Users affected by Equifax hack might be waiving their right to sue

0
214

September 8, 2017

Individuals using Equifax's tool to see if their information was compromised in a massive data breach could be giving up their rights to file or join a lawsuit against the company.

Equifax revealed on Thursday that hackers had gained access to the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans including names, Social Security numbers and birth dates.

September 8, 2017

Individuals using Equifax's tool to see if their information was compromised in a massive data breach could be giving up their rights to file or join a lawsuit against the company.

Equifax revealed on Thursday that hackers had gained access to the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans including names, Social Security numbers and birth dates.

In response, the company set up the website equifaxsecurity2017.com so users could see if their data was affected. However, fine print deep in the company’s terms of service for the website includes an arbitration clause waiving the users "ability to bring or participate in a class action, class arbitration or other representative action."

The individuals who click the "I agree to terms of service" button on the site, therefore might waive their rights to sue the company over the data breach in a class-action suit. Instead, they must resolve legal disputes in private arbitration. Many companies with agreements like this, including Equifax, argue that arbitration is a “quick and cost effective” means of resolving legal matters.

But critics say that arbitration unfairly benefits companies at the expense of consumers, saying class-action lawsuits can be the most effective means of legal recourse against predatory practices by a company.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) lambasted the arbitration language in Equifax’s terms of service on Friday calling it “unacceptable and unenforceable.” Schneiderman tweeted that his office had contacted Equifax’s office demanding the clause be removed.

Equifax did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. At the time of this story’s publishing the language had not been removed from the company’s terms of service.

The New York and Illinois attorneys general both announced formal investigations into the Equifax breach on Friday.

Many other companies including Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and AT&T use arbitration clauses in a variety of ways to avoid class-action lawsuits with their employees, customers and contractors. The practice has been harshly criticized and the clauses in contracts with a company’s employees will be reviewed by the Supreme Court this winter.


Courtesy/Source: The Hill

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here