Equifax Ordered to Pay Woman $18.6 Million for Credit Report Errors

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Woman Entitled to $18.6M Settlement Over Credit Report Errors
According to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission, 1 in 20 Americans have meaningful errors on their credit reports that need to be corrected. One major credit reporting bureau just paid a high price for failing to fix those errors.

Julie Miller of Marion County, Ore., says that she spent years trying to get Equifax to correct numerous errors in her credit report, including an incorrect Social Security number and false collections accounts. After Equifax repeatedly insisted that she needed to take up the issues with her "creditors," she finally sued the company in federal court.

This week, the court handed down a judgement that should come as a shot across the bow for the credit reporting industry: Equifax was ordered to pay Miller an unprecedented $18.6 million for its failure to correct the errors in her report.

Miller's attorney told ABC News that there were numerous factors that may have swayed the jury, including the fact that Miller tried multiple times to correct the report before filing her suit, as well as the privacy implications of the bureau mixing her report with that of another person.

But Miller's situation was by no means an isolated case.

"Most credit report disputes do get resolved fairly quickly, but there's certainly a subset of consumers who fight to get errors corrected and in some cases are unsuccessful," says Gerri Detweiler, a credit and personal finance expert at Credit.com. "Two of the most challenging types of dispute to clear up are mixed files, which is what this woman experienced, and fraud."

Detweiler adds that credit bureaus are currently dealing with an influx of people disputing accurate but negative information, so it's possible that Equifax dismissed this as frivolous complaint.

While the company is likely to appeal the ruling, the eye-opening size of the judgment is likely to make Equifax and other bureaus take a second look at the procedures they use to assess complaint. And Detweiler says that it should also be a wake-up call to consumers: If a credit bureau isn't working with you to correct the errors in your report, you should consider calling up a consumer law attorney who specializes in these issues. After seeing the size of this judgment, we're sure many of them would be happy to take your call.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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Richard C.

These Credit reporting Agencies are not regulated, nor one that represents you. Therefore, they think they can do as they please in awarding you a 'Credit Score" And, in many cases fail to really look at your way of paying any debt you have, and can be the best payer on this planet!

They are no more than an arm of the financial community, to gain more wealth by saying your score is not 'Good', which will raise your rates of intrest, to not being able to getting hired at a job. This kind of non-sense had nothing to do with your credit, or why you may have been late with a payment in your past. But, they makeup the Rules as they go. And, our government allows it, because the big banks weren't as happy as they should have been, with the money that congress gave them, and they want to suffer, for calling them on it!

The 3 agencies that hold your life in their hands, are as corrupt as the Banker's , Oil Companies, and all of our elected official's in Washington! Not but a POS, that should not weld the power they have over any body.

This story of this women, being persistent, should get the 18 + Million, and more people ought to bring suits agaist them. It just might put them into Bankruptsy, and RUIN their credit! No matter what they get hit with, its not enough. Of all the people they have placed financial strains on, or lost a good job, because of them! I applaud her, in her action. Her attorney, I know does, when he gets his compenstion.

February 28 2014 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
judy

hAve you ever give credit bureaus Authorosation to keep track of your credit. my keyboArd is broke.

July 31 2013 at 3:17 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
sam54ct

Deserving of money, yes, 18 million no, not unless, that is a number close to her lifetime earning potential.

July 31 2013 at 2:50 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sam54ct's comment
juststeve35

Finally a fine is levied that is significant enough to make Corporate America sit and up and realize they have an obligation to American Citizens and you want to complain about it?

smh

July 31 2013 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whiteoak

I was lucky, I guess..Equifax had 3 different social security numbers 4 different names , Multiple car loans from a used car dealers floor plan ,4 lawsuits for loans over due and on and on,,FORTUNATLY my local loan agent was a personal friend and knew the information was incorrect..when we called the cleared it up in 30 mins...

July 31 2013 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
vieragam

Credit Karma, which is Transunion, shows I have 3 months credit history. Transunion said I have 38 years of a credit history. I am a senior and have only 3 mos. of credit history?? I have a leased vehicle for the past 30 months which I pay on time, in full. What was Credit Karma's response? They can't do anything about it. Credit Karma is a BIG SCAM. Stay off it!

July 31 2013 at 1:47 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rob3la

ATM cards. What a scam they are!!! Pay with cash you get cheaper gas. How does Visa get its name on Debit cards. If I pay at the pump and use a debit it comes directly from my checking but Visa gets to bill the gas station? What a concept. Free Money for doing nothing. The computer keeps track of all transactions and the bank pays the debt. An automatic money maker. Hidden in the price of the gas. This is nothing new but our government chooses to be an ostrich. Government for government, politicians paid to turn away from the issue. Doesn,t affect them, so why do anything???

July 31 2013 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rob3la's comment
vieragam

I have never paid less if I pay cash. It is the same here either way.

July 31 2013 at 1:48 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vieragam's comment
juststeve35

In many States it is ILLEGAL to charge more for the use of a credit card.

Here in New Jersey, that is the law for ANY transaction except motor vehicle fuels, gasoline or diesel.

In NJ you can buy ANYTHING on a credit card and not pay a higher price except fuel!!!

Just another subsidy gained by lobbying crooked politicians (Like Jon Corzine!) for more Corporate Welfare on the backs of those who can least support it.

July 31 2013 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
rob3la

That is not the only thing that is corrupt in america. Take for example identity theft, huge scam. It really needs to be relabled miss identity theft. If it happened to you, you would understand that companies that accept credit need to properly identity who they are dealing with if the amount goes over, say 45.00 bucks, may be more may be less, That is debatable. What is not, is when companies that have large purchases and fail to properly identify a person they are doing business with. The person who the credit belongs to was not even there to decide to make a purchase. However, just like a cow goes to the barn to be milked we in america accept what businesses want us to accept their loss. Credit protection can be
purchased? They are probably the ones preventing passwords on Credit cards. We can put a man on the moon, a camera on Mars, but our government cannot figure out how to protect us from Identity theft? I guess its not their problem!!!

July 31 2013 at 12:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rob3la's comment
vieragam

I write C-ID next to my signature on all credit cards. When the merchant checks my signature (if they do) they ask for my ID. Absolutely not fool proof, but I figure everything helps.

July 31 2013 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rob3la

Katona,

I thought the same way, I am fortunate about my income that I can tell credit companies to take a hike. Unfortunately, this means a low credit score. In turn even though you don't need credit an insurance company gets to charge you more of a premium because of your low credit score.
I was denied a mortgage because I did not have a credit card. So if your credit score means nothing to you then you are not aware of how much more its costing you.

July 31 2013 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rob3la

The corruption going on in the credit bureaus in fenominal, If you don't have any credit cards it goes against you. If you have too many credit cards it goes against you. A company can ding your credit in the credit bureaus without having to prove there has been wrong doing on our part. That is the same as guilty until proven innocent. Does a credit report make someone a better driver on the road? Insurance companies seem to think so. I sure would like to hear some evidence of that. Does a credit report make your home more vulnerable to disaster?

July 31 2013 at 11:17 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
katona

I've given up years ago trying to work with these folks.
I just save up the money and pay cash for everything, cars, homes, etc.
It's not worth the hassle they create.
As a banker I played their game and had 2 million in open credit and a 840 score.
When I decided to cut back on my style of living and help others, cancelling almost every card, all in good standing, they slashed my credit score to 700,. then when I paid everything in the world off, and stopped using credit, it went to a 500...
Let me give you the best advice you will ever receive!
Don't borrow any money you can't pay back within a few years.
Interest never sleeps... you won't take my advice, so I will sleep very well... but a few of you will.

July 31 2013 at 11:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to katona's comment
vieragam

I say do not put anything on a credit card that you cannot pay at the end of the billing period. Do not pay interest...

July 31 2013 at 1:52 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to vieragam's comment
jenjutz

In addition to paying the card off every month, get a card that offers cash back. I get paid 5% on different categories every three months. Sometimes gas, some times groceries.

July 31 2013 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
stonewt

My dad taught me that. I maxed out at around $7500 in total credit card debt. I learned my lesson and will have the big card chopped down by the end of the year. I'm just glad I stopped un $10K. I fell sorry for the people with $20 or $30K in debt. You're throwing away a good car payment or rent at that rate.

July 31 2013 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down