Mixed Credit Report Leads to $18.6 million dollar verdict
- August 6, 2013
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A credit reporting agency cannot mix your credit report with someone else’s. This is referred to as a “mixed credit report” or “mixed credit file.” The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit reporting agencies to assure the maximum possible accuracy in its credit reports. Mixing your credit file with someone else is not maximum possible accuracy. A mixed credit report can lead to credit denials, damage to reputation and lots of stress. Last month, a jury had an opportunity to hear about the damage a mixed credit report could do to an individual. The jury would decide whether Equifax was responsible for that damage and whether Equifax had reasonable procedures in place to prevent the mixed credit report from happening.
For years Julie Miller had errors on her credit report. Her credit file was merged with another person named Julie M. Miller. Unfortunately, that person had accumulated multiple collection accounts. Those accounts hurt Julie Miller’s credit score and made it impossible to obtain credit.
Each year she disputed the errors on her credit report. In response to those disputes, TransUnion and Experian removed the false information from her credit report, but Equifax did not. After two years she finally had enough. She sued Equifax for what they had done wrong. For damaging her credit, her reputation and denying her the right to obtain credit. She wanted to obtain credit for her disabled brother who couldn’t get credit.
Of course, Equifax denied she had suffered any damages, denied that it had done anything wrong and believed that it had reasonable procedures in place to prevent mixed credit reports.
In July 2013, the case was tried to a jury. Much to Equifax’s chagrin, the jury found that Equifax had negligently and willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The jury ordered Equifax to pay Ms. Miller $18.6 million. The verdict is one of the largest against a credit reporting agency.
Many people have a mixed credit report. In some instances the false information belongs to a relative or someone that has a similar name or Social Security number. Credit reporting agencies are required to have reasonable procedures to avoid the combining of two different people. They are required to have training programs and written policies and procedures in place to avoid this error. In Ms. Miller’s case, Equifax showed the jury its procedures to prevent a mixed credit file, but the jury disagreed with Equifax.
If you have an error on your credit report contact the Law Office of Balam O. Letona, Inc., for a free consultation. Mr. Letona practices in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout California. He will guide you through the steps to dispute the information with the credit reporting agencies. Contact Mr. Letona at (831) 421-0200 or letonalaw at gmail dot com.
For a copy of the mixed credit report verdict click here Mixed Credit Report Verdict