Fair Credit Reporting Act Lawsuit Filed against TransUnion, Experian, and JPMorgan Chase Bank
On June 21, 2017, we filed the case of Savage v. Chase, TransUnion, & Equifax in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Our client was the victim of identity theft. Somehow, an unknown individual in Atlanta opened a credit card accountin my client’s name. They then proceeded to spend about $15,000, which they of course never paid back, hoping to leave my client with the bill.
The lawsuit alleges that our client disputed the fraudulent account numerous times, but that even after learning of her protestations of innocence, the credit bureaus refused to fix her report and delete the fraudulently opened account. Obviously, it is difficult for a credit reporting agency to know whether an account is legitimate or fraudulent by simply looking at the paperwork. The vast majority of credit card accounts that appear on credit reports are completely legitimate and usually fairly accurate. However, when an identity theft victim notifies the credit report companies that an account is fraudulent or incorrect, the credit reporting agencies have a clear statutory duty to investiget the account, listen to the consumer’s side of the story, and figure out whether or not the account should be altered or deleted.
The lawsuit alleges that the credit reporting agencies (in this case, Experian Information Solutions and Trans Union, LLC) and the credit card company just failed to do what they were supposed to do, leaving a massive $15,000 bill on her credit reports. My client was particularly insulted by this, because her credit is otherwise perfect.
If a credit bureau violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act and harms a consumer, they are liable to the consumer plaintiff for all monetary damages caused, reasonable emotional and reputation harm damage, lost or increased credit costs, and if the violation was done willfully (for instance, if you’ve disputed a bogus account several times to no avail), then they can also be held liable for punitive damages and a statutory penalty of $1,000. If you win at trial, they also must pay your attorney a reasonable fee. In this FCRA case, we’ve requested $50,000 in damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees.
Hopefully, the lawsuit can be resolved before trial, freeing my time and resources to pursue the real identity thief under Alabama’s identity theft statute, the Alabama Consumer Identity Protection Act.