TransUnion in Trouble
But will they change their ways?
America’s credit bureaus are not known for being consumer-friendly. Of course, that’s because they serve the interests of the credit issuers, not consumers.
One of the big three, TransUnion, has a knack for finding trouble.
And, well, TransUnion is in trouble again.
The credit monitoring agency has been fined $23 million for illegal practices.
In two separate investigations, federal regulators found that TransUnion failed to provide accurate information in rental background checks and failed to properly assist renters seeking to correct inaccurate information.
They also found that TransUnion lied to consumers about security freezes on credit reports, telling them their credit was frozen when in reality, it was placed in a backlog that in some cases took years to complete. All the while, consumer credit information was exposed.
Of course, errors on credit reports used for rental screening can create significant barriers to obtaining housing.
Consumer advocates at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) were quick to applaud the fines as a measure of accountability while also noting the harms caused by the errors perpetuated by TransUnion.
“Today’s enforcement action makes it crystal clear that companies can’t get away with producing shoddy reports that harm renters and their families,” said Ariel Nelson, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “Too many people are shut out of housing because of inaccurate tenant screening reports that use unreliable data obtained from third-party vendors that tenant screening companies keep secret.”
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A Pair of Fines
Financial penalties are a key way to hold bad actors in the consumer space accountable. Fines for the parent company of Sendwave as well as for the software provider Blackbaud illustrate this point.
As it turns out, sending money with Sendwave is not exactly fast or cheap:
“Sendwave put illegal fine print into their contracts and tricked people who were sending money to their family overseas,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB is carefully watching companies launching mobile payment transfer apps seeking to gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.”
Meanwhile, Blackbaud will pay nearly $50 million for a data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of people in the United States:
13,000 Blackbaud customers were impacted by the security breach which impacted the customers of those organizations and entities - potentially millions of Americans across all 50 states.
Not only did Blackbaud fail to provide adequate data security, but the company also failed to properly notify impacted consumers, the suit alleged.