A class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the North District of Georgia/Atlanta division, citing O’Dell Properties, LLC, O’Dell & O’Neal, P.C., Jellie Donuts, LLC, et. al. v. Equifax, Inc., with claims that Equifax put small business operators at risk in terms of the cost of Equifax business reports, the availability of credit and exposure to business identity theft, which is oftentimes small business credit is linked to personal credit.

The complaint states, “Unlike consumers who are entitled under federal law to obtain one free credit report annually, businesses must pay for their credit reports ($99 from Equifax) … Many of the 143 million individuals whose PII was hacked are also owners of small businesses that heavily rely on personal and business credit to operate and provide for families across this country.”

“… [A]bout 60 percent of small businesses use loans to finance their operations, and use the loan capital for a variety of purposes, ranging from maintaining cash flow and working capital to purchasing equipment and financing real estate purchases.  The ability of small businesses to obtain loans and other forms of credit is dependent on the creditworthiness of the business owner.”

Attorney Jason Doss, of The Doss Firm, LLC, said:  “This is a real double whammy situation for small business owners whose access to credit can often live or die in terms of their personal creditworthiness.  The breach could either damage the business directly through identify theft or it could cripple access to small business credit by damaging the ‘linked’ credit of the individual who owns the enterprise.”

The plaintiffs named in the complaint include real estate firms, a law firm, and a consulting firm. Plaintiffs are seeking damages, which include time spent monitoring their accounts for signs of ID theft and/or fraud) and legal expenses.

To read up on the class action complaint, visit www.smallbusinessequifaxclass.com.


Photo courtesy of MedCity.