Equifax's chief executive says he opposes federal legislation that lets consumers obtain a free copy of their credit report to help them monitor financial accounts for fraudulent activity.
CEO Thomas Chapman called the legislation unconstitutional and un-American because it cuts into profits that Equifax and two rival credit reporting agencies -- Experian and TransUnion -- earn from selling credit reports and monitoring services. Equifax maintains credit data on 220 million Americans. The company earned $1.27 billion in revenue last year.
Wired News: Credit Chief Slams Free Reports.
In the great tradition of AccuWeather, a company that lives off of the data of others wants its business plan enshrined into law. (Where in the United States Constitution does it state that thou shall not infringe on the right for Equifax to charge a people for his own dossier?)
Granted, he does say one useful thing, that the ability to check a credit report once a year is more placebo than solution to the problems that, well, credit reporting agencies helped to introduce. By creating a data clearing house of a person's life, and leaving the only gate key to be one's Social Security number, they've made an irresistable criminal maret for that number.
Frankly, I believe credit reporting agencies have a duty to freely inform the subject of the credit reports much more often then they do. By charging the customer for the data they've been compiling on them, they surpress inquiries that could help keep such data accurate and reliable. As it stands, Equifax has little incentive to keep this data accurate. Their main customers aren't the folks who they compile the data on, but the people who give out credit. If there are stains on the report that shouldn't be there, it won't be discovered until they get so bad that credit is refused. Of course, credit bureaus are obligated by law to let us inspect (for free) the credit report whenever a bank or someone else requests such information, but virtually no one knows about this. How that is any different than allowing someone access each year escapes me as well.