One of the most common questions our office receives is regarding credit reports and the court’s relationship to credit reporting agencies. There is more detailed information below, and we encourage you to review it; however, the short answer is that there is no relationship. The court has no relationship or connection with, nor jurisdiction over, credit reporting agencies. They are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 605. This is not a part of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure or the U.S Bankruptcy Code.
- The court does not control what they report and does not report information to them.
- We cannot contact them to tell them to correct information you believe to be inaccurate or tell them to take anything off your credit report.
- As the bankruptcy court is not a credit reporting agency nor is the court an information provider by definition of the FCRA, the court is not required to conduct investigations or respond to disputes.
- Cases filed with the bankruptcy court do not “drop” after any period of time in official court records as they do from credit reports. They are listed permanently in the court’s electronic database, even if the case is subsequently dismissed.
- If you have any concerns, questions or requests regarding the information on your credit report, you will need to contact the credit reporting agency/agencies directly. If you need to obtain copies of your official court records, those can be obtained through the court or via PACER; fees apply for this service.
- If you do send correspondence to the court regarding credit reporting and include a postage-paid envelope, please be advised that the clerk's office will only send a printed copy of this web page and will not send other information or copies of case records as copies and case searches require payments of federally-required fees; if no postage-paid envelope is included, the clerk's office will be unable to respond to your correspondence as we cannot incur postage costs for matters that do not fall within the court's purview.
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. This may vary depending on the chapter and disposition of the case; however, as these are not Federal Rules or Code governing bankruptcy cases, this is all the information we can provide as to reporting timelines.
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. Alternatively, creditors listed in a case may act as “information providers” and provide information to credit reporting agencies. The bankruptcy court is not an information provider as we do not report any information to these agencies. If a credit reporting agency were to call and request verification of basic case information, such as date filed, chapter and disposition, the court would verify said information as we do for any member of the public. We do not log the identity of those who call and request basic information as court records are, for the most part, public records. We cannot tell you if any credit reporting agency has ever called to verify information, but please be advised that as a general rule, these agencies do not call the court, they obtain information electronically as noted above.
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 creditors who are information providers are required to take appropriate action 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.
The Federal Trade Commission has on its website information for consumers that may be of further assistance.
HOW DO I REMOVE INACCURATE INFORMATION FROM MY CREDIT REPORT?
No one can legally “remove” information from a credit report. You can file a dispute and request an investigation. 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 or it they obtained the information from public records, will verify the public records. The credit reporting industry has a policy that requires a creditor to respond to an investigation within 30 days. The bankruptcy court is not an information provider, a creditor or a credit reporting agency and is not required to respond to investigations or disputes.
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. If information has not been changed or removed and you do not agree with the decision, you will need to follow up with the credit reporting agency/agencies directly. Again, the court cannot remove information from a credit report. Many callers tell us that the credit reporting agency has told them to call us and we can do so. This is inaccurate. The court cannot direct a credit reporting agency what to report, how to report it or when to remove it. Information available on the Federal Trade Commission’s website may be helpful to you if you have further questions or concerns.