The bad information included incorrect name and Social Security number information on her record, as well as debts that didn’t belong to her. She was unable to obtain credit while trying to help her disabled brother, and learned about the errors when she was turned down for a loan in 2009. Her legal complaint details the eight times she tried to straighten the problems out, and Equifax just sort of shrugged.
“There was damage to her reputation, a breach of her privacy and the lost opportunity to seek credit,” her attorney explained to the Oregonian. It didn’t happen to this woman, but credit report errors can even cost people employment opportunities.
While consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each bureau every year, the Big Three are also supposed to provide copies to consumers after they’re denied credit. Equifax failed to do so in this case.
A jury awarded her $18.4 million in punitive damages and $180,000 in compensatory damages. Studies indicate that up to 21% of all credit reports contain some errors,
Equifax is probably going to appeal this verdict.
Equifax must pay $18.6 million after failing to fix Oregon woman’s credit report [Oregonian] (via National Consumer Law Center)