Lefkovitz & Lefkovitz
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Equifax makes subtle change to reporting policy

Typically, Tennessee residents would need to contend with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy on their credit report for seven years. However, in the past, those who had an Equifax credit report may have had to deal with that bankruptcy for 10 years. This may have been true for those who failed to complete their Chapter 13 plan, which isn't an uncommon occurrence.

Overall, about half of Chapter 13 cases are dismissed for various reasons including not being able to keep up with plan payments. Between 2008 and 2010, 574,000 Chapter 13 cases were filed and dismissed. Those who had a bankruptcy on their Equifax credit reports may have had a harder time getting a job, getting an apartment or getting the best rates on loans or insurance products. It is believed that such a policy had a larger impact on African-Americans as they are more likely to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A silver lining for some may come from the fact that Equifax has said that it had changed its policy. This means that anyone who had a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would see it stay on their credit reports for seven years regardless of outcome. However, Equifax would not say why it had made the change or when the change had been made.

Those who have credit card debt or other debt balances may benefit by filing for bankruptcy. Restructuring debt may make it easier to pay it off in a timely manner or get back to current on secured loans. This may reduce the odds that a person loses a house or other property to foreclosure or repossession. An attorney can often explain the process of filing and the benefits of doing so such as a stop to creditor harassment.

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