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Feb 2011

Bankruptcy discharge or "charge off?" What’s the difference?

Posted by / in General Information About Bankruptcy Law / 160 comments

Discharge?  Charge-off?  The two words look a lot alike.  Do they mean the same thing?

Nope.  Discharge is a magic word.   A legal word, anyway.  At the end of your bankruptcy case, you get a bankruptcy discharge.

The bankruptcy discharge is a court order that the people you owed money to cannot do anything to collect those debts from you.

(If the debts are attached to your house or car, they can still go after the property; but they cannot go after you.)

bankruptcy judge

The bankruptcy discharge is a court order that the people you owed money to cannot do anything to collect those debts from you.

The bankruptcy discharge is a court order that the people you owed money to cannot do anything to collect those debts from you.

The purpose of the bankruptcy discharge is to help you get a new start.

Charge-off” is an accounting term.  It’s an accounting term that also shows up on your credit report.  Charge-off means you are probably not going to send in next month’s payment.

Why is that important?  A “charge off” is very important to the bank.  The Federal Reserve keeps close track of charge offs.  The Federal Reserve (and other regulators) wants to be sure that each bank has enough money to cash checks that people might bring to the bank each day.  When it comes to figuring that out, probably the next payment on your charged off debt won’t be there.  The Federal Reserve will close banks that can’t cover their checks, so the bank better make sure some other money is there since yours won’t be.

How is the charge off important to you?  The bank or credit card company puts a “charge-off” on your credit report.  Having a charge off on your credit is a “major derogatory.”  Major derogatory are the worst things you can have on your credit report.  Plus, you still owe the money!

When is a debt charged off?  Federal Reserve regulations require that credit cards be charged off when they are 180 days late.  Car loans and installment loans charge off when they are 120 days late.  (When they figure whether a bank will have enough money next month, they are allowed to hope that your next payment will be there, if you are only 90 days late.  They do not expect you’ll start paying again if you are 180 days late.)

What happens after a charge off?  Sometimes they send it to a lawyer to sue you.  (In Virginia, if it’s less than $15,000, you get sued on a warrant-in-debt.)

Sometimes it goes to a debt collector.  A debt collector will send you a letter, and call you day and night to make a payment.  They will also show up on your credit report as a “collection account.”

A collection, like a charge off or bankruptcy, is a major derogatory that is very bad for your credit.  It’s worse than a bankruptcy, because it keeps piling on.  That charge off, from your original creditor–like Bank of America–has now been joined by a “collection account.”  Your same debt now shows up as two major derogatories–first the charge off, then the collection account.  Later on, if they sue you, then you get a judgment.  That would be your third major derogatory on the same debt.

Besides all this damage to your credit report, you still owe the money.  There’s a whole industry–debt collectors, debt buyers, collection lawyers, who make their living collecting charged off debts.

Credit bureaus are part of the debt collection industry in two ways.  First, although they like to deny it, credit bureaus are used by creditors to pressure you to pay.  Creditors set up credit bureaus as a way to pressure people to pay.

Second, the credit bureaus  alert the collection agencies when charged off debts have a chance of being paid.  Debt collectors can subscribe to email alerts, so they are notified when they have a good chance to collect charged off debt.

How does that work?  Suppose Chuck has been out of work for over a year, and five credit cards have bee charged off and gone to collection. After he told them each ten times that he was out of work and could not pay, Chuck was lucky and they left him alone.

Now Chuck is working again.  He looks at his credit report and decides to try to settle up on his charge offs, one at a time, starting with the smallest.

Boom!  As soon as he settles the smallest one, the phone starts ringing off the hook, with calls about the other four–each trying to be meaner than the other.

When that first settlement hit his credit report, the bureaus sent an email to all Chuck’s creditors, telling them to come and get it.  Pay off one creditor and they all jump on.

How does it all add up?  If you have a charge off, that’s a major derogatory on your credit report.  There’s a whole industry that tries to collect charged off debt.  Each step can put another major derogatory on your credit report.  Charge off does not protect you from any of that.

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Robert Weed has helped fifteen 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.

  • M.Y.

    April 24, 2011, pm30 2:17 PM

    I have a couple of questions. Is “included in BK” the same as discharged on a credit report? Also it looks like after BK discharge the collection accounts were deleted from my credit report just leaving the original creditors showing as included in BK except for one Capital One. Capital One shows as charge off (which I’m requesting it be changed to discharged) and the collection shows as included in BK. Can I request the collection be deleted or does it matter?

    • Robert Weed

      April 24, 2011, pm30 7:41 PM

      There are separate codes for “included in bankruptcy” and “discharged in bankruptcy,” but I’m not aware of any difference in the way they are credit scored or treated by human beings who look at your credit report. I do not think they have to delete the collection agencies–just report the bankruptcy. Since the Terri White class action, the credit bureaus are supposed to correct your after bankruptcy credit report; they may have asked the debt collectors if they were discharged–and then deleted them when their was no answer.

  • Danielle H

    August 5, 2011, pm31 7:06 PM


    I am in need of some legal advise if you could please help me. I filed bankruptcy when I was 20 in 2009. I recently have subscribed to all credit agencies to try to get my credit report accurate, but I don’t really know what is legal and whats not for these creditors to report. I know they have to report account balance as 0, but is that all? Are they required to put discharged/included in bankruptcy? Are they allowed to report balance of 0 with an open account? Are they allowed to comment charge off/collections/profit loss with no indication of included in bankruptcy? Are they allowed to deny my dispute to be included in bankruptcy because they said they sold the account months before my bankruptcy was discharged. I feel like bankruptcy should still have to be noted…. but i dont know. I am about to pull my hair out trying to deal with this and my attorny won’t help me and no other attorny will help becuase they are saying I need to speak with the lawyer that filed but she said she dont handle “credit reports.” I feel like theres no hope :/ Please help me.

    • Robert Weed

      August 7, 2011, am31 11:05 AM

      To: Danielle

      Are they allowed to show “charge off with no indication of included in bankruptcy?” The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires them to be “complete and accurate.”

      I say that showing the charge off–and sold months before the bankruptcy–is not “complete and accurate.” Accurate, ok. But it’s not complete.

      But the creditors and credit bureaus are not willing to concede that point. They roll out BS like “historically accurate”–meaning true when they first put it there. Since the law talks about updating when information isn’t complete, the judge should go off on them for claiming “historically accurate.” But that’s what they do and sometimes they even win on it.

      That’s why I think staying after this until your credit report is right is part of my job of a bankruptcy lawyer. But there are only a couple of us in Virginia, and only a handful in the country, that see it that way.

      Since you’ve exhausted the leads on the bankruptcy side, you need to see if you can interest a credit report lawyer in your state. Look for one a NACA–the National Association of Consumer Advocates. http://www.naca.net/

      They may want you to do disputes three, or four, or even five times–so when the case goes to a judge and jury you can talk about how really frustrated you are and how you tried everything before you sued.

      So, keep notes about how this makes you want to “pull your hair out.” And see if you can find a lawyer at NACA who would be interested in helping you.

      I hope you see this through. You will be helping a lot of people besides yourself.

  • John

    August 5, 2011, pm31 9:37 PM

    If a debt was charged off prior to bankruptcy and sold to another lender, but the original creditor (as well as the second lender) was nonetheless included in the bankruptcy:

    1) should the debt now read “discharged/included in bankruptcy” or remain as a charge off?
    2) is there any way that the original creditor could still attempt to collect on the debt even though it is sold (and the second lender was included in the bankruptcy too) since it does not show “included in bankruptcy”?
    3) does it matter that it is a charge off rather than included in bankruptcy, since the charge off indicates the charge off amount?
    4) can I dispute the charge off since they were included in the bankruptcy?

    Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      August 7, 2011, am31 11:13 AM

      To: John

      Good questions.

      1) The law requires that the credit report be “complete and accurate.” Complete means it should show “discharged/included in bankruptcy.”

      2. No, you do not have to worry about them actually trying to collect. The bankruptcy definitely protects you from that.

      3. Yes it does matter. The problem is that your credit report still looks like they can still try to collect. That hurts your credit score. Can make it harder to get a loan, especially a mortgage. And could hurt you if you try to get a job with a security clearance. (Security clearance jobs are a big part of the job market in Northern Virginia, near Washingotn DC, where I am.)

      4. Can you dispute it? See my comments for Danielle–her question came in the same day as yours. And she asked basically the same thing you did.

      There’s a lot of this going on. And I’m glad to see more people ready to fight back. Wish you guys were in Virginia, so I could help you.

  • Debbie Lockheart

    October 2, 2011, pm31 5:44 PM

    I filed bankruptcy in 2009. And I had no idea they added a car that I am still paying on, when i went to trade in I was told that this car was added to my bankruptcy. I was shocked and very angry all this time I made 27 payments on a car that was added to my bankruptcy. The bank never told me it was added but they continue to collect my payment i paid almost $16,000 in 27 months. What should I do and what is the best action to take?

    • Robert Weed

      October 2, 2011, pm31 7:17 PM

      Sounds like you wish it was explained to you better–what bankruptcy meant with your car and your car payment. (And I guess your payment was just about $600 per month–which seems real high.) But if you hadn’t made those 27 payments, you’d have had to find some other way to get to work. (Because that car would have been repoed.) You really want to be close to three years after the bankruptcy before you go to finance a new car, or you will end up paying really high interest. If the payment on the old car was real high, and you aren’t back to good credit yet, one thing to do is see if you can get a junker car for cash that will get you through a year or two.

  • christie

    November 23, 2011, am30 6:35 AM

    I filed chapter 13 bankruptcy back in oct. 2009. I am about to pay off my plan early. I have a few questions.

    1.) For all the creditors that were sent a “notice only” will they be discharged as well since there was no payment to them?

    2.) I was sent a 1099 A form for a foreclosure back in 2008 but no 1099C. Are they going to send me one once the bankruptcy is discharged? This creditor was only sent a notice only. Can they expect me to pay them the difference for the foreclosure?

    3.) I had a 2nd mortgage (for the same home that was foreclosed) and the creditor listed it as a charge off, again they were sent a “notice only” and no repayment. Will they be discharged since they are on my list of creditors and can they collect?

    4.) Are all the creditors that are on my “list of creditors” (whether it be paid back through the chapter 13 plan or just sent notices and not paid back) going to be discharged and I no longer have to worry about them and I can move on with my life and be done with my past?

    My attorney is not getting back to me and I don’t have much time left before my payoff amount expires and would like answers before I “unprotect” myself. I just don’t want any phone calls or judgements. A few of these creditors routinely check my credit and I wonder if they are waiting for the discharge so they can get me for any money owed to them.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Robert Weed

      November 23, 2011, am30 10:18 AM

      You really need to talk to your lawyer. Send him a letter saying you need an appointment to answer those questions, and send a copy to the state bar. That will get you an appointment.

  • Keisha

    November 28, 2011, pm30 1:52 PM

    Charged-off car loan

    I live in the state of MD and have had my car for over 4 years. I need help with what my options are.

    I was out of work for over a year. I fell behind on my car note and my car was repossesed in Oct. 2010. I got my car within the 15 day period and made payments every month toward my note, however, I have not been able to catch up with the back payments of 3 months. I have made many payments arrangements with Capital One Auto, however, it seems that I am always behind according to them. I have requested Hardship loan options, refinancing help, everything and they to no avail are unable to offer any help besides put me on these ridiculous payment plans that will not bring my account current “so they say” and still find myself behind.

    I make a car note payment every month, but yet my car is still in charge-off and out for repossession. They will not do anything to help until I pay according to their terms and will not give me my payment plan in writing. I feel as though they want me to fail in order for them to get a profit. I have made over $30k in payments towards my car and have yet to get an updated balance from them of the amount owed. Do I have any options? I pay monthly and don’t feel its fair for me to be treated this way after making payments for over 4 years. Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      November 28, 2011, pm30 2:09 PM

      You’re right. They want you to fail in order to make a profit. I don’t know about Maryland, but you would not have any good options in Virginia.


    December 8, 2011, pm31 7:21 PM



    • Robert Weed

      December 8, 2011, pm31 7:43 PM

      If this is your only bad debt, you might just wait it out. See if they sue you, see if they can prove they own the debt, and see if they have waited past the statute of limitations. In other words, there’s a good chance you could beat them in court. (You would absolutely need to go to court and fight them, if they sue you.) If you have a lot of other problems, you should probably talk to a bankruptcy lawyer now and just clean it up.

  • Jeff

    December 11, 2011, am31 7:37 AM

    I will try to make a long story short. I’ve been battling complications from an bone marrow transplant for the past year and my sole income is disability. I have no liquid assets because of the medical/living costs and all but three credit cards went into discharge because I ‘ve been too sick to negotiate or file BK. Collection agencies have been assign to the three outstanding CC debts. I have one bank/cc days away from charge off. The good standing cards have been used for medication, gas and food. I have this month as a break before more treatment in late January. Should I try to file bankruptcy during this time and would make any difference? If there is a difference, what are the pluses and minuses?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Robert Weed

      December 11, 2011, am31 11:55 AM

      You told me your sole income is disability–social security disability or something else? Do you own real estate, do you stand to inherit anything at some point? Those would make a difference. Probably you do not need to file bankruptcy. Just tell the callers, I am very sick, my only income id disability, I can never pay. HOWEVER, it would be smart to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer in your area and make sure I’m not overlooking something. Also, depending on how much the calls are getting to you, sometimes it;s worth making a small payment to a lawyer, so you can tell the debt collectors, call my lawyer. For some people that works better than explaining your situation yourself.

  • Jeff

    December 11, 2011, pm31 1:08 PM

    First of all, thank you for addressing my question. My sole income is social security disability. No ownership of real estate and a special needs account was set up by family members to help out with any living assistance or financial support. I’ve learned that one-step-at-a-time is the best route yet I’m still hoping that some day I will be able to resume my professional career. Would that change the complexion of bankruptcy vs. charge off?

  • Maureen

    December 30, 2011, pm31 1:30 PM

    Hello Mr. Weed,
    I would like to ask a question on behalf of my mother who lives near Fredericksburg, Va. She is a senior with income of Social Security and Military pension only. She attempted to do a debt settlement with a firm for credit card debt of $20,000, 4 accounts. The cc companies are harassing her and not willing to accept settlements. She has received a warrant of debts from one company. All 4 accounts show ‘charged off’ on her credit report. She has no assets and we are considering for her to file Chapter 7.. We are worried for when the time comes for her to enter an Assisted Living or similiar that her credit with not allow her admittance.
    The question…since she already has charge offs, will bankruptcy not make a difference except for the 7-10 year mark, do they both have the safe weight on her credit? Thank you in advance for your time.

    • Robert Weed

      December 30, 2011, pm31 7:15 PM

      Since she already has charge offs, bankruptcy is better. Bankruptcy shows people who deal with her in the future that at least they are first in line. Charge off tell people that your mother isn’t paying and ALSO that she might get garnished at any time. I’m sorry she got sucked in by one of those debt settlement scams. I hate how they trick people.


    January 24, 2012, am31 9:40 AM

    Hello, I am in a strange situation. Two years ago I went through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that was discharged. I did not reaffirm on either my 1st or 2nd mortgages, both with GMAC. My home’s value is around $150,000. The 1st mtg is for $210,000 and the 2nd for $38,000.

    After the bankruptcy I continued paying on both mtgs in order to keep the house. A few months ago I found out from GMAC that my 2nd mtg had been “charged off” after the bankruptcy. The reps told me that the voluntary payments I was sending in were not going onto anything, because the account was charged off. So I stopped paying the 2nd mtg in November. A few weeks ago I got a collections letter saying if I don’t pay up by Feb 1, the 2nd mtg is going to initiate foreclosure.

    My questions are:

    1) If GMAC “charged off” the debt 2 years ago, how can they foreclose on it now?
    2) Will they be likely to foreclose, since the 2nd mtg will get nothing, and the first will still be very short?


    January 24, 2012, am31 11:18 AM

    Thank you so much for your advice!

  • Sandra

    January 27, 2012, pm31 11:37 PM

    We had a second mortgage that was charged off in 2009( by the same lender holding our first) and the lender is now out of buisness (the first transferred).We never got anything on a transfer of the 2nd but In 2011 we received a letter from a collection company . We conducted a title seach and the collection company has no encumbrances on our home as of today..we occassionally get a call, or collection letter and they have placed inaccurate info on our credit report. In chapter 7 bankruptcy what would happen if we refused affirmation of the “loan”? Could we then have it discharged or do we need to negotiate a payoff settlement to ensure the note and trust of the home?

    • Robert Weed

      January 28, 2012, am31 8:48 AM

      You are asking what would happen if you filed bankruptcy on the collection company that’s now collecting the “charged off” second mortgage on your home. It would be discharged in bankruptcy–so they could NOT keep calling or send you bills or sue and garnish you. BUT, that does not release the lien that’s on the home. You would still have to negotiate as payoff settlement if you went to sell. If you just ignored them and you stayed there long enough and paid the first down, the second would still have the right to foreclose you. I have a popular blog post all about that. https://robertweed.com/blog/chapter-7-bankruptcy/after-bankruptcy-what-if-i-dont-pay-my-second-mortgage/

  • Jack Teubner

    January 29, 2012, pm31 3:42 PM

    I went into bankruptcy in Oct of 2009 for 60 months. I am paying off all creditors at 100% and as of Oct 2011, everything will be paid off, creditors, trustee and attorney the filed for me. Question is per trustee court papers all will be paid off 100% in 9 months, what about the 2 remaining years I was ordered to pay, where will that money go ?

    • Robert Weed

      January 29, 2012, pm31 6:08 PM

      The Chapter 13 trustee should notify the court that everyone is paid, your case should be discharged and closed, and the money since October should be refunded back to you.

  • David Byrd

    January 30, 2012, am31 10:16 AM

    If I have credit cards that I have not made payment on in 9 years, and they have gone to charge off, can a collections company do anything to get this money back. Isn’t it passed the statute of limitations? I understand I may have to pay taxes on that as a gain.

    • Robert Weed

      January 30, 2012, am31 10:28 AM

      Right. Definitely way past the statue of limitations in any state that I know about. However, I most places statute of limitations is what judges call an “affirmative defense.” Meaning, if they sue you, you do have to show up in court and claim the statute of limitations. If you don’t show up, they win. And once they have a judgment then it’s you, not them who is “S O L.”

  • Jewels Murphey

    February 1, 2012, pm29 9:51 PM

    It sounds like you answered my questions above, but I still want clarification that I am understanding you correctly.

    I filed bankruptcy and had it discharged in early 2008. I have been checking my credit report all along, but just today saw some major changes on it and how the creditors were reporting my discharged debts. All of the sudden, I saw all the RED CO codes on my payment history for that period of time, some two months in a row, so there were two CO boxes. Prior to that, the 30-60-90 days late (whatever applied). In the payment status, they had “charge off/collection”, but in the notes section referred to the bankruptcy. One creditor even listed themselves twice on my report for the same debt. It was strange this appeared and had never been there until recently or I would have dealt with it then.

    I have filed a dispute that the credit monitoring agency (CreditKeeper) does for free and they said it would go to both the creditor and the bureaus and I would hear something back within 45 days.

    Am I correct in being concerned that these discharged debts are showing as charge offs and that they will impact my score in addition to the bankruptcy already posted there? I noticed in the summary section, it showed I had 8 and 9 current delinquent accounts, but those were all the ones back in early 2008.

    In addition, are they also supposed to remove the late payments as they were never late until AFTER I filed for bankruptcy?

    Last, I pulled another report for $1 just to be sure this wasn’t just this credit monitoring agency that was the issue and it wasn’t. But, this other agency showed them as KD and I have no idea what that means as there is no key. They were red boxes just like the CO (Charge off) ones.

    How much will this affect my score? It’s not terribly bad right now with Experian at 648, but I want it back in the 700’s like it was prior to the bankruptcy. I had a high 700 score prior to having some unforseen events force me into bankruptcy.

    Thanks and any advice you can give me to fix this if this first step fails would be most helpful!

    • Robert Weed

      February 2, 2012, am29 6:27 AM

      You are correct. You need to dispute those and get them changes to showing discharged in bankruptcy. You are on the right track, so I’d only add one thing. These credit monitoring companies are good for alerting you when something goes wrong. (Really helped you here.)

      But I’d get credit reports from each of the big three individually and dispute them myself. One place to go is annualcreditreport.com. From there you can get a credit report from each of the big three directly. (Congress basically required them to set up annualcreditreport.com.) That will help you see more accurately where the problem is showing up. From there you can write dispute letters yourself.

  • Jewels Murphey

    February 2, 2012, pm29 2:35 PM

    Ok thanks a bunch! Here’s another couple questions now that I have been digging deeper and analyzing.

    1. Are they also supposed to remove the late payment codes also once the debt is discharged?
    2. I have noticed that several creditors have been removed completely that were included in the bankruptcy. Doesn’t that hurt my credit because it’s less credit history, especially if some were long time credit cards? One of them, I had for over 20 years and it’s gone completely now.

    You’ve been very helpful!

  • Jewels Murphey

    February 2, 2012, pm29 2:43 PM

    One more quick question: should I dispute with both the credit bureaus and the creditors?

  • Jewels Murphey

    February 2, 2012, pm29 4:03 PM

    I am becoming a pain the rear, but I have another question as I don’t want to be barking up the wrong tree. In the summary section where it lists the negative accounts, all of these accounts are listed because of the CO codes. Is this supposed to be the case and/or will the account disappear once they change the codes?

  • Maria

    February 2, 2012, pm29 8:41 PM

    Hi,my husband and I filed for bankruptcy back in 2008 but the case was closed without discharge. It was our laywers fault we took our classes pay his fee but we had no idea that he didn’t turn all the documents and we didn’t know about bankruptcy. He would tell us everything was done, now we were in the process of getting a loan for a house and we needed the discharge notice which I don’t have and the public records say the case was closed without discharge. My question is can I reopen the case and hopefully get a discharge dated back in 2008? Or what options do I have so I can get a loan for my house? Thank you, your help is really appreciated.

    • Robert Weed

      February 3, 2012, pm29 6:28 PM

      Swell. Some judges will let you reopen the case to file the papers on the second class. You should at least try it–unless the lawyers in your area know that your judge won’t allow it. (The law seems to say you can’t, but to some extent a judge can do what he wants.) Otherwise, I’m not sure what your choices are. You could go ahead and file bankruptcy again now–but that would put off buying a house for another two or three years. Or, assuming your debts have all gone on to debt collectors, there is probably no one who can really prove you owe them any money. You could dipsute all the debts with the credit bureaus, sue when they don’t delete them; and see if you can get them deleted by suing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, because they can’t prove that you actually owe them. I’ve never tried that, but there’s a chance it would work.

  • Jack Teubner

    February 3, 2012, am29 9:59 AM

    This is a second round, and thanks, my last request contained missed facts. First, I filed jointly a 13 in Oct,2009 in Ohio, and was ordered to pay for 60 months, before the creditors had their totals even in. After, all creditors had their totals into court, the total was about $17,000 less then what I was ordered to pay over 60 months. I contacted my attorney about the discrepancy and he stated the creditors will be paid off at 100 % and more ?. That confused me however did not peruse the vast difference this early into the 13. Today, after I received a trustee report indecating the remaining creditor amount requested for payment and remaining attorney and trustee fees will be finished in Oct of 2012, three years exactly from when I started. Question again is will the 13 be discharged after this Oct, 2012 or will I still be required to continue paying the additional $17,000 + to the trustee, again thanks.

  • Michael

    February 8, 2012, pm29 5:28 PM

    I had to file Ch. 7 this year but an LLC I had did not. However the LLC is not active and I am planning to dissolve. The LLC owes a debt to a bank. When I called the bank they said when the LLC is dissolved we will just “charge off” the debt. Since I am the sole member of the LLC and filed BK what could happen to me?

  • Kate

    February 24, 2012, am29 1:13 AM

    I found on my husband credit, a charge-off. It’s show $6.000, but when I caled to the bank they told me, they want almost $ 12.000, because they charge interest payment. Can they can put on credit less and want more? Also when I ask about all paper work, about repossessed car and contract, bank told me, they doesn’t haved because they destroyed after 5 years. What to do ?

    • Robert Weed

      February 24, 2012, am29 10:10 AM

      I’m cluing in on the “five years.” When was this car repoed? What state are you in?

  • Lauri

    March 2, 2012, am31 12:14 AM

    Hello Mr. Weed,

    Wow, thank you for your amazing answers on your blog. You are a blessing for sure. I have a question.. My husband was laid off about 2 years ago, we have been struggling, but are now starting to get back on our feet again. However, we have several charge-offs and I am not sure it it makes sense to try and pay on these a bit a month or just file bankruptcy. Believe it or not the IRS says we owe back taxes so we are now on a payment plan with them too! Someone told me that you can’t file bankruptcy if your owe the IRS. So my two questions are.. 1) paying off chargeoffs or filing bankruptcy ? and 2) Can we file bankruptcy when we owe back taxes( of course I know you can’t add taxes on the bankruptcy). Thanks so much! Lauri in California..

    • Robert Weed

      March 2, 2012, am31 9:45 AM

      Hi Lauri:

      Yes, you can file bankruptcy even if you owe back taxes. As you said, the bankruptcy usually does not get rid of the taxes. But it does if they are more than three years old and filed on time. (There’s a little more detail, but that’s the basic rule.)

      If you’ve been struggling for two years and just now getting back on your feet, you sound like good candidates for bankruptcy. And you know from my After Bankruptcy survey (https://robertweed.com/virginia-bankruptcy-lawyer-reviews/relief-and-happiness-after-filing-bankruptcy/) that nearly everyone who files bankruptcy with me, looking back, is really glad they did. They are happier, nicer, sleep better, have a better outloook on life. But it’s a personal choice.

  • Rick

    March 13, 2012, pm31 2:18 PM

    Mr Weed,

    I filed for a chapter 7 bankruptcy back in 07/2011 in the state of IL. Since that point on I have been monitoring my credit via Credit Karma which sends me alerts whenever my credit score changes or when information on my credit profile is updated. I have been receiving alerts since 11/2011 that a collection company has been continually reporting negative information to credit bureaus (delinquent account, account placed in collections, etc… ) which has been hindering my attempts to build my credit back up. Can a collection agency continue to report this negative information? Should I contact my attorney or file a dispute with the credit bureaus?

    • Robert Weed

      March 15, 2012, pm31 7:42 PM

      Rick: You definitely want to fight that. See if your lawyer is interested in working with you on that–only a few are. Otherwise, file a dispute with the credit bureaus yourself.

      You have a right to sue under Fair Credit Reporting only if you dispute and they don’t fix it. But since it’s a debt collector, you might already have the right to sue under the FDCPA.

      Start first with your bankruptcy lawyer to see if he is interested or will suggest a lawyer. Otherwise, you can look at http://naca.net/.


    March 14, 2012, am31 5:18 AM

    Dear Sir,

    My wife and I, we live in Monroe North Carolina. Only my wife who is working now because I get laid off since August 2011. We voluntary have our Toyota 2010 repossed because of financial hardship. I just check our credit report recently and find out that the rest of the money that they we owe them that we could not pay ($10 000 plus) has been charged off in this February 2012. What the best advice can you please give us. Thanks a lot.

    • Robert Weed

      March 15, 2012, pm31 7:54 PM

      If you were in Virginia, I’d tell you that you needed to file bankruptcy. But in North Caroline you can’t be garnished for a car repossession. http://www.nclabor.com/wh/fact%20sheets/garnishments.htm.

      You still might want to, if you hope to be able to buy a house sometime down the line (or if you own one now) because you don’t want the car finance company grabbing your car.

      you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer there in NC. I don’t know where Monroe is. I can recommend Billy Brewer in Raleigh if that’s near you. http://www.debtrelief.com/

  • Jennifer

    March 18, 2012, pm31 9:40 PM

    I filed for chapter 7 in March 2009, it was discharged in May 2009. I had to dispute a couple creditors early on, but now everything says included in bankruptcy or discharged in bankruptcy as it should.

    I hadn’t checked my credit in a little over a year and upon doing so this week I discovered that my utility bill which is still noted as included in bankruptcy apparently sold my discharged debt to a collections agency named Mercantile Adjustment Bureau. I never received any notice from this collections agency, but back in February of 2011 they attached a collections to my transunion credit report with age of account stated as one month, date of account as January 2011. So, I have an active collections in the amount of $481 on my credit report with an inaccurate date. Utility company has it marked as last reported with a $0 balance in May 2009. How do I dispatch this zombie debt?

    I filed Pro Se, so I’m on my own with this one.

    • Robert Weed

      March 20, 2012, am31 10:38 AM

      Jennifer: If you are just trying to get it fixed, doing a Fair Credit Reporting dispute with TransUnion is the place to start. That will often fix it.

      If you dispute and it’s not fixed, you need to find a lawyer in your area who does Fair Credit Reporting Law. (Look at naca.org.) If you do need to go after them in court, the Fair Credit Reporting law is not your only tool. For a debt collector to make a false statement on a credit report is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices is, so your lawyer would have a double barrel to go after them with.

      And it’s also probably a violation of the bankruptcy discharge. Some bankruptcy judges are quicker than others to sanction creditors for that. If your Fair Credit Reporting Lawyer also does some bankruptcy work, or has friends who do, they may be able to gauge whether it’s also worth chasing them for the bankruptcy violation.

  • kem

    March 20, 2012, pm31 4:41 PM

    My Chapter 7 was discharged last April. I recently applied for an apartment and was denied due to derogatory reports. I pulled my credit report and found several items that were included in the discharge being reported as derogatory or charged off. I need to move. Please advise. Thanks

    • Robert Weed

      March 24, 2012, pm31 12:44 PM


      They should all show as “included in BK” or “discharged in BK” About a third of my clients have that problem–so I stay with them until we have followed up with the credit bureaus and everything is right. Only a handful of lawyers do that.

      You need to get credit reports from each of the three bureaus individually–one place to go is annualcreditreport.com (Do NOT go to freecreditreport.com.) For any debts that are not showing bankruptcy, write a letter to each bureau and include a copy of your bankruptcy discharge. That should fix it. If not, you need to talk to a Fair Credit Reporting lawyer in your state. You can look for one a naca.net.

  • justine devine

    March 21, 2012, pm31 12:45 PM

    I received a civil warrant for a credit card that was opened 4 years ago. I pulled my credit report and the account states charged off and sold to another lender and the account status staes transferred/sold. can the original lender still sue me?

    • Robert Weed

      March 21, 2012, pm31 7:40 PM


      One of the jokes they told in law school is: You can always sue. You can’t always win, but you can always sue. So can they sue you? Sure. Can YOU WIN? Well maybe. You can certainly go to court and say that the credit report shows they are no longer the owner of the debt. Unless they show up with a witness who can explain what happened, you should win on that. (Although when you get in front of a judge, you never know fur sure what he will say.)

  • kem

    March 26, 2012, am31 7:49 AM

    Thanks for the response. I will do just that…Why not not Freecreditreport.com-just curious…Also about how long do you thing this process would take. I am in Maryland would you be able to assist if I run into any more problems?

  • pam

    January 2, 2013, pm31 2:15 PM

    After your Chapter 13 is discharged how can you get the credit agencies to change from “charged off” to something better?

    • Robert Weed

      January 2, 2013, pm31 4:00 PM


      Yes, they are required to change it to “discharged” which is definitely better. If they don’t do it on their own, you need to write dispute letters. Your right to dispute goes to the credit bureaus, not the creditors them selves. So get the credit reports from EACH of the three credit bureaus, tell them in writing exactly what you want changed. Send it certified and keep a copy. If the first letter doesn’t get it all fixed, do a second dispute. If two letters don’t work, it’s time to talk to a lawyer who does Fair Credit Reporting law. One place to look is http://naca.net/

  • Jen

    February 11, 2013, pm28 2:03 PM

    We filed Chapter 13 in 2/09. I just got my credit report to look it over since we have 1 more yr to pay. I noticed that several of the credit cards that we included in the BK have two records on my report. One that shows charged off and then another one with a different # that shows wage earner plan. What will happen once i am discharged? It almost looks like i had double the accounts than what i really did.

  • Michael

    June 20, 2013, am30 4:42 AM

    I was discharged BK7 in 9/09. All CC debt was discharged and to my complete surprise so was my student loan thru key bank. I didn’t include it in my BK as my lawyer was convinced it wasn’t dischargable. I called the lender in 12/09 to discuss pay back options and when I informed them I had filed BK7 they told me it was a chapter 7 dischargable loan?!? I wasn’t told why but have gathered that it was the language in the loan that as I remember resembled a CC/pers loan more than traditional stud.loan. Variable APR, sub prime etc. my question is since I didn’t include this in my BK7 is it dischargable regardless? All 3 bureaus are reporting it discharged in BK7 or IIB chapter 7. Two reports have it filed as a CO as well which I would like to dispute but am afraid if they dig they will see i didn’t include the debt in my BK. they lied and put the CO date as 12/31/09 and my BK as 1/2/10 so they could screw with me a little more!! My BK clearly states 9/11/2009 so if they state that they are charging off on 12/09 (3 months later) can they do that? Is it even worth disputing this as I am concerned of having to pay the debt back if they dig and see that I didn’t actually include them? I am sorry for the dissertation length question (lol) and appreciate any answers/input.

    • Robert Weed

      June 20, 2013, am30 10:15 AM


      Mike, like most people, you talk about “including” in your bankruptcy like you have any choice. You are required to list EVERYTHING. If you left the student loan off the list, you LIED to the court. Not a good thing. If that’s what you did.

      Also, maybe, like some people, you figured if you didn’t list something in your bankruptcy, they wouldn’t know. Mike, people you owe money too look at your credit report ALL THE TIME. Even if you don’t list them on the bankrutpcy, they will see it in a few weeks, or maybe even a few HOURS.

      But after we straighten that out, I think you’ve asked a really good question. A long question that deserves a long answer.

      Don’t pay too much attention to what the bureaus are saying. If they don’t KNOW it’s a student loan, the bureaus are supposed to show discharged in bankruptcy on their own, even if Key Bank doesn’t tell them to.

      So where does that leave you? For whatever reason in their own records Key Bank apparently did not call it a student loan–and in their records with the credit bureaus, same thing. They didn’t call it a student loan.

      Two credit bureaus show discharged and also charge off. That probably means Key Bank reported it to them as a charge off, but the bureaus put discharged on their own, because the bureaus see the bankruptcy.

      You are wondering if you should dispute that charge off part.

      Two things, from what I know about the credit report dispute process, doing a dispute by itself won’t cause anyone to dig into anything. It also won’t cause anything to change. Just an email from the credit bureau to Key Bank saying disputed, and Key Bank emailing back saying, confirmed.

      When the dispute doesn’t change anything, then what do you do? If you get a lawyer involved with your dispute, then someone will really look at it. At that point if it is a student loan, somebody might notice and they would start to come after you for it.

      So, for now I’d leave it alone. Don’t want to stir it up. But I’d also plan for the day when somebody says, this was a student loan–you are two years behind and we want our money now! If that happens, what’s on your credit report won’t help you.

      I think there’s a pretty good chance they will wake up on their own–so I’d bank that monthly payment (easier to say than do) so if they do wake up, you can say, here’s your money, I’ve been waiting to hear form you, I’m current!

  • Paul

    June 29, 2013, am30 12:36 AM

    Hi Robert, I had to file chapter 7 bankruptcy last year, which was discharged in December 2012. Since the discharge I have been monitoring my credit reports and disputing inaccurate information. Most creditors have updated there accounts and are reporting accurate. However there are 2 creditors that continue to report account status as “Charge Off Account sold”, These accounts were charged off a year before I filed BK. I have disputed these account twice both times being told they are being reported accurate and they do not have to include information about the bankruptcy discharge, since they were sold prior to filing. These accounts and creditors were listed in the bankruptcy, is this the correct way for these accounts to be reported. It seems they would be required to reference the bankruptcy in some way. Thank you for your help!

    • Robert Weed

      June 29, 2013, pm30 8:50 PM


      Chase usually does what you say–keeping the “charge off” and refusing to update to show bankruptcy. and your credit will be a little better if you can get them to update. (The law requires them to be “complete” and accurate”–I say that the charge off may be accurate but it’s not complete.)

      You need to do disputes under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your right to dispute runs to the credit bureau, NOT to chase.

      So send in a letter to the credit bureaus, keep a copy, showing them where Chase was listed in the bankrutpcy and asking them to fix it. That sometimes works.

      If it doesn’t work, send a second letter.

      If two letters don’t work, you need to sue.

      You can look here http://naca.net/ to find a lawyer in your area who does Fair Credit Reporting law.

      Good luck.

      Chase really hacks me off on this; and if there are enough lawyers who sue on it, they may stop.

      • Paul

        July 1, 2013, pm31 8:26 PM

        Thanks Robert, For your help.

  • katya

    July 26, 2013, pm31 9:24 PM

    I’m thinking of filing ch 7 due to a decrease in income. I recently requested a credit report, but all of my debt shows as “charge off” which i beleive is now in collection. How would i find the debt with collection agencies if it does not show up on my credit report? if I file ch 7 without reporting them due to lack of information, will they come after me after a ch7 is fied?

    thank you for your time in advance

    • Robert Weed

      July 26, 2013, pm31 9:36 PM


      The law on this is clear–you’ve you’ve listed everything the best way you know, all the debts are covered even if somebody else now holds them.

      Obviously they will leave you alone quicker if you get the current collection agency address, but sometimes that’s just not possible.

      If they do come after you, you only have to notify them when they do about the bankruptcy. If that doesn’t stop them, they have broken two laws. The bankrutpcy discharge. And the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

  • L.A.

    September 19, 2013, am30 4:59 AM

    What can I do about this? I am not flakey and I was raised to pay my debt, but this company has me pulling out my hair!

    Sallie Mae loans (25,000 appx) charged off in the last week or so —I live in CA and Sallie Mae is in DE, but all the addresses are in PA. I have sent Sallie Mae requests to have everything done in writing—post mail, email, chats, etc. to every address, email, and fax number I can find. I have been requesting the history of my account and any notices that were sent to be compiled and mailed to me. I told them no bill= no payment. I have repeatedly “opted out” of the online service since I haven’t be able to access it due to it always being down or it just won’t load—have tried a couple of different computers I got tired of being jerked around on the phone so I no longer even try that route.

    Also all attempts to have them send me a counter settlement letter have been a waste of time. I have sent one in and they told me they “only send a letter confirming to a verbal agreement”. I said no I send in an offer and if you don’t like that offer, you counter offer—this is how negotiation works. I have a family member that may assist me in a settlement, but without a settlement offer letter to look over and decide upon, no dice till then.

    I have got a call from a collector called Allied Interstate Inc and told them to send me a validation of debt—I am also sending a letter that asks from proof of debt and to cease calling—communicating only by mail. I see they did an inquiry on my credit as well.

    I am not scared of any of these companies–my credit is wrecked because of this, but it isn’t the end of the world. I have a strong network of family and friends that know I am a decent person—but is there anything I can do to get them off my back? I want to be informed. Statute of Limitations, what can a collector legally do in my state, option of going to court or such? Any help being pointed in the right direction would be much appreciated.

    • Robert Weed

      September 19, 2013, am30 11:11 AM


      Wow. You are really being pushed to the brink. Sounds like the student loans are a big part of the problem. Take a look at what I say here. https://robertweed.com/2010/02/18/can-bankruptcy-help-with-my-student-loans/.

      In a desperate situation, doing a Chapter 13 to handle your student loans may be your best choice. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer in your area. Good luck.

  • asalandanan

    October 18, 2013, pm31 11:01 PM

    I have a question. I filed a chapter 13 over a year ago.. I have recently worked with my mortgage company to do a modifaction under hamp . So my home is not included in my bankruptcy any more . My beginning base for the trustee was 48,000 with 20,000 for my mortgage. I have paid so far 8000 as of last month. If I modify the chapter 13 will it lower my trustee payment since my home is no longer in the chapter 13? which decreases the debt from 48000 to 28000

    • Robert Weed

      October 19, 2013, am31 11:56 AM

      It depends on your trustee and your judge. And what your other debts total. Around here the Chapter 13 trustee wants more money to go the the credit cards and other unsecured debts, if you have more. He take the money that was going to catch up the house, plus MORE if the mod lowered your payment.

  • Laurie

    November 30, 2013, am30 8:05 AM

    I had fairly large debt and was overwhelmed,,credit card, medical etc.. I filed BK7 and my debts were discharges. 2 of my credit card debts were with chase bank. Now that I am on a fresh start, so to say, I went down to Chase an opened a joint banking account with a relative to try to get back on my feet. Once in Chase..no problem setting up a joint checking BUT they did mention that I had 2 loans with Chase that were charged off but still on their computers under my name. Now the accounts were first charged off and then I went through BK and accounts were discharged. The BK was 6 month ago. MY BIG QUESTION is , now that I have opened a joint Chase checking account can they still seize my money for my old charged off credit card debts with Chase, Is my new checking account at risk of seizure or am I ok to begin my new life of banking with Chase?? Can they still come back and collect?? They show charge off on old debt (Maybe 5-6 yrs old) and I also thought my BK freed me from the past debt…..is my money in jeopardy of being seized or am I in the clear

    worried in California…

    • Robert Weed

      November 30, 2013, am30 11:45 AM


      Don’t worry. No Chase cannot deduct money from an after bankruptcy bank account for before bankruptcy loans. (At least they can’t unless they were STUDENT LOANS–then I’m not sure.) And it was borderline whether it was allowed for them to mention those before bankrutpcy loans–because they are NOT allowed to even ask you to pay.

      The purpose of bankrutpcy is a new start in life and a clear field for the future.

  • Angela

    December 26, 2013, am31 7:01 AM

    Im oN SSDI and am in 41,000 in debt. Ive called a bankruptcy attorney in my area but was told to change my number since they cannot get anything from me. Ive been taken to small claims even after proving my disability. Would it be wise to send a cease and decist letter to them all?

    • Robert Weed

      December 26, 2013, am31 11:05 AM


      I think the lawyer you talked to gave you good advice.

  • Dianne

    December 26, 2013, pm31 4:15 PM

    Hello, my boyfriend went through a divorce a couple of years ago and his credit is horrible now a girl that he co-signed a car with has left state and the car is under repossesion and there are investigators calling and what not but we have no clue where she is other than email and she has clearly stated she will not be turning the car in. I told my boyfriend that it may be a good idea to file for bankruptcy. Now would he qualify if all he has is charg offs on his credit report and currently does not have any one other than the car situation contacting him to collect. his charge offs are of great amounts but I honestly don’t understand how this all works. Can you file in hopes to wipe out your bad credit

    • Robert Weed

      December 26, 2013, pm31 7:31 PM


      Sounds like bankruptcy is EXACTLY what he needs to do. Three years after a Chapter 7 discharge, people around here are getting car loans at 6.9% or lower–as low as 3.49% at a credit union. And they can qualify for a mortgage to buy a house. If he just drags those charge offs around, he may never have good credit.

      Talk to a lawyer where you are and make sure there aren’t any problems that would come up.

  • Sheda

    January 28, 2014, pm31 7:52 PM

    Please help! My husband bought a condo in 2006. The whole apartment building was suppose to turn primarily into condos within the next year. The development fell through and the management left & the building is presently apartments mostly with a few previous condo owners remaining. He walked away from it because it went from 160000 to 13000 in worth and remains apart of the apartment building. It is charged off on his credit, the original owner of the loan went out of business and the bank with it now just reports it being “paid” off. We have not been contacted from any creditors just for delinquent taxes. What is his options? Should we just let it foreclose due to taxes? Should he file bankrupt? This is the only outstanding debt he has, we are current with all of our bills and pay on time. We are fearful that they will never foreclose on the property and we will never be able to purchase another home. We live in Michigan, thanks for any help you can offer us.

    • Robert Weed

      January 28, 2014, pm31 11:39 PM


      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is they may never foreclose and then when can you buy again.

      I don’t know any solution to that under Virginia law–and I know nothing about Michigan–so I agree you have the right question but I don’t have any answer. Sorry.

  • Sheda

    January 29, 2014, pm31 2:05 PM

    Thank you Mr. Weed for taking the time to answer my question. We too have no idea what to do!

  • Melody

    February 21, 2014, pm28 5:07 PM

    Hi Mr. Weed, I need some advice. We filled bankruptcy in April 2010 which was discharged July 2010. I am currently trying to purchase a house and was told that I will not be able to because the house that I filled bankruptcy on still has the deed in my name and on my credit report the mortgage company said it was a charge-off. The original mortgage company changed names and was purchased by a larger company that charged-off the loan December 2012, I have called the mortgage company but they are not showing I have a loan or had a loan with them and asked that I continue to call weekly since they are still updating their system with the loans purchased in 2012. The attorney I used in bankruptcy is not returning my calls. I am not sure how to get this deed out of my name. I just don’t know what to do next. Please help!

  • Evette

    March 24, 2014, am31 2:49 AM

    Good Evening. I filed Chapter 7 in January. My cars were already discharged since August. I still have them. What part does that play in South Carolina? Can I keep my cars?

    • Robert Weed

      March 24, 2014, am31 10:08 AM


      I don’t know what you mean by “the cars were discharged in August.” Or who you want to keep them from?

  • Mr. d.cruz

    March 31, 2014, pm31 12:26 PM

    Can my wife’s 2015 teachers earnings be garnished in Puerto Rico by Ford Motor Company for a car we are voluntarily surrendering in May 2014? Upon instructions from our Wilmington, Delaware attorney, we were advised that surrendering the 2010 Ford Fusion car to the Ford Delaware dealership would result in a charge off account and as we would not qualify under Chapter 7 or 12 bankruptcy due to our combined income and weak debt ratio. Besides the car loan the only thing that is owed is a $30,000 post graduate college loan under my wife’s name.We do not have any property and do not have any expected inheritances in Puerto Rico.My wife, who has been earning over 60k as a Delaware teacher for the past 6 years, was granted a leave of absence from her employer to care for her ailing mother under FMLA meaning that her income will be reduced by one third as teacher’s pay salaries average $20,000 in Puerto Rico.We have not been able to sell our car as we have negative equity and can not afford to pay $6,000 for Ford Motor Company.

    • Robert Weed

      April 1, 2014, am30 10:20 AM

      Mr. d.

      You left out some key stuff. So did you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Delaware and now planning to move to PR. Or did you hold off–and are you now moving to Puerto Rico and thinking of filing bankruptcy there.

      Or are you asking me about NOT filing bankruptcy at all and wondering if Ford Credit sues people in Puerto Rico?

      I don’t know if Ford Credit sues people in Puerto Rico–I’ve only been there once for for days. And I don’t know if Puerto Rico is one of the places where people’s pay can’t be garnished. U.S. bankruptcy law does apply in Puerto Rico, but other than that, I know nothing.

  • Michelle Wilson

    April 10, 2014, am30 11:01 AM

    Attorney Weed, thank you for this blog. Mortgage was past due 60 days prior to bankruptcy filing (2010). Filed bankruptcy that was discharged 2011, property was surrendered. Loan servicer would not accept deed in lieu, no intent to foreclose – despite numerous requests over past 3 years including writing Servicer Ombudsman, FTC, CFPB, State Atty General. Official response is the only options for the account are to settle for 20k on 108k first mortgage or short sale. Property is worth 35k maybe as it dilapidated. It has been stated that this is because the loan is in charge off status, however the loan was not charged off prior to BK. Can a charge off of this type happen after discharged BK for a surrendered property? Is it legal to collect settlement for a debt discharged in BK? What happens if I do not settle and the Servicer never initiates foreclosure? Thank you in advance for your response.

  • terry

    April 19, 2014, am30 8:04 AM

    hi i went bk7 in 2012 i had many charge off years earlier should they be on my credit report and also my credit report all my creditors are reporting me as co in the same time frame as my bk7

    • Robert Weed

      April 19, 2014, am30 10:50 AM


      As long as the BK is on there, I don’t know if you can fight them. It’s the co without the BK that really hurts you. If you want somebody to really LOOK at your credit report–we do that for my clients–you can see if your bankruptcy lawyer knows someone who does FCRA law in your area. Or you can look here. http://naca.net/

  • Audra Morehead

    May 30, 2014, pm31 8:54 PM

    Good afternoon. I have a quick question and I’m trying to find the answer to. I filed bankruptcy in 2013 and thought I was done. I received a phone call today from a agency stating that I had a checking account from 2006 that was charged off in 2008. They stated that I would be taken to court for fraud. I know it is now 2014 and the last time their records show any letter being sent out is 2009. I don’t even recall this account or owing money on it. They stated that this could not be included in my bankruptcy due to it being a checking account. Where do I even start to figure this out? Thank you for your time.

    • Robert Weed

      May 30, 2014, pm31 9:36 PM


      SCAM SCAM Outlaw debt collector trying to scare you into making a payment on a debt that you probably never had, but that would be way too late under the statute of limitations if you did. (I explain the statute of limitations here.https://robertweed.com/2013/06/20/statute-of-limitation-in-virginia-for-credit-cards/) And covered by your bankruptcy even if you didn’t know about it.

      You can just ignore it. If you want to do more, you can google the 800 number–probalby find other consumers who were hit by scammers from that same phone number and post your warning too. If you have some contact info, report them to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. On the bottom of this page https://robertweed.com/bankruptcy-five-year-warranty/ you can find a link. FBI too..since they called you on the phone, it’s Federal wire fraud.

  • Leon G.

    July 12, 2014, am31 1:00 AM

    I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 2013. It was discharged in May 2014. I pulled my credit report and noticed Barlcays and Citifinancial both show as status Charge Offs. They dod not show included in Bankruptcy. It shows where Consumer disputes after resolution. It also shows date of 1st delinquency 04/2008. Date Maj. del. 1st Rptd 04/2008. Will my credit score increase once these items are changed to Included in Bankruptcy?

    • Robert Weed

      July 12, 2014, am31 10:41 AM


      Don’t know. If the date of first delinquency on those was recent, then I’d be pretty sure changing to BK would raise your score. But since it’s so old, I’m not sure it will. Don’t know, though.

  • Amy

    July 27, 2014, am31 7:32 AM

    I filed BK7 ProSe in 12/2010, Discharged 03/2011. I acquired additional assets from a settlement that my BK assistant listed as an open civil case on the schedule but did not exempt it and the BK was re-opened, creditors disbursed monies after the trustee took most of it for his “services”. Can I or should I dispute everything with the BIG3 including the BK since technically the Status is Incorrect—not Discharge in BK, but some paid? Is that better or worse? I thought about writing the BK Judge a declaration of my circumstances to expunge my case–in 2008 I was wrongfully terminated for discrimination, single mom, had just bought my house and by 2010 I just couldn’t keep paying; was harassed constantly, the loss of a 6 figure job to pennies forced me to file to save my home. My BK atty said I would loose If I tried to amend and exempt the settlement completely so he made a deal that I would get 3% of the settlement; he’s now retired. I feel like I was burned twice; forced to file BK caused by wrongful term, then the money from the settlement is taken, plus I had to pay BK atty for nothing…trustee benefiting the most? And the thing is, I just want to re-fi my dern car but have been turned down.

    • Robert Weed

      July 27, 2014, am31 10:33 AM


      Don’t know where you live, but it looks like filing BK pro se and NOT disclosing the the pending settlement was a big mistake. Here in Virginia–each state is different–you can keep those if you disclose them, but otherwise they are forfeited. Since 2010 you should have been able to build back to good credit–three years after chapter 7 many of my clients are getting car loans at 6.9% or lower. It sounds like you are really getting hit at every turn.


    August 15, 2014, am31 12:23 AM

    Hi, I have filed Ch 7 two days ago and still waiting for a discharge. Included in my Ch 7 is a Discover Bank account in which I was added on as an ‘Authorized User’ by a relative to help establish my credit. I was issued my own Credit Card by Discover Bank which I was using. I fell into hard times a few years after and became delinquent on said Credit Card.
    As the Primary Account holder, my relative was contacted by Discover to settle the delinquency and to avoid damaging her credit. My relative and I asked Discover if they could hold me responsible and report the delinquency on my credit since it’s obvious that the I was responsible for the charges made. Discover refused and stated that only the primary account holder can be held responsible and this does not show on my credit report. Long story short, my relative closed off my account, she was assigned a New Account # where the outstanding balance was transferred Paid Off the outstanding balance about 4 years ago to prevent it from being transferred to collection.
    Fast forward to 2 days ago: my BK lawyer gave me a copy of my Credit Report and Ch 7 documents where the Discover account is under my name and included in my Schedule F as claimant with the FULL Amount owed and which has been fully paid and settled.

    So my questions are:
    1) How can they still claim the FULL Amount owed under my name (which they claimed they cannot ‘acknowledge’ since I’m NOT the Primary Account Holder and is not being reported on my credit) which has been settled and paid for in FULL?
    2) Since Discover has ‘acknowledged’ that it IS my account and is still claiming the FULL amount against me and is included in my Ch 7, is there any possibility that my relative can claim back the amount paid? or any way we can dispute this?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Robert Weed

      August 15, 2014, pm31 1:57 PM


      Not sure who you mean by “they” but the credit report SHOULD have shown you were just an authorized user on the account. And maybe that’s what it did show–you really don’t have enough info. It’s you and your lawyer who decide what creditors are listed in your bankruptcy. You talk like somebody else did it. Maybe your lawyer uses one of the programs which just fills everything in from the credit reports. But what YOU put in your bankruptcy has nothing to do with your relative getting back the money they paid because you ran up debts you didn’t pay on their credit. Obviously the relative had to pay because they gave a card to you and promised Discover that they would pay for your charges.

  • Mechelle

    September 1, 2014, am30 12:33 AM

    Helllo Mr. Weed I filed bankruptcy in February of this year a chapter 7 and I didn’t add my car loan in but they added it themselves it was discharged in June of this year I’ve been paying a car payments before I found out it was included, but when I checked my credit report it said that the loan had been added into my bankruptcy and charged off, with a $0 balance do I still pay a car note or what does this mean????

    • Robert Weed

      September 1, 2014, am30 10:30 AM


      That’s a question lots of people have.

      Let’s start before the bankruptcy. Before the bankrutpcy, two things happen if you don’t pay your car note. First, they repossess and sell your car; second they sue and garnish you for the rest of the money.

      Bankruptcy changes only one of those. If you don’t make your car payment, they still repossess your car. But they CANNOT sue and garnish you for the rest of the money.

      In short, if you need that car, you’ve got to make the car payment.

  • Steven

    September 27, 2014, pm30 4:17 PM

    Hi Mr. Weed,
    Is there a statute of limitations on a lender’s claim of interest on a vehicle they discharged? I had a car loan through B of A, I was out of work for an extended period of time, the car was wrecked and not repairable. I was unable to make payments and they discharged the debt. I believe it may have been included in my Ch 7 a couple of years later, but not sure. I have tried to donate it for scrap or give it away, but they will not release interest. Is there a way around it? Can I tow it to my nearest B of A and quit claim my interest to them? By the way, the discharge was in mid 2000.

    • Robert Weed

      September 27, 2014, pm30 4:34 PM

      As I explain here, you can’t force them to take back the stuff. https://robertweed.com/2013/03/05/but-i-surrendered-that-property-in-my-bankruptcy/

      You can reopen your bankrutpcy and then redeem the car–get the judge to set a payoff value. Maybe $100, depending on the vehicle and the judge. Or, you need to pay a junk yard to take it off your hands without a title.

      This annoying problem pops up a lot, and there isn’t any good answer.

      • Steven

        September 27, 2014, pm30 5:32 PM

        Thank you for your reply. I will pursue one of these courses of action.
        A followup question though, My bankruptcy is about to fall off my credit history; if I reopen the bankruptcy to get a payoff, will it reset the 10 year clock?

        • Robert Weed

          September 27, 2014, pm30 7:40 PM


          It shouldn’t.

  • Elizabeth

    October 8, 2014, am31 3:07 AM

    we went through a hard time in 2012, ended up being able to do a modification of our first mortgage and we tried to work with our second mortgage company (different bank) to try to get an adjustment on the interest rate and ended up in default. I pulled our credit reports and the second mortgage $20,000 has been charged off. We have gotten calls from at least three different collection agencies. we are up to date on every other bill we have, it is just this one that we need to deal with. When I called Citi mort. they said our loan did not exist?? which is why I pulled our credit report. Initially I would talk with the collection agents but recently I stopped talking to them. I even asked our credit counseling agency where we consolidated our credit cards if they could add this loan into our monthly payments and they said yes, but the collection agency didn’t want to receive monthly payments. What would be your suggestion on moving forward? Other than this one item our bills are paid.

  • Jayne

    October 23, 2014, pm31 3:44 PM

    Thank you for this insightful and informative site!

    I totaled a vehicle while in Chapter 13. The trustee sent the creditor a lump sum payment (insurance payoff to get the title) for the secured portion of the claim, and the unsecured portion of the claim was continued throughout the remainder of the Chapter 13 plan. When the trustee did this, the creditor changed the first date of delinquency on my credit report from the date of my bankruptcy filing (2007) to the first date they quit getting a scheduled payment from the trustee. They also changed the status of the loan from Chapter 13-Wage Earner to Charge-Off during that same time. This negative account should have come off my credit report this year, but since they changed the first date of delinquency, it is scheduled to be on there 4 more years. I’ve disputed 3 times and no luck yet. Are they allowed to do this and is it worth it to keep disputing it?

    Also, if you file a Chapter 13 that is paid/completed/closed but not eligible for discharge due to having filed a Chapter 7 4 years prior, does that stay on your credit report for 7 or 10 years. One credit bureau took it off while 2 have kept it on. Can it be disputed and is there a nice way to request it be removed? It was not dismissed, dropped, etc. Everything I have read said it stays up to 10 years if it is dismissed or not completed, etc., but this was paid at 100% and completed over 7 years ago, there was nothing to discharge, it was paid/closed/completed. It was completed just like a discharged 3-5 year plan would be. I have the Trustee’s completed report, etc.

    • Robert Weed

      October 23, 2014, pm31 3:52 PM


      You definitely need to talk to a lawyer in your area who does Fair Credit Report law. I think what you are telling me about what the car people did is a violation. (But I will also tell you that enforcing fair treatment on credit reports for people in Chapter 13 has NOT been easy.)

      A good place to look for a lawyer is http://www.naca.net/find-attorney. Since you definitely need a lawyer–and they will look closely at the Chapter 13 regulations, they can look at that other issue, too.

      Here’s a link https://robertweed.com/resources/Chapter%2013%20reporting%20Credit%20Reporting%20Resources%20Guide.pdf to the credit bureau instrucitons on how Chapter 13s are supposed to be reported. It’s from 2009. I haven’t been able to get a newer one.

  • janice

    November 11, 2014, pm30 10:07 PM

    Had a bankruptcy reaffirmation papers were not sent in on time so my truck is showing on credit reports as discharged but I have been still making pmts.do I still have to make them? Will they come get it if I dont? Will I ever get the title cleared of their name?
    Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      November 12, 2014, am30 11:20 AM


      You have to make the payments if you want to keep the truck. As long as the truck is NOT with a credit union where you also had some other debt, then yes when its paid off they have to send you the title.

  • Butchie

    December 9, 2014, pm31 5:33 PM

    My daughter filed bankruptcy in Jan 2014. We had a joint credit card account. In jan. the company placed me on s charge off and told me that they would no longer accept my payments. A representative of the co told me that they place all people on charge off when someone files bankruptcy. She said that I could pay but there will be no record or balance. Daughter was released in April from BK. They reported my account to credit bureaus as an individual account and a charge off. I never received billing statement or late notice. Now the want to send to collection. My credit is now low. do I have to pay? How do I dispute the charge off? What else do you suggest. Thanks in advance

    • Robert Weed

      December 9, 2014, pm31 9:09 PM


      I have seen that problem before but don’t have any good idea. A couple times I’ve told people to MAKE payments even though they tell you not to, and that has worked.

      But now that you didn’t pay–even though they told you not to–I just don’t have any ideas.

      Who was this company?

  • Amy

    January 11, 2015, am31 4:19 AM

    I filed Chapter 7 in 2009. I wanted to keep my two automobiles (one was ex husbands) I told the bank and continued to make payments, all on time. They are paid off now, but reported as derogatory on my credit report. Should I dispute this or are they derogatory due to me filing bankruptcy? Thanks

  • Lisa Clark

    January 18, 2015, am31 3:16 AM

    Hi Mr. Weed. Thanks for this blog! I’m 51 and due to being over-burdened with a 25 year old student loan and losing my job a few years ago, I filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy Dec 22,2014. I got a new job and am starting over. My question is can Chase take money from my checking account to offset the $6000 balance I owe on credit cards to Chase? I took all money out of the account and opened an account with a a new bank but I have had the account at Chase for over 12 years and would like to continue using it but am nervous about putting any money in there. Chase did not close checking the account but I called them and they said they would forward my question to the appropriate department but I have not gotten an answer. I have read conflicting reports on if a bank can offset credit card debt or not. Should I just move forward with the new lender and close my Chase account??

    • Robert Weed

      January 18, 2015, am31 11:31 AM


      If you really want to move back to Chase–and the bankruptcy was filed last month, and you’re pretty sure the bankruptcy is going through–then sure you can move your money back to Chase.

  • Julie Miller

    February 27, 2015, pm28 7:35 PM

    My husband and I filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy on 4/7/2012. We had purchased a vehicle in September of 2011 and in February 2012 the car broke down and needed to have the engine replaced which was going to cost over $5000 dollars. We owed a little over $8000 dollars at the time. We decided to let the vehicle go back and filed the bankruptcy. Our credit report is showing that we had a charge off on the loan on 04/30/2012 in the amount of $5049.00. I have disputed the charge off with all three credit bureaus to change this to show that it was included in my bankruptcy on 04/07/2012 before the charge off occurred, but they are refusing to update the status. What else do I need to do to correct this? I want to start trying to purchase a house but I know that this showing this way on my credit report will affect this.

    • Robert Weed

      March 3, 2015, am31 12:36 AM


      Why were you in Chapter 13? And if it was a 3 year Chapter 13, are you still in Chapter 13? And what does your lawyer say about all this? I’m not understanding what is going on this your bankruptcy case.

  • Patricia king

    March 21, 2015, pm31 2:25 PM

    Mr. Weed,
    About a month ago I received a
    Discharge for my chapter 13. How do I get title to the truck that was included? Also the discharge papers stated
    There was over $4000 left in the trustee account. Will this money be returned to me? I have researched but can’t find an answer-found your site and
    Thought I would ask you before I called my
    Attorney-a painful experience and oft times an exercise
    In futility. Thank you for your help.

    • Robert Weed

      March 25, 2015, am31 11:11 AM


      As to the money, I can’t say. Depends on how they do things where you are.

      As to the car title, call and ask the car finance company. If that doesn’t work you need to find soembody better than your poor excuse for an attorney to go after them.

  • Elsa

    March 30, 2015, pm31 11:29 PM

    I lost most of my income in 2014 and was not able to pay my bills: I defaulted on the first and second mortgage and HELO on my home which is in MD as well as on two of the four credit cards I have. The first mortgage was sold to an other lender and they filed for foreclosure. I just pulled my credit report and the first mortgage, second mortgage and HELOC all show as charge off as well as the two credit cards totaling about $25,000. Both the second mortgage holder and HELOC lender sent me a letter that they are removing the lien but the second mortgage holder filed a judgement in court which I found out by accident not from them (case coming up in May).
    I am trying to negotiate a loan modification with the first lender as my income is starting to come back. I really didn’t want to file BK and was hoping to come to terms with all of these creditors but it looks like my credit score will not come back unless I do go through BK and those debts are discharged? I am not sure what the best way is to proceed and of course I don’t know if the first will give a loan mod and what I can negotiate with the others if anything without going through BK. Property is worth less that what’s owed even on the first mortgage but then again I am sure they didn’t pay full price for a defaulted note.
    Thanks for your advise in advance!

    • Robert Weed

      March 30, 2015, pm31 11:42 PM


      If you file bankruptcy your credit score will improve faster than if you try to dig your way out.

      Plus, you are more likely to get approved for a loan mod because your debt to income ratio is better–you are more likely to be able to pay.

  • kristina

    May 20, 2015, pm31 7:44 PM

    Hello Mr. Weed
    My question is: we had a bk discharged 9/2012 we wanted to stay in our home so we never quit paying the 1st mortgage. we have a 2nd mortgage will B of A that we have not paid and is now a charge off. But we have not been contacted by B of A or any collection agency. We wanted to refi the first no cash out but of course b of a won’t sign the subordination because the loan is a charge off which we just found out through the refi process. so not sure what to do here….try to settle with b of A, or is there a modification of the 2nd we can do?? we just want to take care of it whatever way we can in order to be able to refi and lower our monthly mortgage payment on the first. but of course we can’t do that if B of A doesn’t budge of the subordination.

    thank you

    • Robert Weed

      May 20, 2015, pm31 8:08 PM


      You’ve been following what I call the nerves of steel strategy. I explain that here.https://robertweed.com/2010/03/25/after-bankruptcy-what-if-i-dont-pay-my-second-mortgage/.

      Often, after two or three years of getting nothing, they will agree to accept a low ball settlement. But that depends on a lot of thing, like what they think your house is worth now–and it’s something of a shot in the dark.

      My blog gives you all I know. Good luck!

  • Jay Baez

    July 17, 2015, pm31 3:40 PM

    Hello Mr. Weed
    Here is my story of headache.
    I reside in the State of FL.
    Back in 2006 I was married and opened a line of credit through the house with my wife for $50k. After the economy fallout we owed more than what the house was worth. I got divorced in 2010 (I never signed the note) she did a loan modification toward the first mortgage not the line of credit because they were two different banks. Currently the property has no equity since she owes more than what the property is worth. Three month ago we both tried to settle for $6000.00 but the attorney working for the bank said no. Last month June 2015 we both received notice by mail with a court date appearance. My former wife went ahead and filed bankruptcy. A few days after her bankruptcy we both received notice by mail that the attorney had dismissed the court date (I guess they knew they would not get their money back since the property was still upside down) she just went to court this past week and no creditors showed up. They gave all creditors until September of this year for anyone to appeal.
    My question is: if after the deadline of September no creditors come forth does that mean we “both” are all done with this? Can they still sell the loan to another agency requesting payment from either one of us? Although she was the one who filed bankruptcy to wipe out the line of credit can they still come after me? I just pulled my credit report and it says “Charged off as bad debt” please note this status has been like this for some time now. On my former wife credit report it says “Charged off/ Bankruptcy. Should it say “Bankruptcy charge off” for me as well? Does it matter? Since mine doesn’t say “bankruptcy charge off” can they still come after me?

    • Robert Weed

      July 17, 2015, pm31 5:07 PM


      Two months after her bankruptcy is OVER, then it should show “bankruptcy discharged” on her. That’s easy.

      If you really “never signed the note”–then it’s not your debt at all. Should not be on your credit; you don’t have a debt.

      If they DO have your signature, somehow, somewhere, then yes they can still come after you. Her Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn’t help you at all.

      • Jay Baez

        July 17, 2015, pm31 5:57 PM

        I was not on the note of the first mortgage. I did sign the second (line of credit). Can they get a judgment against me? They did start the lawsuit but when my former wife filed for bankruptcy they dismiss the case. Should I wait for a collection agency to call and see if they would settle? Would the easiest way out for me is to file bankruptcy? I’ve done the research and I Definitely qualify. Please let me know. Again, Thank you.

        • Robert Weed

          July 17, 2015, pm31 6:40 PM


          You should definitely meet with a bankruptcy lawyer. When they look at your situation in detail, there MIGHT be some reason to avoid bankruptcy, but from what you’ve told me, it looks like a good option.

          • Jay

            July 17, 2015, pm31 7:28 PM

            Thank you, Mr. Weed for all of your help and sincere advice.

  • Katja Killingsworth

    August 5, 2015, am31 5:56 AM

    I just hope you can answer a simple question for me. I am about to file chapter 7. It seems 1 or 2 of my debts have been sold to other companies, but I do not know for sure or have details. Could technically a company that purchased the debt, come in say 1 year and collect, even though the original creditor has been discharged?

    • Robert Weed

      August 5, 2015, am31 11:02 AM


      That is a simple question. No. No, they can’t.

  • Liz Jonas

    September 29, 2015, am30 1:32 AM

    I filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2009 and it was discharged in 2013. I had a dental bill from late 2007 that I told the court about. They never came forward with a claim. Late 2013 it showed up on my credit report as a collection account. It had been sold to a collection firm 10/2010. Am I responsible for this? Transunion and Expetian have removed it from my report but Equifax says it’s a legitimate debt and will not remove it.

    • Robert Weed

      October 5, 2015, am31 12:32 AM


      That sounds like and FDCPA violation by the debt collector and an FCRA violation by Equifax. You need to talk to a lawyer in your area who does that kind of law. A good place to start looking is here. http://www.consumeradvocates.org/find-attorney

  • Laure

    October 2, 2015, pm31 3:15 PM

    Hello, We filed chapter 13 18 months ago, but recently are trying to buy a house due to my husband retiring. We were payng close attention to our credit reports and opened several secured CC to help bring up the score. We were finally where we needed to be and my credit score just dropped 20 points. I go and pull my credit report and notice that one of my previous credit cards that is in the chapt 13 wage earner program is now listed under a collection agency.
    I tried to call my attorney but they said they do not deal with Credit reports and will only help if I receive a bill. So I have a few questions:
    1. Can they legally do this? “Sell a bill that is protected under Chapter 13”
    2. And if so can they try and collect after the bankruptcy is discharged?
    3. All my creditors are still showing balances owed…from reading above it looks like they should have changed to zero? Did I read that incorrectly…

    Thanks I appreciate any help

  • Rachelle

    October 16, 2015, pm31 4:56 PM

    I filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and have recently been discharged. One of the accounts showing on my credit report is a collection agency for a credit union that closed my account while I was attempting to pay on it and reported me to chexsystem. My question is since they reported me to chexsystems should I attempt to make payment arrangements with this collection agency so that the chexsystem report will show paid? My only concern is what you pointed out in an earlier post that once I make payments to one collection agency they will all come out to get me. Please help. Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      October 18, 2015, pm31 5:30 PM


      On your main credit reports–Experian, Equifax, TransUnion–paying or not paying won’t show after bankruptcy either way. So that won’t cause others to come after you. Plus it would be a bankrutpcy violation if they did.

      So your question is should you pay it just to improve your checksystems? Do you have a bank account somewhere? If you do, then how important is checksystems to you right now?

      I’d spend some time with you before I had a recommendation one way or the other.

      I also wonder did your credit union close the account because you really were over drawn; or because they were hitting you with fees.

  • jami

    January 11, 2016, pm31 4:57 PM

    Hi Robert, we filed Chapter 7 in 2011. It was discharged in Nov. 2011. We stayed in our home and did not reaffirm but agreed to continue to pay the Mortgages. We have paid all payments on time on both our 1st and 2nd mortgages. We have rebuilt our credit back up to around 700 for me and my husband. We are currently trying to refinance and getting denied due to our second Mortgage reporting it as a charge off in 2014. Our understanding is that a charge off is if you are delinquent. We have never been delinquent with this loan and even signed a informal payment agreement telling them we will still continue to pay on this loan. Is it legal for them 2 years later while making all payments for them to report it as a charge off. Now we cannot refinance or purchase a home and because our home has equity we are afraid of them trying to forclose on us now. They have not sold this loan to a collection company. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Robert Weed

      January 15, 2016, am31 10:33 AM

      No, it’s not. They should report it as included in bankrutpcy–they should report it as included in bankruptcy, whether you pay or whether you don’t pay. Charge off is wrong. You need to start disputes with the CREDIT BUREAUS, where it’s being reported. https://robertweed.com/credit-report-dispute-line/.

    • Robert Weed

      January 15, 2016, am31 10:33 AM

      No, it’s not. They should report it as included in bankrutpcy–they should report it as included in bankruptcy, whether you pay or whether you don’t pay. Charge off is wrong. You need to start disputes with the CREDIT BUREAUS, where it’s being reported. https://robertweed.com/credit-report-dispute-line/.

  • Ann

    March 5, 2016, am31 6:00 AM

    I filed chapter 13 in 201 and converted it to chapter 7 in 2012 and received a discharge in 05/13. Unfortunately I messed up again after that, and defaulted on a payday loan. They referred it to Ad Astra recovery services. I stuck my head in the sand and next thing I knew I was served with a lawsuit by a law firm. I then paid the law firm in full to avoid judgment, and it was dismissed without prejudice. I am now really serious about staying on the right path, but when checking my credit report Ad Astra shows paid in full, and included in Chapter 7 Banlruptcy and discharged, even thougb it was a year after that I defaulted. Actually they show that on two and correct ln the other. I want to handle this the best way I can to get the collections removed from all three, not just corrected, and feel like reporting fraud to ftc and attorney general is best way to make them more likely to just remove it to avoid scrutiny. What is your advice?

    • Robert Weed

      March 5, 2016, pm31 1:41 PM


      Assuming it was a legal payday loan (internet payday loans are illegal most places) I don’t see how you can get the collection removed.

      I explain how to do credit report disputes here. https://robertweed.com/credit-report-dispute-line/

  • Carol

    March 24, 2016, am31 11:32 AM

    During the crash of the housing market (2011) my husband filed bankruptcy Chapter 13 that included his credit card debt and the house. We are paying back the equity loan that was attached to the house, but not the first mortgage. The payback plan is almost complete, Sept 2016. We are starting to look into buying a house again… some time in November after his plan is paid off. We pulled his credit reports and the mortgage company is showing the mortgage as “Petition for Chapter 13 Bank. $106,494 written off”, but still reporting a balance that he’s delinquent on every month. It does also show that they did the foreclosure process. It shows this on his Experian and Equifax… BUT on his TransUnion is shows a balance of $0 with nothing getting reported.
    So, because of this, the one lender we’ve already talked to says that they will not pre-qualify us for a home loan because of the debt to income ratio… and this mortgage problem is the main problem.
    Our lawyer doesn’t have any answers about it and says that we need to go to a credit repair service company. He’s tried to call the mortgage company and they won’t say one word to him.

    So, my question is… should the mortgage company still be reporting him as delinquent being that it’s filed under the Chapter 13? I’m not sure if we should fight this, or if this is how it’s suppose to be.
    Thank you.

  • Kim Williams

    July 1, 2016, pm31 8:11 PM

    I am the co owner on a car loan. My son filed ch7 and got a discharge. He lives in another state he did not reaffirm the car and the lender did not attend the meeting of creditors. I now have the car no one has called for the car since about 6 months ago it’s been 60days since the discharge. Car was over 16 months past due. My question is what should I be doing at this point? The car does not show on my report since 21/2016 it’s just gone off all 3 reports. HELP

    • Robert Weed

      July 2, 2016, pm31 4:40 PM


      I don’t know. If you are a cosigner on the car they can come after you for the rest of the money. I’m assuming sooner or later they will. It’s easy for me to say you should not have cosigned for your son; I don’t have any idea what you should do now. How much money do you owe on the car? If it’s more than you can pay, you should at least consult with a bankruptcy lawyer in your area; so if it hits your credit again, or if you get court papers, you know what to do.

  • Tammy Hammond

    July 27, 2016, pm31 3:41 PM

    My capital one account was included in my Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, capital one denied a claim against it. Therefore they just charged off the whole $24K balance. My credit report shows $24k charged off. Now, my Chapter 13 bankruptcy has just been discharged, will capital one be required to show the balance as $0? Or how does that work? I am buying a house and my bank is worried about the $24k charge off.

    • Robert Weed

      July 31, 2016, pm31 5:34 PM


      I don’t know what you mean by “capital one denied a claim against it.” Except for that, I would say that Cap One is required to show the balance as $0.

  • Ann

    December 1, 2016, pm31 12:12 PM

    Need help trying to figure out my credit report after doing chapter 7 bankruptcy that was finalized in 2014. The items in question are my student loans. Under the descriptions of them I have…
    1) they just say they were transferred
    2) account included in bankruptcy bankruptcy chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged
    3) student loan assigned to govt. Claim filed with govt for insured
    4) bankruptcy dismissed original creditor:aes pheaa
    5) student loan assigned to government collection aes pheaa family chapter 7 bankruptcy dismissed

    Any help understanding these terms would greatly be appreciated. I have no idea what has been taken away with bankruptcy and what hasn’t been regarding my student loans

    • Robert Weed

      December 1, 2016, pm31 12:17 PM


      My answer is much simpler than your detailed question. Regardless of what your credit report says, bankrutpcy doe NOT get rid of student loans.

  • Gracie

    February 25, 2017, am28 11:01 AM

    Mr. Weed,
    I filed Chapter 13 BR in MI in 2005, was discharged 2010. In the 13 BR I included 2 local Credit Unions both had credit cards debts attached that were opened with the credit unions in 2002. When my 13 BR was discharged it in 2010 both Credit Unions debts were fully discharged. They may have not been paid fully by Trustee but received their %.

    Now here we are in 2017, and I am shopping for a new bank so I can do a refi or HELOC, and I had contacted both these Credit Unions about opening a checking/savings account. Both came back stating that in order be considered for opening an account I had to pay off the “bad charge offs”.

    I stated those were discharged by the Trustee in 2010 and I am not required and those should not be considered Charge Offs and that they are not shown on my credit report. Both credit unions have stated that they will clear up “internally” with 10 years after discharge but I am responsible for what was left that the Trustee did not pay therefore considered a “charge off” yet.

    I understand the bad feelings that they were included in the the 13, but the trustee did pay them a % and they did not dispute the 13 when they were given the chance. How can they still do this? Can they attempt to make me pay an monies that I included in my Chapter 13 prior to 2005, it now being 2017. Can they call this a “charge off” still Isn’t there a Statute of Limitations anyway?

    I am afraid now that I have opened up a Pandoras Box with these Credit Unions and they will try and openly collect on the debts again somehow. One mentioned “Loss Prevention” and the other mentioned in house “Legal Department”.

    Friends said work with local Credit Unions because they are easier for HELOCs, refi’s then local banks and I thought that perhaps nearly 17 years later I would be given a 2nd chance.

    Please advise and thanks so much.

    • Robert Weed

      February 25, 2017, pm28 1:12 PM


      Credit Unions take it personally if you file bankruptcy on them. and they don’t have to take you back. As long as they are NOT putting “charge off” on your credit report, you don’t care what their internal processes are. The Universe is full of banks; and credit unions. Just go down the street to the next one.

  • Ms. Speer

    October 7, 2018, pm31 9:05 PM

    Mr Reed,

    I filed for Chapter 7 in November 2011 and it was discharged November 2013. I recently requested all 3 of my credit reports and the Chapter 7 was dropped from my public record, but I’m finding that 2 credit cards are not showing included in bankruptcy. The most recent update shows a charge-off in March and June of 2018. Is this correct? Or should they have reported the charge-off when the case was filed or discharged? I’m trying to clean-up my report because I would like to buy a home in the next 12 months. Thank you in advance.

    • Robert Weed

      October 8, 2018, am31 10:22 AM

      Ms Speer:

      That should NOT be. Go back to your bankruptcy lawyer and see if they will fight that for you. Or find a lawyer in your area who does credit report law. One place to look is here. https://www.consumeradvocates.org/for-consumers

  • Kevin

    April 15, 2019, am30 11:51 AM

    Is it legal for a creditor to report a debt as “charged off” after a chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge?

    The account was not late prior to filing chapter 7.

  • Dani

    September 4, 2019, pm30 9:57 PM

    Hi Robert, I am filing BK7 and think a couple of my debts have been sold to other companies. I do not know who or when though. I only know the original creditor, will this hurt me? Also, will they be able to pursue me and my debt if I am discharged? Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      September 6, 2019, pm30 12:03 PM


      You are only required to do your best. So all the debts are covered as long as you’ve listed them all as best you can.

  • Kathy

    September 11, 2019, pm30 8:28 PM

    Hi Robert, thank you for this blog. You’ve given me so much more info than my actual bk attorney at this point. I entered into a payment plan with them earlier this year and submitted my final payment 3 months ago, and we still have yet to file anything or even meet in person. They are locally based, have a site, reviews, and are real haha but for some reason it is like pulling teeth when trying to get a hold of them. The rare phone calls last 1-2 minutes and texts often go ignored for days/weeks. 2 weeks ago I was promised a meeting to finally sign the petition and file, but ended up being avoided last minute. What I want to know is if there is a certain protocol and timeline for this type of thing? Also, do you have any insight and advice/feedback on what my rights are in this situation? I’m being harassed day and night by bill collectors and it’s getting harder to move forward as time goes on. Thanks!!!

    • Robert Weed

      September 14, 2019, am30 9:39 AM


      That does not sound good.

      I personally never accept a retainer form a client until we have met in person. (With very rare exceptions, like military stationed overseas.)

      And we send the papers to the court within less than a week of collecting the final payment and sending the papers to the court. (Again with very rate exceptions, like need to schedule the court date around a previously planned family emergency.)

      If you send a letter to them with a copy to your state bar laying this out and asking for a refund, you will get a refund in a real hurry.

      A good place to search for another lawyer in your area would be here. https://www.nacba.org/find-an-attorney/

  • Joshua Holmes

    December 1, 2019, am31 12:32 AM

    I’m in MS. Getting sued for a cc and have a few more after I couldn’t pay all of a debt settlement plan, never recommend. Is it better to bankrupt for $550 or wait it out since I can’t be garnished. It’s all civil right? Also my spouse owes multiple ccs but also has a mortgage and timeshare. Should they bankrupt too or wait and just pay mortgage and timeshare? Thanks

    • Robert Weed

      December 10, 2019, pm31 6:47 PM


      Agree that those debt settlement outfits rarely work as promised. You should go over your financial situation in detail with a lawyer their to decide whether it’s better to go ahead with a bankruptcy now, or wait to see if you actually do get court papers.

      As to your spouse, especially if there’s real estate in their name, they definitely need a detailed review to see if bankruptcy can help, or would hurt. I get people to fill out 37 pages of info BEFORE I meet with them, so I can have a good answer to that kind of question.

      I wish I could tell you more.

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