Category: Credit Cards

Solving Credit Report Errors

Credit report errors are annoying and very common. After you deal with your debt issues, it can be very frustrating to have your credit report not accurately reflect your creditworthiness.

Once you start to really look at your credit report, you may be surprised to find the credit report errors sometimes are related to your personal information or debts of someone else entirely.

Alarmed clients often call me to deal with their credit report errors, but this is not a legal matter. Here are the steps to dealing with credit report errors:

Step 1. Look at your free credit reports

Annually, you can access a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus. Get each report. Compare the reports to see if they all have the same information.

If you find an error circle clearly and contact that credit bureau

Make a copy of your credit report and highlight the error you are disputing.

If an error only appears on one credit bureau’s report, you only need to contact that particular bureau (not all three).

Step 2. Dispute the Error

Write a letter to the relevant credit bureau who is reporting the error. Include documents that you think are helpful, such as the credit report copy with the error circled or statements from the creditor/account where the error is being reported. Visit credit bureau site to see if there is a form available that helps you to dispute the error.

Make sure to keep a copy for your records!

Step 3. Mail your dispute

Send the dispute information via certified mail, return receipt requested. Send a copy to both the credit bureau and the credit issuer at the same time.

You may also want to send a copy of the dispute to the original creditor as well. You may want to send the letters with tracking, so you can confirm when and if it is received.

Include in your envelope:

  • Copy of the dispute letter
  • Copy of your credit report with the error highlighted or circled
  • Copies of any supporting documentation

Step 5. Wait for a response

The credit bureau will look into it, but it may take about 30 days for them to take any action.

What happens if your dispute isn’t fixed?

If the problem is not fixed, try again a second time. May be this time you threaten a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau complaint.

If you need to submit your credit report for a time sensitive loan application, you may want to provide the dispute paperwork with your application, so the lender can see that there is a dispute pending.

 

non-dischargeable debts

What is a non-dischargeable debt in bankruptcy?

When I first meet with a potential client, we discuss what debts are non-dischargeable debts under the bankruptcy code and what debts bankruptcy can help with. This is often the part of the consultation where we discuss the reason driving the client to file bankruptcy and the goals of the case. Bankruptcy can help with the client’s debts in most cases, but with certain debts the help is not in the form of a discharge of the obligation entirely.

What debts can bankruptcy help with?

Unsecured debts are debts that do not have collateral to look toward if the clients stops paying on the balance. These debts outside of bankruptcy could confiscate paid off cars, garnish wages, and/or freeze bank accounts for payment through a lawsuit and judgment. Unsecured debts in a chapter 7 bankruptcy often do not receive any payment. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, this class of creditors often receives pennies on the dollar before the remainder of the obligation is discharged.

Unsecured Debts that can be discharged in bankruptcy:

  • credit cards
  • hospital bills
  • home or investment property foreclosure deficiencies
  • repossession deficiencies
  • business guarantees
  • IRS tax penalties

Secured Debts are obligations where if you stop paying the lender, the creditor/lender can repossess the collateral. The personal obligation can be discharged leaving only the lien for the following Secured Debts:

  • car leases
  • equipment leases
  • car loans
  • promissory note obligations to first mortgagees and/or second mortgagees (lien stays on property) on a property that client decides to surrender
  • HOA obligations on a property that client decides to surrender

What are non-dischargeable debts in bankruptcy?

There are other debts that may be unsecured, but are not dischargeable under the bankruptcy code provision 523.

These debts are examples of debts that cannot be discharged:

  • domestic support obligations (only child support and alimony in chapter 13; any DSO in a chapter 7)
  • IRS tax debt
  • student loans
  • trust account debts-Sales Tax and 941 obligations
  • debts procured from a misrepresentation or fraud

For more questions about your debts and whether bankruptcy can help, call the bankruptcy attorneys at the Bankruptcy Law Offices of James Schwitalla for your free consultation (305) 278-0811!