After you’ve been discharged from bankruptcy in New York, you have the chance to start over. An important part of rebuilding is monitoring your credit report for accuracy and reporting any discrepancies immediately. Black marks on your file can result in denial of credit, higher interest rates, and even lost job opportunities.
Unfortunately, credit report errors are not unusual. Debt collectors have been known to report discharged debts as valid to make money. Sometimes closed accounts are reported as open or the creditor mistakenly reports an account as late or delinquent when you paid the debt on time. Disputing such errors is complicated, but not impossible.
What to do
As soon as you notice the mistake, contact both the credit bureau and the creditor or agency that provided the erroneous information, as both are responsible under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for fixing incomplete or inaccurate data in your report.
When you approach the credit bureau, identify the information you believe to be inaccurate and explain why you are disputing it. Supply any documentation that supports your position and request that the information be deleted or corrected.
All three credit bureaus allow you to file a dispute online- Experian only accepts online submissions. The credit bureau must investigate the disputed item(s), generally within 30 days and advise you on any actions they have taken or will take.
When you approach the creditor, explain that you are disputing the information and why. Include any documentation that supports your position and ask them to copy you on any correspondence they send to the credit bureaus. (Upon receipt of your dispute, the provider must include notice of it the next time it reports the same information.) This process can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
If the credit reporting agency has not resolved your dispute to your satisfaction, then you are allowed to include a statement in your report to explain the situation. This statement, which must be no more than 100 words, will remain on your report for seven years and be visible to anyone who requests a copy of your credit report.
Credit bureaus are usually willing to work with consumers on valid disputes, as the consequences of failing to do so are high. In July 2013 a jury awarded an Oregon woman $18.6 million after she spent two years trying to get Equifax to correct mistakes in her credit report. Equifax representatives allegedly told her that her data had somehow become mixed with someone else’s and that she would need to dispute the inaccurate information directly to her creditors. The woman finally brought suit in Oregon Federal District Court.
Hopefully, you will not have to take such extreme measures to maintain the accuracy of your credit report, but regular monitoring will make it easier to replace negative information with positive data and rebuild your score after bankruptcy.
If you have large amounts of credit card debt, medical bills or personal loans, then you may be able to wipe them out in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To get more information on how to get a fresh financial start, contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C. Mr. Lutzky offers free initial in-office consultations and can be reached at 718-329-9500. Visit http://mynewyorkcitylawyer.com/ for more information.