Texas stops online scheme that claimed to offer 'free' credit scores but charged monthly fees

The SE Texas Record Dec. 1, 2014, 1:57pm


AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott resolved the State’s enforcement action against the operators of an online scheme that violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. 

According to the State’s enforcement action, the Dallas-based technology firms named as defendants falsely claimed to offer individuals free credit scores – but actually billed the individuals a recurring $29.95 monthly fee for a credit monitoring program they never ordered.

The firms named as defendants in the Nov. 19 agreement with the State are:

• One Technologies, LP d/b/a ScoreSense, One Technologies, Inc., and MyCreditHealth;

• One Technologies Management, LLC; and

• One Technologies Capital, LLP.

Among its terms, the State’s agreement requires the defendants to take the following actions:

• Make clear, conspicuous disclosures to customers about the recurring monthly fee and the negative option trial, in which the defendants interpret customers’ silence or inaction as permission to charge them;

• Cease misrepresenting that credit scores and other proffered goods and services are free; and

• Monitor their advertising affiliates to ensure those entities comply with today’s agreement.

As part of the agreement, the defendants will pay the State of Texas a total of $400,000. The agreement orders $250,000 of the settlement funds to be disbursed to the General Revenue or Supreme Court Judicial Fund, as appropriate, pursuant to Texas Government Code Sec. 402.007. The remaining funds will reimburse the State’s legal fees.

$22 million restitution fund

Soon after the Texas Attorney General’s Office launched its investigation of One Technologies, the Federal Trade Commission – along with Illinois and Ohio – opened its own investigation against the defendants based on the same allegations. While maintaining its own separate investigation, the Texas Attorney General’s Office assisted the FTC, Illinois and Ohio in their efforts.

As part of the settlement the FTC, Ohio and Illinois reached with One Technologies and announced today, the defendants must make a $22 million payment to the FTC to establish a restitution fund for customers who were improperly billed for the defendants’ credit monitoring program.

Because Texas participated in the FTC group’s settlement negotiations with the defendants, the FTC will coordinate with Texas to determine eligibility and compensate the defendants’ affected customers.

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