It is a good idea to check your credit report about four months after the bankruptcy is over. On occasion, a creditor may continue to report an unpaid balance on your credit report as an attempt to extort payment from you when you next apply for credit, or a company like TeleCheck may continue to report an insufficient funds check. Under separate fair debt credit reporting laws, A CREDITOR MUST LIST ANY BANKRUPTCY-AFFECTED DEBT AS “ZERO” AMOUNT OWED (and not “charged off”) SINCE IT CANNOT COLLECT THE DEBT FROM YOU ANYMORE. YOUR CREDIT SCORE WILL BE DAMAGED OTHERWISE. You may have a claim against them, but the reporting bureau and creditor must first be given a chance to correct the entry. You should write each of the three credit bureaus to dispute inaccurate entries, and send a copy to the disputed creditor. Form letters may be found at www.ftc.gov and should be sent by Certified Mail. You must keep copies of the letters you send. You must not do this online (since you will be forced to arbitrate and lose valuable rights to go to court).
Life void of involvement with lawyers may be heaven to most, and to try to avoid that involvement you can repeat this process in another three months or so until your credit report is the way it should be. Creditors usually report to the bureaus every three months, and not all corrections are made after the first disputes. Please call me if this remains a problem for you.
If you should get any notices, demands, or letters of any nature seeking payment of a discharged debt, it is very important to bring this to my attention IMMEDIATELY, as all your creditors have been or will be given notice of your Discharge, and any action to collect a debt may be a violation of the Discharge, and may result in a claim against the creditor, which could result in an award to you, along with your attorney fees and costs being paid by the errant creditor, or collector.
Massachusetts residents are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three providers: Experian, (888) 397-3742; Trans Union, (800) 916-8800; and Equifax, (800) 685-1111. I have it on good authority NOT to get your credit report online, as you may be forced to agree to arbitration if there is a dispute and my experience is that courts are more understanding than arbitrators.