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TRANS UNION PROCEDURES CONFIRMED IN AGREEMENT WITH 17 STATES

 TRANS UNION PROCEDURES CONFIRMED IN AGREEMENT WITH 17 STATES
 CHICAGO, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Trans Union Corp. and the attorneys general of 17 states today confirmed in a consent decree all but one of the company's existing policies and procedures for maintaining the accuracy and fairness of its extensive consumer credit files. The one exception involved reducing the price of some credit reports requested by consumers.
 The decree, entered in U.S. District Court in Chicago, culminates a year of discussions between the company and representatives of the 17 states, who responded to consumer complaints about the files of all three national credit information bureaus. Settlements, in some cases more stringent than the decree signed with Trans Union, were previously reached with the company's two largest competitors, Equifax Inc. and TRW Inc.
 In signing the decree, Trans Union denied any violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or state laws and put to rest any concerns that may have existed about its programs, products and policies. Trans Union insisted on the decree to formalize the outcome of its cooperative discussions with the attorneys general.
 "There's a good reason why Trans Union was the last of the major credit information services to reach agreement with the states," said Harry Gambill, Trans Union's president and chief executive officer. "We believe our procedures, systems and policies are the best in the industry, and our files are as accurate as current technology and persistence will allow. The cordial tenor of our conversations with the attorneys general reflected that.
 "We are pleased to reach this amicable agreement with the states. We wanted to sign a consent decree, rather than a simple agreement, because we wanted this situation to be over and done with -- binding on all the parties and not subject to later reinterpretation. Trans Union has every intention of maintaining its leadership position in the industry, and we're proud of our record to date."
 Under terms of the decree, Trans Union agrees to continue its practice of providing, at no charge, credit reports for consumers who have been denied credit in the past 60 days. The company will reduce to $8 its charge for credit reports issued to consumers who have not been denied credit. Those reports, which represent just 10 percent of all reports requested by consumers, previously had been priced at $8 to $20, depending upon locale.
 In all other respects, the decree recognizes as acceptable and confirms existing Trans Union practices for avoiding mixed files, maintaining and improving file accuracy, providing toll-free access to customer assistance personnel, preventing the reoccurrence of previously deleted material and responding rapidly to consumer requests for reports and corrections. Trans Union, the nation's leading consumer credit information company, also agreed to hire a consultant to review the format of its consumer reports and to recommend changes that will make them more readable and understandable.
 States included in the case include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
 Based in Chicago, Trans Union has more than 250 owned and independent bureaus nationwide. Trans Union serves all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Europe.
 TRANS UNION CORP. CONSENT DECREE FACTS
 Trans Union Corp., the nation's leading consumer credit information company, today signed a consent decree in U.S. District Court in Chicago that confirms the company's operating practices and ends the threat of further government investigation of them. With one exception that involves pricing of consumer reports, the settlement involves no changes to existing Trans Union policy or operating procedures. Seventeen states that have been pursuing issues related to the consumer credit information industry were parties to the decree.
 The decree results from nearly a year of amicable discussions between representatives of the states and the company. Although the attorneys general suggested that an agreement signed out-of-court among the interested parties might be sufficient, Trans Union requested that the matter be brought under the court's jurisdiction so that the agreement becomes binding on each state.
 Here's a summary of key points from the consent decree.
 1. Trans Union will continue to follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of its 180 million individual credit records.
 Trans Union's existing vigorous efforts to maintain and improve the accuracy of its records were accepted by the attorneys general.
 2. Trans Union will continue to follow reasonable procedures to avoid the occurrence of mixed files.
 Mixed files usually occur when a consumer is not fully identified in materials provided to Trans Union by credit grantors or others. The company's existing program to standardize consumer information was found to be acceptable by the attorneys general.
 3. Trans Union will continue to encourage its subscribers to report full and accurate information in a standard format.
 The company's program to encourage increased accuracy and the use of standard formats was acceptable to the attorneys general.
 4. Trans Union agrees to provide consumer access to customer service personnel via a toll-free telephone line.
 Trans Union consumer assistance personnel are and have been available. The company will continue to provide access to assistance personnel through a toll-free telephone number.
 5. Trans Union will continue to respond to consumer requests for reports within a maximum of four business days.
 As a matter of existing practice and policy, Trans Union's reports are mailed to requesting consumers the next business day and never more than three days after the request is made.
 6. Trans Union will send reports to consumers on request without charge if the individual has been denied credit within the last 60 days, and in other cases for a maximum charge of $8.
 Trans Union already provides free reports to consumers who have been denied credit. Its existing charges for other reports, which range from $8 to $20, depending on locale, will be reduced to the new industry standard fee of $8 as of Jan. 1, 1993.
 7. Trans Union will continue to complete reinvestigations of disputed information within 30 days of receipt of notice of the dispute.
 This confirms the company's existing practice. More than one-third of all disputes are now resolved in three days. Resolution of other disputes requires responses from third parties, but in no case does Trans Union permit resolution to be delayed by more than 30 days.
 8. Trans Union will continue to inform consumers of their rights under the law and how to dispute credit information. The company will send a corrected report to consumers after a reinvestigation.
 This confirms existing Trans Union practice.
 9. Trans Union will continue to use reasonable procedures to prevent deleted information from reappearing on a report.
 Deleted information can reappear in an individual's file if the credit grantor fails to correct its records before providing Trans Union with regular account updates on computer tapes. Trans Union's existing procedures for policing this problem were found acceptable to the attorneys general. In addition, the company is developing a computer program that can recognize previously deleted material and prevent it from reappearing in the record. This is an extremely complex programming challenge that no one in the industry has solved.
 10. Trans Union will continue to research ways to make consumer reports more understandable.
 Although the attorneys general generally approved of the company's efforts, Trans Union will retain a consultant to recommend changes to its report format.
 11. Trans Union will continue to ask its affiliates to provide the same level of service to consumers as the company itself.
 The company operates with more than 200 affiliated local credit bureaus, mostly in smaller communities. In nearly every case, those local agencies provide the same high level of quality and service as Trans Union. The company's existing program to encourage affiliate quality and service improvements was found acceptable by the attorneys general.
 12. Trans Union will continue to require its customers of pre screened lists to make a firm offer of credit to each person to whom an offer is mailed.
 Trans Union contracts already require customers to make a firm offer of credit to people who are on pre-screened lists of good credit risks. The attorneys general found that Trans Union's contract requirements do respond to their concerns.
 13. Trans Union will comply with the deceptive practices act of each state.
 The company already does comply with those acts in every state.
 14. Trans Union will comply with Federal Trade Commission interpretations regarding disclosure of risk scores.
 Although the FTC has said it will require risk scores to be disclosed on credit reports, to date it has not done so. When it does, Trans Union has already announced its intention to comply with those rules. A complicating factor is that there are numerous ways to assess an individual's credit risk, and it is unlikely that any one score, based on one of many risk-assessment methods, will adequately describe an individual's creditworthiness.
 -0- 10/26/92
 /CONTACT: Oscar Marquis, vice president and general counsel of Trans Union, 312-466-7774, or Elizabeth Eischeid, manager, corporate communications of Trans Union, 312-466-7794/ CO: Trans Union Corp. ST: Illinois IN: FIN SU:


SM -- NY079 -- 4850 10/26/92 13:36 EST
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Date:Oct 26, 1992
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