Certegy Check Services to Pay $3.5 Million for Alleged Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Furnisher Rule

Certegy Check Services to Pay $3.5 Million for Alleged Violations of the Fair
                   Credit Reporting Act and Furnisher Rule

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2013

Penalty is Second-largest in a Fair Credit Reporting Act Matter

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Certegy Check Services,
Inc., one of the nation's largest check authorization service companies, has
agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it
violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Certegy, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a consumer reporting agency
(CRA) that compiles consumers' personal information and uses it to help retail
merchants throughout the United States determine whether to accept consumers'
checks. Under the FCRA, consumers whose checks are denied based on
information Certegy provides the merchant, have the right to dispute that
information and have Certegy correct any inaccuracies.

The FTC's complaint alleges, among other things, that Certegy did not follow
proper dispute procedures. The complaint further alleges that Certegy failed
to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the
information it provided to its merchant clients, as required by the FCRA.

Among other things, the settlement requires Certegy to make improvements in
these areas. This case is part of a broader initiative to target the
practices of data brokers, which often compile, maintain, and sell sensitive
consumer information. Consumer reporting agencies like Certegy are data
brokers that sell information to companies making important decisions about
consumers, such as their ability to get credit or pay for goods and services
by check.

"Inaccurate information in a consumer reporting agency's file can have a huge
impact on a person's everyday life, starting with their check being denied at
the grocery store," said Jessica L. Rich, Director of FTC's Bureau of Consumer
Protection. "In this case, we alleged that Certegy delivered a one-two
punch: the company not only failed to assure that the information it provided
to retailers was accurate, but it also failed to follow proper dispute
procedures. Today's settlement will benefit consumers who use checks to pay
for essential goods and services, including many older consumers and people
without alternate means of payment, such as credit cards."

In addition to the allegations described above, the complaint alleges that
Certegy violated the FCRA by failing to create a streamlined process for
consumers to obtain free annual reports that they are entitled to; and
establish and implement reasonable written policies and procedures regarding
the accuracy and integrity of information it furnishes to other CRAs. This is
the first Commission action alleging violations of the Furnisher Rule, which
went into effect on July 1, 2010. The settlement requires Certegy to comply
with the Furnisher Rule, as well as the requirement to maintain a streamlined
process so that consumers can request their free annual reports.

Information for Business

The FTC has information for businesses on the Furnisher Rule, which can be
found on the Commission's website. Information regarding what businesses
should know about consumer reports also is available.

The Commission vote approving the referral of the complaint to the Department
of Justice and consent in settlement of the court action was 4-0. The
complaint and proposed consent were filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia on August 15, 2013, against Certegy Check Services, Inc.
The proposed consent decree is subject to court approval.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has "reason
to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the
Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Consent decrees have
the force of law when signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent,
deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help
spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit
the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database
available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in
the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety
of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and
subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

SOURCE Federal Trade Commission

Website: http://www.ftc.gov
 
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