We have written extensively on our website about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and how credit reporting agencies (CRAs), “furnishers” of credit information, and “users” of consumer reports can violate the protections offered by the FCRA. Our goal is to educate consumers about their rights and to help them stand up to the agencies who are misusing or misreporting their private financial information. In a major case decided this summer, a jury in Northern California sent a loud and clear message to TransUnion, one of the three main CRAs, after they violated the FCRA rights of thousands of consumers.
What TransUnion Did Wrong
The complaint filed in Ramirez vs. TransUnion was that the CRA provided incorrect information about the plaintiffs when creditors requested consumer reports. By mixing up the plaintiff’s files with others who had similar names or characteristics, TransUnion mistakenly reported to creditors that the plaintiffs were the subject to Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) alerts, indicating that they were on a list of Specifically Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, a list that includes people who are subject to sanctions, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers, with whom U.S. persons are generally prohibited from doing business. These actions, according to the jury, violated the following three provisions of FCRA:
Following “reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of the information”
Clearly and accurately disclosing all of the information in the plaintiffs’ consumer reports upon their request
Providing plaintiffs with a summary of their rights under the FCRA
While agencies that violate the FCRA are subject to statutory damages of $100-$1000, the jury in this case decided to also award punitive damages in the amount of $6,353.08 to each plaintiff in the class action suit, in addition to a $984.22 per person statutory fine. All told, damages amounted to $60 million.
Why This Case Matters to You
This case sets an important precedent. When agencies that collect, manage, and share your financial information fail to protect your rights under FCRA, they will be held accountable. If you are struggling to have misinformation removed from your credit report or your credit report has been shared with an unauthorized party, you may need legal representation to address the situation. Use the form on this page to contact us today.