Fixing Your Credit Report after Bankruptcy
Have you filed bankruptcy and have received or are about to receive a discharge of your debts? This is great news because it means you are one step closer to your financial fresh start.
However, there is something that may interfere with your fresh start.
Incorrect Information on Your Credit Report
After a debt is discharged through bankruptcy, the creditor should give that information to the credit agencies. The credit agency then should change the debt’s listing to “Discharged in Bankruptcy” or “Included in Bankruptcy” with a balance of $0.
Unfortunately, many creditors forget or disregard the need to notify credit agencies about the discharge of your debt; or the credit agency fails to update your credit report correctly.
This means debt which should be shown as discharged may continue to be listed as delinquent. This will continue to affect your credit score negatively.
The good news is that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to dispute any inaccurate information on a credit report.
How to Correct Your Credit Report
Within 3 to 6 months of receiving your bankruptcy discharge, you should check your credit report. You need to make sure all the creditors listed in your bankruptcy have reported your discharge to the credit agencies. You can request to receive a free copy of your credit report from the three main credit agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Once you receive your credit report, you need to compare it with your bankruptcy discharge papers. You need to see if all your listed creditors have correctly reported your debt discharge. All your discharged debts should be listed as “Discharged in Bankruptcy” or “Included in Bankruptcy” with a balance of $0. They should not be listed as delinquent, missed payments, in collections, charged- off, closed, etc.
If you find an error on your credit report, you must report it to the credit reporting agency in writing. You can find a sample dispute letter and information about how to send it here. You should send a copy of your credit report and your bankruptcy discharge papers with your letter. Be sure to highlight the disputed debts.
It may also be helpful to send a letter to your creditor. You should request they send the correct information to the credit reporting agency. You can find a sample letter to creditors here.
The credit reporting company will investigate your dispute. They must give you the results in writing and provide you with another free copy of your report showing they have made the correct changes. If they do not change the incorrect information, you could hold the credit reporting company and/or the creditor liable.
If Brock & Stout helped you with your bankruptcy discharge, we will continue to help protect your rights. Contact us as soon as you find an error on your credit report so we can help ensure you get the financial fresh start you deserve.