You know the economy is in bad shape when even God has trouble getting credit. William Nixon, OKC based lawyer, says this is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and God has a good basis for a lawsuit.
The “God” in this case is 26-year-old God M. Gazarov, formerly a Russian immigrant and now a naturalized American citizen. God owns a pawnshop in Brooklyn, and is suing the Equifax credit reporting agency, claiming it is falsely reporting that he is without a credit history.
The problem arose around three years ago when the Equifax computer system rejected his first name, and the company still hasn’t fixed it. Garzarov filed a suit last month in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn after over two years of letters and calls failed to resolve the issue.
According to a report in the New York Post, the only offer that Equifax made was to suggest that Garzarov change his first name. Two other large credit-reporting agencies did give him ratings; Trans Union gave him a respectable score of 737, and Experian gave him 729.
The lawsuit claims that Equifax’s report on him was empty, with no record of his credit history, and this is in violation of federal and state fair credit reporting law. Because of that, Gazarov couldn’t get more than a $500 line of credit with Capital One. Gazarov also alleges that sought to buy a car in March 2013, but was denied a loan. He managed to purchase a vehicle from another supplier, but with less favorable loan terms.
In the lawsuit, he is seeking actual, statutory, and punitive damages, but no fixed monetary amount has been stated. William Nixon, OKC lawyer, says, “I think this individual has a good case. The company’s refusal to offer him a credit report would seem to violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
Equifax tried to justify its position to ABCNews.com. They explained that the company “…has processes in place to help ensure that businesses and individuals requesting access to credit are who they say they are. These processes flag standalone names that generally may not be associated with the valid openings of credit accounts. We are working with the consumer to make the necessary changes to his account.”
Gazarov’s lawyer, James Fishman, responded that their statement was “nonsense,” adding: “They’re not working with him. I think they will now because of the lawsuit.”
Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911, told ABC that while it was obviously important for credit rating companies to verify identities, that did not entitle them to block access to credit once an identity had been established. He described Gazarov’s treatment by Equifax as “outrageous.”
Although Gazarov’s case is unusual, it is not the first time that Equifax has been sued for its credit rating policies. OKC lawyer William Nixon cites the case of Julie Miller of Marion County, Oregon, who, in July 2013, was awarded $18.4 million in punitive and $180,000 in compensatory damages for her claims against Equifax. She alleged that she had contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 in an effort to correct their inaccuracies, but they had failed to do so.
William Nixon, OKC lawyer and expert on credit law, says Miller’s case is proof that an individual can take on large, powerful companies— and win.
Featured image: news.com.au
Equifax image: abcnews.go.com
Credit image: www.midwestone.com