We know what the headline “woman sues Equifax” made you think, because (let’s face it) the credit system is such an oppressive joke — is this going to set some sort of accountability precedent?
But as one woman sues Equifax and wins a multi-million dollar judgment, headed to appeals, natch, it seems that the message and takeaway appear to be the same — the American consumer will always lose and winning is likely a longer shot than Powerball.
Seriously. We’ve had about 20 Powerball headlines just in 2013, and when is the last time you heard of anyone winning against the Fair Issac Corporation, or Equifax, or any of the other shadowy masters of borrowing and lending in the United States? *crickets*
Julie Miller, the woman who sued Equifax and won, is a shockingly mundane example of the issue to which Americans in the millions are subject to a system that governs whether you get a car, a house, or even a job — and her situation was far from unusual.
Miller was denied credit and unable to help a sibling who himself was unable to acquire credit for reasons unrelated to credit history. Her report was riddled with errors and “mixed” info, and ABC reports:
“After filing further protests with Equifax about the inaccuracies in her report, Equifax representatives told Miller her data had become “mixed” with another person’s. They told her she would need to dispute the false information directly to her creditors… In all, Miller tried eight times to get her report corrected. Finally, she brought suit in Oregon Federal District Court in October 2011.”
October, 2011. Sure, not that long ago — but how many of the four out of five Americans in a complicated relationship with looming poverty have that kind of time to spend waiting for the courts to make it right?
How many of us could become the next woman who sues Equifax and wins? Likely not many — so while Julie Miller’s story is a nice aberration, what about the estimated 20 percent of Americans also suffering from incorrectly reported FICO information?