The Australian branch of global credit reporting firm Equifax has found itself in court facing allegations of selling credit reports that offered nothing more than its free versions, among other claims.
Despite claiming that its paid reports were more comprehensive than the free version, the ACCC is alleging this was not the case, and as such, consumers had been misled into paying for a service they weren’t receiving.
Equifax, formerly Veda Advantage, is also accused of forcing consumers to buy credit reporting packages in order for information about them to be updated, when the company is required by law to take reasonable steps to correct information at a consumer’s request free of charge.
Yet another allegation against the company is that it claimed it only charged a one-off fee for its services; however, the fine print of its agreement stipulated that customers would be signed up to automatically renewed annual subscription service, from which they would need to opt out of.
“We allege that Equifax acted unconscionably in selling its fee-based credit reporting services to vulnerable consumers, who were often in difficult financial circumstances,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.
“We allege that Equifax told people they needed to buy credit reporting services from them in situations when they did not. It is important for consumers to know they have the legal right to obtain their credit report and to correct any wrong information for free.”
Equifax has not responded to requests for comment on the matter so far.
Equifax is a US-headquartered company. Its local operations were rebranded to Equifax after the February 2016 acquisition of Veda.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.