A proposed class action filed against Equifax Information Services accuses the agency of violating state and federal credit reporting laws by allowing disputed information to be included on consumer credit reports without clearly noting that said information is under dispute.
The lead plaintiff in the case says that two American Express accounts for which he is no longer liable appeared on his Equifax credit report. The man contested the accounts to Equifax, who the lawsuit claims launched an investigation that failed to resolve the dispute. After the failed investigation, the plaintiff allegedly contacted Equifax about the accounts a second time via a “statement of dispute letter.” The case claims these accounts were still reflected on the plaintiff’s subsequent Equifax-issued credit reports with no indication that they were under dispute by the consumer.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires reporting agencies to “conduct a reasonable reinvestigation” into consumer disputes “to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate and record the current status of the disputed information, or delete the item from the file” within 30 days of the dispute. The case contends that Equifax failed to do so.
“Subsequent to Equifax’s receipt of the Plaintiff’s statement of dispute, Equifax issued consumer reports without in any way indicating to the users of the reports that certain information contained therein was disputed by Plaintiff and failed to include a copy of Plaintiff’s statement of dispute,” the lawsuit reads.
Further, the FCRA requires that when an individual files a statement of dispute, the consumer reporting agency must note on all future reports that the contested information is being disputed.
According to the complaint, Equifax violated the FCRA by including inaccurate information on the plaintiff’s report and intentionally failing to include the man’s statement of dispute on future copies of his credit report. The lawsuit further alleges Equifax violated New York State’s FCRA regulations by failing to properly investigate the disputed accounts. Furthermore, the suit claims that Equifax didn’t obtain any documentation confirming the plaintiff was still responsible for the disputed accounts when they were added to his credit report.
The proposed class looks to cover all consumers in the state of New York who within the past two years notified Equifax of an account dispute and to whom Equifax sent a letter stating it had begun an investigation into the dispute.