CFPB hits at credit bureaus over misleading scores

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We’ve been aware that credit scores that you might find online aren’t necessarily the same as the ones that lenders use to gauge your creditworthiness when you apply for a loan. Now, two of the three primary credit bureaus are on the hook for saying that they were.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Equifax and TransUnion $5.5 million. In addition, the agency ordered the two to pay a total of at least $17.6 million in restitution to consumers.

CFPB says the two credit bureaus falsely represented that the credit scores that they made available to consumers for a price were the same scores that lenders use, even though they weren’t. (Your real credit score, or FICO score, comes from calculations that are developed by Fair Isaac.)

Further, CFPB says the two credit bureaus deceived consumers by claiming that it would cost either nothing or $1 to receive their scores when, in reality, consumers were enrolled automatically in a subscription program that cost at least $16 per month.

CFPB says the claims lasted between July 2011 and March 2014 for Equifax and since July 2011 for TransUnion. Equifax was fined $2.5 million and ordered to pay nearly $3.8 million restitution. TransUnion was fined $3 million and ordered to pay at least $13.9 million in restitution.