Bankruptcy & Your Credit Report

1.    How long does a bankruptcy remain on my credit report?
2.    How do I get a free copy of my credit report?
3.    How do I remove inaccurate information from my credit report?

1.    How long does a bankruptcy remain on my credit report?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 605, is the law that regulates credit reporting agencies. The law states that credit reporting agencies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person’s credit report after ten years from the date the bankruptcy case is filed.

The Bankruptcy Court has no jurisdiction over credit reporting agencies and does not report to any of the agencies. The bankruptcy petition, schedules, and other documents are public records. Credit reporting agencies regularly collect information from cases filed and report the information on their credit reporting services.  

Debtors must directly contact credit reporting agencies to discuss information on a credit report.  Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act the credit reporting agency (and the creditor) are required to correct inaccurate or incomplete information on a credit report. The credit bureau will verify the item in question with the creditor at no cost to the consumer.

There are a number of educational publications that the Federal Trade Commission has on its website (www.ftc.gov) to help consumers.

2.    How do I get a free copy of my credit report?

The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.

To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually.  They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.

More information about access to free credit reports can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at:   http://www.ftc.gov/freereports.

3.    How do I remove inaccurate information from my credit report?

No one can legally remove accurate negative information from a credit report. You can ask for an investigation — at no charge to you — of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. The credit bureau will verify the item in question with the creditor. The credit reporting industry has a policy that requires a creditor to respond to an investigation within 30 days.

After the investigation is complete, the credit reporting agency will notify the consumer of the outcome. If information in the repost has been changed or deleted, the consumer will receive a copy of the revised report.

PLEASE NOTE:  The bankruptcy courts do not provide information to the credit reporting agencies. The credit reporting agencies, or other information providers, collect information regarding bankruptcy cases from the court’s public records.  Once a case is filed with the bankruptcy court, that case becomes part of the court’s permanent records.  Regardless of the disposition of your case (i.e., open, closed, discharged, dismissed, etc.) the credit reporting agencies can still report your case on your credit report for up to ten years.

See also:

FTC - Disputing Errors on Credit Reports

FTC – Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself

FTC – Complaint Assistant