How bad is YOUR credit report? Is it bad enough to file a lawsuit?
Well one woman just won MILLIONS in a federal lawsuit filed against Equifax, one of the nation’s largest crediting reporting agencies, which happens to be headquartered right here in Atlanta.
A federal jury in Oregon awarded $18.6 million to a woman who spent two years unsuccessfully trying to get Equifax Information Services to fix major mistakes on her credit report.
According to The Oregonian, Julie Miller of Marion County, Oregon claimed she contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 in an effort to correct inaccuracies, including erroneous accounts and collection attempts, as well as a wrong Social Security number and birthday. Her lawsuit alleged the Atlanta-based company failed to correct the mistakes.
“There was damage to her reputation, a breach of her privacy and the lost opportunity to seek credit,” said Justin Baxter, a Portland attorney who worked on the case with his father and law partner, Michael Baxter.
“She has a brother who is disabled and who can’t get credit on his own, and she wasn’t able to help him.”
According to her lawsuit, Miller discovered the problems with her report when she was denied credit by a bank in early December 2009. She says alerted Equifax of the inaccuracies and filled out multiple forms faxed by the credit agency seeking updated information.
Miller says she also found similar mistakes in her reports with other credit bureaus, but those companies corrected their errors.
Last Friday (July 26, 2013), a jury awarded Miller $18.4 million in punitive damages and $180,000 in compensatory damages.
While many legal analysts feel Equifax is likely to appeal the judgement, I feel that it’s a fair punishment for the credit reporting agency. There’s really no way to know for sure how their inaccuracies affected Miller’s ability to receive credit, insurance or employment, but whatever the case… 18.4 MILLION could certainly make up for any losses she suffered.
In light of this information, today just might be the perfect day to check your credit report!
What do you think of Miller’s case?