There are many ways to improve your credit after bankruptcy. Some of the easiest ways to rebuild credit after bankruptcy include the following:
Checking your credit report after bankruptcy is essential. If your credit report contains errors, this could hurt your credit score and lead to the denial of credit or loans. For example, your credit report after chapter 7 bankruptcy should report discharged debts as closed, and without a balance. Sometimes collection agencies will not update your credit report, or will open new collection account tradelines after your bankruptcy even though the underlying debt was discharged in bankruptcy. Don't wait until your denied credit to take action. Check your credit report 60 days after your bankruptcy discharge to ensure there are no errors or mistakes on your credit report.
A secured credit card is similar to a debit card and can help improve your credit score. A secured card requires a cash collateral deposit that becomes the "credit line" for that account. For example, if you put $100 in the account, you can charge up to $100.
A co-signed credit card or loan can help your credit score, but you need to have a friend or family member with good credit history who is willing to co-sign for you.
Being an authorized user on someone else's account can also help you improve or rebuild your credit. Being an authorized user mean that you are allowed to make purchases with someone else's credit account, but are not personally liable for payment of that account. Being an authorized user can appear on your credit report, and can help improve your credit if the primary accountholder makes regular payments and keeps the account in good standing.
What happens when an original creditor and collection agency both report the same debt on your credit report?
Although there is no technical term, when an original creditor and collector both report you to the credit bureaus for the same debt, this usually referred to as double entry credit reporting, double jeopardy reporting, or double entries on your credit report. Sometimes, there can even be multiple collection accounts for the same debt.
Original creditors and collection agencies are generally permitted to report separate tradelines so long as the reporting is accurate and complete. Sometimes collection agencies will adjust the balance or the date of the delinquency to make this look like a new debt. This can happen when consumers have recently filed bankruptcy and an unscrupulous creditor continues collection efforts after bankruptcy. Learn what you can do when a collector attempts to collect a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy.
You should review your credit report to ensure that old collection accounts do not show up as active or with incorrect balances, or pay status information. Inaccurate collection accounts can harm your credit by making it appear like you have more debt or collection accounts than you actually have. When a collection agency sells, transfers, or no longer services the account, the collection agency should delete the tradeline or update the tradeline by stating it is closed or has been transferred.
You have the right to dispute credit report errors with the credit reporting agencies and other credit bureaus. If the credit bureaus refuse to correct credit report errors, the FCRA permits you to file a lawsuit against the credit bureaus.
You should speak to an experienced credit lawyer if you believe your credit report contains errors, or has double entries that are inaccurate or misleading. Our Michigan credit lawyers can help you dispute credit report errors. Please contact us by filling out our contact form or by calling our office at (248) 663-5155.
TCPA: Automatic Telephone Dialing System or ATDS
TCPA lawyers are familiar with the terms automatic telephone dialing system, or autodialers (ATDS for short). Collection calls or telemarketing calls from autodialers are often referred to as robocalls. But what is an autodialer?
The FCC defines an autodialer as equipment that has the capacity to dial without human intervention. Whether equipment is an ATDS is important for purposes of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits collection calls or telemarketing calls to a cellular telephone without the prior express consent of the person who is called.
An ATDS is “equipment that has the capacity to (a) store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (b) to dial such numbers.” The FCC deems any equipment or software that has the capacity to generate numbers and dial them without human intervention an ATDS, regardless of whether the numbers called are randomly or sequentially generated or come from calling lists.
An FCC Declaratory ruling and Order that became effective on July 10, 2015 rejected the argument that an ATDS should be limited to a system that has the “current” or “present capacity” to dial numbers randomly or sequentially. According to the FCC, an ATDS includes equipment that has the “potential functionality” to dial randomly or sequentially. Under the FCC’s definition, dialing equipment generally meets the TCPA’s autodialer definition, even if it is not presently used for that purpose.
If you are receiving collection calls that include automated messages, the creditor or debt collector is probably using an autodialer. Autodialers are a tool used by debt collectors to make harassing collection calls that cause stress and interrupt your daily life. If you are receiving collection calls on your mobile phone, the TCPA allows you to put an end to these collection calls. If you or someone you know are receiving unwanted collection or marketing calls, contact our office at (248) 663-5155 to speak with a knowledgeable TCPA lawyer.
If you are sued and a creditor gets a judgment against you, you may be able to discharge your personal liability for that judgment in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and your credit report should list the judgment as included in bankruptcy or discharged in bankruptcy.
This will depend on whether the underlying debt on that judgment is dischargeable in bankruptcy or nondischargeable.
Certain debts are usually not automatically nondischargeable, such as student loans, child support or spousal support obligations, debts owed to government entities (fines, taxes, court costs, restitution in criminal cases, etc., post-petition HOA and condo fees, and, death or injury caused by driving under the influence, or DUI.
Other types of judgment debts may not be dischargeable if the creditor objects to a discharge, including, injury caused by a willful or malicious act, such as assault, fraud used to obtain money, goods or services, or fraud committed while in a position of trust, such as embezzlement while acting as a trustee or guardian.
Even if you are able to discharge your personal liability on the judgment, there may be a lien that survives the bankruptcy. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to avoid a judgment lien in the bankruptcy, depending on available bankruptcy exemptions. You should speak to a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney about whether you can avoid a judgment lien in bankruptcy.
If a creditor sues you and gets a judgment for debts, including a judgment for credit card debt, medical bills, lease or rental agreements, and the debt is later discharged in bankruptcy, you should check your credit report to ensure that the judgment is updated after the bankruptcy.
Judgments can remain on your credit report for up to 7 years from the filing date. Your credit report should accurately report public record information, including judgments.
After filing bankruptcy, a judgment on a discharged debt should be reported as included in bankruptcy or discharged in bankruptcy. You should check your credit report to ensure that the credit bureaus do not incorrectly report the status of the judgment, or report a current balance for discharged debt.
If you believe your credit report contains errors, or incorrectly reports debts or judgments that were discharged in bankruptcy, contact one of our attorneys today at (248) 663-5155 for a free consultation.
A lot of people wonder what they can do to stop collection calls or to stop other forms of creditor harassment. One of the first things people experience when they fall behind on credit cards or other forms of debt is collection calls to their mobile phone. Your creditors and debt collectors know that if they bombard you with calls to your mobile phone, you will be thinking about the debt you owe them every second of every day. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act can help you stop these collection calls, and even help you recover damages against creditors who violate the TCPA.
The TCPA prohibits the use of automated telephone dialing systems ("ATDS") without prior express consent of the consumer. Penalties for violating the TCPA can include statutory damages of up to $1,500 per telephone call.
If you are receiving unwanted collection calls or being harassed by your creditors, contact one of our Michigan consumer protection attorneys to learn more about your rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. You can reach us by calling our office at (248) 663-5155 or by emailing Nick Hadous at firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation is free and always confidential.
Why you should check your credit report after filing bankruptcy.
When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy shows up on your credit report as a public record. Filing bankruptcy also affects the individual credit accounts or tradelines in your credit report.
Public Record Reporting
If you file chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing bankruptcy. If you file chapter 13 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date of filing bankruptcy.
But how should your individual accounts be reported on your credit report after filing bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge
After filing chapter 7 bankruptcy, your credit report should list zero balances for discharged debt, and include language to the effect of “discharged in bankruptcy” or “included in bankruptcy.” Your credit report should not list any discharged debt with a balance, or report the account as open or charged-off following your bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
After filing chapter 13 bankruptcy, your credit report should accounts should list the balances for each account you are required to pay through the chapter 13 plan while your bankruptcy is pending.
Since a chapter 13 plan can take 3-5 years to complete, your accounts should include language to the effect of “involved in chapter 13 wage earner plan” or “making payments in wage earner plan” while your bankruptcy is pending. Your credit report should not list these accounts as open or charged-off while your bankruptcy is pending.
After receiving a chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge, your credit report should include language to the effect of “discharged in bankruptcy” or “included in bankruptcy” for the accounts that were discharged in bankruptcy. Your credit report should not list any discharged debt with a balance, or report the account as open or charged-off following your bankruptcy.
Our Michigan bankruptcy lawyers and credit lawyers can help answer your questions.
If you have any errors on your credit report, or have questions about filing bankruptcy and the effect on your credit, contact one of our Michigan credit lawyers at (248) 663-5155. We have offices in Southfield, Michigan and our Michigan bankruptcy attorneys can also help you file bankruptcy.
Whether to file bankruptcy can depend on many different things. For some, bankruptcy can be a first and only option, or a last resort.
Who is a good candidate for bankruptcy?
If you are considering filing bankruptcy, you probably have too much debt to repay. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to liquidate or eliminate this debt without having to repay discharged debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to repay some portion of the debt you owe for a 3-5 years.
Chapter 7 candidates typically have minimal assets, modest to low income, and high credit card or other consumer debt. In fact, when we speak to potential bankruptcy clients, our main points of inquiry are: income, assets, and type of debt.
Depends. Some people can avoid filing bankruptcy by agreeing to debt settlements with their creditors or by pursing creditors and debt collectors who violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The key is to plan as early as possible. This means before you default on credit card debt or shortly after defaulting on credit card debt. You need to know your rights before dealing with abusive debt collectors.
Debt collection harassment is a serious issue. If you are receiving unwanted collection calls, or if debt collectors are sending you abusive harassing, or threatening collections letters, you may be entitled to damages against abusive creditors or debt collectors. Some individuals have eliminated thousands of dollars in debt and recovered thousands more against creditors and debt collectors who violate federal consumer protection laws. You should speak to a knowledgeable consumer protection lawyer to learn about your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Our Michigan bankruptcy and consumer lawyers are happy to answer any questions you have. Please contact us at (248) 663-5155. We have offices conveniently located in Southfield, Michigan and Dearborn, Michigan.
Credit card debt can become overwhelming. Interest, fees and penalties can add hundreds or thousands to the amounts you borrowed and are expected to repay. What if you are unable to continue making your credit card payments, or if your payments are simply too much to handle? When you miss a credit card payment, you are considered in default of your accountholder agreement. Defaulting on credit card debt can have consequences, including, collection calls, collection letters, negative credit reporting, lawsuits, judgments, and even garnishment.
What are your options?
Whether you have already defaulted on your credit card debt, or are planning to default, it is imperative to plan ahead. After defaulting on debt you are subject to collections and legal action. It is imperative to speak to a knowledgeable consumer law attorney to learn about your rights under federal consumer protection laws incuding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Sometimes creditors and debt collectors violate these laws, and you may be entitled seek damages that can reduce or eliminate your debt altogether.
For some, bankruptcy is a good option. If you have a high amount of total debt, minimal assets and modest income you may be a good candidate for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy can allow you to eliminate credit card and other debts without having to pay these debts back.
For others, debt settlement can be a good alternative. Although creditors are under no obligation to accept a settlement, debt settlements can be achieved when an individual can show a financial hardship and the means to pay a lump sum or installment payments for less than the full amount of the debt. One of the main benefits of a debt settlement is you can avoid filing bankruptcy. Many creditors will accept anywhere between 20-40% of the total debt, while others require higher amounts. The results will vary depending on your individual circumstances so you should consult a knowledegable debt settlement lawyer.
Doing nothing is the worst thing you can do. Not only can you miss out on potential claims you may have for violations of federal consumer protection laws, but you leave yourself open to the risk of lawsuits, judgments, wage garnishments, and tax refund garnishment.
Hadous|Co. attorneys are skilled consumer protection litigators. We never charge you for a consultation. We want to earn your trust and are confident that we can help you get out of debt and start fresh. Contact our office at (248) 663-5155 to schedule a free consultation.
After filing bankruptcy, an automatic stay arises by operation of law that prevents your creditors or other debt collectors from attempting to collect debts. You can think of the automatic stay in bankruptcy as a "time-out."
If you obtain a bankruptcy discharge of your debts, your creditors will not be allowed to attempt to collect debts that were discharged in bankruptcy. However, what if a creditor or collector attempts to collect a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy? Know your rights.
Collection after bankruptcy is becoming increasingly common, as debt buyers or other third parties assigned your debt attempt to squeeze payments from you. Your discharged debt can be sold for pennies on the dollar. Sometimes, collectors will call or send you collection letters threatening to report you to the credit bureaus (national consumer reporting agencies). In some instances, unscrupulous collectors will actually report you to the credit bureaus for a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy.
This can be extremely distressing, and you should consult a knowledgeable consumer lawyer. The collector can be held in contempt of the Bankruptcy Court Order of Discharge for attempting to collect a discharged debt. The collector can also be found liable for damages under Fair Debt Consumer Protection Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
If you filed for bankruptcy and obtained a bankruptcy discharge, you are entitled to peace of mind and to a fresh financial start. Unscrupulous debt collectors threaten these. You should consult a knowledgeable consumer attorney if a collector contacts you to collect a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy. We regularly represent consumers in actions for damages against unscrupulous debt collectors. We invite you to contact us directly, or to visit us online to learn more: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can also visit us at: www.mittenhelp.com.
Why it’s important to know what's in your credit report:
Accurate credit is vital in this day and age. Your credit report contains information about you that lenders and financial institutions rely upon when deciding whether to lend money or extend credit. Your credit score is based on your credit report, and directly affects your ability to secure new credit or a loan. Your credit score also affects the interest rate a bank or financial institution will attach to its financial products. Typically, the higher your credit score is, the better your interest rate will be.
Getting your credit score without reviewing your credit report is similar to receiving a test score without the actual results of that test. How can you know if there is an error on your credit report that affected your credit score? Mistakes can happen more often than you think. These mistakes can be costly, as they may result in higher interest rates or the complete denial of credit period.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies, (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit reports at your request, once every 12 months. Consumers may visit the website, www.annualcreditreport.com and access these credit reports at no cost.
We recommend that you obtain annual credit reports and review your credit reports for error or irregularities such as:
If you need help reviewing or understanding your credit report, you should speak to a knowledgeable credit attorney to help you determine whether your credit report contains complete, fair, and accurate information about you. If there are errors or inconsistencies, you have the right to dispute these errors with the bureaus at no cost to you.