A woman from Marion County, Oregon, has been awarded $18.6 million in a case that is sure to cause a stir across the nation. The defendant in the case was Equifax Information Services, one of the three major credit bureaus. While the federal jury award will likely be appealed, the woman's lawyer sees the case as a major victory.
The woman had tried for two years to get the credit bureau to remove incorrect information on her credit report. That incorrect information included accounts that were not hers and that had been listed as going into collections. There was even an incorrect date of birth and social security number listed on her credit report. Eight different times she contacted Equifax between 2009 and 2011, but the company, which is based out of Atlanta, Georgia, did nothing.
The attorneys who represented the woman said her reputation and her ability to get a loan and other credit were damaged. She was not able to help her brother, who is not able to get credit on his own because of a disability, either.
Equifax has not commented on the specifics of the case. The woman found out about the incorrect information after she was denied bank credit at the end of 2009. She started filling out all of the forms required by the credit bureau to dispute the wrong information that was on her credit report. The other credit bureaus also had the wrong information on her credit report with them, but the reports were corrected.
A 2013 study done by the Federal Trade Commission found that 21 percent of 2,968 credit reports belonging to 1,001 consumers had errors. Approximately 5 percent of those errors would be enough to have those consumers denied credit.
The woman in this case attempted to correct a wrong that had been done through the proper channels, but was unsuccessful. In order to receive compensation for her time and trouble, she contacted an attorney who filed a civil lawsuit on her behalf. Civil litigation can be complex and requires an experienced attorney who can advise you of your rights and options in your case.
huffingtonpost.com, "Julie Miller, Oregon Woman, Awarded $18.6 Million Over Equifax Credit Report Errors" Harry Bradford, Jul. 27, 2013