Jury awards Florida woman multi-million dollar verdict against Equifax

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Angela P. Williams says she got nothing but a runaround from Equifax as she tried for more than a decade to clear up an identity mix-up that ruined her credit. Now she's hitting the credit-reporting giant where it hurts: on the bottom line.

An Orlando jury awarded Williams a multimillion-dollar verdict against Equifax for years of failing to correct dramatic errors in Williams' credit report that led to her credit score being trashed.

Atlanta-based Equifax must pay the medical-transcription worker $219,000 in actual damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages for negligent violation of federal credit-reporting laws, according to the verdict Friday in state Circuit Court in Orlando.

It is the largest punitive-damages award ever against Equifax, which would not comment on the case. An appeal is expected.

Williams, who recently moved from Brevard County to the Jacksonville area, said she was surprised but gratified by the decision.

"This has been a nightmare," she said Monday. "It's not so much about the money, but about the punishment. I know I'm not the only one that has gone through this. But people need to know their rights. They need to check their credit report and try to be in charge of their credit history."

The verdict was a big vote of confidence for people who wrestle with a flawed credit-reporting system and take on big corporations that refuse to acknowledge mistakes, said Steven Fahlgren, a Florida-based consumer lawyer who represents Williams. See entire article

In my opinion...This case proves what many of us have been claiming for years...the credit bureaus do not have proper procedures in place to maintain our data, correct erroneous accounts, handle disputes correctly, and remove fraudulent accounts promptly. Consumers are charged with the task of monitoring and repairing "their" product -yet it seems no matter how many days, months or years we struggle to make sure the errors are corrected, and fraudulent data isn't contaminating our credit reports -they continue to sell and disseminate our information with very little regard for the accuracy or the ramifications this defective product can cause.

My battle with Equifax, and other credit reporting agencies, consumed my life for more than a decade as well. Yet, throughout all the court filings, depositions, and government inquiries relating to Equifax's procedures, (and the other cra's) they continued to insist they had the necessary and proper procedures in place to meet their obligations under the FCRA --ensuring consumer disputes were handled properly. But, could it be what we don't hear -that tells the real story?

In my case, as well as countless other consumer cases of past, present and future, those claims continue to appear false and damaging to innocent consumers. Bravo to the jury for coming back with a proper verdict! And to Ms. Williams for fighting the fight to hold them accountable!

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It's no suprise the jury supported Williams - people are tired of their credit reports getting messed up. I think credit bureaus get money from banks for screwing up people's history so people couldn't apply for offers with low rates.

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