HARRISBURG, Pa. - Equifax Corp., the major credit reporting agency, reached an agreement with Pennsylvania and 17 other states to take steps to eliminate errors from its files and respond promptly to customer inquiries.

The "agreement of assurances" also requires Equifax to pay the states $150,000 for legal costs, Pennsylvania Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. said Tuesday.

The agreement resulted from investigations into credit bureau practices by a group of state attorneys general, in response to consumer complaints about accuracy and the difficulty of correcting errors.

"The agreement requires Equifax to undertake or continue programs to improve its procedures and better serve consumers," Mr. Preate said. He added that Equifax voluntarily initiated some of the programs it committed to in the agreement, including availability of a tollfree telephone number and making improvements in its data-processing system.

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