Credit reporting agency Equifax has been hit with a $3.5 million penalty for misleading and deceptive conduct, following action taken by the consumer watchdog.
Equifax admitted to breaching Australian Consumer Law when its representatives told consumers its credit reports were more comprehensive than free reports it was required by law to provide.
The Federal Court heard the reports contained the same information.
‘Equifax’s conduct caused people to buy credit reporting services in situations when they did not have to,’ ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said on Tuesday.
‘Consumers have the legal right to obtain a free credit report under the law.’
Equifax, which acquired Veda Advantage in 2016, also admitted it told consumers they would be charged a single one-off payment, and failed to inform its paid credit card report packages would automatically renew if consumers didn’t actively opt out.
‘It is appalling that Equifax used unfair sales tactics on consumers who were vulnerable,’ Ms Court said.
‘Consumers have a right to receive accurate information from credit reporting companies when they seek advice or services.’