By Jonathan Stempel and Lisa Lambert
(Reuters) – A U.S. regulator on Tuesday ordered credit reporting agencies TransUnion and Equifax Inc to pay more than $23.2 million in fines and restitution for deceiving consumers about the usefulness and cost of credit scores they bought.
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said the payments also resolve charges that TransUnion and Equifax lured consumers into enrolling in credit services advertised as free or costing only $1, but which could cost more than $200 a year.
TransUnion will reimburse $13.93 million to consumers and pay a $3 million civil fine, while Equifax will reimburse $3.8 million and pay a $2.5 million civil fine, the CFPB said.
Both companies will also modify their marketing practices, including by obtaining consent to enroll in credit-related services where fees kick in after free trials, and making it easier for consumers to cancel products they do not want.
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