I’m always on the lookout for bargains that can benefit my Indiana bankruptcy clients and bankruptcy blog readers. If you opened a credit card account, car loan, or mortgage any time during the past twenty years, you probably qualify for some new “freebies”. A recent class action lawsuit settlement by TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, could mean free credit reports and other free services for consumers. Under the $75 million settlement, TransUnion must provide unlimited access to TransUnion credit scores, the ability to block third parties from viewing credit histories, and…free credit monitoring.

Who qualifies to receive these freebies? Anyone who had an open credit account (with a merchant or lender registered with TransUnion) between January 1987 and the end of May 2008 gets to choose between two options. The first option is six months of free credit monitoring (a value of just under $60). This option includes the possibility (but not certainty) of receiving an addition cash settlement. Option #2 involves nine months of free credit monitoring (a value of $115) with no possibility of any further cash settlement.

Why the freebies in the first place? In my earlier blog, The Cavalry’s Coming To Fight Abuse By Credit Card Companies, I detailed how the Federal Reserve was cracking down on unfair and deceptive credit card practices. Well, in this case it was a credit bureau that was accused of unfair practices. TransUnion allegedly sold private consumer information for marketing purposes, a violation of privacy laws, and the free offers are part of the settlement negotiated by TransUnion. To register for either option (which must be done BEFORE SEPTEMBER 24TH), call 1 866 416 3470 or visit the website at www.listclassaction.com.

As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana, I believe that any services that help consumers stay informed about their own credit ratings are valuable, and I wanted to pass the information about TransUnion along to my blog readers and clients. Clients who are rebuilding their financial lives after bankruptcy will find it especially important to stay informed as they work to gradually improve their credit ratings. But checking credit scores periodically is a good idea for all of us.