Equifax Loses $3 Million Suit Over Credit Reporting Errors

Angela P. Williams of Florida won more than $2.9 million in her lawsuit against credit bureau Equifax after attempting for more than 10 years to clear up an identity mix-up that ruined her credit.
An Orlando jury on Nov. 30 awarded Williams a verdict against Equifax, Atlanta, the Orlando Sentinel reports Tuesday. Equifax must pay Williams $219,000 in actual damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages for violating federal credit reporting laws, according to the verdict in state Circuit Court in Orlando.
“I know I’m not the only one that has gone through this,” Williams told the newspaper. “But people need to check their credit report and try to be in charge of their credit history.”
Steven Fahlgren, the consumer lawyer who represented Williams in her suit, said that for years, and “despite all the evidence, Equifax denied almost until the end that there were any mistakes in my client’s credit file. This is a great victory for consumers.”
At trial, Williams’ lawyers showed how Equifax repeatedly confused Williams with someone who had a similar name but whose credit file was rife with bad debt. Though Williams disputed the errors numerous times, Equifax kept passing along the false information, ruining her credit, she testified.
After eight years of trying to resolve the issue, she brought suit against Equifax in 2003. Two earlier defendants – Experian and American Recovery Systems – settled the case out of court, the Sentinel reports.
Meanwhile, Williams was denied student loans, credit cards, debit cards and other financial products and services, including a mortgage, fearing the erroneous credit history would present an obstacle, she said. “I’m leery of the credit-reporting agencies. I don’t trust them,” she added.
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