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Equifax changes policy on bankruptcy reporting

Florida residents may be aware that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy normally stays on a credit report for seven years. However, the credit reporting agency Equifax kept Chapter 13 filings on credit reports for 10 years if a person failed to complete the bankruptcy plan. After ProPublica asked Equifax why it reported such information differently than than TransUnion or Experian, the policy was changed.

However, it was not clear why the policy was changed or when the change took place. According to Equifax’s website, those who have a bankruptcy on their credit report may have a harder time finding work, getting an apartment or getting the best rates on car insurance policies. In some cases, people may have been denied a job or an apartment based on an employer or landlord checking an Equifax credit report as opposed to one from the other two major agencies.

Between 2008 and 2010, there were 574,000 Chapter 13 cases that were dismissed for various reasons. Overall, about half of Chapter 13 cases are dismissed, and a common reason for dismissal is that a person cannot keep up with plan payments. It may be argued that African-Americans suffered worse treatment than other debtors under this policy because they are more likely to file for Chapter 13 protection from creditors.

Those who are looking for a fresh financial start may benefit by filing for bankruptcy. It may make it easier to reorganize debt and get current on late or missed payments. It may also make it easier to put an end to creditor phone calls or other collection activities. An lawyer can explain the process of filing for Chapter 13 and the eligibility requirements.

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