Sue The Credit Bureaus??? Maybe!
A federal court jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania returned an $800,000 verdict against Trans Union credit reporting agency in a fair credit reporting case. The verdict is the largest known of its kind in a Pennsylvania federal court.
In its verdict, the jury concluded that Trans Union had violated four provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act by not conducting a proper initial investigation; by not making proper disclosures to Cortez when she complained; by failing to note her dispute in subsequent reports; and by failing to have procedures that would ensure “maximum possible accuracy” in its reports.
The preferred way to go about it, says Clarksdale, Miss., trial lawyer Michael Lewis, is to sue for defamation. He should know. In 1998 Lewis won a $4.5 million verdict against the credit bureau TransUnion for a client who had been a victim of identity fraud and had been unable to clear his name. The case is under review by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The credit bureaus won’t venture forth to check public documents such as court judgments and county property records, but they will accept copies of supporting documentation from consumers. In rare cases they might even repair a consumer’s credit record based on such documents, “but a month later we’ll get the same old information from the credit grantor again,”Lewis says.
A “shadow world” ripe for a fall!
It’s that kind of attitude toward the consumer that makes Lewis call the credit-reporting industry “a shadow world that is almost beyond the reach of the law and is certainly above and beyond the reach of the consumer.”