When preparing bankruptcy schedules, it can be quite a project to identify and provide contact information, including account numbers, for all creditors. Yet, it is essential for people filing bankruptcy to provide a complete and accurate list of their creditors. Among other things, the bankruptcy court cannot mail a notice to creditors after you finish filing bankruptcy if, at a very minimum, creditor names and addresses are not provided.
In addition to one’s own records and memory, a helpful tool to verify creditor information is a copy of your own credit report from one of the three national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian or Transunion. Ideally, a person should obtain a “consolidated” copy of their credit report which combines the information from all three of these companies before they start filing bankruptcy.
Of course, getting a credit report can be expensive. At RGG Law we can obtain a consolidated credit report for our clients filing bankruptcy, but we must charge a fee. The fee is normally $60.00 for an individual or $100.00 for a married couple. There are, however, some methods to obtain a credit report which are free of charge.
Getting a Free Credit Report While Filing Bankruptcy
If you have been denied credit recently by a merchant or lender and they relied upon a credit report, you are entitled to receive a free copy of the credit report they relied upon. Usually, there is information on the letter or other communication about your rights in this regard and which of the three national credit reporting agencies was relied upon.
There are many commercial websites that promise “free” credit reports. Some are legitimate and some are not. Even the legitimate websites, however, may require you to join or pay some other expense. This may or may not be a good value. Free does not always mean free.
There is a website at www.annualcreditreport.com maintained by the three national creditor reporting agencies. They are required to maintain this site by federal law and to provide on request a free credit report once per year. The credit report can be printed out or transmitted electronically. Again, you will be given an option on the site to pick between the three agencies or to request a “consolidated” or combined report.
Should you obtain a credit report, beware that the information it contains may not be 100 percent current or correct. After all, the information is only as accurate as the last information provided by creditors. Even so, the credit report is more than useful in filing bankruptcy. You can identify creditors, obtain addresses and other contact information, find account numbers, and get approximate balances.