Suite 3156 Penobscot Building
645 Griswold Street
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Phone: 313-962-4656
Toll Free: 888-777-FILE
or: 888-DEBTGONE
Fax: 313-962-4241

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Michigan Creditor Harassment Lawyer

Michigan Bankruptcy lawyers are ready to help you file your bankruptcy and represent you before the bankruptcy court. They are also available to answer questions you may have about your credit report and how it may be affected by declaring for bankruptcy.

The following provides some general information about the types of consumer credit reports that are requested by lenders, creditors and other companies, as well some general information on how they are used to determine your creditworthiness and, in some cases, your employability. If you have additional questions about how bankruptcy can affect your credit report and ability to obtain a loan or line of credit or if you need to file for bankruptcy, contact a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer now.

Credit bureaus, also known as credit reporting agencies (CRAs) collect, package and sell information about your financial matters to creditors, lenders and other companies seeking financial information about you. The information the bureaus collect on you is commonly known as your "credit report" or "credit profile," and is generally sold to these companies at $1 to $7 per report.

While there are hundreds of credit bureaus across the nation, the industry is dominated by three major credit bureaus:

There are many other credit bureaus, but they are generally are affiliates of or subscribers to the major three bureaus, which is why reports from these other bureaus are usually a compilation of information from one or more of the major bureaus. Creditors that provide credit history information about you and other account holders they have also purchase credit reports from the credit bureaus, but they will generally get a discount on each report they buy.

There are two types of consumer credit reports: standard and investigative. The standard report is a snapshot of your financial history, while the investigative report is a special type of consumer report not commonly requested or used by creditors and lenders because they contain information obtained through interviews with associates, friends and neighbors. The interviewer may obtain information about your character, reputation personal characteristics or mode of living. Investigative reports are not obtained through the credit bureaus. However, your standard report may be ordered through the bureaus to be included in the investigative one. Investigative reports are generally requested by employers who need their employees to be bondable or otherwise be able to obtain secret, special or confidential clearances.

The standard credit report is the report that creditors and lenders obtain to determine your creditworthiness and credit standing for the purpose of determining the financial risk involved with granting you a loan or other line of credit. It contains four major parts:

  1. Personal Information, which includes data such as: your full name, addresses (both current and past), date of birth, Social Security number, employer (both current and past), and your job title or position. If you are married, your spouse’s personal information will also appear on your report.

  2. Credit Accounts, including the date each account was opened, credit limit, payment history, balance due, payment arrangements, whether it’s your own account or shared with someone else (joint), and, if applicable, late payment information and any negative actions taken (such as the account going into collections, charge-offs, loan defaults or foreclosures).

  3. Inquiries, a listing of everyone that has viewed your credit report for the past two years.

  4. Public Record Information collected by individuals who gather public record information from the courthouse and sell it to the credit bureaus and other interested parties. Some courts do send public records to the credit bureaus, but most reporting is done manually. Public record information normally includes such things as judgments, liens and bankruptcies.

Why is my credit report so important?
Your credit report is how creditors determine your credit standing and creditworthiness for a loan or line of credit. Your credit report is how lenders and creditors determine not only if you get the line of credit or loan you are applying for, but also the rate of interest that you pay on it if you are approved. Because of this, it is very important that you regularly review your credit report with each of the major three agencies (at least once a year, but preferably once every 3 months) to assure that each reflects accurate and up-to-date information about you.

Sometimes errors can occur in reporting that may hurt your credit score. Information can also become outdated, which can result in negative information about you still appearing on your credit report after it should have been removed. Negative actions such as collections and charge-offs typically stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and a bankruptcy remains for about 10 years. Having outdated or inaccurate information can cause you to be denied credit or cause you to pay much higher interest rates on any line of credit or loan you do get.

Common examples of erroneous or otherwise inaccurate information that could possibly appear on your credit report include: accounts belonging to an ex-spouse or someone with a similar name or Social Security number as yours, outdated negative actions on accounts, outdated account information (including paid off accounts not reflecting that they’ve been paid off), accounts fraudulently opened in your name and unauthorized charges on your existing credit card accounts.

What can I do if I find an error or inaccuracy on my credit report?
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to dispute any inaccurate and outdated information on your credit reports, as well as any unauthorized charges on your accounts or new accounts opened in your name without your consent. The major credit bureaus each have a dispute policy that you can either do by mail or online. See Credit Repair for more information or call the credit bureaus at the toll-free numbers listed near the top of this page.

Once you dispute the account, the credit bureau will investigate your complaint over a 30-day period of time. If it is determined that the information is not accurate, it will be updated or removed, depending on what is needed to be done. No matter how the investigation turns out, the credit bureau will notify you in writing on the outcome of their investigation. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can add your own statement about the account. These statements are typically limited to 100 words or less.

I’ve filed for bankruptcy, how does this affect my credit report?
As previously stated, a bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for about 10 years. In addition to the bankruptcy, other things may also appear on your credit report which may not accurately reflect your financial status as a result of the bankruptcy. It is not uncommon for creditors to leave all the late payment and other derogatory information on the account even though the account has been discharged through your bankruptcy. This information can be very damaging to you and hamper your chances of re-establishing your credit once you are in better shape financially.

If you notice that the late information and other negative actions (like charge-offs, collections, etc.) still appear on your credit reports on accounts that were discharged through your bankruptcy, you can have this negative information removed from your credit reports and have the credit bureaus simply state "Account included in Bankruptcy" in place of the negative and other derogatory information. Contact the credit bureaus at the above-listed toll-free numbers for information on how you can get accounts discharged through your bankruptcy accurately updated.

How can I raise my credit score?
There are several ways to raise your credit score. The most obvious way is to make sure you pay your bills on time each month. However, if you end up in a situation where you cannot pay your bills on time, first try contacting the creditor to see if you can work out alternate arrangements until you can get on your feet financial. Explain your situation to them. They may be able to work something out and your good credit may remain intact.

If you get to where you debts are overwhelming, but you don't want to file for bankruptcy check our Bankruptcy Alternatives page for ideas on how to get your debts under control and keep the damage to your credit report to a minimum. However, there are times where there are no other alternatives than bankruptcy. If you need to file for bankruptcy, contact a Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyer  to discuss the best option for you.

If you have filed for bankruptcy and are interested in starting to restore your credit, check our Credit Restoration page for ideas on how you can start rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a brochure about credit repair scams in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). Click here to download it.

Contact an experienced and reputable michigan bankruptcy lawyer for more information on your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law. If you need to file for bankruptcy, contact now.


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