One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients is how
to fix a credit report after bankruptcy. While it is very important for
everyone to periodically check their credit report for errors, it is especially
important for people who have filed for bankruptcy whose focus is on rebuilding
their score. Allowing false information to remain on a report can have
serious consequences for a consumer, jeopardizing their ability to obtain
a favorable rate of credit or even to obtain employment. If a credit report
still shows debts that have been discharged by bankruptcy as outstanding,
this is a violation of the consumer’s rights.
If you have looked over your credit report after a bankruptcy and have
found errors, follow these steps to get the incorrect information removed:
- Obtain copies of the reports from annualcreditreport.com. Use the mail-in
form provided on the site to request your credit report from all three
agencies (Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax). Enclose a copy of your
driver’s license and a utility or other bill linking you to the
address you where you want the reports mailed.
DO NOT request copies of the reports directly from the credit agencies, as binding arbitration could end up costing you important rights.
- Obtain a copy of your bankruptcy petition and the discharge document issued
by the court in your case. This will provide you with a complete list
of all the debts you had discharged by your bankruptcy and proof that
you no longer legally owe those debts.
When you receive them in the mail, look over them for any errors. Ensure
that all debts listed in your bankruptcy petition show a notation of “0
balance – discharged in bankruptcy.” If anything other than
this notation appears in the trade line for that particular debt, this
is a violation of the FCRA. You will need to prepare a dispute letter
and mail it directly to the agency.
DO NOT submit the dispute online! You will also need to make sure you mail the letter to the physical mailing
address of the agency, and not to a P.O. Box. The physical addresses for
the three major credit reporting agencies are:
Trans Union, 555 West Adams St., Chicago, IL 60661
Experian, 701 Experian Parkway, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax, 1550 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309-2468
- The completed dispute letter must be mailed via certified mail, with return
receipt requested. Retain a copy of the letter along with the green card
you receive back from the post office verifying the agency’s receipt
of the letter.
- Keep a copy of everything you send and receive!
- Once the dispute has been submitted, wait up to 45 days for a response.
If the error is fixed, you need to do nothing further. If there are still
errors, try applying for credit to see if you are denied or are offered
higher interest rates because of the errors. Keep proof of all denials
or other problems. Then, send in a second dispute letter reflecting the
new date and making mention that this is a second and urgent request.
You may have to repeat this process, each time keeping copies of all correspondence.
- If after your best attempts you still cannot get your credit report fixed
and are suffering damages in the form of job denials, credit denials,
etc., you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the reporting agency
and credit furnisher.
Credit reporting errors can be frustrating and difficult to remove. If
you are having difficulty getting inaccurate information removed from
your credit report, speak to a Chicago consumer lawyer about how best
Sulaiman Law Group, LTD can be reached at (312) 313-1613.