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After Bankruptcy

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22

Jul 2011

After bankruptcy–getting your credit report right!

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy / 19 comments

Here’s an email I got today from Jennifer.

Jen and Ken filed bankruptcy in February 2010. Because Jen’s bankruptcy does NOT show on her credit report, her credit score is much lower than Ken’s.

( Jennifer and Ken are not their real names.)

Bankruptcy lawyer Robert Weed

If your after bankruptcy credit rpeort isn't right, we'll work with you on dispute letters to the credit bureaus. If letters don't work, we'll sue.

“Mr. Weed:

“Our discharge was a one year ago in June 2010. When we tried to buy a car back in December 2010, the Chapter 7 discharge was not on my credit report. I pulled my credit a few days ago and the discharge is still not showing, many accounts are marked as delinquent and my score is terrible. I filed several ‘disputes’ with Equifax but this could take up to 45 days. Why is the discharge not on my credit report? What can I do to fix this?? I am very frustrated that my credit looks terrible. The discharge is showing on Ken’s (husband) and his score is much better.

“Thank you for your help.

Thanks,
Jennifer H”

Jennifer, you are right.

If your bankruptcy is not correctly reported on your credit report, your credit score will stay terrible.  It will seem like forever getting back to good credit.

I spoke on this at the convention of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys ten years ago.  Back then, seven out of ten people came out of bankruptcy with creditors ignoring the bankruptcy and hitting their credit report.   A couple dozen lawyers around the country have sued them on this a lot.  Now “only” about one person out of three has that problem.

Two of my staff, lawyer Brian McMorrow and paralegal Janet Robertson, spend almost full time fixing people’s credit reports.  (Besides credit bureaus, they also sue debt collectors.)

Here is the link to my instructions on getting your credit reports and getting them to Janet.  Janet has looked at ten thousand credit reports!  She’ll look at yours, write dispute letters–and if the disputes don’t work, Brian will sue.

A dozen times, I’ve seen creditors and credit bureau lawyers come into court and claim that bankruptcy is the reason people have low scores.  Jen and Ken’s example shows that argument is bogus.  After bankruptcy, people keep low scores when they don’t get their credit report right.  Ken has built his score back up–because the bankruptcy shows he cleared his debts.  Jen’s debts are still showing charge off.  That’s why her score is lower.

Jennifer, we’ll get that fixed.  Please follow up with Janet.  If the dispute letters don’t work, we’ll sue.

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Robert Weed has helped twelve thousand people file bankruptcy in Northern Virginia. Robert Weed is a frequent panelist and speaker at the meetings of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He is one of Northern Virginia’s most experienced personal bankruptcy lawyers. As an expert on changing consumer bankruptcy laws, Robert Weed has been interviewed on local and national TV and quoted in newspapers across the country.

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19 comments
  • robby clarke

    September 20, 2011, pm30 4:32 PM
    01

    i have a mortgage after bankruptcy that keeps adding new infomation after the discharge, it looks bad what can i do

    • Robert Weed

      September 20, 2011, pm30 4:47 PM
      02

      You need to send a letter to the credit bureaus–with a copy to the mortgage company–asking them to fix it. If that doesn’t work, go to the National Association of Consumer Advocates (http://www.naca.net/) and find a lawyer in your state who does Fair Credit Reporting Law.

  • Marcus Jai

    September 27, 2011, pm30 9:50 PM
    03

    I filed in June and my credit repor are looking horrible with the accounts that was included in BK! I’m trying to rebuild my credit so that I can get a loan for a car and it’s hard with all the negative information still on there. Help me please!!!

    • Robert Weed

      September 28, 2011, am30 9:25 AM
      04

      June 2011? Your bankruptcy would not even be over yet! The credit bureaus would have until December to get your credit right.

  • Kimberly

    November 14, 2011, pm30 9:04 PM
    05

    In 2008, I filed chapter 7 bankruptcy and was granted a discharge. Unfortunately, I have an old HSBC account that shows as closed and charged off. I’ve disputed this info as the account was included in the bankruptcy, but Experian has come back saying that it is legitimate and isn’t being updated. Shouldn’t this account be showing as “included in bamkruptcy”?

    • Robert Weed

      November 15, 2011, am30 6:50 AM
      06

      I think so. Sadly, I may be the only lawyer around who is fighting those. Not sure what to tell you to do.

  • Grizell Wisdom

    January 18, 2012, pm31 10:37 PM
    07

    I have the same issue as Kimberly. I filed Chapter 7 in 2010 and Bank of America is reporting one of the accounts as “Charged Off”. I spoke to a very nice rep from BofA that said that this account was purchased by Atlantic Credit Financial. I am not sure who needs to notify the credit reporting agencies to fix this. Isn’t it against Fair Credit Reporting Act? Why are credit reporting agencies so stuborn removing these obvious violations?

    • Robert Weed

      January 19, 2012, am31 7:18 AM
      08

      Can’t say why the credit reporting agencies are stubborn. But your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act depend on YOU notifying the credit reporting agencies to fix it. Do at least two dispute letters. Dispute it, and if that doesn’t work, dispute again. Then if it doesn’t get fixed, find a lawyer in your state who does Fair Credit Reporting Law and sue them.

  • Larry

    February 14, 2012, am29 1:51 AM
    09

    My chapter 7 was discharged 1-26-10. My credit report dated 12-31-11, shows Chase mortgage notation as “Account in dispute under Fair Credit Billing Act”, with additional notation of “Foreclosure proceeding started”. Before I dispute this notation on my credit report, can you tell me if Chase is allowed this type of notation on my CR, if they failed to dispute the Chapter 7? I was having automatic withdrawal for mortgage payment which Chase continued, until my attorney sent a letter to CHASE, demanding them to stop and refund all funds taken from my bank account since date of filing Ch7 (Oct 09) through April 2010, specifically since discharge was granted 1-26-10, which Chase complied and refunded all funds. Long story short, once I dispute CR of Chase notation, will the CB comply with correcting the notation by Chase? All other creditors and second mortgage notations shows “discharged chapter 7″.

    Thanks for providing this service.

    • Robert Weed

      February 14, 2012, am29 6:29 AM
      10

      Will they? Probably. Are they supposed to? Yes. Chase should show “discharged in Chapter 7″ like all the others do. One or two disputes with the credit bureaus should get you there.

  • Melissa S

    April 13, 2012, pm30 6:45 PM
    11

    I filed Chapter 7 two years ago. Today, I found out that a Credit Union I had at that time (car loan through & regular checking account) has written me as a “Charge Off” , the car loan was thru them & included in the bankruptcy. The amount they are listing as a “charge off” they are saying is from them having to automtically shut down my account due to the bankruptcy. This is not showing up on the credit report I recently ran, I am really working hard to get any errors fixed. Can you tell me why this isn’t showing up? The only way I found this out was I went to a different credit union to open an account.
    Also, one other question, some of the vendors (banks for loans & credit cards ) on my credit report are listed as “pays as agrees” as the status while others say “included in bankruptcy” , they all were in the bankruptcy, shouldn’t they all state “included in bankruptcy” then?
    Thank you for your time

    • Robert Weed

      April 17, 2012, pm30 3:40 PM
      12

      Melissa:

      Right. People’s after bankruptcy credit reports are often not very accurate. that’s why I think bankruptcy lawyers should check their client’s after-bankruptcy credit reports. But very few do.

      Starting with the credit union–some credit unions I know report only on Equifax and not TU or Experian. Don’t know why that is. But it could explain why you are not seeing it. So go to equifax.com/fcra and see if it’s there. If equifax.con/fcra doesn’t work, try annualcreditreport.com (NEVER go to freecreditreport.com.)

      Well yeah they should all show included in bankruptcy. But pays as agreed usually helps your score. (Unless the debt is really high and it wrecks your debt ratio.) So, I wouldn’t worry about that.

  • Melissa S

    April 17, 2012, pm30 10:09 PM
    13

    Thank you for your response. I think its wonderful you take the time to answer questions like these that to some may not huge deals, but to others it helps alot! Its good to know there are good people out there! Thanks again!

  • ANNETTE M

    April 25, 2012, pm30 1:56 PM
    14

    I FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY IN 05/05 AND MY BK DISCHARGED ON 08/05. DO CREDITORS REPORT UP TO THE FILING DATE, OR DO THEY REPORT UP TO THE DISCHARGE DATE?

    • Robert Weed

      April 26, 2012, am30 10:19 AM
      15

      Annette:

      I think filing date. But I’ve never had to take that in front of a judge, and I’m sure different judges would see it differently.

  • Cristina

    June 6, 2012, am30 1:39 AM
    16

    My husband filed first for Chapter 13 last year then converted to Chapter 7 last February. My husband filed Chap 13 which included a car loan with my name as co-borrower (verified with Wells Fargo). When he converted to Chapter 7, he called Wells Fargo about our car loan and they informed us that our payments were up to date until April 9. By the way, I am not part of the BK.

    However, when I checked my Experian credit report, Wells Fargo reported just last month, May, that it has been late since Nov. 2011 to present and marked CHARGE OFF. When I called them , they said that it was late 120 days (4 months) and WF claims that I am behind $589 for months of April and May. The numbers don’t add up or are not in sync, why did they immediately report it as charge off in May and the reported late payments go as far back in Nov 2011. I think it is inaccurate reporting . I can prove this when I get the sccheduled payments from the trustee. WF does not want to change the account status at all. Is there something I can dispute here? Should I pay the $589 first before I dispute?

    Your expert insight would be greately appreciated.

    • Robert Weed

      June 11, 2012, pm30 3:38 PM
      17

      Cristina:

      Who has the car? I’m assuming you do. Are the two of you together?

      It seems to me that you could have avoided a lot of trouble if his Chapter 13 plan said you were driving the car and paying for it and not had it paid through the trustee. (Most courts allow people to do it that way–obviously I don’t know where you are.)

      Once your husband put the car into the chapter 13, paid through the trustee, it almost guaranteed that it would start showing as late on your credit report. (There’s a good argument that it was “current” for your husband, but I don’t see any way it was not late on your credit. That was just not thinking by somebody.)

      The most important thing you need to do is to get the car current, so they don’t pick it up. Then you can see if Wells Fargo will update the account to show it as current. I don’t see it very likely to get those past late’s off your credit–but immediately you want to get it current–and then get them to report it now as current.

  • maria

    July 28, 2012, pm31 1:12 PM
    18

    MY STORY IS THAT I FILED FOR BK IN 11/09 WAS DISCHARGED ON 12/10 WELL I TRIED TO OPEN A CREDIT ACCOUNT TO START REBUILDING AGAIN MY SCORE NEVER CHECK MY CREDIT AFTER THE BK SO YEST I GOT A LETTER THAT ON MY CREDIT REPORT WAS SHOWING A CHARGED OFF AND COLLECTION ACCOUNT SO I WAS WONDERING WHAT SHOULD I DO

    I SPOKE TODAY TO THE BANK CHASE BECAUSE I DID HAVE A LOAN FOR A CAR BUT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE BK BUT THEY TOLD ME FROM THE BANK THAT CHARGE OFF IS GOING TO BE THERE FOR 7 YEARS LIKE THE BK IS THIS TRUE BECAUSE I REALLY DONT UNDERSTAND FOR WHAT YOU FILED FOR BK IF THIS CHARGE OFF IS STILL GOING TO BE THERE SO WHAT SHOULD I DO PLEASE NEED YOUR HELP AND WHAT IS COLLECTION ACCOUNT BECAUSE I NEVER AFTER FILING FOR BK APPLIED FOR NOTHING ELSE THANKS I ALREADY DISPUTE THIS CHARGE OFF ON EQUIFAX AND WAITING FOR THEM BUT WHAT IS THE PROCESS SHOULD I TALK TO THE LAWYER THAT FILED MY BK IN THE COURT OR WHAT

    • Robert Weed

      July 28, 2012, pm31 3:19 PM
      19

      Maria:

      Asking your bankruptcy lawyer would be a good place to start.

      If you get no help there, you need to do disputes under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Most of your rights under Fair Credit Reporting are against the credit reporting agencies, not so much the creditors. So write to the credit bureaus, ask them to change it, and attach a copy of your bankruptcy discharge. Send it certified and keep a copy of your dispute letter.

      If they doesn’t get it fixed, you should find a lawyer in your state who does Fair Credit Reporting law. A good place to look is at naca.net.

      Good luck.

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