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Class-action suit filed against Equifax after millions of scores were affected by glitch

The credit bureau said it had unintentionally sent faulty scores to lenders, resulting in higher interest rates and application denials for some consumers.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Equifax following a report that millions of credit scores were affected by a technical glitch in the credit bureau's reporting system.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in North Georgia by the Florida-based law firm Morgan and Morgan, seeks a trial by jury for damages suffered by anyone whose score changed from at least March 6 to April 6, the period when the glitch is believed to have occurred.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that, as Equifax was transitioning to a new technology system, it unintentionally provided inaccurate credit scores on millions of U.S. consumers seeking various types of credit. In a statement on its website, Equifax acknowledged that as many as 300,000 people experienced a score shift of 25 points or more, enough to swing a borrower's credit rating from good to fair, or fair to poor.

The lead plaintiff in the suit is Nydia Jenkins, a Jacksonville, Florida, resident who, according to the complaint, was denied an auto loan in early April after her credit score suddenly changed by 130 points, causing her to have to seek a more expensive loan.

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Jenkins "was forced to apply for another loan from a 'buy now' dealership and received a loan with much less favorable rates," the suit states.

When Jenkins was pre-approved for her loan in January, she was to pay an estimated $350 a month, the lawsuit says. "Under the terms of her current loan, Plaintiff pays $252 bi-weekly" — or $504 a month.

The suit is seeking to represent any other individual in a similar situation as Jenkins'. It is also demanding Equifax compensate those affected.

Jenkins could not be reached for comment, and Morgan and Morgan declined to make her available. In a statement, the firm said:

“This lawsuit alleges that Equifax failed to live up to its responsibility as one of America’s major credit reporting agencies by providing inaccurate information on millions of Americans. We believe that many of the people impacted — some of whom may still be unaware of what happened — suffered severe financial consequences. We will hold Equifax accountable for these alleged failures and win justice for everyone impacted.”

Equifax said in a statement that it would respond to the suit "more fully in its court filings at the appropriate time." 

It added: "As part of our commitment to resolving this issue, Equifax has conducted an analysis of credit scores used for consumers seeking credit during the time period of the issue. Our analysis indicates that for those consumers there was no shift in the majority of scores during the three-week timeframe of the issue. For those consumers that did experience a score shift, initial analysis indicates that only a small number of them may have received a different credit decision. While the score may have shifted, a score shift does not necessarily mean that a consumer’s credit decision was negatively impacted."

In 2019, Equifax paid a $575 million settlement to the federal government after a hack compromised the private records of nearly 150 million Americans. In 2020, the U.S. government charged four Chinese citizens in the hack; China has denied involvement.