Lawsuit against Equifax and Kay Jewelers saying you are dead
Lawsuit against Equifax and Kay Jewelers saying you are dead
This one (and similar ones we have filed) is one of the most unusual as Equifax and Kay Jewelers (Sterling Jeweler) said our client was dead when he was actually alive.
Seems pretty simple to solve, right?
Apparently, this is too complicated for these sophisticated companies to figure out how to fix.
Our client stood up to these folks and sued them. Every time this happens, we get a little bit closer to convincing these companies to start taking credit report disputes seriously.
I thought you might enjoy reading the lawsuit. The absurdity of the situation called out to me to use some attempts at humor in the lawsuit. While Equifax and Kay Jeweler treated their responsibilities like they were a joke, they sure weren’t laughing when they realized they had been caught and sued.
If you have questions about credit report errors, feel free to give us a call at 205-879-2447 or contact us through our website and we’ll be happy to chat with you. We’ll help you figure out your options and if you need to sue companies for not taking your credit reports seriously, we can help.
COMES NOW the Plaintiff, by and through counsel, and for Plaintiff’s Complaint against the Defendants states as follows:
- This action arises out of Defendants’ violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. [hereinafter “FCRA”]).
- Defendants claim on Plaintiff’s credit report that Plaintiff is dead.
- Plaintiff, who is alive and well, is bothered by the claim that he is dead.
- In the words of Mark Twain, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
- The false reporting by Defendant of Plaintiff’s alleged death has prevented Plaintiff from obtaining financing.
- Naturally, creditors are reluctant to loan money to folks who supposedly are dead.
- Plaintiff disputed with Defendant Equifax and told Defendant Equifax Plaintiff is alive.
- All Defendants refused to remove the “deceased” entry from Plaintiff’s credit report.
- To fix the problem, and to prevent others from going through this, Plaintiff has brought this suit.
- Hopefully Defendants will finally acknowledge Plaintiff is alive and will change their business practices to prevent this from happening in the future to any other consumer.
- Personal jurisdiction exists over Defendants as they had the necessary minimum contacts with the State of Alabama and this suit arises out of their specific conduct with Plaintiff in Alabama. All the actions described in this suit occurred in Alabama.
- Subject matter jurisdiction exists under federal question jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. Section 1331).
- Venue is proper as Plaintiff lives in Alabama and the Defendants do business in this judicial district.
- Plaintiff is a natural person who is a resident of Alabama.
- Defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC, (“Defendant” or “Equifax”) is a foreign company that engages in the business of maintaining and reporting consumer credit information and does business in this Judicial District. Its principal place of business is the State of Georgia and it is incorporated in Georgia.
- Defendant Sterling Jewelers Inc. d/b/a Kay Jewelers, (“Defendant” or “Kay Jewelers”) is a foreign company that engages in the business of reporting consumer credit information to credit reporting agencies. It conducts business in this Judicial District. Its principal place of business is the State of Delaware and it is incorporated in Delaware.
- On February 17, 2015, Plaintiff was informed that Kay Jewelers was reporting him as being deceased.
- Plaintiff disputed the “deceased” notation on his Equifax report, specifically the Defendant Kay Jewelers account.
- No other account lists Plaintiff as having died.
- Plaintiff, in fact, is alive.
- While this dispute by Plaintiff that he actually is not dead would seem to be perhaps the easiest dispute to process in the history of credit disputes, Defendants Equifax and Kay Jewelers are stubbornly sticking to their story that Plaintiff is dead.
- Defendants Equifax and Kay Jewelers were not concerned and did not care about what the status of Plaintiff being alive or dead as Defendants Equifax and Kay Jewelers did not intend to perform a reasonable investigation.
- Defendants Equifax and Kay Jewelers did not perform any type of reasonable investigation.
- Defendants Equifax notified Defendant Kay Jewelers in accordance with the FCRA of the dispute by Plaintiff.
- Alternatively, Defendant Equifax did not properly notify Defendant Kay Jewelers and, as part of this failure, did not include all relevant information provided by Plaintiff in its notification of Defendant Kay Jewelers.
- Defendants failed to properly investigate this dispute, as if Defendants had properly investigated, the deceased status would have been deleted.
- On March 4, 2015, Defendant Equifax sent a letter, ironically, to Plaintiff informing Plaintiff that “we have verified that this item [Kay Jewelers account] has been reported correctly.”
- Defendant Equifax went on to say it had consulted with Defendant Kay Jewelers about the investigation.
- With continued irony, Defendant Equifax invited Plaintiff to write to Defendant Kay Jewelers if he had any questions about his status as being dead.
- All Defendants were provided with more than sufficient information in the dispute and in their own internal sources of information to conduct an investigation and to conclude that the account complained of was being reported incorrectly.
- Defendant Equifax has completely abdicated its obligations under federal law and has instead chosen to merely “parrot” whatever its customer, Defendant Kay Jewelers, has told it to say.
- Defendant Equifax has a policy to favor the paying customer, in this situation Defendant Kay Jewelers, rather than what the consumer says about being alive or dead.
- The primary reason for this wrongful policy is that furnishers (such as Defendant Kay Jewelers) provide enormous financial rewards to Defendant Equifax, so the word of the furnisher is given much more weight than the word of the consumer, even about whether the consumer is alive or dead.
- Defendant Kay Jewelers has promised through its subscriber agreements or contracts with the credit reporting agencies to accurately update accounts but Defendant Kay Jewelers has willfully, maliciously, recklessly, wantonly, and/or negligently failed to follow this requirement as well as the requirements set forth under the FCRA, which has resulted in the intended consequences of this information remaining on Plaintiff’s credit reports.
- All Defendants maliciously, willfully, intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently failed to review the information provided in the disputes and that was already in their files and to conduct a reasonable investigation on Plaintiff’s disputes, which led as a direct result and consequence to all of the Defendants either failing to delete information found to be inaccurate, failing to replace the inaccurate information with accurate information, and/or reinserting the information without following the dictates of the FCRA.
- At all relevant times the Defendant Equifax failed to maintain and failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff’s credit reports, concerning the account in question, violating 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b).
- One single example: If Defendant Equifax had reasonable procedures in place, it would have noticed the oddity of only account showing Plaintiff as dead and would have had a human being investigate this.
- Instead, the blind parroting of what the furnisher says is as deep as Defendant Equifax will go.
- Defendant Equifax has failed to maintain Plaintiff’s account with maximum accuracy and the Defendant Equifax and Defendant Kay Jewelers have failed to properly investigate the account in response to the dispute made by Plaintiff.
- The conduct of the Defendants has proximately cause Plaintiff past and future monetary loss, past and future damage to Plaintiff’s credit worthiness, past and future mental distress and emotional anguish, and other damages that will be presented to the trier of fact.
- It is a practice of all of the Defendants to maliciously, willfully, recklessly, wantonly and/or negligently ignore and refuse to follow the requirements of the FCRA.
- All Defendants are sophisticated businesses and they know their conduct is wrong.
- All actions taken by the Defendants were done with malice, were done willfully, and were done with either the desire to harm Plaintiff and/or with the knowledge that their actions would very likely harm Plaintiff and/or that their actions were taken in violation of the FCRA and/or that they knew or should have known that their actions were in reckless disregard of the FCRA.
- All Defendants have engaged in a pattern and practice of wrongful and unlawful behavior with respect to accounts and consumer reports and as such all Defendants are subject to punitive damages and statutory damages and all other appropriate measures to punish and deter similar future conduct by these Defendants and similar companies.
- Defendants are liable to Plaintiff through the doctrine of Respondeat Superior for the wrongful, intentional and negligent acts, errors, and omissions done in violation of federal law by its employees and agents.
CAUSES OF ACTION
VIOLATIONS OF THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT
15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.
- Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
- Defendant Equifax is a “consumer reporting agency,” as codified at 15 U.S.C. 1681a(e).
- Defendant Kay Jewelers is an entity who, regularly and in the course of business, furnishes information to one or more consumer reporting agencies about its transactions or experiences with any consumer and therefore constitutes a “furnisher,” as codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2.
- Plaintiff notified Defendant Equifax directly of a dispute on the Defendant Kay Jewelers account’s completeness and/or accuracy, as reported.
- Defendant Equifax properly notified Defendant Kay Jewelers of Plaintiff’s dispute in accordance with the FCRA requirements.
- Alternatively, Defendant Equifax failed to notify Defendant Kay Jewelers of Plaintiff’s dispute in accordance with the FCRA requirements.
- Defendants failed to delete information found to be inaccurate, reinserted the information without following the FCRA, or failed to properly investigate Plaintiff’s disputes.
- Plaintiff alleges that at all relevant times Defendant Equifax failed to maintain and failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff’s credit reports, concerning the account in question, violating 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b).
- Plaintiff alleges that all Defendants failed to conduct a proper and lawful reinvestigation.
- All actions taken by the Defendants were done with malice, were done willfully, and were done with either the desire to harm Plaintiff and/or with the knowledge that their actions would very likely harm Plaintiff and/or that their actions were taken in violation of the FCRA and/or that knew or should have known that their actions were in reckless disregard of the FCRA.
- All of the violations of the FCRA proximately caused the injuries and damages set forth in this Complaint.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff prays that judgment be entered against Defendants for all damages allowable (including statutory, actual, compensatory, nominal and punitive the total of which Plaintiff claims more than $75,000.00), costs, expenses, fees, injunctive relief to prevent further violations, and for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.
John G. Watts (ASB-5819-t82j)
Stan Herring (ASB-1074-n72m)
Watts & Herring, LLC
The Kress Building
301 19th Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
(888) 522-7167 facsimile
Attorneys for Plaintiff
PLAINTIFF DEMANDS A TRIAL BY JURY IN THIS CAUSE.
Serve defendants via certified mail at the following addresses:
Equifax Information Services, LLC
c/o CSC Lawyers Incorporating SVC, Inc.
150 S. Perry Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Sterling Jewelers, Inc. d/b/a Kay Jewelers
c/o The Corporation Company
60 Commerce Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36103