Months after Equifax officials discovered that the company had failed to protect sensitive data related to 143 million Americans from being breached by criminals, the company announced it would be offering affected consumers a “free” service called TrustedID Premier to help monitor their data. Consumers who wished to sign up for this “free” service found that, while they did not have to pay a financial fee to the Equifax subsidiary for the privilege of having the company conduct some monitoring on the very data it had lost, they nevertheless were asked to give up certain rights as part of the terms and conditions of signing up for TrustedID Premier. One of these terms and conditions was agreeing to an arbitration clause which indicated that the consumer would have to give up the right to participate in a class action lawsuit to recover losses caused by the company.
Signing up for TrustedID Does Not Limit a Consumer’s Right to Sue Equifax
At least initially, when customers affected by the Equifax data breach tried to sign up for TrustedID, they were presented with terms and conditions which included the statements that they were agreeing to “a waiver of the ability to bring or participate in a class action, class arbitration, or other representative action,” or “to share in any class action awards.”
Although these terms were apparently later taken out of the language that TrustedID required consumers requesting the services to agree to, even those customers that did initially click a box agreeing to those terms are not limited in their rights to sue Equifax over its data breach as part of a class action, as the arbitration clause applied to services offered by TrustedID and not the underlying breach.
The company admitted as much itself when it told reporters that signing up for TrustedID would not bar consumers from joining a class action against Equifax over the breach, although consumer advocates have expressed concerns about arbitration clauses related to other products offered by the company.
Speaking to Vice news, class action plaintiff’s attorney Joseph Sauder of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, said: “In the past, parent companies have attempted to enforce the arbitration clauses of their subsidiaries, but are typically unsuccessful. There are some other risks for Equifax if they try to force the case into arbitration.”
Contact McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP About Your Legal Rights to Sue Equifax
If you are one of the 143 million Americans whose sensitive personal information – including social security numbers, home addresses, and even credit card numbers – was mishandled by Equifax, you may be entitled to participate in a class action lawsuit against Equifax. The law firm of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP – a leading class action firm in Southern California serving consumers nationwide that has recovered over $500 million for clients – is currently investigating the Equifax data breach on behalf of consumers. Contact our legal team today to learn about options by filling out the form located here.