadvertently subscribing and to make it difficult to waive fees, according to the CFPB.
In many cases, consumers requesting a free credit report – to which they are legally entitled – have been asked to submit a credit card.
Next, TransUnion allegedly used deceptive buttons and confusing interfaces to trick consumers into opting into recurring payments.
Nearly 150,000 consumers filed complaints against TransUnion with the CFPB in 2021.
In 2017, the CFPB settled similar charges against TransUnion, and the credit bureau agreed to pay affected consumers $13.9 million and follow a law enforcement order to end the deceptive practices.
Now the CFPB says TransUnion has “violated the order from the day it took effect.”
John Danaher, president of TransUnion’s consumer interactive division from 2004 to 2021, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The CFPB alleges that Danaher played a key role in having employees implement deceptive interfaces in violation of the 2017 order.
“TransUnion is an out-of-control repeat offender who believes it is above the law,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in a statement.
“I’m concerned that TransUnion’s management is either unwilling or unable to operate its business legally.”
What happens after
TransUnion dismissed the charges as “baseless” in a statement.
“We have met our obligations and remain in compliance with the consent order today,” the statement said.
To help affected consumers, the CFPB is asking for refunds with interest for anyone who makes payments.
If TransUnion and the CFPB settle the charges again, the settlement could include a payment to consumers as in 2017.
The CFPB urges consumers with information about TransUnion’s misconduct to contact Whistleblower@cfpb.gov or call (855) 695-7974.
The CFPB recently reported that payday lenders also engage in predatory and deceptive practices.
And if you’re not sure how to find your free credit report, The Sun has a guide to checking your score.
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