AN IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR CONSUMERS
False representations and unconscionable conduct by Equifax Australia Information Services and Solutions Pty Ltd
Following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Federal Court of Australia declared that Equifax Australia Information Services and Solutions Pty Ltd (Equifax) engaged in conduct that contravened multiple provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.
The Court found that Equifax, in telephone calls with consumers, made false or misleading representations from time to time as follows:
- between 5 July 2016 to 3 March 2017, Equifax represented that the Equifax credit score consumers received as part of its services was the same credit score as that which credit providers used to assess credit applications, extensions of credit or the terms upon which credit would be provided to consumers, when in fact:
- some credit providers did not use the Equifax credit score;
- other credit providers used the Equifax score in limited circumstances only;
- the Equifax credit score provided to a credit provider may for various reasons have differed from the credit score provided to a consumer.
- between 7 July 2016 to 3 March 2017, Equifax represented that its credit report provided as part of its paid service was more comprehensive than its free credit report, when in fact they contained the same information;
- between 1 February 2016 and 3 March 2017, Equifax represented that consumers would be charged a single ‘one-off’ or ‘one-time’ payment for services, and failed to disclose that the services were automatically renewed unless the customer opted out, when in fact the services were automatically renewed and the consumer was charged for further 12 month periods unless the consumer took steps to opt out of the renewal.
The Court also found that between 14 August 2016 and 10 October 2017 Equifax engaged in conduct during its dealings with three consumers that was unconscionable.
As part of its orders, the Court has required Equifax to:
- provide refunds to affected consumers;
- refrain from engaging in similar conduct; and
- pay pecuniary penalties of $3.5 million and $100,000 toward the ACCC’s costs.
If you have been affected by this conduct you are entitled to a refund if you purchased a standalone (non-subscription) credit report called My Credit File, or a My Credit Alert (formerly My Veda Alert), Equifax Basic (formerly Veda Starter), Equifax Plus (formerly Veda Access), Equifax Advanced (formerly Veda ID), or Equifax Premium (formerly Veda Plan) service from Equifax over the telephone between:
- 7 July 2016 to 3 March 2017, and Equifax made either or both of the representations referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) above; or
- 1 February 2016 and 3 March 2017, and Equifax engaged in the conduct referred to in paragraph (3) above.
Refund requests will be assessed with regard to recordings of the phone calls between you and Equifax representatives. You will be able to make a refund request up until 14 May, 2019.
Any refund requests that are refused by Equifax for a reason other than that you already received a refund from Equifax will be automatically reviewed by an independent third party within 30 days.
Consumers entitled to a refund should contact Equifax using the following:
- Call us on 1800 958 378 (8.30am-5pm AEST, Monday to Friday); or
- Email us at email@example.com; or
- Download and complete a refund request form OR send a letter with the following details included: Full Name, Date of Birth, Address, State, Postcode, PAS Reference (if available on your credit report), Product Name and Purchase Date. For contact purposes, please also provide your Phone Number & Email address.
The printed refund request form OR letter can be sent to:
C/O: Complaints Leader
PO Box 964
North Sydney, NSW 2059