Derogatory Item on Credit Report After Chapter 7

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Mark CappelNov 3, 2008
We filed bankruptcy 4 years ago and we have one derogatory item that won't come off of our credit.

We filed bankruptcy 4 years ago and we have one derogatory item that won't come off of our credit. We filed a complaint against it years ago. It was I believe for an account we actually filed on, but they entered it onto our credit after the bankruptcy, when in fact it should have been included and marked as such. What can we do to repair this from our report?

We start with a summary of the rules credit reporting agencies must follow, then look at how these rules apply to a bankruptcy.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Federal law (US Code Title 15, §1681c) controls the behavior of credit reporting agencies (CRAs). The specific law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under FCRA §605 (a) and (b), an account in collection will appear on a consumer’s credit report for up to 7½ years. To determine when an account will be removed by the CRAs (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian and others), add 7 years to the date of first delinquency. The date of first delinquency is shown in credit reports. Subsequent activity, such as resolving the debt or one debt collector selling the debt to another collector, is irrelevant to the 7-year rule.

Some debts have a reporting period longer than 7 years, including:

  • Tax liens: 10 years if unpaid, or 7 years from the payment date
  • Bankruptcy: 10 years from the date of filing (15 U.S.C. §1681c)
  • Perkins student loans: Until paid in full (20 U.S.C. §1087cc(c)(3))
  • Direct and FFEL loans: 7 years from default or rehabilitation date (20 U.S.C. §1080a(f)(1) and 20 U.S.C. §1087e(a)(1))
  • Judgments: 7 years or the debtor’s state statute of limitations on judgments, whichever is longer

The FCRA 7-year rule is separate from state statutes of limitations for debt issues.

Bankruptcy & Credit Reports

Generally speaking, any account included in a bankruptcy filing will appear on a credit report as "included in bankruptcy," and reflect a $0 balance. It should not appear as open and past due, though previous delinquencies may remain even after a bankruptcy filing.

Correcting a Credit Report

To correct any problems you are experiencing with your credit profile, you should first pull a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), then carefully review the reports to identify which discharged accounts are being reported inaccurately. You can access free copies of your credit reports at, a Web site sponsored by the credit bureaus in compliance with federal law allowing all consumers to obtain a free copy of each bureau’s credit report once every 12 months. Next, you should dispute the incorrect listings with the credit bureaus. See the Federal Trade Commission document FTC Facts for Consumers: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors for more information.

When disputing an account discharged in bankruptcy, include a copy of your credit report showing the inaccurate listing, as well as a copy of your creditor schedules from your bankruptcy filing and the order of discharge from the bankruptcy court. These documents will show that the same account appearing on your report as delinquent was actually discharged in your bankruptcy filing. Once the credit bureaus receive your dispute letter, they should forward the documents to the creditors in question so the creditors can either challenge the disputes or correct the inaccurate listings.

If the debts were discharged in bankruptcy, there is no reason that the accounts should not be updated to reflect an accurate status. Having these accounts correctly listed on a credit report should reduce their negative impact on a credit score, helping the consumer rebuild their credit after the bankruptcy filing. Although accounts being discharged in bankruptcy is not good for a credit score, having both a bankruptcy and delinquent balances on a credit report is usually worse.

Credit reports are often inaccurate, so it is important to review your credit profile regularly to verify all of the information being reported by creditors is accurate. Carefully monitoring your credit history and disputing inaccurate items can significantly increase your credit score, which could save you thousands of dollars in interest on a mortgage, auto loans, and other forms of credit. If you would like to learn more about credit scoring and credit reports, I encourage you to visit the credit solutions section of

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DDan, Mar, 2012
Ch. 13 bankruptcy dismissal in Florida reported on my credit report due to a paralegal being fired & missing my filing deadline. How can I have removed from credit report?A subsequent re-file was performed. We paid off the re-filed plan and that has been discharged, but now I have 2 bankruptcies being reported. How can I have the first case removed from my credit since we provided all documents in a timely manner and the error was clearly at no fault of ours, and they were essentially re-filing the same plan?
BBill, Mar, 2012
It may be annoying for the credit reporting agencies to report two bankruptcies in rapid succession on your credit score, but what would be to point in removing the erroneous first filing? I doubt your score suffers additional harm by the second filing.

Regardless, you can try to dispute the first filing.
BBill, Sep, 2010
A bankruptcy will appear for 10 years from the date of the final order.

Incorrect addresses on a credit report always concern me: These may be a sign that someone else is using your identity. Are there any accounts on your credit report that you do not recognize? If so, then you may be a victim of identity theft. If you recognize all of the accounts and all of the other information is correct, then you are witnessing first-hand the incompetence of the credit reporting agencies, which cannot get even basic information about consumers correct in most credit reports.

A creditor or potential creditor may not do a hard-pull on your credit report without your permission. A hard-pull will harm your credit score temporarily. Creditors do soft-pulls, which do not harm a credit score, all of the time on consumer credit reports in an attempt to find potential customers to send solicitations.

Chase now owns the rights to Washington Mutual's accounts, and as a successor-in-interest it has the right to do whatever Washington Mutual could have done regarding your Wamu loans or accounts.
RRoger w. k., Sep, 2010
How long can after chapter 7 can bills from that bankruptcy be on your credit report? on the credit report it has address 2 never lived there. How many times a year can a creditor check on a account to effect your credit score? all the banks falling walmu failed and chase bought them out we had a mobile home thru walmu and now chase has it on our report they sold the house. is any of this legal or not?
GGreg, Jun, 2009
This looks like a simple reporting date error, you would have to dispute this directly with the 3 credit bureaus. Just state the facts and provide supporting evidence. The bureaus will then investigate it, which will take about 30 days. I don't think there is any need to provide case laws and such.
MMs. Sanders, Jun, 2009
Situation: a Ch. 7 bk discharged in March 2003; Status on current credit report states "discharged through bankruptcy chapter 7"; date of status is March 2003; but DATE OPENED is December 2003, after the filing and discharge even though debt was included in bk. Question: I want to dispute this, but what case law or supporting statute would I have for this creditor and the credit bureaus? Thx.