Many consumer groups worry that clause meant victims of the hack couldn’t sue or join a class-action case against Equifax for the cyber breach.
In a statement, Equifax disputed that. The company said the arbitration clause and waiver for class action cases “applies to the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products, and not the cybersecurity incident.”
Corporations in many industries have pushed to move disputes with customers to arbitration rather than the courts.
Lawsuits are costly, take longer and in many cases, businesses have an upper hand outside the traditional justice system, an investigation by The New York Times found.
Consumer Watchdog of California said in a news release that the offer may violate California law, and asked the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, to investigate.
Eric Sneiderman, the New York attorney general, called the clauses “unacceptable and unenforceable,” on Twitter. He later said, after Equifax released a statement to clarify that the terms do not apply to the cyber-attack, that his office is “continuing to closely review” the situation.
Liz Coyle of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy group, said the clauses are buried in fine print few will read in a time of distress.
“Nobody reads the fine print. It’s really outrageous,” she said.
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