A Class-Action Settlement for Nearly Every Consumer

By Michelle Singletary
Thursday, September 4, 2008

In a class-action settlement, the credit bureau TransUnion has agreed to provide free credit-monitoring services to millions of consumers to settle claims that it illegally passed along private information for marketing purposes.

Although TransUnion denied any wrongdoing, the settlement requires the company to sign up consumers for either six months or nine months of monitoring.

Unless you've been a conscientious objector to all forms of borrowing in the last 21 years, you're probably eligible for the monitoring service. But the deadline to sign up is fast approaching.

You have until Sept. 24 to register for benefits under the settlement. Any consumer who had an open credit account or an open line of credit from a credit grantor is eligible. The types of credit might include a car loan, bank credit card, retail store credit card, finance company loan, mortgage or student loan. The credit account had to be opened between Jan. 1, 1987, and May 28, 2008.

The lawsuit against TransUnion alleged it had violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The settlement was preliminarily approved by a federal court in Chicago in May after nearly 10 years. TransUnion said it discontinued the practice in question in 2001.

As class-action lawsuits go, this isn't such a bad one. Typically in these cases, consumers end up with laughable or ludicrous settlements. In this case, there is no limit on the number of class members who may receive the temporary monitoring service. To register for this settlement go to http://www.ListClassAction.com or call 866-416-3470.

If you are married, both partners should register if you both meet the requirements for eligibility. Spouses have separate credit reports even though they may have joint credit accounts.

Under the settlement, which still needs final approval, you have to choose one of the following options:

· Six months of credit monitoring.

· A cash payment (if money is available for distribution).

· Six months of credit monitoring and a potential cash payment.

· Nine months of enhanced monitoring service. If you select this option, you can't get any cash.

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