FAQ: Credit Reporting and the Bankruptcy Court
Does the Bankruptcy Court report information regarding my bankruptcy case to credit bureaus?
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama has no direct communication or interaction with credit bureaus, including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. The Clerk’s Office does not report information regarding bankruptcy cases to credit bureaus and does not verify the accuracy of information regarding bankruptcy cases held by credit bureaus.
How do credit bureaus access information regarding my bankruptcy case?
The Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court has a statutory obligation to maintain an accurate record of all filings received by the Bankruptcy Court. Once a case is filed with the Bankruptcy Court, that case becomes part of the Court’s permanent records. With few exceptions, filings in the Bankruptcy Court are public records. This means any person or organization can view them physically in the courthouse or through a computer system named Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). The PACER computer system is the most common way credit bureaus access information regarding debtors and their bankruptcy cases. More information about the PACER computer system can be found at: https://www.pacer.uscourts.gov.
Please be advised that the Court and Clerk’s Office have no control over what credit bureaus view on the PACER computer system and have no control over what credit bureaus do with the information obtained through a public records search on the PACER computer system.
How long does a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the law that controls credit reporting companies and states that credit reporting companies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person's credit report after ten years from the date the case is filed or discharged. See 15 U.S.C. § 1681(c).
Because the Bankruptcy Court has no control over credit bureaus, you must contact the credit bureau directly to discuss information on your credit report. If you have questions about this process or have issues gaining cooperation from a credit bureau, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357.
How do I get a bankruptcy removed from my credit report?
This Court and its Clerk’s Office do not provide information to the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus collect information regarding bankruptcy cases from the Bankruptcy Court’s public records. No matter the status of your case (open, closed, discharged, dismissed, etc.) the credit bureaus can still report your case on your credit report for up to ten years.
No one can legally remove accurate information from a credit report. You may ask the credit bureau (Equifax, Transunion, or Experian, see contact information below) for a free investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit bureau and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit bureau) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. The credit bureau will verify the item in question with the creditor, who must respond within 30 days. After the investigation is complete, the credit bureau will notify you of the outcome. If information on your credit report has changed or been deleted, you will receive a copy of the revised report.
Credit Reporting Companies and Information
Credit Reporting Companies
Order Credit Report by Phone:
Annual Free Credit Report
Annual Credit Report.com - A central site which allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency offers free annual credit reoprts. Its website is annualcreditreport.com, and it is the ONLY authorized online source for you to obtain a free credit report under federal law. You can obtain a free report from each of the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months. Some other sites claim to offer free credit reports but may charge you for another product if you accept a free report.
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