After the massive security breach at Equifax was announced, many people decided to sue the credit reporting company. But hiring a lawyer to handle your case can be expensive. However, there is an alternative in the form of a chatbot. The program will help you take Equifax to small claims court, and it won’t cost you a dime to use.
As reported by The Verge, the recent Equifax security breach affects approximately 143 million people in the nation, or around 44 percent of the population. The company also chose not to officially announce the security failure when it was discovered and instead waited more than a month to go public.
While many people will be eligible to participate in the class action lawsuit against the company, taking part doesn’t prevent you from suing Equifax for negligence in small claims court.
The DoNotPay bot, a program that was made available across the US in July, can help you sue for damages, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 based on your state of residence.
DoNotPay serves a simple function; it helps you complete the necessary forms associated with your case. While you can handle the process yourself, the bot can make the process feel less intimidating.
Once the paperwork is complete, you’d still be responsible for serving them yourself, and the bot offers no assistance when it comes to arguing your case in court.
Scott Nelson, an attorney with Public Citizen, an advocacy organization, isn’t certain using the chatbot will lead to courtroom success. He said, “I am not inclined to think it would be a panacea. Filing and winning a small claims case takes more than just filling in a form.”
However, a simplified process, in the eyes of the consumer, may help those who aren’t familiar with small claims court procedures successfully file a lawsuit against Equifax.
Peter Vogel, a lawyer in Texas, does think that Equifax will make things challenging for consumers looking to sue. He said, “I believe that Equifax will fight class action lawsuits [and] small claims court actions.”
While Vogel asserts that it isn’t guaranteed that Equifax will win, he did state that “given the scope of the 143 million individuals, it strikes me that Equifax will want to make this as complicated as possible for consumers.”
Immediately after the breach was announced, Equifax came under fire for requiring those who went to their website to determine if their information was compromised to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit against the company if they proceeded.
After the backlash, Equifax has since clarified that “the arbitration clause and class action waiver” does not apply to those affected by “the cybersecurity incident.” This means consumers can check whether their data may have been compromised without forfeiting their right to participate in a class action lawsuit, should they choose to do so.
They are also waiving the fee associated with credit freezes for 30 days after public outcry over the cost gained momentum.