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TARGET CREDIT MONITORING REQUIRES CUSTOMERS TO GIVE UP RIGHT TO JURY TRIAL

Target is offering customers credit monitoring and ID theft insurance for one year.  What the credit monitoring service takes away from consumers may be more important than the information provided by the services.

Target partnered with Experian and is offering credit monitoring and ID theft insurance to over 100 million consumers.  Customers may sign up online for the one-year membership – point, click and sign up.  Sounds easy, right?  It is, and it is also that easy to give up the right to a jury trial if you have a dispute with Experian.  According to the fine print, those who sign up for the credit monitoring service “are each waiving the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.”  In other words, consumers will not be allowed to exercise their right to pursue claims in front of a jury of their peers. Consumers shouldn’t give up their right to a jury trial or the right to file a class action lawsuit.

Also, the credit reports offered by the Experian service may not contain the same information if the consumer was to request a credit report from the nationwide consumer reporting agencies, including Experian.  “Although comprehensive, the credit reports from each of the three national credit reporting companies that are available from CIC may not have the same information as a credit report obtained directly from the three national credit reporting companies or through the central source.”  So why would a consumer want an incomplete credit report, especially when federal law already allows consumers to obtain free credit reports?

CONSUMERS ALREADY HAVE THE RIGHT TO FREE CREDIT REPORTS

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the right to order a free credit report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union once every 12 months.  Also, under the FCRA, consumers have the right to order 2 more free credit reports if they believe they are a victim of fraud or identity theft.  Finally, some states, like Georgia, allow consumers to order 2 free credit reports per year from the credit bureaus.  In other words, if you are a consumer who lives in Georgia, and you believe that your credit/debt card was affected by the Target data breach, then you may order 5 free credit reports per year from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union!

If consumers have a dispute with the credit bureaus, then the consumer may file a lawsuit in federal court under the FCRA.  The FCRA provides for actual damages (including credit denials and emotional distress), statutory damages ($100-$1,000) and punitive damages.  The FCRA also provides for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in successful actions.  The federal law provides appropriate rights and remedies for consumers who have credit report errors as a result of the Target data breach.  Consumers do not need to sign up for credit monitoring and give up the right to hold companies accountable in federal court.

For more information about consumer rights under the FCRA, contact us 24/7 at 1-800-263-9091 for a free case review.