Credit After Bankruptcy
It's common to find errors on your credit report after bankruptcy. Balances are still showing, late payments still being reported, and so on. These errors damage your credit. So follow these steps to get the incorrect information removed:
Obtain copies of the reports from annualcreditreport.com. Use the mail-in form provided on the site to request your credit report from all three agencies (Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax). Enclose a copy of your driver’s license and a utility or other bill linking you to the address you where you want the reports mailed.
Do Not Request Copies of Credit Reports Directly From the Credit Bureaus
Do not request copies of the reports directly from the credit agencies, as binding arbitration could end up costing you important rights. Obtain a copy of your bankruptcy petition and the discharge document issued by the court in your case. This will provide you with a complete list of all the debts you had discharged by your bankruptcy and proof that you no longer legally owe those debts.
When you receive them in the mail, look over them for any errors. Ensure that all debts listed in your bankruptcy petition show a notation of “0 balance – discharged in bankruptcy.” If anything other than this notation appears in the trade line for that particular debt, this is a violation of federal, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and possibly the Bankruptcy Code. You will need to prepare a dispute letter and mail it directly to the agency.
Do Not Submit Disputes Online
Do not submit the dispute online! You will also need to make sure you mail the letter to the physical mailing address of the agency, and not to a P.O. Box. The physical addresses for the three major credit reporting agencies are:
Trans Union, 555 West Adams St., Chicago, IL 60661
Experian, 701 Experian Parkway, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax, 1550 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309-2468
The completed dispute letter must be mailed via certified mail, with return receipt requested. Include a copy of your Driver's License and a recent Utility Bill for identification purposes. Retain a copy of the letter along with the green card you receive back from the post office verifying the agency’s receipt of the letter.
Keep Copies of Everything
Keep copies of everything you mail and everything you receive. Once the dispute has been submitted, wait up to 45 days for a response. If the error is fixed, you need to do nothing further. If there are still errors, try applying for credit to see if you are denied or are offered higher interest rates because of the errors.
Keep proof of all denials or other problems. Then, send in a second dispute letter reflecting the new date and making mention that this is a second and urgent request. You may have to repeat this process, each time keeping copies of all correspondence.
If after your best attempts you still cannot get your credit report fixed and are suffering damages in the form of job denials, credit denials, etc., you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the reporting agency and creditors who deny you credit. You may be able to collect damages and have your attorney's fees paid.
Call me anytime for questions about credit or tax or debt: 800 659 0525.