A man from Brooklyn, N.Y., is suing Equifax for causing him a financial headache for the last two years because he says the credit reporting agency doesn't recognize his first name: God.
God Martovich Gazarov, 26, a Russian native who became a naturalized citizen in January, was named after his grandfather, as reported by the New York Post. Gazarov has never had difficulty with his name until about three years ago when he tried to increase his credit line on a card, according to his attorney, James Fishman.
Gazarov believes Equifax violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the New York Fair Credit Reporting Act by allegedly failing to provide his full credit report to him and prospective creditors, according to his lawsuit filed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. Instead, he alleges Equifax only provided an "empty credit report containing none" of his credit history, causing creditors to refuse him credit, the lawsuit filing claims.
His scores with competing credit reporting agencies Trans Union and Experian are near-perfect, his lawsuit filing claims: 737 and 729, respectively.
"He hasn’t any other problems including Trans Union and Experian," Fishman said. "That creates a huge problem when he tries to apply for credit."
His score with Equifax is 9002, his lawsuit claims, "which is the equivalent of no credit score at all," his complaint states.
He was later denied a car loan for a new vehicle in March 2013 because of an incomplete credit file, his suit claims. When he eventually applied for and received a car loan for a vehicle from a different maker, he claims he received "less favorable credit terms" for the purchase than he should have due to his incomplete credit history, his filing states.
In a statement to ABCNews.com, Equifax said: “Equifax has processes in place to help ensure that businesses and individuals requesting access to credit are who they say they are. These processes flag standalone names that generally may not be associated with the valid openings of credit accounts. We are working with the consumer to make the necessary changes to his account.”
Gazarov seeks unspecified actual, statutory and punitive damages.
Read More: Tax Identity Theft: Why You’re Vulnerable
Among the occasions when Gazarov claims he contacted Equifax to complain, he said in Feb. 2014, one Equifax supervisor suggested he should consider changing his name, his lawsuit claims.
"Flagging is one thing, tackling is another," said Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911.
Levin said that while it is "essential" for a credit reporting agency to properly authenticate any individual, it is equally important that they not block a consumer from access to credit if he or she provides adequate documentation to confirm his or her identity.
Levin calls the three or so years during which Gazarov allegedly faced credit reporting problems "outrageous."
"If a customer-service representative really had the insensitivity to suggest that Mr. Gazarov change his name, I dare say that he or she is not qualified to be servicing customers," Levin said.
Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com, said common names usually cause the most problems with credit reporting agencies, because it is easy to get mixed up with someone else.
"But unusual names can be an issue too," she said.
Sometimes the names are misspelled when entered into a database and that leads to an alias, or you can be mixed up with someone else with the same unusual name, she said.
- credit reporting agency
- credit report