Julie Miller, a woman from Oregon, has been awarded $18.6 million in her lawsuit against Equifax. According to The Oregonian, the jury awarded $18.4 million in punitive damages and $180,000.00 in compensatory damages. The lawsuit was based on Equifax's failure to correct Ms. Miller's incorrect credit report, which included entries related to a different person altogehter. This case comes on the heels of an FTC study which indicates that 21% of consumer credit reports contain errors.
It is always a good idea to monitor your credit report. Your creditors have a duty to accurately report your account status to the bureaus and the bureaus have a duty to investigate and reinvestigate files when consumers claim that there is an error. However, many people make the mistake of disputing their credit reports online. In my experience, it is always best to send a physical letter via certified mail. This way, you can prove that the dispute letter was sent and received.
Additionally, always include supporting documentation to back up your dispute. The credit bureaus get paid by the companies that report to them. They have a very large incentive to keep those companies happy. This means that they, in turn, have little to no incentive to do any legwork on a consumer's behalf. By giving the bureau every last piece of information that it needs to correctly investigage an incorrect entry on a credit report, you are significantly increasing the chances of having your credit report corrected.
And, if your efforts are unsuccessful, then you have some very solid evidence to add to your Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuit -- I can think of 18.6 million incentives to do that.