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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Statement of Attorney General TJ Donovan Update to Vermonters on Equifax Data Breach

September 10, 2017

CONTACT: TJ Donovan, Attorney General, (802) 828-3171

September 10, 2017

Vermonters are understandably angry, frustrated, anxious, and upset to learn of a massive data breach exposing more than 240,000 of us to the loss of sensitive data. This loss of data includes our names, social security numbers, and even in some cases our credit card and drivers’ license numbers. Upon learning of this data breach my office immediately sent out an emergency alert to Vermonters throughout the state urging them to take steps to protect their sensitive information.

Since then several questions have come to light about Equifax, its web portal for consumers to check their status, and its terms of use for certain commercial products. These questions centered on whether its terms of use would require consumers to waive their rights to participate in class action lawsuits or bind them to mandatory arbitration. Such terms and conditions in the wake of this scandal caused by Equifax itself would be both unreasonable and unconscionable.

I immediately demanded answers and resolution of these questions from Equifax’ General Counsel and can now assure Vermonters of the following:
1) No waiver terms or binding arbitration will be imposed on consumers who go to the Equifax website to learn if they are affected.

2) No waiver terms or binding arbitration will be imposed on consumers who enroll in the one year of free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring (“TrustedID”) being offered as a result of this breach.

3) No waiver terms or binding arbitration will be imposed on consumers who request a credit report freeze as a result of this breach.

4) Equifax also provides an “opt out” of the standard waiver or binding arbitration clause related to its terms of use for other products and services beyond items 1-3 above. Consumers may do so by writing within 30 days to: Equifax Consumer Services LLC, Attn.: Arbitration Opt-Out, P.O. Box 105496, Atlanta, GA 30348. Be sure to include your name, address, and Equifax User ID, as well as a clear statement that you do not wish to resolve disputes with Equifax through arbitration.
Ensuring the safety and security of Vermonters’ sensitive data following this debacle is a top priority for me and my staff. We will continue to enforce our consumer protection laws and work to get answers for Vermont consumers as we learn more about this developing situation.

Last modified: March 12, 2018