Don't go to the Equifax website and don't sign up for the Equifax credit monitoring service. That's the bottom line upfront, as we like to say in the Marine Corps. I know many of you are thinking that sounds a little bit crazy, but I'll tell you exactly why it's not. Oh, here, here's the bottom line: because there's an arbitration clause in the credit monitoring service which waives your rights to ever sue them about anything, whether it's related to the monitoring service or not. Arbitration is this thing (that I click every day because I can't read all the stuff that I'm clicking in order to get it) that closes the courts to you. Instead of being able to file a lawsuit to get your credit report cleaned up and have a guy like me represent you on contingency, you've got to go to some panel of retired judges who - guess who their most common customer is? Guess who the most common paying customer is; It's not you. I think arbitration is extraordinarily ineffective.
I sue the consumer reporting agencies for a living, and not necessarily because I want to, although it's gratifying work, but it's sad to have to do it because these dispute letters about, "Hey, something's wrong on my credit” should get it done, but they don't. It's not until we file a federal lawsuit, the attorneys get involved, the judge wants to know what's happening. It's not until there's literally a federal case that these consumer reporting agencies can afford, frankly, to turn their attention to your messed up credit report which is costing you tens of dollars, hundreds of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage loan, something like that. Now how embarrassed would you be if you went to the kiosk in the mall with your kids and had to put a deposit down for a cellphone plan? That could happen because you have some bogus $15 medical debt.
If you haven't figured it out or I haven't introduced myself, I'm consumer financial protection attorney Mike Cardoza, and I'm just a little bit irritated, as I think maybe you are, about Equifax's announcement, a month late, of the data breach of 143 million subscribers. I'm going to go ahead and guess that that's, frankly, all of them. The population of the United States today, as I checked on the internet, is 326 million. Many of those folks are unbanked and don't have credit records, so 143 million out of 326, I think we're talking about a significant portion, if not maybe all of their subscriber records. I think mine were in there. I think yours are probably in there too.
I've told you what not to do. Don't go to the Equifax website and sign up for their thing because they're going to have you click away all your rights in order to give you something super-dubious. I have created for you, for free, the Ultimate Credit Clean-up Machine, which is an entire package of free stuff that tells you exactly how to figure out what's on your credit reports, all three of them, for free, the price of postage, and how to craft dispute letters to get your situation either fixed or to get your case started and to build all the evidence you need to come have a guy like me represent you on contingency to get it taken care of.
The bottom line of the bottom line is sign up now for the Ultimate Credit Clean-up Machine, figure out if you've got errors on your credit report, don't hide from it, and then take action as soon as you discover there's a problem. Because there's a relatively short statute of limitations and if you don't do something they can later say, "Hey, he didn't do it in time."
I'm consumer financial protection attorney Mike Cardoza. Oh, and one more little tidbit that you may have heard about. Equifax figured this out a month ago. In the time between they figured out the data breach of 143 million to the time it was announced right as Hurricane Irma was threatening to pound Miami into nothing, right on about that day — you know, bury it in the news cycle — between the time they figured it out and the time they announced it, three of their top executives sold a large portion of their stock. Do you trust them? I'm consumer financial protection attorney Mike Cardoza. Get the Ultimate Credit Clean-up Machine for Free. Feel good that you know that your credit report is as good as it can possibly be, and I'm here to help you.
143 Million consumer credit report records were compromised (the U.S. only has a population of 326 Million) by Equifax. Yours were probably one of them. So was mine. What are you going to do?
DON’T go to the Equifax website to sign up for their offer of free credit monitoring: It’s a trick to get you to waive your rights to sue Equifax!
Here’s the text of the Arbitration Agreement that’s buried in the electronic terms of service that you would (if you went there) have to click to get their service:
“any claim, dispute, or controversy between You and Us relating in any way to Your relationship with Equifax, including but not limited to any Claim arising from or relating to this Agreement, the Products or this Site, or any information You receive from Us … The term ‘Claim’ shall have the broadest possible construction …”
Look, I sue the credit reporting agencies for a living because they either can’t or won’t get people’s credit reports right. If I file a case, that means that even a dispute letter didn’t work! Sometimes it literally takes a “federal case” to get their attention and to get your credit report fixed. No joke.
Be the person who knows that their credit report is correct - You owe it to yourself (and your family)!