Skip to main content

If there's a settlement before going to court between debtor & debt collector, Is that still reported to the Credit Bureaus?

Tampa, FL |

I believe that if an agreement is reached before going to court also the situation shouldn't reach the credit report because the debt has been already settled. I've read that even debt settlements are bad for the credit.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. What will not reach the credit report is a public record (the judgment), which is of course highly negative. Public records also appear on investigative reports (like those sold by Lexis/Nexis) essentially forever, and such reports are available to *anyone*, not just credit grantors and others who have a permissible purpose to see your credit reports. Also, public records also appear on the websites operated by the clerk of court in your area, and on

    What *will* reach your credit report (unless you negotiate for it not to appear, or to appear differently) is a "settled" notation on the tradeline with respect to that creditor. The other possible notations would be "paid in full" (the best possible at this juncture) or "paid". The creditors also have the power to remove lates. None of these will be freely granted, you will have to negotiate for them.

  2. According to, "Credit reporting agencies also collect public record information from state and county courts, and information on overdue debt from collection agencies. Public record information includes bankruptcies, foreclosures, suits, wage attachments, liens and judgments." However, this info is not one of the 5 factors in determining your FICO score.
    As Mr. Hankins said, you can negotiate what is reported to the credit bureaus. If you have a written settlement agreement and they report something contrary to your agreement, you may be able to pursue a claim for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  3. Unfortanately you are incorrect. Compliance with the terms of the financing is what determines what is reported to a CRA. If a settlement occurs they may have to accurately report the debt status..BUT it may still show as an R9 or I9 (way past due) because it wasn't paid properly.

  4. Oftentimes a recent paid collection account can do more damage to your credit than an old unpaid collection account. Because many credit scoring algorithms are proprietary in nature, it would take an expert, like Evan Hendricks, to tell you how much variance there might be in the respective score. When you settle a debt, you can insist on language in the settlement that addresses reporting or nonreporting of debts with the credit bureaus. An example might be: Debt Collector further agrees (a) not to issue a Form 1099-C to Good Consumer due to the nature of the dispute or for alleged discharge of indebtedness based on the nature of the dispute, (b) request the deletion of its trade line to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union and any other credit bureau if notice is given to debt collector that the trade line is being reported and (c) to request the deletion of any non-account review inquiries from debt collector or its affiliate by written request to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union and any other credit bureau if notice is given to debt collector that such credit bureau is showing a hard inquiry from debt collector or its affiliates. Debt collector will furnish to Good Consumer a copy of the Automated Universal Data ("AUD") form submitted to the referenced credit bureaus requesting deletion. Debt collector in no way guarantees the conduct of the credit bureaus. I wish you the best in the future.

    If this information has been helpful, please check the thumbs up tab below. Disclaimer: The above is intended to give you some insight into various legal topics. This information is not intended as legal advice, but rather an attempt to provide helpful topical information. Although I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about representing you, we have not established an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship requires me to agree in writing to represent you. Unless that happens, you should not take anything I say or write to be legal advice about your situation or make any decisions based on it. It is very important that you consult a lawyer as to the specific circumstances of your case. If there are more facts that you overlooked and did not include in your initial question and you would like to email me, you may send an email to Of course, sending an email to me or my firm does not create an attorney-client relationship. We do not accept client representations by email. We do not always treat unsolicited information received by email from our website as confidential unless you have first confirmed that we do not have a conflict of interest. Please do not send us any information about a potential representation until you communicate with us to find out if we have a conflict of interest with the adversary in your particular case. As a rule, we do not represent institutions against consumers so there is usually not a conflict of interest when it comes to consumer protection but it is always safe to be sure. If you send me an email without checking to ensure there is no conflict, you also agree that our review of your email or any information in it, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, will not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you. Sorry for all of the legal words but I like to be up front with potential clients and my clients. Best regards, Steven M. Fahlgren Attorney, Arbitrator and Certified Circuit Civil Mediator Law Offices of Steven M. Fahlgren, P.A. Phone: (904) 845-2255 Phone: (407) 852-1711

Sued for debt topics

Top tips from attorneys

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

Browse all legal topics