Incorrect Credit Reporting After Bankruptcy

Your credit history is in your credit reports

Your credit history is in your credit reports

Incorrect Credit Reporting After Bankruptcy

[Updated May 2021] Errors with credit reports after you have filed bankruptcy are very common and you need to fix these errors so that you can get your fresh start after bankruptcy.  Otherwise you lose a huge benefit of a bankruptcy discharge if creditors and collectors are allowed to do false credit reporting on you.

Your credit score can be wrongfully driven down by errors in your credit report. Fortunately, credit bureaus (such as Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) have an obligation to provide accurate reports with no errors.  If you have errors, those can be fixed or you can sue in federal court to give a gentle (or not so gentle) nudge to the bad guys to do the right thing.  :). This type of lawsuit is under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

Some creditors or buyers of debt will not report your discharge to credit bureaus.  Instead “park the debt” during the bankruptcy and then try to collect the debt after it has been legally discharged. We have filed dozens and dozens of these types of cases against all types of creditors and debt collectors — so you do have an option if these guys won’t do the right thing.

What Are Some Common Post-Bankruptcy Credit Reporting Errors?

Once you have completed your bankruptcy, you should request a copy of your credit report by going online to

Your credit report should indicate a zero balance next to all creditors listed in your bankruptcy petition, unless you re-affirmed the existing debt during the bankruptcy.

Another common error is reporting negative information after your discharge such as showing you as being late for months after your discharge.  You can’t be late after your discharge!

A third type of common error is showing a past due amount after your discharge.  Or showing that you still have payments due after a discharge.  Can’t be late or owe payment after a discharge.

What Should You Do If You See False Credit Reporting After A Bankruptcy Discharge?

If your credit report indicates an error or errors, you should send them a dispute letter with proof the debt was discharged in bankruptcy. We can help you with drafting the letter or you may decide to draft it yourself. In either event, we recommend sending the dispute letter by certified mail so that you can prove the credit reporting agencies received the dispute letter.  (If you send it by regular mail, they will be tempted to just throw it away and lie about getting it).

Here’s the basic format of the dispute letter sent to the credit reporting agencies:

  • Identify the account or accounts that are reporting incorrectly;
  • Let the credit reporting agencies know when you filed bankruptcy (they already know but remind them);
  • Tell them the account is falsely reporting and needs to be fixed or deleted;
  • Tell them to fix it or you’ll have to take legal action;
  • Request they explain in writing if they are going to refuse to fix it; and
  • Thank them for doing the right thing by fixing the problem.

Can You Sue If The False Information Is Not Fixed Or Deleted?

If the credit reporting agency (the credit bureau) does not correct the error or errors in your credit report, we can file a lawsuit to make them fix your credit reports and to get you money damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Same thing against the “furnisher” — that is the company that provided (furnished) the false information to the credit reporting bureuas.

What Type Of Damages Can You Recover For False Credit Reporting?

There are several types of damages under the FCRA.

First is actual or compensatory damages.  These are damages to compensate you for your loss.  Generally two major types — economic and emotional damages. 

Economic damages are when you pay a higher interest rate or lose a job due to false credit reporting.  The false credit reporting literally takes money out of your pocket — you can recover this in the right type of lawsuit.

Emotional distress damages are to compensate you for the upset and mental anguish that naturally happens with false credit reporting.  Especially when you give the bad guys a chance to fix it and they don’t.  That’s very insulting and upsetting.

The second type is punitive damages.  These damages are to punish the companies for intentionally or recklessly violating the FCRA.  And to deter or discourage them (and others) from ever doing this again.  These are not easy damages to recover but they are very important in “encouraging” companies to do the right thing and to stop hurting consumers.

Another type of damages are statutory damages.  These again are when the company you are suing has been intentional or reckless in violating the FCRA.  This can be up to $1,000 per violation of the law.  This is when you cannot prove any actual or compensatory damages.

But How Do You Pay For A Great Consumer Lawyer To Help You?

The good news is you do not have to pay money out of your pocket.  When you hire a consumer lawyer, they will get paid out of the settlement and/or by court awarded attorney fees.  You see, the bad guys you sue, have to pay for their own lawyers and for your lawyer.  The law does this — its called “fee-shifting” — to encourage you to find a great lawyer who will represent you.  This puts you on equal footing with the companies you are suing.

If You Want To Learn More Information About Your Options What Should You Do?

If you would like to talk to us, call us at 205-879-2447 or fill out our intake form on our Contact Us page for a free confidential consultation. We will discuss your claim with you and our strategy for aggressively fighting to protect your rights and getting you the compensation you deserve.

There is never any charge for us to talk and to help you develop a game plan for what to do.  Whether that is disputing false information, filing a lawsuit, or whatever the next step needs to be so that you can make sure you have 100% accurate and correct credit reports.

John Watts

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