Skip to main content

How long can bad credit stay on your credit report?

Poway, CA |

There are items on my credit report that have been paid and not removed off my report and also items on my report that were opened on a different date than date reported...what date should I validate to be correct

+ Read More

Attorney answers 6


Adverse credit entries can be reported up to seven years from date of the adverse date, such as being late on a credit card payment. Collection accounts may be reported for up to 7.5 years from date of default. An unpaid money judgment can be reported until it is paid or no longer enforceable, up to seven years.

These dates are known as the period of obsolescence. I have sample form letters for free that can be used to dispute errors on credit reports, including a sample letter for disputing items that are reported beyond the period of obsolescence. Please follow the link, below.

Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
Twitter: @RStempler

NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


You have bought into the myth that you can correct bad credit by simply removing old negative items. To fix bad credit it is far more important to have new or current good credit items than it is to remove the old stuff. The older a bad debt is, the less impact is has on your credit score. You may want to read my 10 part series about repairing credit after bankruptcy. You have to scroll past a long list of other reports to find it, but the link is below. Hope this perspective helps!


You must dispute the incorrect items with the credit reporting agencies. They are then supposed to respond by contacting the reporting creditor (the "furnisher") of the information. After that, you may have a right to sue either or both the furnisher or the cedit reporting agency.


The main issue with items that have been paid is whether the account is now being reported as a zero balance. Typically it will read, "paid as settled," or some variation. These stay on your credit report for 7 years from the time the account went into default and was never made current thereafter.

If it is a debt buyer or collector, the date is the one when they received the account. It doesn't restart the 7 year period. There is a history from the original creditor to each assignee in succession. The credit reporting agency is keeping track and is required to remove each item in the chain after the 7 years has elapsed as defined above.

Note: This response is informational only and not advice. Please retain counsel if you desire legal advice. Thank you.

Licensed to practice law in California only. The information above is provided to help you get a better understanding of the questions you need answered. You are advised to seek legal advise directly from an attorney in your area who can review all the facts and the law locally and advise you.


The best and most effective way to improve your credit rating is by taking a proactive approach to building positive credit reporting, not focusing on correcting your past mistakes, As a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney I often tell my clients that a majority of the damage done to their credit report is done prior to filing bankruptcy, such as incurring multiple delinquent accounts. If you have only one or two major delinquent accounts, debt negotiation can reduce your debt and if you have retained a qualified attorney a "neutral credit report." If bankruptcy is the best solution for you, building positive credit post-bankruptcy is as simple as getting a small secured loan (if you happen to need a new new sofa), that you can and will pay on-time every month.

For more information call Attorney Rhea Levine at (619) 497-2696.


This question is like a presidential debate. Lots of words few answer your question. The law says they can report bankruptcies 10 years and bad credit for 7 years. Functionally unless you do something about it, these entries might just last forever. the Fair Credit Reporting Act also says entries must be accurate. You can challenge the inaccuracies in writing to each of the reporting agencies. Once challenged it is their job to prove they belong, not for you to prove they don't. If they don't remove properly challenged items you have a right to sue. Your beef would be with the reporting companies, not the merchant who reported the misinformation. An attorney would help you do it right.

Bankruptcy and debt topics

Recommended articles about Bankruptcy and debt

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer