Can a Judgment Be Removed From My Credit Report?

Hi Mike,

I had a Judgement entered on feb/2012 for a $400 medical bill. It increased to $800 once it was sold to a debt collector. The collector reached out to me to make payments but I could not due to lack of funds. Long story short. A judgement was served to my then boyfriend at the time (feb/2012) because he opened my door and confirmed I lived at that residence. Missed court date so the collector received a default judgement against me. Started making payments of $100 every month until I lost my job again. I haven't heard from them since. I made 2 or 3 payments total after the judgement was in place. I want to fix this debt but I want the judgement to be removed from my credit report. Called the collector 2 months ago informing them I would make two split to pay balance in full within 1 month. They declined saying they would gladly accept the payment but will not remove the judgement they will only said judgement settled on my cr. The firm is a building not far from home maybe 20 min ago with an office of like 5 ppl. Not sure if i can go in face to face to make arrangement again with my same terms or speak to another agent and or person in charge. Not sure if its something i can do on my own to meet my terms or if i need to get my own attorney to do the negotiating for me. Really want to take care of this before it increase any higher than it already is or worse/wage garnishment. btw I live in M0.

How can I get a judgement removed off my account if I pay the balance in full? Is this something i can do on my own if told


It sounds like your main goal is to resolve the debt and get the negative off of your credit report. Unfortunately, you are fighting a losing battle with the approach.


Getting court judgments removed from your credit report.

The life time credit cycle of a debt that goes unpaid looks like this:

  1. 30 days after you miss a payment to a creditor, like a credit card bill, you should see a thirty day late pay on your credit report if the item appeared there already and is updated regularly.
  2. 60 days after a missed payment you now would have 2 payments skipped and are considered 60 days late.
  3. As long as you continue to miss payments month by month you are being reported as an additional month late.
  4. Ultimately the creditor will charge off the debt and take an accounting hit. The charge off is often then reflected on your credit report.

The life cycle of credit damage after missing payments on unsecured (and most other debts), MAY take on some additional qualities after charge off.

5. If a debt collector/debt buyer has the account and reports it as a collection on your credit report, with a balance due, the charge off from the original creditor remains, and the new negative will be reporting a balance due them, not the original creditor.


6. If you are sued for collection and judgment entered in the court, the judgment can turn up in the public record section of your credit profile.


Most of the negative credit impact from missing bill payments does not get to #6. One through 5 has a 7.5 year shelf life from the date you missed your first payment. There are some shenanigans that occur with credit reporting and debt collection accounts being reported with more recent dates, and even instances of multiple entries showing up for the same debt and more than one reporting a balance due, which is not right because you cannot owe the same debt to more than one place.


I am pointing out the above as a brief outline for later readers of this page. A little perspective of what happens to credit reports along the way when a bill remains unpaid is a good foundation for what I have to share about getting judgments removed from credit reports.


When it comes to credit reporting and debt collectors, debt buyers, attorney’s collecting a debt, even the original creditors – None of them have any real influence over the court record.

The judgment is a matter of public record. The integrity of that record is maintained by the court. You would need to get the judgment vacated, or the judgment creditor to somehow miraculously want to undo their suing you (doesn’t happen).


Unless you have a good argument for getting the judgment vacated, and are willing to spend the money on an attorney who knows what they are doing when it comes to accomplishing something like this, or dedicate a hell of a lot of personal time and energy to learning how to do it for yourself, the judgment will stay in the record with the court.


Judgment debt has a 7 year shelf life too, but the time only starts ticking from the date the judgment was entered.


Is this a big deal? Not for most people. Getting the judgment paid, even for less than the balance owed if that is agreed to, will result in a satisfaction of judgment being filed. You can use the court record to rapidly update your credit report yourself if you are dealing with the judgment in order to get a home loan approved, or refinance a current mortgage.


Be sure that any pay off agreement, whether in full, or for less than the judgment balance, includes filing the satisfaction with the court. There is no shortage of feet dragging when it comes to updating the court.


Paying off or settling the judgment debt can be done on your own.

It is always best to discuss legal matters with an attorney who practices in a specific area of law. In this case, one with credit reporting or debt collection experience. Hiring one to help resolve an 800.00 debt may not make sense unless you want to battle the judgment itself.


With a smaller debt amount such as this one, you can get the payment in and avoid garnishment. Just be sure that any agreement to pay includes in clear terms that upon receipt of payment, or the full agreement being met, a judgment satisfaction will be filed with the court.


Improving your credit report after payment setbacks and judgments.

I will have a series up at the beginning of the year that details credit report recovery and tips for increasing credit scores after bouncing back from a tough financial patch. In the mean time, if you can answer the following questions in a comment reply, I can give some more feedback:


What are your immediate financial and credit goals (buying a home, car, other)?

What other negatives appear on your credit report beside the original payment default related to the judgment debt, and the judgment itself?

What positive items are appearing on your credit report right now?


I look forward to your reply. Also, any one reading this page faced with similar concerns raised by Jai is welcome to add to the conversation and ask questions in the comments below.

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  1. Thanks for your reply, in response to your questions. I am looking to buy a house in 6 months. my credit score is 550. Other negatives on my account are macys, newyork and company store credit cards, sprint and other medical bills recently added in*which i already made payment arrangements. the new medical bills are not listed as bad or good as of now. macys fall off in jan 2013 (its been 7years) york and company falls off april 2013 and sprint falls off june 2013. I have 2 great accounts. my car loan i got in feb 2012 and my mastercard credit card i got in august 2012. I also have sallie mae student loans currently listed as in school forbearance. sallie mae has been on my account since 2006. i have one payed off visa card totallying 1,500.closed account/settled/made in full/ its been there since 2004.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for the follow up details Jai. Your credit report is going to have a better appearance mid 2013, but you need to bring your score up. The credit card you got in Aug of this year should help more with your score in a couple more months as it becomes more seasoned. That will be timed well for the other negative items that are due to come off.
      The car loan adds good diversity to the report.
      I am somewhat surprised that your score still hangs down in the 550 range given the details you provided. Collections certainly weigh down a credit score. Yours are really old though. Has the Macy’s settled account been settled since 2004, or was it settled more recently? If recent, when?

      You may want to establish one additional revolving trade line and have it be reported for 6 months as an additional improvement on what is currently a pretty thin positive credit profile. You can get a secured card that reports to the credit bureaus to accomplish this goal. Check out some of the options available here:
      I really like the free credit report card tool offered by You should look into using it as a tool to help you reach your goal of qualifying for a mortgage next year. It takes a measured approach to helping you recover and improve your credit:

      You can learn more about rebuilding your credit tools in this video interview I did with Gerri Detweiler: Improve credit video

  2. Hi Mike,
    I never paid macys, or the other store credit cards it all happened back when i was 18 or 19 years old. Im 27 now. They are falling off automatically because its reach the point of the 7 year mark. Ive never reach out to these companies/nor have i ever made any payments or speak to anyone from macys, or newyork and company. I’m a victim of fraud , i had my purse stolen at that time and it had my i.d. and ssn# inside my wallet. I never filed a police report at the time of the incident. and surprised my parents never mentioned it to prevent fraud from happening. when i got my car my score was 620. my realtor pulled my credit report on monday and told me they go by my middle score (what ever that means) he said they don’t take the highest or the lowest score only the middle and my middle came to 550. he only told me i took a hit in august when i opened my credit card. mastercard gave me a limit of 500. I wish i could see my score from all three bureau myself. so many websites offer u to view ur score but im not sure who to trust. when those collections and charge-offs drop off next year will it increase my score and or add points? im considering opening a secure card with my credit union but is it true i will take another drop in my score for opening a new line of credit? i so badly want a house. im so tired of renting. ive been paying my car note on time and my credit card. i thought my score would have went up from 620 instead i was dissapointed with a 550.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jai – Your middle score is arrived at by comparing the credit scores from Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. The high and low score are tossed leaving the middle score.

      The credit card you took out in Aug can bring the score down briefly (6 months-ish). Generally, once a new account is seasoned 6 months, it begins to have an incremental positive impact on your score if there are no other fresh negatives.

      When the stuff from 7 years ago falls off you should see some benefit to your score. Some of the reason for the low credit score, based on what you have shared, is that you have a fairly “thin” file. 2 open and positive credit entries, and one positive but closed entry is thin. I do think an additional revolving account would help you. A secured card from your credit union, as long as they report to the credit bureaus, would help. It too could keep your score suppressed for the first several months after you open it. Be sure to confirm the credit union reports secured cards to the credit reporting agencies.

      One of the reasons I like and refer to that resource is that the credit report card link above gives you access to your credit scores and makes suggestions for credit to help you achieve your goals. It also uses intelligence based on what it sees and recommends credit products you are most likely to be approved for. The credit report card is free.

      If you make informed and good credit moves now, you can set yourself up to be able to realize your goals in 2013.

  3. mike thank you so much for all your advice and help. i feel confident i’ll be able to accomplish my goals

  4. Gayle Buchanan says:

    Hi Mike,

    I appreciated and valued the information I read in the above story you shared with others like myself. My question first is regarding the Transunion credit score I pulled from two different sites the first was and the other was I believe. Each one produced a different score. Which one is correct?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Gayle – were those the free score checkers from and creditkarma? How far apart were they?

      Credit scoring models will vary from one loan product to the next, from one vendor to the next, and from one credit report to the next. The reasons for the variance are many. Rather than focus on the score for the moment, post a comment reply about what credit goals you have (car, home puchase or refi etc). I can offer better feedback based on a goal you are reaching for.

      • Gayle Buchanan says:

        My main goal is to clean up my reports so I can rebuild my credit and get approved for a secured credit card and create more lines of credit so I can bave a higher score in a cuple years when I will need another car loan.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          That is a reasonable goal and time frame. What other items are there to deal with on your credit report besides the Citi Financial entry?

  5. Gayle Buchanan says:

    Another question I have is that in reviewing one of my credit reports I noticed a creditor listed that I have never done business with but I am listed as a co-sginer for a car loan that my ex-husband had signed for with CitiFinancial Auto and learned by calling the creditor’s phone number and speaking to a live customer service rep of their sister company that they are no longer in business. Is is true that the credit bureau listing this on my credit report as a derogatory collection item will have to delete it off my credit report if I file a dispute in writing giving the relevant information regarding that entry? Will that improve my credit score after it is deleted?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Gayle – Having a credit report collection item removed will often improve your credit. But if there are more negatives than that CitiFinancial entry, it may not be by much. Are there any other key derogatory collections listed?

      Also, not all disputes sent to credit report agencies end up with a deletion. Is this a situation where you never signed off on the loan docs? What is the relevant information you intend to provide in your dispute?

      • Hi Mike,

        I wanted to ask if on my credit report I show three items that show the 7 yr. mark for coming off in early 2014. Do they automatically come off or do I need to contact the specific credit bureau to prompt the removal of those items?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Gayle – The negative items do generally fall off as they are marked on your credit report. I would not take that for granted though. Monitor your reports to be sure that they are gone after that date.

  6. Hi Mike,

    So my question is about a judgement that is on my credit report. I was in a car accident in 2009 and 2 years later the gentelmen sued me because there wasnt enough damage for my insurance company to pay him. He didnt like that an claimed life long injuries, we ended up going to trial. I had insurance and they provided me a lawyer. He didnt want to settle which is why we went to trial. Needless to say after all was said and done my insurance company paid what was established as a “fair” amount. Now i have this on my credit report and im not sure why. It was never a debt or sent to collections this was something my insurance company paid and i want it removed, is that possible? Im trying to buy a house and this is the only issue standing in my way.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sarah – Is the judgment showing as satisfied on your credit report? If not, does it show as satisfied in the court record?

      • Mike,

        Yes it is showing as satisfied on my report. It was filed march 7 2012 and paid march 22 2012 by my insurance company. I have spoke to the lawyer who was with the plaintiff and he said it shouldnt be on my report and he would write me a letter and get me the satisfied paperwork from the courts. Will that help at all?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Sarah – It may, but because the judgment is already showing satisfied, that is not a problem. If you were sued in your name, and a judgment entered against you, that is what is coming from the court record.

          I agree with the attorney, this should not hurt you or your credit report and access to new credit. But I can assume why it ended up happening. I think you should call an experienced fair credit reporting attorney to talk about your options. If you post the name of your state and a nearby city, I can email you contact info that I find for this type of attorney.

        • I am in Omaha NE. I dont want to have to spend a ton of money for this but if it is fairly affordable i would consider it because this is stressfull.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            sarah – I sent you an email with contact info for 2 attorneys in your area with practices that focus on credit reporting.

            • Denise Jackson says:

              Are there any in hte Houston, Texas area?

              • Michael Bovee says:

                Denise – Are you looking for attorneys in the Houston area with credit reporting consumer law, or debt collection defense?

            • My case is exactly like Sarah but my report shows I satisfied. I live in Maryland.
              Is it possible to remove this from my credit? And how soon
              Pls advice

              • Michael Bovee says:

                Mary – A satisfied judgment is not likely to come off of your credit report for 7 years from the date the judgment was entered in the court record. When was the judgment entry date?

  7. Craig J Tayerle says:

    Hi Mike,

    I am assisting a friend of mine with a purchase of a home. She has an unpaid judgment on her records that is 2 years old. She negotiated a settlement and cashed in her 401K to pay it.
    The creditor changed their mind at the last minute
    and the judgment remains. Can it be removed by a credit repair service or is an attorney necessary?
    The approximate amount is $10K.

    Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Craig T

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Craig – While not impossible, it’s unlikely that a credit repair company, or an attorney acting as one, will get the judgment removed from the credit report. The judgment is part of the public record and considered highly reliable. Getting the judgment to show satisfied through a settlement is the more realistic solution. Do you have any more details about why the earlier agreement was turned down at the last minute?

  8. I have a judgement on my credit report from a medical bill. I had coverage during the time I had gotten my surgery done. The hospital and Dr had my insurance info and yet I have this judgement from it. I don’t recall being notified of this and my insurance company at the time have no records of billing for me at all. They are sending me a certificate of coverage for the time frames I was insured. What are my chances on having this vacated or taken off my credit without me having to pay it. I live on Long Island, NY fyi. Thanks for any feed back.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Ray – There are a couple of reasons or strategies you could take to get the judgment set aside or vacated, which would ultimately lead to the judgment getting removed from your credit report. I would suggest you connect with a consumer law attorney with a practice that includes debt collection defense. This type of attorney will be the best able to talk strategy with you. I can send you contact info to a couple if you would like. Let me know in a comment reply.

      • I am dealing with the same situation but in CT. I had insurance and there was a larger balance that was settled but the hospital billed for anethisia seperately and I never recevied this notice of the small claims details so judgment was entered in the hospital’s favor. I sent this information to my attorney and recevied an email from the hospital’s attorney saying he didn’t connect the two cases along with his apologies. Is there something that can be done to get this vacated or removed? It was entered 1/13… Thanks.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Enisha – I would look to the attorney for plaintiff, now that you have his “oops, my bad” response, to get this judgment vacated on his motion, and the collections amount settled or paid in the process. Have you looked at getting something like this done already?

  9. I have a satisfied/paid judgment but it does not appear on my CR as satisfied nor paid. This judgment was in 11/10 it was paid in full as of 09/11 Can this judgment be removed form my CR if so how?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Wilda – Getting the judgment removed from your credit report is unlikely at this point. Even if for some reason you were successful at getting it removed, the next time some data miner scoops up your courts info, it would probably just reappear.

      Have you checked the court record to verify there is an entry of judgment satisfied? I have worked files where the judgment gets negotiated and settlement documented and paid, but where the attorney or plaintiff drops the ball on updating the court. Let me know either way and I will have additional feedback to offer.

  10. Stephanie says:

    We are attempting to settle a deficiency judgment for a 10 year old debt. The debt has been sold to a third party law firm that deals in collections. We are attempting to remove this debt in an effort to clean up our credit report. This judgment is the only thing standing between us, and qualifying for a home loan. We offeedr 10 cents on the dollar for original amount owed, and were turned down. Next we offered 1/3 of the entire original debt. This offer was submitted to original creditor, whose response was a demand for pay check stubs. Its my understanding that these are requested in an effort to obtain a higher amount than offered, or to determine if they would collect more money garnishing wages vs. agreeing to settle. My question is what do we do next. This debt originated in Colorado. The statue of limitations on a judgment filed in county court in Colorado is 6 years and renewable every 6 yrs. We have 60-90 days to fix this. What do we do next?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Stephanie – Most debts, no matter the situation, will not settle for 10%. A judgment debt is unlikely to settle for 30%, though I have both seen and settled some for that low.

      I can help you better target your efforts if I knew who the original creditor was, who sued if different than that lender, the attorney debt collector you dealt with, and the amount owed on the judgment today?

      Also, is the judgment 10 years old, or is that when the debt was originated?

      • Stephanie says:

        How much time does the creditor legally have to get back to us with a response regarding our pay off offer we submitted?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          There really is no legal time limit (or requirement) for them to respond to your settlement offer (given the circumstances shared so far regarding the judgment). If you put forward an offer via negotiations on the phone, you would generally be able to follow up on that with them if you do not hear back after a few days. If you submitted a written offer only – you may never get a response. Establishing contact on the phone is how most settlements get done, whether negotiating judgments, or debts that never reached the court.

          How did you make your offer?

  11. Stephanie says:

    Our offer & all communication is via phone.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Okay. Depending on how collectable you are viewed (often based on what your credit report looks like) by either the firm, or the judgment owner, your settlement can be considered either still too low, or they are simply motivated to hold out for more regardless.

      I would be better able to offer feedback if I knew the answers to my questions in my above comment. If you do not want to post those details to the site, send them to me in an email. I will respond to that.

  12. lori confused says:

    The judgment was vacated jan 2011 but then the collection agency entered in a judgment june 2013 and backdated to june 2011 that showed up on my credit report this year oct 2013 for full amount that I origanally owed. This judgement was entered after I had been paying on it for 16 months. Is that legal? I moved and was not aware they were taking me to court. They said I never signed a contract in january 2011 and never appeared in court in june 2011. So they are not removing the judgment. But I was paying on it since jan 2011 to may 2012. I am confused and frustrated. I called asked them to send me payment history and today i went to bank to get copy of allbprocessed ach debits and the checks they accepted and cashed. Should I get an attorney?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Lori – Does the judgment show up on your credit reports as satisfied or paid?

      Yes, I would encourage you to speak with an attorney. Few attorneys have a practice that focuses on debt collection and credit reporting issues. If you post a comment reply with the name of a nearby larger city – I will email you contact info for attorneys in that area that have the experience you would want.

      • Lori Confused says:

        Hi Michael,
        The credit report says civ cl judg as public record with creditor name there is no reference to paid or unpaid or satisfied. I live in the Fairfax, VA area. How much should I expect to pay this specialized attorney?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Lori – If it is a legitimate judgment (which I question at this point), it should have been updated to show as satisfied if you met your pay off agreement (which is how I read your original comment above).

          I sent you an email with contact info to 2 experienced consumer advocate attorneys near Fairfax. Both are less than 30 minutes from you. I can send info to reach others that are an hour or more away.

          I cannot say what you would pay an attorney in this situation. Consumer lawyers with a practice focused on debt and credit issues tend to price themselves within reach of their clientele – who are often struggling financially. Call and speak with both, and even additional attorneys to get a feel for fees. Most of this attorney type offer no cost initial consults, so nothing out of pocket to get some professional feedback.

  13. Hi Michael,

    I had a joint Macy’s credit card with my wife. We obtained the credit card to get a discount on a purchase there several years ago. We never use the card – except last Chrstimas I bought her some shoes as Macy’s and used the card to get a discount again. For some reason, the account was set up for online billing and I wasn’t aware of that. Fast forward a couple months and I get a late payment notice in the mail on the credit card – the original bill was apparently only posted to an online account for which I was unaware. I contacted Macy’s and got the details, made payment over the phone and got them to switch to paper bills.

    Unfortunately, we each now have a 30 day late payment on our credit reports, all for a billing issue and about $80 pair of shoes. I assume this will be on the report for 7 years and have a negative impact on out scores.

    Is there any way to remove or mitigate the damage?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Larry – If the only late pay on your credit report is that single 30 day with Macy’s, it will have a negligible impact on your credit scores. And perhaps no impact at all. While a late pay may stay on the report for 7 years, a single late pay (if it drops the score), will not depress your score for that 7 years. It will typically lose any potency to affect your credit over a period of a year or two.

      You could send them a “good will” letter, explaining the oversight (also show where they could have done a better job notifying you with email or phone call earlier), and asking for the late pay to be removed. It is worth a shot for the 5 minutes of time to compose the letter and the cost of a stamp. But I would not have high expectations for them removing the late pay.

  14. Michael,

    Thank you so much for your time and all the helpful info!!

    I have a judgement on my credit report for around $7,500 from 2009. I’m working on cleaning up my credit report so I can purchase a house within a year. After hitting several walls, I was finally able to contact the lawyer who represented Arrow Financial Services in my court hearing (I did not show up for the initial hearing in 2009, I was young, scared and dumb). Arrow Financial Services is current not in business, but the lawyer informed me that LVNV has purchased the debt.

    I would like to just pay the judgement, but will this help my credit score at all? Do I need the attorney to agree to any terms in writing before paying the judgement? Is is possible to have it removed from my credit report? Will the 7 years start over again from the date that I pay it off?

    I don’t want to be taken advantage of from the law office. I’m willing to pay the full amount, what do I need to do before I make the payment?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Angela – Paying off the judgment, or settling it for less than what is owed, would result in a satisfaction of judgment being filed in the court (done correctly). That will not necessarily immediately help your credit score, though it it could. But it will likely help you purchase a home within a year, as the unpaid judgment will go into calculating your debt to income, and may even prevent you from qualifying for a home loan. At this point it will not really matter if you pay it off in full, or settle it. The satisfaction of judgment is the key to your goal.

      It is unlikely in the extreme that you would get the judgment removed from your credit report, as the entry is relying on a legitimate public record. But that is okay, as it is not necessary for it to be removed in order to reach your goal. The seven years credit reporting time line would not begin anew as a result of taking care of this.

      Did the law firm suggest that they would work with you on resolving this on LVNV’s behalf?

      I would encourage you to read through this post about Arrow debts:

      • Thanks for the quick response!

        I had sent a DV letter to Arrow Financial Services and the certified letter was sent back to me as not deliverable. When I spoke the the law firm I asked if this has any effect on the debt owed, they told me that Arrow Finance is not in business, but LVNV acquired my account and that I now owe it to LVNV. They are mailing me information regarding paying it off. Would be it ok to ask to settle for less than the total amount or will they not negotiate that? Should I deal with the law firm or call LVNV directly?


        • Michael Bovee says:

          Angela – Why not save money where you can in this effort? I would absolutely look to negotiate a lower payoff. What is the balance showing as owed for this account on your credit report? Is it the same amount shown in the court record? When you get the documents you requested, it may show a higher balance owed than what is appearing on your credit reports due to legal interest on the judgment. Negotiating 4 years of interest away (if applicable), would be a significant savings.

          If it were me, I would reach out to LVNV Funding and try to resolve this with them directly. They may refer you back to that collection attorney, or another agency they had placed the account with, but I do see many situations where people get better results by dealing directly with the debt owner (where that is possible).

  15. I purchased a car in NC in 2000 it was repossessed in December of 2003. The repossession stayed on my credit report for 7 years and in 2010 it fell off. June of 2013 I was served papers to notify me that a judgment was being filed against me for the total amount that I initially purchased the car for, even though I had made payments on the car for almost 3 years before it was repossessed. I am military and I didn’t receive a court date unless it was in the initial serving of papers, because I was gone on training mission. As of September 2013 a judgement by default was granted against me and is now showing on my credit report. I did not have any judgement against me until September of this year so it wasn’t a renewal of judgement. What can I do? I don’t understand how a debt that has been removed from my credit report and it has been 10 years since my repossession that the credit company can still come after me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      James – There are a host of concerns I have with the information you shared.

      The debt is probably to old to legitimately use the courts to sue you for it.
      But you would have to raise that as a defense. Unfortunately you were not served appropriately in order to protect your rights.
      You are also protected by the service members relief act, and the debt collector may have ignored that too.

      I have some feedback for you to follow through on, but first I need a little more detail.

      Who is the debt collection law firm or attorney that sued?
      Who is that attorney working for (the named plaintiff in the lawsuit)?

      Post answers in a comment reply and lets go from there.

  16. Hey mike,
    Thank you for taking the time in answering all these questions. I have a question reguarding two judgments filed against me 4/11 and 3/11 both from my apartment complex for non payment of rent. However I still paid those just right after I received the papers from the court and never actually went to Court. They show up on my credit but they don’t show anything about being paid or satisfied. I was hoping for some insight here and was wondering if there was anything here that I need to do. Thank you for your time!

    I reposted this because I forgot to hit the notify my email button. Sorry

    • Michael Bovee says:

      ross – Do you have documentation showing proof of payment (bank records)? Did you pay the attorney suing, or the landlord/property management company?

  17. Hey Michael my name is Daniel and I have a judgement from EDD (Unemployment Development Office) against me from an overpayment a long time ago. It was originally around $700 and it’s now accumulated to $3000 with fees and penalties added over time. Is there anyway I can get help to just pay what I originally owed and have it vacated from my credit reports? Any information would help. Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Daniel – It may be possible to get the amount you owe on the judgment reduced somewhat, but you have next to no shot at getting the judgment taken off of your credit report.

      How much money are you prepared to offer to settle the judgment if you cannot get it reduced to 700?

      • Thank you for the reply! I am willing to try to pay half if not less. The lowest possible. I’m working with a credit agency and the judgment is off my report right now due to it being verified and I don’t think edd responded in the 30 day window so it was deleted but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time when it comes back on my report updated. So how can I negotiate the balance owed or what do you suggest?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Half or less may be a bit optimistic unless you can show some hardship situations and limited income that persist. What state are you in? How long ago was the judgment entered?

          • I’m in the state of California and the judgement was entered back in 2009.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Daniel – I have only worked a handful of files lifetime as relate to resolving debt like this that originate from overpayment by a state government. California is tough. My first step would be calling them and getting the discussion going with a focus on your difficult finances then, and now, and if you were able to pay it would be the result of outside help, not because there is room in your budget.

              • I have tried communicating that I’m in a hardship but all they could say is pay as much as you can monthly until it’s paid off. So I really don’t know what to do at this point. Is there anything else I can do? I can’t believe over 2,000 of it is interest and fees which is more than double of the original debt.

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  Daniel – If all you have discussed are payments, that is the type of response you can expect. If you are serious about settling this (paying less than the balance) you would need to be ready with the money to make a realistic offer. If you were able to get them to approve a 60% pay off (waive some fees etc), how long would it take to come up with the money?

                  • It would take me a month to save up 60% from now. When I am ready how can I try to get edd to lower my balance to 60%?

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      I would start by speaking with a supervisor about your hardships, and ask if they are willing to abate penalties and some interest, you may be able to borrow enough from family to resolve this, if its affordable and within reach.

                    • I will do that thank you so much for all your help! Happy new year!

  18. Hey Michael,
    I failed to pay Macy’s once on-time as I was on travel and that has been reported. It happened like 0.7 years back. Can I ask Macy’s to remove it as it seems it will stay on my record for 7 years? I have been a loyal customer for Macy’s and all other cards and have paid on-time otherwise.
    Also, my credit score is 676. I am trying to improve it further. Have got three credit cards, two shopping cards and one auto loan. Using <10% of my credit. I am having 18 hard enquiries since I have been moving a lot recently and also trying for new cards.
    My auto loan is at 7.5% and I am getting better rates now. It is 5 months old. Shall close it and get new one at 3.5%. Will this affect my score?
    I am planning to buy a house soon. What is your suggestion to improve my score further?
    Thanks you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Panky – It is unlikely that Macy’s will remove the 30 day late reporting. But a single late pay is not the credit score killer it has been in the past. If that is the only late pay on your credit report, you’ll be fine credit wise.

      Do you already have the auto loan finance of 3.5% approved?
      18 hard inquiries is a lot. When will the fist lot of them be 24 months old?
      When are you looking to purchase a home? Do you have any money you will put down?

      • Yes I am getting offers of 3.5 to 5% from two banks. Yes 18 inquiries are a lot. I did the mistake of applying cards, check for auto loans etc a lot recently. 7-8 are like 22 months old now. I plan to buy house sometime in 2014. What’s ur suggestions?

  19. Hi, Michael,
    Thanks for all of the helpful information. I have a judgment on my credit report that I paid one month after it was entered (fall 2010). Two of the credit bureaus had it reported as satisfied, but one didn’t. I disputed the status with the third bureau and a rep said they would look into it, but now I’m wondering if I did the wrong thing. Since it’s been so long on the judgment, my credit scores were going up. Will updating it to paid on the third report cause my score to fall because I’m updating essentially what’s negative information? Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sue – I do see instances where the “newness” factor of an already negative item like a judgment hits the credit score, but the hit, if it does occur, is often fairly brief. No way did you do the wrong thing though. Having an unresolved credit card judgment on your credit report causes more harm to you credit report than a satisfied one. You needed to get this corrected anyway.

      It does matter which credit scoring model is being used. Are you planning on applying for credit in the next couple months? If so, what for?

  20. Mike
    My credit score is close to 600. I have a lot of medical bill from assult that happen to my son and few other medical bill. I do have student loans but all are in deferment. I have two judgements listed one that has been satisfied and one that was included in my Chapter 13. The judgement that have paid is still listed on my report. I have sent the letter to the courts but its is still listed on my report. Is there anyway to have this completely removed?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Toy – Judgment debts showing on the credit report are due to the court record. In order to legitimately get a judgment removed (earlier than what is mostly a 7 year limitation on how long one can show on your credit report), you have to attack it at the court level. That is just not going to be worthwhile for most, and does not appear to be an option in your situation if you already paid it.

  21. First, does one have to be informed when a debt becomes a judgement debt? I am in the process of purchasing a property and a debt came up in my name. The bank still has to confirm whether it is in fact me. I do not recall incurring this debt. This debt is dated 1987. By the way whoever owes this debt I am curious , does a judgement debt go on forever? What about the statute of imitations? Does it apply to judgement debts?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Anthony – Generally yes, you would be informed that a judgment is entered against you. The first sign is that you are served or receive lawsuit documents that initiate an action.

      Depending on the state where this issue is ongoing, and sometimes the type of debt/judgment, it can live for a very long time. But not typically on your credit report (also can depend on the state). State SOL for judgments vary. Many last 10 years with the ability to renew for another 10. Some a bit shorter, and some for longer.

      Post an update with what you learn.

  22. Hi,
    You have lots of interesting info on this site. Thank you for trying to help so many people understand how all this judgement stuff works.
    My husband has a judgement that was issued a year ago in Feb. It is for a little over 7,000. It is legitimate, however, he was not served papers. I am so upset that we can’t buy a home even though he is making 80,000 a year. It is hurting us bad.
    My question is: If we pay this judgement and get it as a satisfied debt showing on our credit reports, can we then try again..with hopefully better results…with a lender? They frowned on this last month when they saw it. What do you think our chances are with a lender working with us when we pay it, and show it as satisfied on our Credit reports? Btw…a credit repair company did have it removed from Transunion. How, I do not know. But, they did. They are now trying to remove it from the other two. I don’t think we will have that much luck with the others. I am angry with my husband, and upset that because of this, we can’t buy that home I have waited for my whole life. (He got this judgement before I met him, when he was going through a divorce). NOW I find out about it. I have cried my eyes out. The home we were going to try to buy was my dream home. :(

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Phyllis – If I were in your shoes I would first look to getting the judgment unwound if there was lack of proper service, or some other deficiencies. I too would doubt the credit repair company is going to have much luck, especially with keeping the judgment off the credit report. Judgments are part of the court records. Credit repair firms do not impact that with their dispute letters. Once a data miner gobbles up your courts public records and spits them out to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, the judgment is likely to appear again.

      I can help you locate an experienced debt collection defense attorney if I knew the name of a nearby larger city.

      You can also look to settle the judgment for less, or pay it off in full. The judgment will still be on the credit reports, but will get updated to show as satisfied. You can still get approved for a mortgage with a paid judgment on your credit reports. What are your mid credit scores today?

      • Mike,
        I would definitely like for you to send me the name of a defense attorney. I live in Baton Rouge La. We thought about paying it, and getting it off that way, but since he was not served the papers, we feel they should remove it. I have heard that they can mail these things in some states. We lived in Indiana at the time. We did not get the papers in the mail, but I suppose they can say they did mail them. Seems it would have been certified mail?? Yet, there wasn’t any mail that came to him certified, or any other way. They can’t prove that he was served with these papers at all. So, I believe we should contact an attorney about this.
        Thank you for any help you can give us with this. It is most certainly disturbing, and hopefully an attorney can help.
        Oh and his middle score is 570, because of this judgement, and a failed business, and marriage. Mistakes…and he has learned a lot from them. But, it is frustrating at this time in our lives, because of our ages, and the hopes of having a home. He has a lot to do to fix this. The judgement is only a part of it. :(

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Phyllis – I sent you an email with contact details to 3. If you are up to it, post what the other issues on the credit report are for additional feedback.

  23. Mike,

    Me and my husband would like to buy a house this year. We both have good jobs and I’ve been at mine for 9 years. Several years ago (5.5 years) we were in a rough patch and lost a house, vehicle and several items went into collections.

    Currently, I have one judgement (credit card) on my account for just over $800 and some collections totaling no more than $2000, one of which is for $1500 for unreturned equipment that is 5 years old. I want to take care of my judgement and the collections but don’t want to hurt my score any further.

    I have worked my way back and have several accounts in perfect standing, credit cards, student loan, vehicle, etc but the credit score is just above 600.

    Can I do anything about that judgement which was filed in 2010 to have it removed and pay the collections (or partially pay) to negotiate a pay for delete and up my credit score significantly. I can pay off most with a cc but that will up my used credit and lower my score.

    What would you suggest would be the best course of action?

    Thank you in advance for any advice.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jennifer – What state do you live in? What is your current debt to income ratio calculating all debts (paid and unpaid)?

      Pay for delete is not an option with public record items like judgments. But that does not mean you cannot accomplish your goals. You will likely want to settle that debt and get the record updated as a satisfied judgment, and it would be good to have the credit report updated as soon as possible in 2014.

      How many collection items total are there?

      • Thanks for getting back with me Mike.

        I’m in Ga and the judgement occurred when I lived in a different county and I was served. I was told to answer the complaint which I did by taking my reply to the courthouse.

        This stems from a $300 balance card that I couldn’t pay due to hardship, and now we are talking over $800 which is ok if court costs etc. But I’ve been reading some of the other posts here and can’t comprehend why in the world they would go to court for that little money.

        Neither here nor there I understand I just need to settle it all along with the 6 collections.

        Since the highest collection for $1500 is so old is it possible to ask them to settle for much less? And what are the steps if so?

        My DTI is around 27.5%. I added some for the outstanding judgement and collections so it may actually be lower. We rent a house also but I’m only using debt that’s in my name. Please let me know if there is anything mentioned that should be added to that.

        Thank you again.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Thanks Jennifer. Are you already working with a loan officer? It can help to get a head start on what you need to do to qualify for different loan products.

          I would prioritize the judgment debt in order to get it to show satisfied first. Then tackle the larger collection. You may see a slight drop in your credit score from the recency of updates to these existing negatives on the reports, but you may not. You would potentially be in good shape within 6 months of the update, or a bit later.

          Your DTI is in line, and your credit score is near FHA ready.

  24. Hi,

    After extensively reading your thread, I have several detailed questions about judgements and the process of removing items from your credit report. I have also joined as a member, but I thought posting my questions rather than talking with someone one-on-one would help others who might have similar questions.

    I have one judgement (initially $7500) that was granted in Feb2010 for a credit card account that was originally $6k. I defaulted on the card sometime in 2007 or 2008.

    I have 5 other credit cards that went into default around the same time. I live in Nevada, so the 6 year statute of limitations (SOL) has either passed or is up on the other cards sometime this year.

    Two months ago, I hired a company to dispute information on my credit report. They are disputing it both with the creditors and the bureaus. I am beginning to see derogatory items removed from my reports at all three bureaus.

    However, I ordered a credit disclosure, a more detailed version of my credit report, from Experian, and saw recent inquiries from new collections companies (within the last 2 months). Could this, in any way, be related to the actions taken by the firm I hired to dispute my information? Have I possibly brought this new attention onto myself by disputing? How likely are these new creditors to take me to court for new judgements for the other credit cards this close to the SOLs being up?

    Regarding my judgement, I would like to call and settle it. For the same reason that the SOL will soon be up on the other cards, I have not wanted to give any other creditor a reason to think I have any amount of money, lest they sue me, also. At your company’s advice, I got all of the information on the judgement from the county circuit court and found out that the woman in charge of the original law firm that sued me died two years ago. Should I stay under the radar with the new firm or would they be more likely to settle for cheaper than the original firm? The new firm has a reputation for being hard-nosed.

    I have had my bank account garnished twice, once three years ago and once two years ago (probably before the original firm closed), but never my wages. They barely made a dent in the judgement. I have no assets and cash my work checks.

    Do I need to worry about potential additional judgements until the SOL is up on the other cards, or is it probably okay for me to settle this judgement, take out new credit lines, and make a larger purchase like a car?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Nicole – It is possible to set alerts and/or monitor someones credit activity as a debt collector. If you are seeing a sudden increase in debt collector inquiries, it may be due to recent disputes sent in by the credit repair company. Recent hard pull credit inquiries can sometimes have the same affect.

      It is difficult to comment about how likely it would be for the other creditors, and debt collectors, to want to pursue collection in the court. I only have your above comment to form an opinion. But that opinion is there is little likelihood of additional collection lawsuits being filed. Who are some of the collection outfits you are dealing with?

      I would need to know more about your specific set of circumstances, and who the law firm and plaintiff are, in order to better offer feedback on settlement amount targets. There are indeed tougher firms, and less forgiving judgment creditors out there.

      I do not see the other accounts holding you back from the further collections angle. It would be the credit reporting that is more likely hold you back. I would encourage you to resolve the judgment. It is not going anywhere; can be renewed; is likely growing from judgment interest; and getting it dealt with will mean no longer looking over your shoulder for bank levies and garnishment.

  25. Kristina says:

    My fiance and I recently went to our credit union to see about the steps we would have to take to qualify for a loan for a house. We got our credit reports back, and mine contains 2 judgments that do NOT belong to me. The first is a company I have never used, the second is a medical bill.. Both are by the same person..who has a different middle initial than myself. What steps do I have to take to clear this off my report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kristina – Let me just first say OUCH!!!

      Who got the judgments (name of plaintiff)?

      Sending a typical credit report dispute is not what you need here. You have to attack the source of the information – the judgments in the court record – and that will have some formalities.

      First thing I would suggest is talking about this whole thing with a consumer law attorney that has experience with debt collection defense. This type of lawyer is going to have ready answers to questions about undoing judgments that should not even be there. Most of this type will consult with you initially for no cost. I can help you locate one if I knew the name of a larger city near you.

      • Kristina says:

        The judgments were for a Kristie (an alias I’ve never used) L. (mine is M.) Allen (which was my maiden name before 97.) I live near Mt. Pleasant, Michigan if that helps. Thank you for replying. I am lost. We want to buy a house, but those judgements are bringing my score down.

  26. Kristina says:

    The first is Culligan Water and the second only says medical

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks. I sent you an email with contact info to one of the most experienced consumer law attorneys in Michigan I know of. Let me know how you progress from there.

  27. I have a question, actually a few questions. I received a judgment but I didn’t even know I had one. My credit score is above 700 and this judgment comes from Midland Funding LLC. I am in Arkansas. I own my own home and have good credit however, this judgment is keeping my credit score from advancing. I paid the attorney $1875.00 so far and then got a notice of a law suit against Midland Funding LLC. The original debt was $800.00 and had now become 3800.00. The lawyer sent me discovery of a signature that is not my signature. If fact it looks like the servers writing. The time of the serving is different on the court documents and the servers document. I am about to get my PhD and am applying to teach at several colleges and this judgment is really going to affect me. Is there anything I can do to vacate this from my credit report? Everything else on my report is excellent. I also want to by a new home.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Debar – The judgment is appearing on your credit report as a result of the record in the court, which is public. Midland Funding, nor the attorney that sued, are reporting the judgment. Data miners scoop up the court records and sell that info to the credit reporting agencies. The surest way to get a judgment off of your credit report is to attack the source. That would be where vacating the judgment (not the reporting of a judgment) comes in. But I am not sure what argument you would have with the court for doing that – when you are paying money toward the judgment already.

      How old is the judgment?

  28. Mike,
    I have a good one for you…..
    So, about 5 years ago, I was given a warrant for a civil issue. I called the court and notified them that I was unable to attend that day and was out of town (death in the family). So the court in Campbell Co., VA mailed me a letter (not certified or warranted) saying the hearing was in two weeks. I was out of town this entire time and never heard back until I was served a form saying I had a judgment. So I paid this judgment of $3,000 in a couple of months fully. It’s been on my credit report for about 5 years now and I really want to buy a home. I have a few other issues that are hurting, like late payments and a co-signing gone wrong, but for now I am curious if there’s any strategy to get this judgment removed quickly since there was no real proof that I was aware of the hearing and by paying it in full so quickly, explains that I had the money to do so.
    I hired Lexington Law 8 months ago and they haven’t really done anything at all to help me out. Letters sent on my behalf is obviously not the approach needed. I called the two car loans I had late payments on and pleaded for mercy in a nice way and both said to just write them a letter stating my plea and apology (basically) and they would remove 3 of the 5 late payment markers (ball park). The co-signing was with Sallie Mae so there’s probably not much I can do about that account.
    Question 2 for you….. In my hard times back in 2009 (wife was very sick and living on one income and paying bills like crazy), I had to default on my 3 credit cards and pay settlement amounts in 2010. These are still on my credit report and it’s with big boys, lol (Chase, PNC Bank and Best Buy). Are there any strategies you have for removing these accounts?
    So my question about getting Equifax and Experian to get this judgment removed from my account….. how possible is this and how bad is a five year old judgment affecting my score?
    I think my score is about 615 and I need a 640 in about 4-5 months.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Randy Is the judgment on your credit reports showing as paid and satisfied, or does it still show as if money is owed?

      The cosigning with Sallie Mae, are those private student loans, or government backed? Do you still have contact with the person you cosigned for? What is their intention with that debt – if you know?

      Are the settled account showing zero balance owed on the credit reports?>

      What are your main credit goals in the next 4 to 5 months?

      I can offer more meaningful feedback with answers to those questions.

      • The judgment shows correctly as paid.
        The sallie Mae is hard to deal with. The consigned person left the country and no PI can track him down. I can’t afford it now due to it being charged off. My credit goal in 4 months is to purchase a home. I have great credit accounts that I’ve kept active so that’s why my score is up to 615 considering all of the bad items on it.

        It’s a bad situation because I’m making very very good money now but paying my wife’s med bills, outrageous health insurance payments, two car loans and cost of living for a family limits some of these. All of my bad debts trace back to 2009 when I was suffering badly with finances. I’ve brought my score from 440 to 615 in the last 3-4 years just from making consistent on-time payments.

        Any advice at all would be very appreciated.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Randy – I would not put much time and energy into getting accurately reporting negatives off of the credit report. Lexington Law, like others offering the same service, are hit and miss, and sometimes the stuff that gets taken off, shows right back up again.

          If you are working with an FHA lender, I like your chances at a home mortgage. Wells Fargo just announced how they are lowing their score qualifications for FHA loans to 620. What I am concerned about is how the Sallie Mae loan balance will be calculated into your debt to income and skew the new ability to repay rules. How long ago was the last payment on the Sallie Mae loans? What state do you live in?

  29. Mike,
    Thanks again so much for the response. I live in TN. The co-signed loans are charged off accounts that linger on. I recently inquired about a mortgage and the lady checked out my profile and my student loans were really what showed up on the debt-income ratio for the payment. I make great money and not looking for much of a home in contrast to what I can afford. I can afford the payment on a $300K home but only looking in the $180K range. The 620 credit score and the 640 credit score bares seperate interest rates and the 640 is pretty significant with a .5% interest rate difference. I have a credit card from Best Buy that I settled for many years ago, but all three reports show it as charged off and not “settled.” When I requested information from Best Buy about this, their response to me in the mail was that they had no record of my account. Just changing it to “settled” from “charged off” would probably not get me much difference in a credit account that’s about 4-5 years old, but do you reccomend a strategy to have this account removed altogether since it’s 1. being reported incorrectly and 2. listed as an account that was charged off.
    I have spotted some errors and hired Lexington Law (8 months ago) but they’ve not removed one thing from my credit yet and I’ve been on the phone with them monthly trying to see what they can do for me. I guess with the struggles I had back in 2008-2009, it’s about impossible to escape that suffering for another 2-3 years, but I really want to buy a home.
    But to answer your question, I live in Tennessee (Nashville area).
    Once again, thanks so much for your feedback.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Randy – If you have documentation to show the Best Buy account is settled, I would use that to get the account updated on your credit reports. You are just on the other side of the line you want to cross for the better credit score. That one account should not really be hammering your score all that much 4 years later, but I cannot see your credit reports to say much. The student loans are not helping either, and I suspect that is what is preventing your scores from recovering more rapidly.

      So you are working with a professional on an FHA loan?

  30. Yes. I’m working with a mortgage company. Thanks so much for your responses.

  31. Mike,

    I’m in an interesting situation at the moment — perhaps you have some advice?

    I defaulted on a Bank of America credit card in 2006. At some point the debt was sold to a company called NCO. NCO obtained a default judgement in early 2011. I’m just now trying to satisfy the judgement. This is where it gets weird — I called NCO and they had no record of anything — they said that they “don’t deal with Bank of America anymore” and referred me back to Bank of America. I called Bank of America and they said that the debt was sold to NCO so deal with them. Finally, I called the law firm that obtained the judgement for NCO……they did have record of it, and the interest is still running at %12, but said that “NCO closed the file and won’t get back to them”.

    This is in Wisconsin.

    So, in a nutshell, I have a (about $20,000) judgement on me and no party involved will accept money so I can satisfy this.

    What are my options here?

    Thank you SO much for your help :)

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tony – What is your current ability to satisfy or pay the judgment? Your options are limited given what you shared, but you have some.

      • I cannot pay the judgement in one lump sum. I can afford to pay 30-40% in one lump sum.

        If I somehow come up with the entire amount, does that change things?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Tony – No one wants to take ownership of the court judgment, so paying the court the full amount owed would get this all sewed up and satisfied. But you would need the full amount, and if you do take that path, working with your own attorney would be ideal (basic docs, but best to get everything right).

          Without the funds to do that, you could file a debt collection complaint with the CFPB against NCO, Bank of America, and the collection attorney. See who wants to resolve the debt at that point. I suspect NCO would step up to resolve the judgment they got, unless they sold that debt off to another buyer. But you should be prepared to settle this rapidly. And 30 to 40% is not a gimme when settling judgment debt. If it were me, I may want to have 60% on hand, or readily accessible, before I poke everyone involved.

          • I have a question on this instance. If the debt owner cannot provide records of the debt, and you dispute it in your credit report, and no one responds within the given amount of time, don’t they have to delete it from record?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Generally, that is how it works. Based on your prior comment on a different page, is this about the Jefferson Capital account? It was not clear that your credit reporting dispute was sent directly to Jefferson Capital, but rather to the credit reporting agencies. From that comment it appears Jefferson may have responded to any investigation request you sent to Experian.

  32. Hi Michael!
    Thank you for all the useful information you post on this site. I have a question for you. I owed money to Cash Call back in 2008. The total was for about $1700. They took me to court, and I was unable to appear because I was living in a different city and was about a week away from giving birth to my son…I vaguely remember, but I think I sent a form that I filled out to the court, letting them know that I was unable to travel due to my health situation. Well, as anticipated, I lost the case and had a judgment on my record. I paid Cash Call directly, and got something from them stating that my debt with them is now done and over with. My husband and I want to purchase a home, however, my credit report shows the judgment. I was told that I need to go to court and get that fixed by bringing the proof that I’ve paid it off…Could you point me in the right direction at trying to get this fixed on my credit report? I’m in California, this happened in end of 2008, beginning of 2009…Everything was paid off by 2010. the judgment is in Los Angeles, however, I live in San Diego…any suggestions, comments or advice will be greatly appreciated!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Dalia – Is the judgment in the court record accurately reflecting the judgment is satisfied? Do you have a proof of payments made? Was there any written agreement or outline of payments that were agreed to?

      • Hi Michael!

        The judgement on my record doesn’t say paid/or resolved. Under status, it says “judgement” I do have a letter that Cash Call sent me stating that I had paid them off, and my understanding was that they have to send something to the court to state that I’ve paid, but I don’t see it reflecting on the report…

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Dalia – Check the court record directly to see what it says about the judgment. If it is a matter of the credit report not showing an updated version of the judgment as satisfied (if the court record is correct and showing paid), that will be simpler and quicker to fix. If the the judgment creditor never did do what they were supposed to, and the court record was never updated, you can call the attorney in the San Diego area I sent you contact details for, and find out if they can help you with filing the necessary docs with the court to get this corrected there, and update the credit reporting agencies.

          • Thank you Michael,
            I will contact the court to see what they say. Will keep you posted!

            I appreciate all your help!


  33. hi mike
    im trying to fix my husbands and I credit we are interested in purchasing a home. we pulled up his credit and find that he has 2 judgment’s on his credit report. At this point he doesn’t remember what they are from. One is in Tennessee and on is in Utah we live in WA I have no idea where to start with this. Do you think its best to contact a attorney to settle this matter we want to maybe buy a house by the end of the year if possible. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you if you need any more information feel free to let me know. I will take any advice.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      ingrid – Did he live in those states at any time? If so, what are the dates the credit reports show as the judgments were entered? Was he living in those states within those time frames? Who are the judgment creditors?

  34. HI



    • Michael Bovee says:

      Meme – It is common for items that were reporting accurately, to be removed from some form of credit repair effort, only to show back up again. What are your credit goals over the next 6 months? How old are the items you are disputing (when was the last payment made)?

  35. Mike,

    I’m currently having issues obtaining an auto loan due to a negative reporting from an issue from 12/2007. In this instance it was a credit card bill (MBNA) that was bought by Mann Bracken LLP. I had an arrangement with Mann Bracken to pay monthly and the debt was to be settled a long time ago, however, Mann Bracken LLP went bankrupt in 2010 and I have not been contacted by a new agency in order to rectify this issue. The outstanding debt on for this instance is $8500.
    What are my options at this point? Wait until 12/2014 and request it be removed from my report, or do I have other options?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Taras – Were you sued for collection that led to a judgment in the court? Who are you trying to get auto financing through?

      • Thanks for the quick response! No I was not sued. The debt had been sold to this specific collection agency and a payment arrangement was in place and being paid on time for at least a year prior to them filing chapter 7 bankruptcy. I was attempting to get financing through my Credit Union.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          At this point the debt is likely out of stat, or too old to sue in order to collect. What state are you in?

          If you cannot get the loan direct from your credit union, you may have a better opportunity, and even a better rate, available from the dealer, or the auto makers own finance company i.e. Honda Finance etc.

          You could also dispute the credit reporting entry from Mann Bracken as paid, or inaccurate if you see anything there to pick apart (balance, or DOLA is wrong).

          Are you in a hurry to get this approved?

          • I’m in MN – statute of limitations is 6yrs (which we are beyond at this point). I was in an accident 2 months ago and am in dire need of a vehicle so I’m trying to get as much info as possible before trying to get a loan. My score is in the low 700′s but I was deterred after finding out this was still on my report and my CU wasn’t willing to look past it.

            Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it!

  36. Hi. I have been having a problem with my mortgage company reporting my payments 30 days late as early as the 13th of the month, even though they already have the payment. I noticed that they held one of my payments in a “suspense” account before applying my funds. When I asked why, no answer was given other than to say it would be applied within one business day but more than one business day had passed since it had been received and it still had not been applied. I have been having this problem for awhile regarding my credit report even though I can show my payment history. No luck disputing with credit bureaus. When I spoke to someone at mortgage company, I was informed that they report a month behind so they report December’s payment in January spot on report but that is inaccurate anyway because I have not been late like they state. What can I do? Anything?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      hm – You have some options. Who is your mortgage with? Is that who is servicing the mortgage? If not, who is the servicer?

      • Wells Fargo is who our mortgage is with and yea, they are servicing the loan as well. Thank you.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          hm – If the inaccurate mortgage reporting from Wells Fargo was not holding me back from credit approval, or a better rate, for the next 60 to 90 days, I would file a formal dispute with all credit reporting agencies showing the late pay, and copy Wells Fargo on everything too.Send all mailed dispute items certified mail return receipt, with a copy of each for my records. If after the credit reporting agencies and Wells Fargo review of everything, any inaccurate reporting remains, I would then file a credit reporting and/or mortgage servicing complaint with the CFPB through their web portal.

          If you are in a hurry, or a bit exhausted from calls with Wells Fargo mortgage servicing that lead nowhere, you could skip the credit reporting dispute with Wells and the agencies, and move directly to the CFPB complaint portal.

  37. Hi, I was sued for $1500 almost 7 years ago. The amount was immediately paid in full within 30 days. It has never been reflected on my credit report. How can I get this off or at this point should I just wait for it to fall off? It’s supposed to come off Dec 2014. It was fully satisfied and frustrating that it keeps showing there!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Wendy – I am a little confused. You say the judgment has never appeared on your credit report, but then leave the impression that it will fall off late this year. Can you provide more details about the history of this debt, and your concerns?

  38. I received a judgment note on my door for a credit card . If I call the number of the person that posted the judgment? Do you think i have a chance to make arrangement to little at a time ?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      ana – Payment arrangements for debts in all stage of collection, including judgments, are common. Can you be more specific with what was put on your door? Was it notice you are being sued, or that a judgment already exists?

  39. T. Williams says:

    I just pulled my 3 free credit reports and I found that I have public records on my report that do not belong to me but to my dad. The spelling of our names are very similar. My question is once I get that removed will it help my credit score go up? The public record is from 2009, I do have some late payments (student loans, credit cards & collections item) that are more recent but I am working towards improving my credit to buy a car and anything will help as my credit score is 553.

    • T. Williams says:

      According to Credit Karma my score is 553. I really don’t know how accurate Credit Karma is…

      • Michael Bovee says:

        Credit scores vary. A lender pulling your credit report to finance a car is going to look at, and score differently, than a lender looking at whether or not to open a credit card account. If you are looking at a free score through credit Karma, it might be a close estimate to what a lender would see, but free scores are known to be off by quite a bit too.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The more recent late pays are likely hurting your credit the most.

      You will need to dispute the public record items as not yours with the credit agencies. I suggest doing that in writing, not online. Send your credit report disputes certified mail return receipt requested. Include a copy of their reports you are looking at, and even use a highlighter pen to draw attention to the item that is not yours.

      Keep a copy of everything you send for your own records. If the stuff that is not yours does not come off of the report on the first effort, post an update and lets go from there.

  40. D Roman says:

    Good Afternoon,

    I am looking to possibly purchase a home in Connecticut in a couple of months but I need to get my credit score up a little to qualify for FHA. I have a few items on my credit report that is due to fall off my credit report by the end on the year 2014. I not sure what should I do. Should I attempt to pay them off because I would probably need to show them paid before I would be able to get approve by FHA? IF so what percentage should I offer on such an old debt.

    Also I have a question about a debt letter I received. I got a letter in the mail from one of those attorneys who is looking to collect a debt on behalf of the credit card company. The letter said I owe almost 3500.00. I get served with some papers from the same attorney’s office that the debt was $1600.00 I called the attorneys office and setup payment arrangements. I pulled my credit report recently and I notice that there is a judgment on my account from this attorney. Can they file a judgment with me if I setup arrangement with them before any courts proceedings? We had already come to an agreement. I wanted to know is there a way to have the judgment removed because I already came to payment arrangements with them and the first letter they sent me was more than double the amount of actual judgment.

    One last question for you, when hard inquires come off your report, does that improve your credit score.

    Thank You very much for your time

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Roman – Are you already working with a mortgage broker, or loan officer. Have you talked about these really old collections on your credit reports? Is there some reason you want to do this now instead of waiting for those negatives to fall off later in the year?

      When you are sued, and agree to long term payments, you will typicality be asked to consent or stipulate to a judgment. That sounds like what happened with you. It sounds like this could have been explained better too. For instance, if you knew a judgment was going to appear on your credit report, you may have opted for some other resolution. When did you enter into this payment agreement? Who is the judgment creditor and attorney that sued?

      Hard inquiries falling off of your credit reports may help your credit score a few points, but it is file by file. You may have other things happening on your credit report that would mean no score increase, or a better increase.

  41. Good morning,
    In 2006 I had an overpayment from the state of Washington unemployment office. My wages were garnished and the debt was paid in full in 2011. The issue I am having is that the debt is showing up on my credit report as a “tax lien” filed in 2006 and released in “2011.” This appears to be a debt owed to the IRS. This is dragging my credit score to the ground. I was told that a “tax lien” is not removed until 7 years after the date of “release.” I never owed the IRS taxes. So my question is, why is an unemployment overpayment debt showing up as a “tax lien” in the court records. I contacted the unemployment office and all they can say is that they can send me a letter showing I paid off the overpayment – this does not resolve the fact that it is showing as a “tax lien” they say that they have no control over that and that I will need to contact the court. I am extremely frustrated as I have worked hard to clean up my credit – I have opened up a couple of new credit cards and a car loan which Ive had since 2012 – my mortgage, cards and car all all paid on time – I have a couple of very old collection accounts (which Ive tried over and over to dispute) are do to come over my report in July and the bankruptcy is due to fall off in October of this year. Any advice you can give me on the unemployment garnishment debt filed in 2006 and paid off in 2011. If this was listed as a judgement, which it actually was, then it would have been removed by now as it is 7 years from the date filed that those things get removed, if I’m not mistaken. Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Alice – Is the account showing as an “IRS” lien? You seem to indicate that it is, and that should be simple to dispute. Have you disputed this entry and requested the correction already? Perhaps your repetitive disputes have flagged your file.

  42. hotrodharmon says:

    A while back i had several medical bill that added up to around $1,400 and i asked for a detailed outline of the bills from the collection agency.
    What i recieved was a bunch of medical bills that had treatment numbers and a treatment location number. I then asked for more details about the bills because i had no clue what treatment #(#s) were or what place they were even coming from.
    I called up the hospital and they would’nt give me any info. The hospital saying it was sent to collections and they were not allowed to talk to me.
    I then sent another letter to the collection agency asking what these numbers ment. The next week i got a knock at the door with a police officer seving me papers.
    My dad and my lawer went into a pre. Court meeting. My lawyer called the clerks office a few days later and the clerks office said the case was dismissed.
    Well all of the suden i get my wages garnished. I have payed of the garnishment but now i just got another medical bill get sent to them. I know this bill is acurrate but, I am worried about paying it to this collection agency. With all of the history between us.
    My question is how is the best way to pay this? Because in the past i have payed small about to them (because i knew what some of the bills were), before they garnished me and they say they never recieved some of thoughs payments to them.
    Also how can a collection agency garnish my wages after the case was dismissed? Can they do this without reserving me and is their a way that i could pay the original depter? I dont trust this collection agency and im afraid to paying thinking they might still try and bill me again for the same bill like they have done in the past.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Get all things documented when dealing with the debt collector. If they will not send documentation about your payment arrangements etc., record everything said on the phone with the collection agent, and let them know you are recording and why.

      Something certainly happened with the court case, but I cannot speculate as to what. You can pull the docket for the case from the court and post more about that situation when you read through the case progression.

      You do have an ability to request a hearing from the court about any garnishment creating a hardship. State’s set a limit on amounts that can be garnished that will vary depending on each persons income and expenses. Look into that, and how to request a hearing, by calling the court clerk.

      What is the name of the debt collector you are dealing with? Have you considered filing a complaint about your dealings with the CFPB?

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