CFPB chief Chopra says TransUnion is ‘out of control’ as regulator sues credit reporting company for deceptive practices
The nation’s top consumer regulator announced Tuesday that is filing a lawsuit against consumer credit reporting company TransUnion and one of its top executives for violating a 2017 law enforcement order that blocked the company from engaging in deceptive marketing practices,
“TransUnion is an out-of-control repeat offender that believes it is above the law,” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra said in a statement. “I am concerned that TransUnion’s leadership is either unwilling or incapable of operating its businesses lawfully.”
The case centers around allegations that the company deceptively marketed its credit report and credit-monitoring services to U.S. consumers by using “digital dark patterns” to trick them into buying subscriptions and making it difficult to cancel those subscriptions.
The CFPB said that TransUnion asked customers, who were seeking a free annual credit report the company is required to provide under federal law, to enter credit card information as part of what appeared to be an identity-verification process.
The agency said the company then “integrated deceptive buttons” into its website that made customers think they could access their credit score for free, in addition to the free report.
“In reality, clicking this button signed customers up for recurring monthly charges using the credit card information they had provided,” the CFPB said in a press release. “For consumers looking for a way out of their subscriptions, TransUnion not only failed to offer a simple mechanism for cancellation, it actively made it arduous for consumers to cancel through clever uses of font and color on its website.”
In addition to suing the company, the CFPB’s lawsuit is aimed against executive John Danaher, who has led the consumer facing side of TransUnion’s business since 2004, though the CFPB said that Danaher has recently “separated” from TransUnion.
TransUnion did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shares of TransUnion
were edging 0.1% higher in early Tuesday trade, relative to a 1.1% rise for the S&P 500
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