How to Dispute a Bankruptcy on Your Credit Report

Three Methods:Writing a Letter to Dispute the ErrorDisputing Your Credit Report OnlineChecking for Other Errors

Your credit report will contain information about your credit history, including how many times you have been late with payments and whether or not you have an account in collections. It also should list whether you have declared bankruptcy in the past. If your credit report erroneously has a bankruptcy listed, then you can dispute it by writing a letter or by reporting the error online. Remember, however, that the bankruptcy must appear in error—you can’t challenge correct information on your credit report.

Method 1
Writing a Letter to Dispute the Error

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    Get the sample letter from the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes a sample dispute letter that you can use as a template for drafting your own. It is available online for anyone to use.[1]
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    Format your letter. You should format your letter as a standard business letter. Include your name and address as well as the name and address of the credit reporting agency (CRA) which has the erroneous bankruptcy information.[2]
    • You have to send a letter to each CRA that has the erroneous bankruptcy information. If all three do, then send a letter to all three: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
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    Explain why the bankruptcy information is wrong. The purpose of your letter is to explain why the bankruptcy information should not be on your credit report. There are at least three different reasons why the bankruptcy information shouldn’t appear:
    • You didn’t file for bankruptcy. It is hard to prove that something didn’t happen. However, you could simply write: “The notation that I filed for bankruptcy on March 1, 2013 is inaccurate. I have never filed for bankruptcy. I am requesting that the item be removed to correct the information.”[3]
    • You did declare bankruptcy, but it should have fallen off your credit report by now. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy should fall off your credit report 10 years after you filed the bankruptcy petition. If you filed a Chapter 13, then it should fall off seven years after.[4] Be sure to include a copy of your bankruptcy petition with the date stamp on it along with your letter. You can get a copy of this document from the court clerk of the bankruptcy court.
    • You filed for bankruptcy but then had it vacated. You might have filed bankruptcy to wipe out certain debts but then resolved the debts so that the bankruptcy became unnecessary. In that case, you should have filed to “vacate” the bankruptcy. Get a copy of the judge’s order vacating the bankruptcy and include it with your letter.
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    Mail your letter. After you complete the letter, be sure to sign it and then keep a copy for your records. You should mail the letter certified mail, return receipt requested.[5]
    • Hold onto the receipt. It will serve as proof that the credit reporting agency received it.
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    Wait for a response. After receiving your request, the CRA will investigate. It must complete its investigation within 30-45 days and then provide you with the results of its investigation in writing.[6]
    • If the bankruptcy information was included in error, then the CRA should correct your credit report and then provide you with a free copy of the corrected report.
    • You can also request that the CRA send corrections to anyone who requested a copy of your credit report during the past six months. You can also ask that a corrected report be sent to someone who received a copy of your credit report for employment purposes during the past two years.
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    Think about including a statement of dispute. The CRA might determine that the bankruptcy information is accurate and will refuse to remove it from your credit report. In this situation, you should think about including a statement of dispute. Generally, the statement must not be more than 100 words.
    • Think carefully before including the statement. Some people think you should never add a statement because it suggests you are admitting fault.[7] It also might be better to explain the bankruptcy in person when you apply to rent an apartment or apply for a job. In those situations, you don’t gain anything by adding a statement of dispute.
    • A sample statement could read, “I filed for bankruptcy because of health care costs associated with my cancer, which is in remission. I have had no other negative credit information before or after my health scare.”

Method 2
Disputing Your Credit Report Online

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    Visit the credit reporting agency’s website. You will have to go to the website for the credit reporting agency (CRA) that contains the bankruptcy information. You can visit the following websites:
    • Equifax:
    • Experian:
    • TransUnion:
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    Click on the appropriate link to report errors. At each CRA’s homepage, there should be a link that you can click on in order to begin the dispute process. You can find it in the following places:
    • Equifax. Click on “Credit Report Assistance” near the top of the page.[8] Then select “Dispute info on credit report” from the drop-down menu.
    • Experian. Click on “Credit Report Assistance” at the top of the page.[9] Then pick “Dispute” from the drop-down list.
    • TransUnion. At the homepage, you should click on “Credit Report Assistance” which is at the top of the page.[10] Then click on “Credit Report Disputes.”
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    Create an account. The CRA may prompt you to create an account so that you can log in and check your information.[11] If you do not already have an account, then you should create one. To create an account, you will be prompted to provide the following information:
    • first and last name
    • current address
    • date of birth
    • Social Security Number
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    Verify your identity. Before being able to complete the log-in process, you will probably have to verify your identity. You will do this by answering a series of questions.
    • For example, you may be asked what state you have a driver’s license in, or the amount of your monthly student loan payment.
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    Identify the erroneous information. Once you log in successfully, you should be shown your credit report online. Select the bankruptcy information and flag it for review. You can then submit your online dispute.
    • If you see more errors in addition to the wrong bankruptcy information, then you can report them at the same time.
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    Wait for the results. The CRA has 30-45 days to review your dispute and investigate the bankruptcy information.[12] You will receive a written summary of the investigation. If your credit report is corrected, the CRA will send you a free copy of the corrected report.
    • You also have the right to ask the CRA to send corrections to anyone who requested a copy of your credit report over the past six months.
    • Furthermore, if someone received a copy of your credit report for employment purposes during the past two years, then you can have a corrected report sent to them.

Method 3
Checking for Other Errors

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    Order a free credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs). You can order your reports in the following ways:[13]
    • Call 1-877-322-8228. The report will be mailed to you.
    • Visit You can provide the requested information and then gain instant access to your credit reports.
    • Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form.[14] You can mail the completed form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
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    Identify common errors. Go through your credit reports thoroughly and find common errors that appear on the reports. You want to make sure that all errors get corrected, since they could impact whether you get credit. Look for the following errors:[15]
    • Information from an ex-spouse. Your former spouse’s information could be mixed in with yours.
    • Outdated information. Information falls off after a certain amount of time. For example, a delinquent collection account should fall off after seven years from the date the account first became past due.[16]
    • Incorrect payment status. An account could be listed as delinquent when you have, in fact, been making timely payments.
    • Problems created by identity theft.
    • A delinquent account appears twice. A delinquent account might get sold to a collection agency. If so, then it should only show up once on your credit report as a collection account. The original delinquent account (with a credit card company, for example) shouldn’t still show on your credit report.
    • Wrong notation for a closed account. You might have voluntarily closed an account; however, the CRA might report that the credit card company closed the account.
    • Failure to note a remedied delinquency. This is a common problem: you remedy a delinquency but it isn’t recorded on your credit report.
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    Report the errors to the credit reporting agency. You can report the errors in the same way you reported the erroneous bankruptcy information. You can either write a letter to the CRA or you can report the error using the online reporting method.


  • By federal law, you cannot remove accurate bankruptcy information from your credit report. Some agencies advertise that they can get bankruptcy information removed from your credit report even if it is valid. You should avoid these companies.[17]

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Categories: Managing Your Money | Bankruptcy