An Oregon woman who sued Equifax after the company failed for two years to fix inaccuracies on her credit report was awarded $18.6 million on Friday.
Julie Miller noticed something was wrong in 2009 when she was denied credit from Hubbard Bank based off her Equifax credit report. She contacted the company and requested a copy, which credit bureaus are required by law to provide to consumers annually for free.
After many failed attempts, Equifax finally sent her their records, which showed that they had much of her information totally wrong, including an incorrect Social Security number, birth date, and collection amounts, OregonLive.com reported.
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Miller contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 to correct the inaccuracies, but the Atlanta-based company repeatedly failed to correct the information, so Miller filed suit in Oregon Federal District Court in October 2011.
"There was damage to her reputation, a breach of her privacy, and the lost opportunity to seek credit," Justin Baxter, Miller's attorney, told OregonLive.com. "She has a brother who is disabled and who can't get credit on his own and she wasn't able to help him."
Baxter said the case wasn’t an issue of identity theft, but carelessness. The information from a different "Julie Miller" was mistakenly placed on the plaintiff's credit report. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff's un-redacted private information was sent to companies inquiring about the other "Julie Miller" on at least one occasion.
It was also discovered that Equifax wasn’t even handling Miller's complaints in-house.
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"We found that when complaints would come in, they'd run them through a scanner and then send them overseas," Baxter told ABC News.
Miller's was reportedly sent to the Philippines for processing.
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