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Topics addressed on April 13, 2011:
Public records that can appear in your credit report
What kinds of public records can be part of a credit report? How often are they updated, and if I have a paid public record on my credit report, how do I get it taken off?
There are only three types of public records that appear in a credit report, all of them related to debts.
Bankruptcy is the most obvious. It is a legal proceeding under which a person is provided relief from debts they are unable to pay. There are two primary forms of bankruptcy, called “chapters,” because they are defined by chapters in the bankruptcy law.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a person repays at least a portion of their debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain in the credit report for seven years from the filing date.
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person does not repay any of the debts included in the filing. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the credit report for 10 years from the filing date.
Court records are updated periodically, and the status of the bankruptcy, for instance that it has been discharged, will be updated automatically in the credit report.
The second public record you may see in a credit report is a tax lien. This results most commonly from failure to pay your taxes. Uncle Sam is serious about getting his taxes paid.
An unpaid tax lien will remain on a credit report for up to 10 years from the filing date. A paid tax lien is deleted seven years from the date it is paid.
Civil judgments are the third type of public record included in credit reports. A civil judgment is simply a debt you owe through the courts as a result of a lawsuit. If you have been sued and lost, you will likely owe a civil judgment. Once paid, the entry will be updated to show that fact.
Contrary to popular myth, there aren’t any other public records that appear in a person’s credit report.
The information is collected and updated regularly from the courts either by a representative of the credit reporting companies or provided directly by the court to the national credit reporting companies.
If you believe public record information is inaccurate you can dispute it just as you would credit account information. Once you have a personal copy of your credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it to contact Experian and enter a dispute.
Experian will contact the source of the public record with your dispute, and the source of the information will notify Experian of the results of its investigation. The information will be deleted, updated or remain unchanged depending on the response from the public record source.
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- The "Ask Experian" team