Finance Globe

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TransUnion Offers Settlement on Class-Action Lawsuit

The years of unsolicited junk-mail you've received from credit card issuers and loan companies may have finally paid off. Millions of American consumers could be awarded free credit monitoring services from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S.

A class-action lawsuit accuses TransUnion of selling personal and financial consumer information to third parties for targeted marketing. TransUnion discontinued the practice in 2001 and does not admit to wrongdoing or breaking the law, but has agreed to settle with at least $75 million in services to consumers.

Those included in the class-action lawsuit, as a group, are called the "Class". The Class consists of all consumers who had an open credit account or an open line-of-credit in the United States during the period from January 1, 1987 through May 28, 2008. This includes credit cards, auto loans, home mortgages, personal loans, department and retail store cards, and student loans.

Upon Court approval, the Class will receive settlement benefits of free TransUnion credit monitoring for six to nine months, and possibly a cash pay-out. You must register by September 24, 2008 to secure any benefits granted by the settlement.

You can only register for benefits one time. Members of the Class who have multiple registrations will only be eligible for their first choice. In the registration process, you'll have the choice to:

Register for six months of free credit monitoring service, at a retail value of $59.75. This service provides you with unlimited access to your TransUnion credit reports plus your TransUnion credit score. With this option, you may also choose to either: 1) accept a cash payment in the event that a distribution is also awarded, but give up the right to file an individual lawsuit, or 2) not accept a cash payment and retain the right to file an individual lawsuit against TransUnion.


Sign up for nine months of enhanced credit monitoring service, at a retail value of $115.50. This service provides credit monitoring, plus a mortgage simulator service that allows you to see what your mortgage interest rate would be, based on your credit score. You'll also have access to your insurance score, the number some insurance companies look at to set your rates. With this option, you will not qualify to accept a cash payment, and you will give up the right to file an individual lawsuit against TransUnion.

With whichever Trans Union credit monitoring service you choose, the credit score you'll be given is your TransRisk score. But most lenders actually use your FICO score in determining credit-worthiness. Your TransRisk score is likely to be slightly different from your FICO score, and may even be off from your FICO by up to 50 points. This is something to keep in mind when reviewing your TransUnion reports and scores, but the free service is still worth registering for.

You will have six months to claim your benefit, upon Court approval of the settlement and after all appeals have been resolved. If cash benefits are awarded, the funds will not become available for at least two years after the Court grants final approval.

The United States District Court for the northern District of Illinois still has to approve the settlement, and is scheduled to hold a hearing on the case on September 10, 2008. Go to to register for benefits, or call 1-866-416-3470 for more information.

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