According to a recent report, bankruptcies in Ohio are on the rise. This is notable because, in the past seven years, the number of bankruptcy cases filed in Ohio has declined. Experts blame long term, high-interest rate auto loans and medical debt for the higher bankruptcy rates. Whatever the case may be, with so many filings going on in Ohio, consumers should understand how bankruptcy affects their credit reports. Of course, bankruptcy almost always causes credit scores to drop. Also, bankruptcies stay on credit reports for seven (Chapter 13) or ten (Chapter 7) years. However, even though credit report damage due to bankruptcy is heavy and long-lasting, there are limits. For example, when it comes to discharged debt, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) contains strict rules.
FCRA Rules Concerning Debt Discharged by Bankruptcy in Ohio
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal statute that entitles Ohio consumers to accurate credit reports. In order for credit reports to be accurate after a bankruptcy discharge, creditors and credit reporting agencies (CRAs) must take care in how they report discharged debt. Credit report items related to discharged debt may remain on credit reports, but accounts must have zero balances. Creditors and CRAs must also report these accounts as “discharged” or “included in bankruptcy.” To report otherwise causes further and unwarranted damage to one’s credit report.
Credit Reporting Agencies and creditors that report discharged debt in any other way violate the FCRA. For example, they may not report a bankruptcy discharged debt as:
- Charged Off
- Having a Balance Greater than Zero
- Late, Delinquent or Outstanding
- Currently Owed or Active
- Converted to a New Type of Debt
Sometimes, creditors try to make a debtor pay by willfully refusing to report debt as discharged on credit reports. Of course, this is unlawful under the FCRA, and lenders are often sued for engaging in this underhanded tactic.
How Misreported Discharged Debt Hurts Ohio Bankruptcy Filers
Yes, bankruptcies damage credit scores, but they also bring fresh starts to a lot of struggling Ohio consumers. Through bankruptcy, debts are either made more manageable or get wiped away. After discharge, bankruptcy filers can rebuild their credit scores over time. However, if discharged debts are misreported, recovering from bankruptcy is more difficult.
Bankruptcy filers with misreported discharged debt endure lower credit scores for longer periods of time. They may be unnecessarily denied credit or forced into paying off a debt they no longer owe as a condition for loan approval. This is why, if you have recently been discharged from bankruptcy, you must check your credit reports. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com, and request copies of your credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. After you have online access or physical copies of your reports, look them over carefully to verify that all bankruptcy discharged debt is reported properly.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit after Bankruptcy
The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin, P.C. can help you fix misreported discharged debt on your credit reports for FREE. We file lawsuits against the creditors and credit reporting bureaus responsible for violating the FCRA at your expense. In successful actions, these defendants are required to cover our costs and fees. This is how we are able to offer cost-free services to Ohio residents.
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin, P.C., we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (216)358-0591 or sending him a message through our contact page.