Some Equifax Data Breach Victims Winning in Small Claims Court

In March of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security alerted Equifax to a critical software vulnerability in its online consumer dispute portal. Unfortunately, a combination of human error at Equifax and the company's ineffective scanning software apparently conspired to leave the unpatched hole open. That site was vulnerable to a data breach, and hackers managed to obtain personal financial details about nearly half the U.S. population.

Worse yet, Equifax was slow to report the breach to consumers and, once it did, it mistakenly directed them to a fake website that further compromised their data. The breach had cost Equifax nearly $243 million as of the first quarter of 2018.

It's bad enough when one of the nation's largest consumer credit rating companies exposes Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and other personal information to hackers. Unscrupulous people can use such information, for example, to open fraudulent credit card accounts and charge away in the victim's name.

Even if the victim is able to have all the false charges rescinded, the recommended credit freeze can unfairly lower their credit rating. That not only makes borrowing more expensive, but it can also affect everything from housing availability to eligibility for certain government grants.

Naturally, large legal battles are underway in an attempt to hold Equifax liable for the breach. Notably, 400 separate lawsuits by individuals and businesses have been consolidated into a single federal class action in Atlanta, where Equifax is headquartered. Unfortunately, such lawsuits can take years to resolve.

A number of private citizens haveĀ taken another route. They have been suing the credit rating giant in their local small claims courts -- and they have been winning.

Preparation and careful documentation of harm are necessary to prevail

One plaintiff recently profiled by the New York Times won $7,440. Another received $5,490. A third only got $690. Some were awarded the cost of a credit monitoring service, while others received money for the time they spent dealing with the breach, and even compensation for emotional distress.

According to the Times, people who have prevailed against Equifax in small claims court say the keys to their success are careful preparation of their arguments and thorough documentation of the harm they have experienced.

"Take screenshots of internet pages; if you get weird phone calls, keep your phone records," said one successful plaintiff.

The upside of small claims court is that it is fast. However, the allowable case size is limited (in Pennsylvania, your claim must be for less than $12,000). Still, winning plaintiffs get some assistance, some vindication and the sense of having held a giant corporation to account for its misdeeds.


Why Clients Want Us

  • Thousands of Clients Helped

    We have helped thousands of clients with both small and big cases since the inception of the firm. Our attorney Matthew Weisberg has had the opportunity to fight for the rights of clients before the Supreme Court.

  • Affordable Pricing

    We are committed to providing transparent flat fees that are affordable. Everyone deserves the ability to fight for their rights without the worry of affordability.

  • Over 20 Years of Experience

    Since 2005 our firm has advocated for the rights of clients in Philadelphia and surrounding cities. In addition, our attorneys have been in the legal field for over 20 years bringing immeasurable knowledge with them to the firm.

  • Free Consultations

    We understand the stressful nature of the situation you can be in. Call us for a free consultation and we will strive for a response within 24 hours.

Start Your Free Consultation Today!

Defending Our Clients

See What Our Clients are Saying
  • “They helped me get my life back. I will always remember how empowered I felt after I testified and when the case was over (in my favor!).”

    - Robin R.
  • “When no one would take my legal malpractice case, they did and won!”

    - Doniell W.
  • “Weisberg Law was the only firm that took an interest in our racial discrimination case against a local school district.”

    - Kerry M.

Contact Us to Start Assisting You

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.