FTC says Equifax, customers pay $1.6M settlement

NEW YORK -- The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that credit reporting firm Equifax Inc. will pay $393,000 to resolve allegations it broke the law by selling lists of consumers who were late on their mortgage payments.

The FTC said the lists of consumer names, credit scores, and details about late mortgage payments were sold to Direct Lending Source and its affiliates, who then sold the data to companies that marketed loan modification and debt relief services to the people on the lists.

The agency said Equifax and Direct Lending Source violated the FTC Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Direct Lending Source agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve the allegations, the FTC said.

The agency said Equifax sold more than 17,000 lists of consumers between January 2008 and early 2010. It said the lists included millions of names, and Direct Lending Source did not have a legal permission to obtain the names.

Equifax said it is not admitting any wrongdoing or violations of the law as part of the agreement. It said it stopped doing business with Direct Lending Source and its affiliates during the summer of 2011.

Equifax shares fell 7 cents to $48.70 in afternoon trading after trading as high as $48.94 earlier in the session. That approached their high of $49.49 for the past year.