An Oregon woman was awarded $18.6 million by a federal jury after spending two years unsuccessfully trying to get Equifax Information Services to fix mistakes on her credit report.
The jury was told that Julie Miller contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 in an effort to correct inaccuracies, including erroneous accounts and collection attempts, as well as a wrong Social Security number and birthday. Her lawsuit alleged the Atlanta-based company failed to correct the mistakes.
Friday's award includes $18.4 million in punitive damages and $180,000 in compensatory damages. It is likely to be appealed. Equifax declined comment on the case until further details about the ruling were available.
Miller found the problem after being denied credit by a bank in early December 2009. She alerted Equifax and filled out multiple forms faxed by the credit agency seeking updated information.
A Federal Trade Commission study earlier this year of 1,001 consumers who reviewed 2,968 of their credit reports found 21% contained errors. The survey found that 5 percent of the errors represented issues that would lead consumers to be denied credit.