A federal jury in Oregon awarded Julie Miller $18.6 million after she spent two years trying to get Equifax Information Services to change major credit mistakes on her credit report.
Miller attempted eight times between 2009 and 2011 to correct erroneous accounts and collection attempts, as well as an incorrect Social Security number and birth date. The company also denied her requests for a credit report, which they are required to disperse one time at no cost each year.
Miller first discovered the errors in December 2009 when she was denied credit by a bank. She contacted Equifax immediately and gave the company updated information, though they failed to update her paperwork.
Miller reported also finding errors in her reports from other companies, though they were immediately fixed.
"There was damage to her reputation, a breach of her privacy and the lost opportunity to seek credit," said Justin Baxter, Miller’s attorney. "She has a brother who is disabled and who can't get credit on his own, and she wasn't able to help him.”
She was awarded $18.4 million in punitive damages and $180,000 in compensatory damages, though her award against one of the nation’s major credit bureaus is likely to be appealed.