Consumers Union representatives delivered a petition to Equifax demanding that the credit-rating agency do more to help the 145 million consumers whose credit information was compromised by a data breach earlier this year. 

The petition, which was signed by over 180,000 people, was delivered to Equifax at the company's Atlanta headquarters. 

“Equifax needs to be held accountable for this enormous breach, and it needs to do a lot more to help the millions of people who were put at risk of identity theft,” said Justin Brookman, the director of consumer privacy and technology policy for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports.

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“So far, the company’s response to consumers has been completely inadequate," Brookman added. "We have collected signatures from people all over the country who agree that Equifax must step up and do more.”

Equifax spokesperson Wyatt Jeffries, responding in an email, said: “We had a productive conversation this morning with representatives from the Consumers Union and appreciated hearing their concerns. We were pleased to share with them some of the measures we have already taken to address many of the concerns they raised in their letter, as well as future efforts.” 

Thursday’s petition has seven specific demands:

1. Offer free credit freezes to consumers for a longer period of time.

Currently the company is offering free credit freezes until Jan. 31, 2018, when the company says it will begin offering free credit locks to consumers. However, advocates say that credit freezes are a safer option for consumers than credit locks.

2. Provide free credit monitoring to consumers for an indefinite time period.

Equifax is currently offering one free year of credit monitoring through its enrollment in its TrustedID Premier product. The service gives users access to their Equifax credit report and alerts them to important changes in their reports at all three credit bureaus. It also monitors suspicious websites for users’ Social Security numbers and provides up to $1 million in ID theft insurance.

But advocates and security experts say that due to the type of information that was stolen, consumers will have to be vigilant of their credit for decades to come, not just one year.

3. Provide more detailed information about exactly what data was exposed and how, so consumers can make informed choices about their next steps.

CU’s Brookman said the online tool Equifax developed so consumers could find out whether their information was affected, though improved, still falls short. At first, the tool merely told consumers that their data “may” have been breached. Now it gives a more definitive “was” or “wasn’t.” “Where they still miss the mark, however, is in telling users what exact data was breached. Was it just an email address or was it a Social Security number?” said Brookman.

4. Remove all mandatory arbitration clauses.

Advocates say it's unacceptable that Equifax tried to insulate itself from class-action lawsuits during this crisis by including a mandatory arbitration clause in the terms and conditions consumers had to agree to before they could verify whether their data was affected.

Following an outcry from consumers, Equifax said that the forced arbitration agreement included in its credit monitoring product and the online tool would not be enforced.

Brookman said that saying they will not enforce the mandatory arbitration agreement is not good enough. They must remove the language from the company’s terms of service pages.

5. Hire and train staff who can review and process customer complaints promptly.

Consumers have been complaining of difficulties getting through to call center specialists. Ex-CEO Richard Smith admitted in October testimony before a Senate committee that the company was not properly prepared for the onslaught of inquiries.

In Senate testimony Wednesday, Equifax’s interim CEO, Paulino de Rego Barros, said the company has been utilizing call centers across the globe as well as in the U.S. to handle the surge of calls.

Barros testified that it takes callers 3 minutes to reach a resolution when they phone a call center. However, according to Consumers Union, too many consumers still complain they’re unable to get through or that they are being put on hold too long.

6. Set aside a fund to compensate consumers whose data was exposed.

Advocates say Equifax has an obligation to compensate consumers for the injury they may incur from the breach in the years to come.

7. Investigate allegations of insider trading.

News reports indicate that senior Equifax executives sold major amounts of stock before telling the public about the breach, although earlier this week a special committee report ordered up by the company’s board of directors cleared the executives, according to news reports. Nevertheless, advocates say that Equifax should immediately preserve all documents and commit to an independent investigation of the possibility of insider trading.