Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Removing Old Debt From a Credit Report

Questions: How can we personally remove unpaid debt from our credit reports that have exceeded the 4-year statute of limitation in California? Credit card debt and utility bills are of the types of debt I am concerned with.

Answer: There really is not a way to legally compel a creditor to remove a debt from your credit report even if it is barred by the statute of limitations. In California, most credit card debt is subject to a 4-year statute of limitation. This establishes the creditor's time limit to file a lawsuit to collect the money owed. Even without filing a lawsuit, federal law allows most negative credit information to remain on your credit report for up to 7 years.

Although you cannot force the complete removal of information regarding debt that is time-barred, you do have the right to challenge the entry and offer an explanation that might help improve your credit rating. Once a year, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report and then challenge or explain inaccurate or misleading information. Click here to read an informative article on disputing a negative credit history.

This publication is NOT INTENDED TO SERVE AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. Please consult with a licensed attorney if you require legal advice.

About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II, has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.


Anonymous said...

is it 7 years from the open date, or last reported date?

Carl Starrett said...

The "bad" information must drop off after 7 years regardless of when it was first reported.