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TransUnion Offers Free Credit Monitoring

TransUnion LLC, one of the largest credit reporting agencies, made an announcement that could impact 160 million Americans. The company will offer six or nine months of free credit monitoring service to consumers who had an open line of credit from January 1, 1987 to May 28, 2008. The deal is a part of a preliminary legal settlement which will close a class-action lawsuit stemming from the sale of consumer information to marketing lists.

Under the proposed settlement, people may select one of two options:

- Six months of the free credit monitoring service. It gives consumers unlimited access to their credit reports and credit scores. Moreover, consumers will be able to get email alerts on changes in their credit reports. The value of this service is $59.75.

- Nine months of the free credit monitoring service, including mortgage simulator service and access to the credit scores used in insurance decisions. The value of this service is $115.50.

Consumers who select the first variant lose the right to enter a class action lawsuit against TransUnion. However, they may bring an individual case. People who prefer the second variant must refuse filing any further legal claims in the matter.

The settlement will probably set a record in involving the largest number of people. The free credit monitoring service will help consumers understand how their financial actions can improve or hurt their credit scores. Many people are not aware of their financial standing until something goes wrong. Typically, people who ask for credit monitoring are victims of identity thefts or credit card skimmers. The new opportunity will make it easier to control credit rating. In the long run, it will help not only consumers but all U.S. financial industry as well.

Consumers won't need to provide credit cards while signing up for both options. The service will be automatically terminated at the end of the six or nine-month period. TransUnion will not automatically sign up people for a paid service when the free use is over.

The preliminary settlement represents a retail value of several million dollars. The deal will close privacy-related federal lawsuits filed against the credit bureau. They claimed that TransUnion violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it sold consumer information to marketing lists. The law allows selling publicly available information but not private data.

Under the terms of the agreement, TransUnion will set aside $75 million fund to pay for lawyers' fees and administrative cost. Each of the named plaintiffs in the case will receive $3,750. The fund is also aimed to settle any future lawsuits that people might pursue against TransUnion on the same grounds. The $75 million represents the amount of money that the credit bureau reportedly got for selling consumer information.

Despite the preliminary settlement, TransUnion hasn't admitted any wrongdoing. The company denied that any of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit suffered any injury caused by its misdeeds.

Comments

Bobbie Hughs
01:20 AM, June 09, 2008
Wow, that's great! Can I really see my credit report every day for free?
Ella J.
11:08 PM, June 15, 2008
When will the program start?
Mathew C.
12:59 AM, July 14, 2008
It seems that the program will start next year.
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