You’ve seen those Experian commercials on TV, right? All you have to do is sign up, and they’ll “instantly” increase your credit score! They have ads online too. See a sample below:
Seems weird, right? Aren’t credit scores supposed to indicate a person’s credit-worthiness? Why am I more likely to pay back a loan just because I signed up for a service that doesn’t add income or alleviate debt?
If you’re skeptical… YOU SHOULD BE.
To Experian’s credit, their Boost product does not cost any money. It would be comically insidious if Experian openly accepted bribes for an increased credit score. But despite Experian’s assertion that Boost is “free,” signing up for Boost could cost you dearly.
Buried in the very, very, very long (almost 23,000 words) contract is an “arbitration clause,” where you “agree” that you will never sue Experian in Court:
You also “agree” that you will never participate in a class action against Experian:
So to reiterate – if you have a problem with Experian, you would have to air your grievances in Arbitration, not any Court. If you are not familiar with Arbitration, you can think of it as a fake court that has been found to be very unfair in favor of businesses (who pay them). If you’re interested, you can learn more about how unfair forced arbitration is here https://www.consumeradvocates.org/for-consumers/arbitration/ or here https://www.citizen.org/article/mandatory-arbitration-clauses-are-discriminatory-and-unfair/
This should beg the questions: Why is Experian so worried about you suing them in Court? Why are they so worried about class actions? And wait… are they luring you to click through this “agreement” with the promise of a higher credit score? Yes, they are. In exchange for a higher credit score, you have to promise to never sue them in Court.
And if you’re wondering whether Experian ever goes so far as to enforce their forced arbitration clauses; yes, they do. See, for example, this recent case where Experian moves to dismiss and compel arbitration in a case where a consumer signed up for an Experian CreditWorks subscription:
This is a serious problem. Who wouldn’t want to increase their credit score? Imagine the thousands of people who unknowingly gave up their right to a jury – a right that you may need if Experian reports inaccurate or misleading information about you, or if Experian delivers your personal information to criminals… again.