$18.6 million awarded to woman for uncorrected credit report errors
When, back in 2009, Julie Miller of Marion County, Ore. noticed errors on her Equifax credit report, she contacted the company requesting they should be corrected, according to The Oregonian. Over the next couple of years or so, she would try on seven more occasions to persuade Equifax, one of the big-three credit bureaus, to fix the mistakes, some of which were serious, and were preventing her getting credit.
Serious consequences of credit report mistakes
On his firm’s website, Justin Baxter, a Portland attorney who was part of the team representing Ms. Miller, described her predicament:
There was damage to her reputation, a breach of her privacy and the lost opportunity to seek credit. She has a brother who is disabled and who can’t get credit on his own and she wasn’t able to help him.
A jury in the Oregon Federal District Court was clearly sympathetic, awarding the plaintiff $180,000 in compensatory damages, and a further $18.4 million in punitive damages. Ms. Miller would be unwise to start spending all that now, as lawyers speculate that Equifax is highly likely to appeal.
Credit reports riddled with errors
In May, we reported recent research from the Federal Trade Commission that exposed just how common significant errors are on credit reports. And that article went on to explain how damaging such mistakes can be. At best, they can mean consumers are forced to pay higher mortgage and credit card rates. At worst, they can cut off credit completely and make it hard to get a new home or job.
If you’re concerned that you may be a victim, or want to find out if you are, check out Five Rules For Correcting Credit Report Errors.
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