Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?”
A recent bankruptcy law update noted that there has been a rash of cases filed against creditors and credit reporting agencies in Nevada related to the accuracy of some credit reports post bankruptcy. Specifically, the report indicated that more than 50 such claims under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) have been filed, claiming that the creditors are violating the law by failing to report accurate information.
Consumer rights lawyers appear to be working with bankruptcy lawyers to monitor clients’ credit reports during and after bankruptcy. If debts that were discharged during a bankruptcy continue to be reported as owed or delinquent, then the lawyers file claims for FCRA violations.
What does the FCRA say?
At its most broad, the FCRA requires credit card companies, creditors and credit reporting agencies to report only accurate and updated information about a consumer’s financial history. Creditors reporting the information to the credit reporting agencies must do so truthfully and must update their records in a timely manner. The agencies that manage the credit reports must do their jobs and investigate any complaints raised by consumers to ensure that the information on file is as accurate as possible. If they fail to do this, consumers can file a private action to hold them responsible.
How should information be reported?
Debts that have been discharged in bankruptcy can no longer be reported as being unpaid or in a past due status. The effect of the bankruptcy needs to be noted on your credit history and creditors should do this by reporting discharged debts as having a zero balance and noting that the debts were discharged in bankruptcy. Creditors are not allowed to report a properly discharged debt as currently owing an amount or as active, that it is late or delinquent, that is has been charged off, or that it has been converted into a new type of debt.
Why does it matter?
Some creditors argue that because a bankruptcy filing itself is harmful to your credit report and can stay on your history for up to 10 years, it shouldn’t matter whether other debts are accurately reported, after all, how much could it hurt? The reality is that it could hurt a lot. It’s true that a bankruptcy will cause your credit score to drop in the year or two after filing, but after that, things can start to improve, sometimes quickly. Assuming the bankruptcy did its job and gave you a blank slate, your score can and will likely go up. However, this can’t happen if old debts remain on your credit score incorrectly listed as due and payable. Ensuring that your credit history is accurate is very important to your financial future. As a result, be sure to pull your credit report 30 or 60 days after your bankruptcy is discharged and check to see that everything is correct.
If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.
About the Author
Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.
A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.
Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.
In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.
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