Specifically, to complete his purchase of a credit report on Transunion’s site, Sgouros was required to complete several steps:
- Click on a large “Click Here” button on the website’s homepage under the heading “Get Your Credit Score & Report.”
- Furnish identifying information, and click “yes” or “no” to Transunion’s offer to send offers from its “trusted partners,” and then click a large orange button labeled “Submit & Continue to Step 2.”
- Create a user account name and password, input credit card information and click a “yes” or “no” bubble in answer to a question about whether the user’s billing information is the same as his or her home address.
- Click a button stating: “You understand that by clicking on the ‘I Accept & Continue to Step 3’ button below, you are . . . authorizing TransUnion Interactive, Inc. to obtain information from your personal credit profile . . .”
The “I Accept & Continue to Step 3” button was, however, located below a rectangular scroll window with the words “Service Agreement” at the top, and the small hyperlinked words “Printable Version” appeared beneath the scroll box. The 10-page printable version of the Service Agreement in the scroll box did mention the arbitration provision on its first page and did include that arbitration provision in full on its eighth page. But the scroll window allowed Sgouros to view only three lines of text at a time, and no mention of the arbitration provision appeared in the immediately visible text.
Most significantly, the “I Accept & Continue to Step 3” button did not require Sgouros to first click on the scroll box or to scroll down to view its complete contents, nor did it call Sgouros’s attention to the arbitration provision in any way. The court detailed the shortcomings of Transunion’s implementation as follows:
[W]hat cinches the case for Sgouros is the fact that TransUnion’s site actively misleads the customer. The block of bold text below the scroll box told the user that clicking on the box constituted his authorization for TransUnion to obtain his personal information. It says nothing about contractual terms. No reasonable person would think that hidden within that disclosure was also the message that the same click constituted acceptance of the Service Agreement.