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.

    • Hi Mike,

      I currently (as of today) have a credit score of 774 from Trans Union. However, I just moved to a new state and filed my taxes in October (after an accepted extension). I attempted to submit e payment for the $300 that was due the state. The state issued a 10 day demand 5 days after filing which I presumed was a cross and that the e payment would hit any day. I subsequently found out the state does not accept epayments from 3rd party payors like Turbotax but by that time I was outside of the 10 day demand period and the state issued a tax warrant. Of course I immediately paid the $300 plus penalty but the warrant was still already filed with the clerks office and will likely show up on my credit report next month. They are providing me with a satisfaction of lien letter which I will sent to the credit bureaus to show this lien as satisfied but now my credit score is going to take a big hit. I am appealing to the state’s tax advocate group in an effort to show this lien will create a hardship because it could affect my employment. Since I deal with financial instruments, my employer pulls credit and driving reports routinely. Additionally, I am the financial representative payee for my critically ill parent. It will take 30 days for them to respond. Beyond this, what other suggestions do you have? Would a tax attorney be of assistance?

      • Michael Bovee says:

        My experiences with tax advocacy offices have all been positive, but are mostly at the federal level. While what you shared should appear as excusable, I do not know your states reputation for handling similar situations.

        If there is that much on the line, than yes, I would talk about your options with a tax attorney. At least consult with one, and ask about their experiences with situations like yours. You could sleep better just from the consult, even if you do not hire the attorney.

  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?

          • Gayle Buchanan says:

            Hello Mike,

            I just checked my credit score after having a credit card for about 6 months and it has gone up 83 point since 2013 which brought me from very poor rating to poor and climbing if I have any say going forward. I still have that collection showing which I have no paperwork to produce to CitiFinancial who no longer exists since I wasn’t a co-signer that I ever ever recall … I don’t know where to turn at this point to get that corrected and noted on my credit report that it was filed in error by CitiFinancial before they were dissolved . ??? Addiitionally I noticed I have a judgment for $100 balance for a medical bill unpaid …. I never new medical bills could be reported to credit bureaus in the first place not to mention a judgement issued for a defaulted on balance …?? Do you have any advice I can put in motion to further clean up my current credit reports ?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              You might consider filing a credit reporting complaint with the CFPB about the Citi Financial never being an account of yours, but is some how showing on your credit reports. I would typically recommend first sending a dispute to the credit bureaus as “not my account”.I would send that in a written letter, using certified mail return receipt, and not through the online dispute portals. If you have sent a dispute already, or if you skip ahead, file that complaint here.

              I would pay the court judgment, and on a balance that small, I may just pay the court directly. But talk to the clerk first to see about how the court would handle updating the court record to show the judgment as satisfied. Once the record is updated,check your credit reports roughly 60 days later. If you do not see the judgment updated to show paid/satisfied, post an update.

              Great work with the progress so far!

              • Mike – I respectfully disagree here. The proper and EASIEST way to get such items removed is to use the ID Theft provision of FCRA. This requires only the filing of a police report and sworn affidavit that you did not authorize the account. The affidavit and police report should be forwarded to the CRA’s and they are REQUIRED to exclude the item, no other proof of anything should be needed. This method is much faster than using the dispute process, which will undoubtedly take months of back and forth investigation and re-investigation.

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  Good suggestion for accounts that show on credit reports that are the result of ID theft.

                  I will say that I see legitimate complaints filed with the CFPB being resolved to many peoples satisfaction in a matter of weeks.

                  The dispute process direct with the credit reporting agencies has been know to be time consuming, and a waste of time in many instances. That is improving, but more based on better regulatory supervision.

  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.

      • Hi Michael. Thank you for this service.

        I have a judgment against me in Calif. (Santa Cruz) and I now live in Oregon. I was going through a home foreclosure and the suit paperwork from the Credit Card collection stated I had 1 year to go to settlement mtg (I think it was a clerical error by the Court). Anyways, I put it aside because it stated the settlement date was a year away. Within a month I received a Summary Judgment. Also, I am permanently disabled from breaking my neck and becoming paralyzed. I have zero extra income. Do you know if I can use an OR attorney or do I need to get one in Santa Cruz? Do you know of any experienceed attorneys that may be able to help me?

        Thank you in advance. Dan

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I am going to email you contact info to an attorney in California that I would encourage you to speak with first. He offers a no cost initial consult. See what he has to say about your situation.

          • Rafael Minaya says:

            Mike I have a similar situation with a judgement in Orange County California.
            Can you let me know about a lawyer experience in judments


            • Michael Bovee says:

              I sent you an email with contact details to get in touch with him and talk over your options for the judgment.

              Please post an update with how thing progress for you.

  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.

      • Hi Mike,

        Thank you for your reply. It shows up as a “Tax Lien” I went to the courts and got a copy of the first document “tax warrant” is how the unemployment dept filed it. So the Courst told me to send Equifax a copy of the judgment showing that it has nothing to do with the IRS and that it was an overpayment of unemployment benefits,, I have disputed this three times thus far with Equifax – I faxed in my documentation and spoke with the disputes dept in Atlanta – who attached my document to my recent dispute and said that she will flag the public records dept to inform them that there are inaccurate as to how it is being reported – it should be a judgment not a lien which means it should have been released 7 years from the date it was filed which was 2006. not from the date it was paid (2011) This has been a nightmare but I am not giving up until it is OFF my report – I have no IRS debt or issues and I never have. But the unemployment department filed it as a tax warrant but it clearly shows its an overpayment of benefits nothing at all to do with taxes and that is the court certified document I sent in. It is currently under investigation. – I am still waiting to hear back

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Alice – Please post the outcome and if needed there are some additional steps.

          • Hi Mike,

            Equifax came back with the same generic reponse ” Verified” is there anything else I could possibly do?
            Recap of the issue: unemployment overpayment filed in 2006 as a tax warrant. Paid in 2011. Still on my report and is not scheduled to be removed until “7 years from the date paid” which is suppose to be 7 years from the date filed as it is a Judgment nothing to do with the IRS… It was an unemployment overpayment. Thanks for any info you can provide

            • Michael Bovee says:

              I would encourage you to file a credit reporting complaint with the CFPB here. Be detailed and precise with all time lines, efforts at communication, etc.

              I would also start looking at your options for suing based on Fair Credit Reporting Act violations. Are you still living in Washington? If not, what is the name of a nearby larger city?

              • hi Mike thank you so much for your response and information you have provided and yes I am still living in the state of Washington.


                • Michael Bovee says:

                  I am going to send you contact info to some experienced fair credit reporting consumer law attorneys. A couple of them are in Portland (may still be able to help you), and one I know in Spokane. Distance does not have to be an issue in these cases. Kirk, for instance, works with people all over Washington.

  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?

  43. I have a question. I returned my car lease and was charged 1600$ in overage miles. It is now 60 days late and also in collections. I am in the process of getting my home loan with FHA program. They require no late payments or collections. If I pay my lease bill, will they automatically remove any derogatory information (late payments, collections) from this account? The goal is to have no history of negative information so I can get the loan. NO OTHER PERSONAL ACCOUNTS had every been negative. My credit score went from 715 to 642 in 30 days once this one lease bill went to collections. WHAT DO I DO PLEASE?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You can take a shot at the finance company removing any reference to the late pay from your credit reports by offering full payment. But more than likely, you will have a paid account that either went to collections, or was two months late.

      Did your loan officer tell you FHA underwriting required there be no collections appearing on the credit report? You may have some specific things going on for that reference to be made, I do not know, but FHA underwriting will often require no unpaid collections, not that there be none at all on the credit report.

  44. Anim_lvr says:

    Hi Michael,
    I have three judgments against me for credit cards. I went from a very well paying job to disability which was less then $20,000. Unfortunately, I was just not able to pay them. Two are dated in 2007 and one in 2008. I still cannot afford to pay any of the unpaid balance which has probably quadrupled in time because of the interest. I am trying to finance a home and the loan officer said there was no way I would qualify due to this matter. Since it will be seven years soon I am assuming or rather hoping they will come off my credit report. On my credit report they are not listed under collection and no collection agency has contacted me in three or four years. I have been told though that the judgment can be sold to a collection agency again and the seven years will start over again from the date of the sale. Is this true? Also could they still be listed on my credit report after seven years stating time had passed and were “obsolete”. I’m sorry I can’t think of the correct word for what I am trying to say. I live in Alabama and I am assuming that 7 years is the statue of limitations. I really need help with this because I am in a situation where I need housing within a few months. Renting is not an option. Thank you so very much for your help. Anim_lvr

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You could still find that you are unable to get financing after judgments age off of your credit reports. That is because you still owe the debt, and the fact that the judgments are unresolved is still a matter of public record. The credit card judgments are good for 20 years in Alabama. They can be growing with as much as 12% interest (legal limit in Alabama for debt like this).

      Being blunt, I do not like your chances here.

      Who are the judgment creditors we are talking about here (name of plaintiff). What are the amounts (roughly) owed on each?

  45. Michael says:

    Wow! Michael Bovee you really know your stuff. I read a few of your answers and I really need some advice for my current situation. But first let me thank you in advance for your help and interest to help me resolve my conflict.

    In 2010 my wife and I got married and moved into an apartment together. In 2011 two months prior to completing our one year lease we both lost our jobs. We paid the eleventh month with our 401k and some money we saved however by the 12th month we moved out before they were able to evict us. Eventually they sued us for the last month’s rent plus lawyer fees and all. Shortly thereafter it turned into a judgement on my credit. By 2012 my wife and I filed BK and away went everything. Or so we thought. Now after living with my parents in a 10×10 room with our two year old daughter and another on the way it’s imperative we find a new place, we looked into renting another apartment but found that we are on some sort of blacklist and is EXTREMELY hard to rent anywhere because of that judgement. What can we do if anything. Its hard for me to believe we have to suffer like this for 7 years. I mean what if I didn’t live with my parents? Would me and my little family be living on the streets? There has got to be a way for us to rent something. Living with parents is just NOT an option anymore.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – There are probably some options for rentals even with the judgment form a prior rental. Keep looking and be upfront about what you have going on before you submit any application. If the policy with a property owner or management company is strict, they will probably tell you and you can skip the application process. You may need a cosigner or larger deposit in some instances.

  46. Wendy O. says:

    I have a question. Back in June 2013 I was entered into a judgment for 499 plus court fees. The case was over a merchant account lease. They came after me after the statue of limitation had expired. Even though this was my defence the judge still awarded them the case. I did appeal it and at both times they were awarded the case. This was a very sneaky company that I was dealing with. They send me the contract after I had signed the application, but that is another story. I received court papers stating that I had enter into a judgement and I was obligated to pay the amount owned. I checked my credit report that month and the judgment never appeared. I keep checking it every month and the judgment has not appeared my credit score right now is at 703 – 713- 769. I’ve been trying really hard to keep a good credit. Since this judgement did not appear on my credit reports I did not called the court or the plaintiff. Today after 6 months I got a call from a collection agency CLN Law asking me to pay the money. This is not my original debtor and when I asked for an address to send a money order they gave me a PO box Number. Now my concern is that if I pay for this judgement it will now appear as judgment payed satisfactory rather than not being shown on my credit reports. Im about to apply for a line of credit for my business that its not a corporation but rather under my name, and I’m also looking to buy a house with in the next 6 months. I want to know if I pay this judgement would it appear in my credit report even though it has not appear before?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is possible it would show up later, whether you pay it or not. Have you looked up the court record to confirm the judgment is entered correctly? Errors happen… not that you would want this one fixed.

  47. Brittany says:

    “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.”

    I am in this situation. I have a student loan Judgement against me that is reporting on my credit from Sallie Mae, and they are not reporting that I have paid ANYTHING towards it. They aren’t updating balances and they are not reporting that I pay them monthly. I had a really bad credit score (in the 400s) at one point and I worked my ass off to correct my horrible decisions when i was younger and now it’s up to around 620. I am trying to finance to get a mortgage loan and the lender wants to see my credit score up to at least 640. The ONLY two things I have outstanding are this Judgement for student loans, and a medical bill that is in collections that will be paid off in a couple of months. That’s IT. And I dont know what to do at this point.

    Sallie Mae was of no help to me whatsoever. They told me to get a private loan to pay off the Judgement so it wouldn’t report anymore. WHAT? I dont care that it’s reporting, but it’s not HELPING my credit if they aren’t reporting that I’m paying them.

    WHAT DO I DO?!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brittany – When paying a judgment off with monthly installments, it is not updated to the court record. And it is the court record that is reflected on your credit reports. Your credit report will probably next update once the satisfaction of judgment is filed, which is not going to be until you pay it off in total, or as agreed if settled for less.

      You will probably get a bump a couple months after the medical debt shows up on your credit reports as paid.

      What are you doing to help your credit score besides dealing with the old debts?

      • Brittany says:

        The only thing I’m doing is making sure that all of my bills are paid before the due dates.

        I have two store credit cards, Kohls (100$ credit line) and Victoria’s Secret (with a 500$ credit line) which both are paid off (no other credit cards… No MasterCard or visa). I have a car payment and normal household bills (cable, car insurance, gas, electric, rent, cell phone)… But other than that, I don’t have much else. I’m not sure how to better my credit score other than to pay off this medical bill that has 300$ left and get rid of this judgement. Crappy part is that I can’t just give them 11,000$ and call it a day so the judgement goes away.

        Any other suggestions on how to raise that credit score with things that I can control?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Not much to suggest. You have a couple of revolving credit cards with low to no balance, an installment loan you are paying, and keeping current on all bills.

          You may/may not get the score bump to 640 after the medical debt is taken care of. But you may still be able to get a mortgage. Is the lender you are working through using FHA standards? FHA will clear credit scores under 640.

          • Brittany says:


            So I got some more information from my Mortgage lender asking me to write a letter to their investors explaining the “faults” on my credit report. Which is fine, I can do that no problem

            I have paid off the medical bill that was outstanding so that is an easy explanation because it will drop off my credit report by the end of July. The ONLY other things on my credit report that need explanation are 1-the judgement and 2-the two loans that are combined “the judgement”.

            I guess my question is this. Sallie Mae sued me for 2 loans that I had through them, which they have combined together and got one judgement for them. The judgement is for like 15,900 give or take for the two combined (for for 6k and the other for 9k). So the judgement is on there which we have already established will not get updated due to it being a court records thing (blah blah)…

            My question is… how can I stop Sallie Mae from reporting those two loans separately on my credit and show them with a “past due” balance when I am paying them via this judgement that is against me.

            Seems like thats the ONLY thing that they are worried about on my credit report… the fact that 2 loans appear to be “past due” when in fact, those two loans are included in the judgement against me.

            Any help would be great!

            • Michael Bovee says:

              There is no standard for Sallie Mae to update the courts with monthly payments that will translate to your credit reports that I know of.

              You could contact Sallie Mae and ask for some written outline of the payments you have agreed to with them. Attach proof of your on time payments pursuant to that agreement.

              You could also just outline that yourself in a letter you give to your lender, and attach the proof of all payments. From what you shared in your comment, that is what your mortgage broker is asking for.

  48. I had a motorcycle repo in 07/07 from Harley Davdison that shows as a charge off on my credit for 6400 it will be 7 years in a couple months does that fall off or can they go back and file a judgement against me I live in NC my wife and I are trying to buy a house Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The statute of limitations to sue you in North Carolina in order to collect on a debt like this is long gone. I do not think you are at any risk of them trying to get a judgement now.

  49. I have a credit card judgement in my name since 2008 and i was told by the credit bureau that it will go off my credit report in 2015. I tried getting a mortgage loan this year and i was told by the loan officer i needed to pay the judgement. He said they will still be able to see it on my record even though its off my credit report when applying for a home loan. Is this true?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Public records, which include the court entering a judgment, do not go away once the credit reporting ends.

  50. Hi can I seek advice I have a credit account in kay jewelers and I think we missed to pay for about 5 mos I think, actually its a joint account. Kay jeweler already send it to law firm and law firm send us a letter notice of intent litigation, are we gonna be sued with that? What are ways we gonna do because we still want to pay the balance and we tried to contact kay jewelers but we remained hold for about a hour and half in phone call so we just left a message, but there’s no reply with them yet, we just want to know if there is anyway we cand send the payment.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      rhem – With Kay Jeweler sending your account to an attorney for collection, you will typically have to call the attorney to work out the payment arrangement. Be very careful to get everything in writing that you agree to. Just because you are paying the attorney does not mean they will not sue to secure payments from you.

      • We sent a settlement letter to them but we didnt received any reply with that we just received a notice of intent litigation

        • With that notice of intent litigation is that means they already file a case to us?

          • Michael Bovee says:

            It may not mean they have already filed, but it does certainly sound like they will.

            Sending letters offering to settle is often counter productive. Is there a reason you are unable to call?

            • Thanks Michael. We already talk to them and agreed on us how we can settle the payment. Thanks a lot for you time and help. Appreciated.

  51. Law School soon to be 1L student in need of advice.

    I am a 28 year female from New Jersey. I have been accepted to Law School and was thankfully awarded a 20k dean scholarship. However, I still owe 52K in tuition including housing. My credit history is not well. I have 6 accounts in good standing, including a car loan company.
    Bad Debt
    1) I have 2 medical bills I never knew about, but they are small in the amount of 1,000, which is in collections
    2) I have one civil judgement that was filed in 2012 in the amount of 5300, which originated from chase but was taken over by another company. This also shows in my bad debt as well in collections, thus hitting me twice.
    3) I have a 10,500$ outstanding debt from 2009, which started when I was 19 years old. They had given me a 9000$ limit and I have no idea how, but regardless, I was unable to pay any of it, thus, it is now in collections.

    My mother is going to try to get a loan or mortgage of some sort on our home in the amount of 20k, hoping that if I pay off these ‘bad’ credit accounts and civil judgment, I will be able to obtain a student loan from sallie mae or similar company.

    My question is this, if I pay these accounts off, in total an amount of approximately 18K, which I am hoping I could knock down to around 9 or 10k, would my credit score improve enough in order for me to acquire a private student loan without a co-signer. I am being given the max in unsubsidized federal money – 20,500. But I am still left with 30k in tuition/housing, which is the amount I would need in a loan.

    I do not have a co-signer, my mothers credit is not good enough to enable me to obtain a private loan. However, if my credit improved, would her mediocre credit be that much of an issue. She is in the high 500’s and I am, I believe in the 400’s.

    Like I said, I do have 6 accounts that are open and in good standing and current, including a financed automobile.

    I can not get a grant for post-Bachelors degree and I am getting the max in unsubsidized, and the graduate plus loan requires a good credit standing, or a parent to have good standing, but I have neither.

    I am at your mercy and need advice on how to proceed. Two of my bad debts are going to expire by 2016, but I do not have two years. I start in August. Please please help me and let me know what I can do to optimize my potential for obtaining a loan, either private, or otherwise.

    Thank you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sometimes there just are no feasible financing options. Your situation may be one of them. As you pointed out, time is your friend, but not when your goals are more immediate.

      You could certainly settle the debts you reference in your post, and perhaps for better savings than what you are preparing for. But that will not necessarily mean you will be approved for the student loans you need.

      Are you working?

    • Brittany says:

      Fallon – any advice from someone with experience. Do not get any loans through Sallie Mae for student loans. If for whatever reason you are unable to pay them… They will sue you faster than you can blink. I have also commented on this article about trying to obtain a mortgage loan but Sallie Mae is really causinproblems. Feel free to read my section if you want to know more of my experience with them!

  52. Hi Mike,

    I had a credit card judgement levied against me in 2008/finalized in 2009 during a prolonged period of unemployment. I was supposed to have insurance on the card against unemployment but when I tried to contact them about it, they claimed they couldn’t find any evidence that insurance was on the card. Basically, what I think happened was they had insurance on the card and when I sold a house, I paid the card off. When I moved out of the house, as a precaution against fraud, I closed all my accounts and had the cards re-issued. I was afraid someone might find something in my trash and steal my identity. So my move to protect myself may have resulted in them removing the credit protection from the card. In any case, when I needed it, I discovered it was no longer there.

    The creditor got a judgement on me that was finalized before I became aware of it. In a few months, I may be coming into a little money, but I’m not sure how much– so I’d like to try and negotiate with them. Before, I couldn’t, because I just didn’t have any cash to pay the debt. Could you recommend a lawyer in California that could help me settle the debt with the creditor’s lawyer, and get them to file a satisfaction of judgement with the court? Should I try to counter-sue them or file a complaint with some government agency (the court? the FTC?) and argue that I did not authorize the removal of the credit protection insurance? Would something like that give me any leverage to get a lower settlement amount to satisfy the judgement? Your advice would be greatly appreciated. I just want to move on with my life, but am only now getting some money to deal with this.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Suing them over the cessation of credit protection is not likely to lead to anything productive. How much is the judgment for?

      I will send you an email with contact info to an excellent debt defense attorney in California. Talk to him about what he can do to help settle the judgment and get the court record updated.

      • Thanks, Mike. That’s what I figured. Thank you! It was originally for about 5800, but is now between 9-10k with interest I just need to settle it now, and hoping for the best outcome possible. I also don’t trust settling it on my own because I am afraid they will not file the court satisfaction paperwork unless an attorney handles it.

      • Hi Michael,

        Great news! The attorney to whom you referred me was able to get a settlement for half of the amount of the original judgment, due to a couple of clerical issues with the original case. I paid about 4700 instead of 9400. Thank you again for all your help with this!! You have really helped me out. I am so happy not to have to worry about this any more.

        I do have one additional question. The lawyer said the Collecting law firm will probably send me a 1099c. My tax preparer said it will probably be for the difference between the initial judgment and the settlement amount, but the law firm may try to send me a 1099c for the difference between the judgment+interest (9400), and what I settled for (4700). My tax preparer, who has done several 1099cs, said she would need to do some more research, but that the taxable event was in 2009, so it ought to be the amount that was from when the original judgment was finalized. She said if they try to send it for a later year, then I could file a form with the IRS to dispute the year, because it’s pretty clear when the event occurred. The lawyer said he was not qualified to speak on tax issues, so he didn’t know.

        Do you know how the 1099c would probably be calculated? Is she correct about the taxable event? If she is, I’d get a 1099c for about 800. If she’s not, it will be for about 4700. I wasn’t working that year, I was a student living off student loans. It probably won’t affect me much in any case, because she said I could file a claim for insolvency since I owed more than I was bringing in during that tax year. I didn’t even make enough money to pay taxes that year. But it would be good to know what to expect.



        • p.s. Her reasoning for the amount was that the interest accrued after the event occurred, but if I paid 4700 and the original event was about 5800, then I’d only owe the difference between the initial event and the settlement amount, which is about 900-ish. She said the 1099c was sent because the IRS considers the unpaid debt as income from the initial event. The subsequent interest she was unsure of, but felt that it would be a different event year, if it is taxed at all, and might be carried over a number of years.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            I believe there are tax court rulings and/or policy decisions pending regarding the tax treatment on forgiven debt, and how phantom money (interest after default) is treated.

            Those decisions could be a while….

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Congratulations with resolving the judgment!

          I cannot speak to the tax question as a qualified professional, and would encourage you to speak to one. My impression of where you are at is that the year in which the debt was forgiven will be the year you have to consider the tax, and whether you are solvent. I cover this in more details in this report:

          • Hi Michael,

            Thanks. That is not what my Enrolled Agent said, but as you said, this is a very murky part of the tax law and it has changed a lot. She said the IRS has said it must be the year of the taxable event. Otherwise, people could get the 1099c years later and the IRS says it must be timely. She said she had heard the IRS was going to rule against CAs sending 1099cs years later for a current tax year, but that is what she heard at her workplace. I could have her call the IRS about it when I get it. If they sent it for this year, I would dispute it, but I think I might have to get a tax lawyer at that point.

            We’ll see how the whole thing pans out.

            In any case, thank you so much for putting me with a lawyer who could get a settlement. That is huge for me!


            • Michael Bovee says:

              If you do get some solid answers to your questions come tax time (or before), please post about that in the comments of that link to the report I provided above. That would be great!

              • Thanks, Michael. I will do that. She has a line she can call to speak to the IRS about it, and also some tax experts who are on call who specialize in different areas. I have asked her to let me know as soon as she gets a solid answer. I hope consumers will get some clarity on this soon. For the past couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of posts on the 1099c from people who got one many years after a taxable event. I really hope the IRS will clarify the timeframe in a more precise way and exactly what to expect in terms of the amount on the 1099c.

  53. Hi Mike,
    I recently pulled my free annual credit report and discovered a judgment filed against me by some Apartments that I have never lived at. This is in a different state than where I live and someone has used my identity. I have filed a dispute with the credit bureau’s regarding this. I have been working so hard to rebuild my credit and now this has happened. Will the credit bureau’s remove this with the proof that I sent them showing where I have been living and working. I am looking at hiring an attorney to try and have the apartments recall this. Not sure where to start. I also filed a complaint with the FTC. Any advice? Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Did you live in the state the judgment was filed at any time?
      credit r
      Credit reporting is not perfect. Far from it. There could be a mixed file issue, or something other than identity theft at play. That said, if it is an issue of identity theft, I would want to file a formal police report, and have that to share with credit reporting agencies too.

  54. Hello Michael,

    Back in the day when i was 20, I purchased a computer through Gateway. Of course, it was financed and my sister decided she would buy the computer from me. Of course, she did not keep her end of the bargain and the computer was not paid. As I got older, the bill went delinquent and I was under the impression that this was written off. Recently, I have been looking through my credit report, at the age of 36- looking to improve my rating and overall score. I realized that Asset Acceptance has a judgement against me around the sum of $3500 for the computer or the purchase of the debt. Court papers were filed 2009. What should i do? I want to call them and declare this debt as passing the statue of limitation, but I don’t want to open a can of worms! Will this come off my credit in 2016, satisfying the seven years? I don’t want to act without some kind of consolation and knowing these agencies, they are hungry for payment, PLEASE HELP!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The judgement may come off of the credit report after 7 years from the date of entry in the court. But the debt is still out there, and probably growing with judgment interest. You will still be at risk of extra ordinary collection efforts like liens on property, bank account levy, or wage garnishment (depends on the state you live in).

      You cannot call Asset Acceptance and declare a judgment already final in the court record as passed the SOL. You would formally have to challenge all of that in the court. And after 5 years, I am not sure how realistic that would be.

      What financial goals do you have in the next 2 years and beyond?

  55. Hi,

    i had capital one credit card for five hundred which I took out and never paid they called me many times . then they sent it to collections they started same thing i never answered . then it went to court in new jersey got summoned was not at the address at the time but they kept coming. never replied got judgement against me . same with TD bank it was about $100 dollars with bank . question is things are different with me now finally i recently applied for capital one card again they approved me and said to deposit $49 dollars i deposited $99 . why did they approved only the address is different ss # is same what now ? how long does judgement stays on record on credit and in new jersey? what about

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Capital One issuing another credit card may be due to error, or data bases not connecting about the past account, other.

      The judgment they have is good for 20 years. It may not be on your credit report for that long, or continue to slow your credit score improvement, but it can prevent you from credit approval on home loans and the like. The judgment grows with interest set by the court. Taking care of this as soon as you are able would be good, and not just from a credit reporting perspective.

      On the TD Bank account that went to collection:
      Does TD banks still show that there is a balance owed to them on your credit reports, or is there a zero there? If a zero, they sold it, if still owed to them, the balance should show an amount.

      Settling a really old debt like this (that is not a judgment); where you cannot be sued due to the SOL in your state passing; and where your credit report and score are the number one concern, may not be a good idea. Settling means updating really old ans stale account details. While settling is a good thing over all, the fresh updates to a collection account can drop your credit temporarily (lasts for several months). Unless the TD collection on your reports are holding up other credit approval, it may not be something to address credit wise.

  56. candace says:

    Hi Michael,

    I was renting an apartment for a few years and due to a reduction in income and basically having more bills than I could keep up with and other circumstances, I fell behind on rent. I communicated my situation with the landlord but he eventually filed a notice for eviction for unpaid rent. I moved out timely and went to court because I disputed the amount he recorded that I had not paid. I have proof that he missed counting some payments also I never got my security deposit back . I ended up inadvertently missing the court date and he won a defaulted judgment against me for $6500. My situation now is that my finances have improved 100% my credit score is 590 and I am working on deleting some items to continue to boost the number. I want to purchase a home by the end of the summer and I also want to resolve this judgment so that it is no longer on my credit report. What is the chances that they would accept an offer to pay in full lump sum for a slightly less amount and request that they file a order to vacate? I should mention also that I work for an attorneys office here in Philadelphia PA actually and I can get this proposal done through my attorneys so it appears to have more “teeth” by coming from an attorney

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is possible to settle the judgment debt. Getting them to vacate in order to be paid is not a realistic expectation though. Was it a large property management company you rented from, or a small property owner?

      Even if you are only able to get the judgment entry in the court record updated as satisfied, and then get the credit reports updated with same, you can still qualify for home loans (if all other criteria looks good).

      What are some of the other credit report negatives you have?

  57. I made an account ladt night with credit carma it only shoed $1225 BY portfolio now orignal creditor is capital one and the date is 7/9\2009 .only trans union records on this site.does not show any thing else.what that means there was never a judgment? Noting from td bank. And how about cap one card that they approved how should i go about that sine i already paid $99 kind a secure card i guess.ty for quick reply .realy appriciate this

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would keep the Capital One card you just opened and use it as a credit rebuilding tool (use sparingly, and pay each month in full).

      You can pull your credit reports for free from each of the majors at

      Just because a credit report does not show the judgment does not mean it isn’t there. Pull the others and verify, but also look to the court record where you know this all took place and verify it there for yourself.

      Make sure TD bank is not reporting elsewhere.

      Post an update, and lets go from there.

  58. I graduated from college in May 2000. I have an old student loan I was not great about paying timely until about 6 years a ago & then I started paying monthly. I was paying what I believed the monthly fee to be since I hadn’t received any billing info in years. Apparently, the student loan company (Hinson Hazlewood) sued me about 8 years ago, but they didn’t serve me with the papers until 3 years ago. They said they couldn’t find me, but I had been paying them for years, using my current address. I contacted the attorney listed on the paperwork who told me he could keep the issue from going to court and could keep my dad’s credit clear (he was the consigner) if I would enter into an agreement stating I owed the debt. He said it would show as a “judgment” on my credit reports but said it would NOT affect my credit but could be considered a lien should I ever try to sell my home. Well, I am told by creditors that it is absolutely affecting my credit. And I can’t even do a streamline refi on my home because of it. I continue to pay the correct amount timely every month, but from what I read, this will always & forever haunt me. Furthermore, the attorney ended up including my dad any way & then said he was sorry but said it would not show up on my dad’s credit as long as I was never late on a payment. I wish I had not felt so pressured years ago & wish I would have tried to fight the judgment. Is there anything I can do? I owe approximately $20,000 more which will take nearly 10 years to pay off. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would talk about your options with a consumer law attorney, and one with debt defense experience. Post the name of a nearby by larger city and I will email you contact details for any I know of in that area. There may be no recommended course of action, but the initial consult will likely be no cost, and will help you get your bearings regardless.

    • Hey Shelli,

      I completely understand. HH loans file judgement on me two years ago and when I received the court documents in the mail, I was completely confused. I did call the attorney on the claim and she directed me to someone who was suppose to be HHloans. I was stupid enough to sign in the judgement in thinking it wasn’t going on my credit nor was it a default. Now I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to get put of this mess. I just talked to a settlement attorney (free review) and they told me that there was nothing that they could do. I think it’s quite “snakey” how private lenders do individuals.

  59. HI Michael,
    Credit Score Center
    My Spending
    Credit Rating: Poor
    Updated Jun 14, 2014
    You have no recent credit report activity.
    Past Activity
    Jun 14, 2014 You have 1 public record posted on your credit report.
    Public Records Activity

    Your credit report contains the following public records:
    Public Record:
    1. Court Judgment Date: Aug 11, 2010

    Jun 14, 2014 You have 1 account that has been delinquent on payments.
    Accounts Activity

    Your current credit report indicates that you have been delinquent on payments for 0 of your open accounts and 1 of your closed accounts. These delinquencies may have occurred at any point over the last 4 years.
    Account: Type: Status: Total Late Payments: Payment Status:
    1. CAP ONE Credit Card Closed 1 0%

    Jun 14, 2014 You currently have 1 open account in collections.
    Accounts Activity

    The following account is listed as in collections on your credit report:
    Account: Balance: Payment Status:
    1. PORTFOLIO RC $1,255 In Collections
    Jun 14, 2014 The length of your credit history is 0 Years.
    Accounts Activity

    The length of your credit history is determined by the following open accounts:
    Open Accounts: Average Age: Oldest Account: Your Grade:
    1. 0 Yrs 4 Yrs 11 Mos

    You have no open credit cards. You have no installment loans. Related Article: What is your credit history?

    Jun 14, 2014 You have 1 credit inquiry on your credit report.
    Inquiries Activity

    You have the following credit inquiries listed on your credit report:
    Lender: Type: Date:
    1. CAP ONE Bank Jun 14, 2014

    • Stockton,ca

      • Michael Bovee says:

        I sent you an email with contact details to an attorney with fair credit reporting and debt collection experience. Call for a consult and talk about your options.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I misunderstood. I read your prior comments to say that Capital One already issued you the new credit card, not that you had just recently applied for one, and did not know the outcome.

      It is typically not a good idea to request new credit products from a lender you have unresolved accounts with. It is not impossible to get approved if you do apply, but rebuilding credit is best done using resources that have the higher likelihood of succeeding. I like the credit rebuilding tools available through

      As far as those negatives go, it appears you need to focus first on resolving the judgment by making an arrangement to pay in full, or for whatever savings you can negotiate. Then focus on adding positive history (new accounts), which you lack.

  60. Ok I have a judgment on my husband and my credit report. We fought the original creditor for the amount to be lowered based off of charges from apartment damages we didn’t agree with. We got no resolution and was forced to pay original balance. We said no they sent us to collections. We sent letter after letter to the collection Amgen y but they also refused to looser it. We said we want to take this matter to court. We went to court and the judge lowered our bill from 3500.00 to 2000.00 and said we did not have to pay their lawyer fees they were asking for. I paid what I was told too right away in full. Now I have this judgment of my credit report that is giving me bad credit. I want this removed as I had to go to court in order to get the bill lowered. How do I do this?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The judgment will not be removed from your credit reports unless it is removed from the court records. And from what you shared, that is not going to happen.

      Paid judgments lose their potency over time, and will fall off of your credit reports typically after 7 years.

      What are your credit goals in the next 24 months?

      • I am finding this judgment is ruining me trying to rebuild. I have been working so hard getting my credit score up. I am currently 579. This is a big improvement. I follow guides (get credit cards, pay off debt, on time payments). My goal is to buy a home for my family. I think this judgment is preventing my credit score to raise.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          It can take time for a judgment to lose some of its potency to drag down your credit scores. How long ago did you pay the judgment? It is showing as a satisfied judgment in the court record, and on your credit reports, right?

          • I have not noticed it saying it has been paid on my credit report actually which is weird because I paid right there at the court house. I am very disappointed about the whole situation. If I where to challenge the judgment on there how would I go about this. I don’t challenge judges decision just I want to get it removed. Would this involve appearing in court?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Does the court record show it as paid?

              I do not think challenging the judgment is going to be of any use to you, just more expense and time. But if you were to pursue it, you would file with the court, and it would likely involve appearing.

  61. Hi,

    A debt collect took my wife to court back in April 2011. I went with her to court and brought a Transunion report showing my wife was in good standing for the particular debt this collector was trying to sue her for. Right before the audience/hearing, I showed the report to their lawyer and he immediately proceeded to postpone the session and said “I need to show this to my client and will take it from there….”. We never heard back from them, but the judgment still appears on my wife’s credit reports. It doesn’t show “status” or “verified” or “satisfied”. It doesn’t show anything, just the date and the court. We don’t know if they dropped the case or else. I’m thinking about filing a law suit against this debt collector now because my wife is still not able to get credit because of this (I guess).

    Thank you,

  62. Good Afternoon Michael,

    My situation is similar to Daniel L says:December 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm in that it involves the EDD in Calif for an overpayment of benefits. My total was originally at about 6k back from 2006. Recently they filed a Judgement for a little over 11k. I no longer live in Calif and reside in Tenn. I am wondering if they can garnish my wage if i am in Tenn. I like Daniel would rather pay the original amount. I do have the ability to perhaps pay in 6 payments. I have discussed this with the EDD but was told they would or could not negotiate. I thought of Bankruptcy but was told that the law firm would not represent me because the $$ amount was less then 20k and because I would have to travel to and from Calif to file. I was also told that Criminal Charges could be leveled against me. So BK is not an option. I wondered if Debt Consolidation is an option? I would appreciate your thoughts.

    Thank You

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Foreign judgments can be enforced in Tennessee, but likely only once they jump through another court hoop. Talk with an experienced debt defense attorney in TN about this for more details. I can refer you to one if I knew the name of a nearby larger city.

      Bankruptcy should still be an option. And people frequently file for amounts under 20k. How many attorneys did you talk to about bankruptcy?

      • I now live in Memphis Tenn. I only talked to 2 Attys both were the free consultation type. They said the BK would have to be filed in the state i lived the longest and that the documents would need to be signed in person. It is also my understanding that in BK i would need to pay off the entire amount which i have a hard time fathoming. I would love any recommended location you can point me too I have only been in Memphis 6 months.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You can wait longer and file bankruptcy in TN. I sent you contact info to a consumer law attorney in Memphis, so talk with him about those timelines along with what it takes to collect on a foreign judgment.

          Paying off the entire amount of debts in a bankruptcy would often mean the debt does not qualify for discharge in a chapter 7 (some debts do not), or that you cannot qualify for chapter 7 based on the income means test, or you would be forced to liquidate stuff that has a value in excess of your debts.

  63. 2 years ago my ex husband sued and won a judgement against me for unpaid camera tickets on a vehicle that we were joint titled in. Recently, we found out that unpaid camera tickets can not cause a license suspension and that he had unpaid moving violations that caused the suspension. I have not paid anything on the judgement and although my ex knows and acknowledges that its not my fault that his license is suspended, he has not doing anything to help me get the judgement removed from the report. We live in Maryland.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You will likely have to petition the court to vacate the judgment. I would encourage you to work with an attorney on something like this. I can help locate one with the experience you need if you post the name of a nearby larger city.

  64. help I posted a question and don’t know where it went

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Pat – You filled out a consultation request form that I sent to Steve, a CRN debt specialist I have worked with for a decade-ish. You can connect with him, or I can send that email back to you so that you can post the content as a comment here for feedback.

  65. I have an unpaid judgment of $10k showing on my report, It was a credit card debt taken over by a company called Erin&Erin in NY. Judgment was filed in 2009. I want to purchase a home this year. Court letter was handed to my mother in NY at my last known address. At that time I was living in GA and of course could not get to court in NY. I ended up contacting them and they ended up garnishing my wages in 2009 for a few months. I haven’t heard much since except an occasional letter with a higher amount and in March a letter from someone else stating they represent Erin& Erin and offering a settlement. What can I do? I have read most of your answers and I will assume that a credit repare company will not be able to fix this. Help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The judgment is on your credit as a result of the court record. You would have to vacate the judgment in order to impact the credit reports, and based on what you have shared, I do not see that as a realistic option.

      Can you raise the money to settle the debt? Lets say you could negotiate a pay off of 60% of the balance. How long would it take to pull together the money?

      You can get a home loan with a resolved judgement on your credit reports. But it is increasingly difficult to get loan approval with a judgment that is showing it is still owed.

  66. Hi Michael,
    My husband and I have excellent credit with few blemishes. Recently my husband’s brother is trying to close on a house. On his credit report, he is listed as a co borrower on our mortgage( which he is not) and listed as a co borrower on several of our credit cards( which he is not). I called the credit card companies and they assured me he is not listed as a borrower on our account. Is this a mix up with the credit bureaus and what can we do about it?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It certainly sounds as if this is some form of merged file issue with one or more of the credit reporting agencies. Which of the 3 agencies are reporting these things in error? Is there any time sensitive financing goals that are going to get hung up by this incorrect reporting?

      Answer those two questions in reply and I can offer more next steps feedback.

  67. Hello Mike,
    I noticed you had mention different reporting shenanigans that goes on by the collectors. I have quite a bit of school debt, and early on soon after graduation, I was slapped with a collection within months. I paid nearly the entire loan off directly through the original lender, since I had the ability to do so, and the collection agency was very shady.
    The collection agency was still sending me bills and threatening letters, claiming I owe them an amount nearly double the original loan. Now on my credit report, it’s showing payments as continuing to be missed even though it has already gone into collections.
    Is this one of their reporting shenanigans? And how should I navigate through that situation. A home purchase is on my horizon, hopefully within the next year.
    Thank you for all your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Can you be more specific with what happened, when, who the debt collector is, and what it is the collections agency is reporting vs what the original lender is reporting?

  68. Hi there, can you paid medical collection accounts be removed from your credit report? I have not paid them yet. If so how should I go about this with the collection agency? Also. Can a paid tax lien in Ohio be removed from your credit report? Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You would be lucky if you were able to get the tax lien removed from your credit reports. That entry on your credit is related to public records. Even if you somehow got it off your reports, it could show back up. Getting the lien removed from the public record is not common at all.

      You can sometimes work with the medical service provider, or billing company for the provider, to make payment and have that lead to the collection agency removal.

      How old are the bills?

  69. Hello Michael,
    I would really appreciate it if you can provide me with a piece of advice.
    1- Just yesterday I have found out that I was sued by collecting agency back in 2012 ( January)
    When it happened I had already moved to California and simply did not know that I had to go to the court. When I pulled my credit report it says that I have a public record . Below is what I found on the court’s site under my name
    Date: 10/12/2011Comment:INITIAL AFFIDAVIT CASE FILING
    Type: TRIALComplaint No.:
    Date: 11/02/2011Comment:TRIAL SET FOR: 01132012;
    Type: NOTICE SENTComplaint No.:
    Date: 11/02/2011Comment:NOTICE OF INITIAL TRIAL (ATP)-D1
    Type: SERVICEComplaint No.:
    Date: 11/25/2011Comment:REGL;10122011;DEF;SV-SERVED ;
    Type: NOTICE SENTComplaint No.:
    Date: 01/13/2012Comment:AFFIDAVIT JUDGMENT ENTERED
    Type: TRIAL DELETEComplaint No.:
    Date: 01/13/2012Comment:TRIL;01132012;0845A;02;BY 9X2;JUDGMENT ENTERED
    Type: NOTICE SENTComplaint No.:
    Type: NOTICE SENTComplaint No.:
    Date: 01/25/2012Comment:ALSO SENT TO – ATP,
    Type: COMMENTComplaint No.:0

    And this is what I have on my credit report under public charge :
    Date filed [?] Jan, 2012
    Status [?]
    Amount [?] $1,288
    Plaintiff [?] Pasadena Receivables Inc

    In addition to this, I have 2 more collection with Midland Credit Management. Bu I would like to ask about it later.
    For now, I am thinking what should I do with my unpaid judgment. Do I Have to pay? If I do not pay what are the consequences ? If I pay , how it will help me in in the next 3 years ?
    Another thing , that I do not even know what it was for? I have no account number, nothing. I have no idea who was the original creditor. As , I said in addition to this I have 2 more accounts in collection with Midland Credit Management They somehow found me in California , and started sending me letters with their offers to pay 40% less from the current balance. The strange thing about these two accounts is that both of them have assigned date of November 2012, But I knew that I have stopped paying those accounts at the end of 2010 when I got laid off.
    My current score is 600 right now, I have a secured credit card for more than 1 year( paying always on time) , and I have purchased a brand new car back in December ( with 18% interest) , I am also paying this on time. I have a really stable and unique engineering job right now. ( Working with special metals and designing device for treating cardiovascular and vascular diseases) .

    I am and immigrant, who is trying to stand up form my knees and fix my life.

    Mike do you think, I have a chance to buy a house in 3-4 years ?
    Best regards,

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You have a chance to buy a house in much less than 3 or 4 years.

      Before I pipe in on the collection judgment, and next steps to take to get you closer to your goals, please answer the following:

      It is only implied in your comment, so to be sure, is the judgment in a California court?
      No matter the court, pull a copy of the lawsuit filed, and find out who the original creditor was (who Pasadena Receivable got the account from)?
      Name of law firm that filed the collection action in the court?

      • Hello Michael,

        First of all thank you very much for your reply. I really appreciate it. Thanks!!!
        The judgment was in Maryland court. Name of the laws firm was Reroutka and Peroutka P.S.
        I think it belongs to Pasadena Receivable .
        I am just thinking if I ask the court to send me a lawsuit letter, are they going to provide the collection firm with my address as well, or not.
        Should I call to collection firm to ask about this letter, or it is better not to do so. Is it possible to find out from the court letter who was the original creditor ? In addition , can I pay this money directly to the court or not ?

        Best regards,

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I would get the documentation directly from the court prior to calling the debt collector.

          Yes, you can often pay the judgment balance to the court. Your goal for home ownership will mean getting the judgment updated as satisfied in the court record, so be aware of that if the debt turns out to be legitimately yours and that is the path you take (paying or settling with Pasadena Receivables).

  70. I have a judgment of paternity and medical support with a 0 balance on it from the state of Louisiana for my son and I am trying to buy a house and because it is a judgment they are saying I might not be able to get my new house loan … How would I be able to get this judgment for medical support off my credit

    • Richard says:

      Just not to sure what to do about the situation because I close on the sale of my house in less than 30 days and this just came up on me in the middle of buying a new house

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How long ago was it that you paid the judgment to zero?
      Are there any other collections on your credit reports?

      • Richard says:

        2 years ago and it’s from the state of Louisiana it’s always been a 0 balance it’s a judgment to carry medical support threw the state on my son

        • Richard says:

          There is no other judgments and I have a credit score of almost 750

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Richard – I am not familiar with how that judgment stands in the courts view, and it appears the credit reporting agencies view as any judgment for a fixed dollar amount, when that does not appear to be the case.

            If this is common in Louisiana, the broker or loan officer you are working with would perhaps have a work around, or perhaps they are new to their job?

            I would encourage you to speak with a knowledgeable broker (someone with 10 or more years experience), or with a consumer law attorney with a practice that focuses on Fair Credit Reporting in your state. I can refer you to one or more if you post the name of a nearby larger city.

  71. I have a judgement filed from a cell phone bill for over 2,000$ in 2003. ‘according to them they got a default judgment in 2007 and since it is good for 10 years, they are just bringing it up now. They have a hold on my chase account and are holding the money I have in there. Earlier last week, my bank reported that I had $980 and so they agreed to settle for $250 to start and 100 monthly but they told me yesterday that they cant do that now since my direct deposit went in and I have money in there. I never received any letter from this people and I am so frustrated. Will this affect me from opening other bank accounts? I cannot afford not to have access to my funds because I have several bills to pay. what can I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Stop direct deposits until you get this worked out. You may still be able to open an account with another bank, but can operate from a cash/money order/prepaid card basis temporarily.

      What state are you in?

  72. Hi,
    I rented an apartment last year and when I was on vacation a water pipe in my bathroom burst. When I got back from vacation, the rental manager said the management company was still on good terms with me. About a week later, I received a 3-day vacate the premisis demand taped on my door. I moved out immediately. Two months later I was contacted by a debt collection agency in regards to the apartment. They told me I owed $1700 for the water damage and the carpets which were damaged when I moved in and was noted on my initial walkthru. The apartment management company still has my security deposit. The debt collection agengy has lowered the price to $1000 but since I did not damage the apartment in any way I don’t feel obligated to pay the bogus amount. I sent the collection agency all the vacate the premisis papers along with my returned rent check from the apartments, but they said the apartments are denying them. The collection agency told me the apartments want to take me for $2600 because the apartment has not been rented out yet. I was told to leave in January. I also tried to negotiate the price to $500 but they said no. Since I lost my apartment, I’ve been pretty much homeless and do not have $1000 to pay the debt off. What should I do? If I don’t pay the amount, how bad will it effect my credit score?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Before you look at negotiating and paying anything, get a hold of your states and local city/county tenant rights laws. Then talk to the state or local offices about this landlord/management company and see what other options you have to dispute this collection, and what type of assistance is available from local groups that help people in this regard.

  73. michele says:

    I am in the process of trying to get a mortgage but am having difficulty due to an outstanding judgment. the judgment was awarded to Mann Bracken on a Discover card debt. Mann Bracken was a very disreputable debt collection/law firm that has since closed it’s doors. Discover has no knowledge of the judgment and as previously stated, Mann Bracken went out of business less than a year after receiving the judgment. There is no receiver on file in the state f Texas. And if the debt was sold to yet another party, they have never made any collection attempts. So, how do you pay a judgment when there is no one to pay it to? logically, only the owner of the debt can release me from said debt once it’s paid. And they are no longer in business.

    • michele says:

      p.s. the judgment was granted 7/24/08 and the abstract was granted 9/5/8.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        Michele – Who is the named plaintiff in the lawsuit for the Discover debt?

        • michele says:


          The named plaintiff is Discover Bank. I might also add that i sold my home approximately 8 months ago. The attorney hired by the title company to get the homestead affidavits done, sent the affidavits certified mail to Discover Bank and there was no repsonse. So, we wound up filing it the “Homestead Affidavit as Release of Judgment Lien” along with all of the documentation showing it was sent certified with the court clerk to satisfy the title company.

          another attorney recommend i get the title company to open an escrow amount for the amount of the judgment and maybe that way they would write the title policy. Have you heard of this being done?

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Yes, I have heard of the escrow being set up. Pretty common.

            • michele compton says:


              Thanks for such a quick response. If the title company will not do that, what do you suggest, other than waiting for it to expire?

  74. michele compton says:


    hopefully that will be the case. i’m really stressed about it. IF it turns out they won’t do that, what do you suggest? i don’t want to just pay anyone, especially if they can’t sign the release but i don’t want to wait until the judgment expires either.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Talk to an experienced consumer law attorney about paying the total amount due to the court and filing updated docs for the court record to reflect satisfaction.

  75. Hi Michael,
    I have a judgement from a credit card that was sold to an attorney. I am currently making monthly payments to the current holder of the account (a credit collection company). My concern is on my credit report it is listed twice, one by the first attorney and then by the second attorney (2008 and 2012). Can I get get one of these removed since it is the same account?

  76. Tanya Jones says:

    Good morning I have a concern about judgements that I have on my credit from an apartment complex. I was looking over my credit report and noticed that I have several judgements that are 30 days past due according to the filing date and the date of the actual payment but according to my paper work the filing dates are wrong and so are the date of payments. I do agree that I paid late but what concerns me is for ex. if i filed on June 19th and received my court date which for my county is the first Tuesday of July is the first and I attend court make an agreement to pay you on the 3rd and i do just that but you failed to notify the court of my payment until I find out about it almost 6months later what can i do to get this corrected as far on my credit report can i get this removed if i have supporting documentation or is it because i went to court it stays as a paid judgement.

    • Tanya Jones says:

      Not trying to make any major purchases but if i decided to I do not want this to hinder me.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        The fact that the judgment is showing as paid is the important part. Judgments on your credit report will impact you, but the more time goes by, the less the impact will be, and the judgment will drop off your credit reports generally after 7 years.

        Depending on the loan product you are looking for later, the judgments may have little to no impact after a couple years.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Because this collection went to court is why it is showing on your credit reports.

  77. Michael says:


    About two years ago I got an HSBC credit card through best buy to purchase a computer my (at the time) credit card could not hold. Soon after the purchase I was going to be overseas for some time so called HSBC to set up automatic payment. The guy I talked to on the phone never ended up doing it, by the time I got back to the 1st world the account had been sold off to collections. I have been advised not to pay the debt but I feel both an obligation to pay it back and want to get the ONLY black mark on my credit report removed. I am sitting at 582 at Experian and 600 with Transunion. I like many others here am looking to buy a house soon and wanted to get my score up to get approved for a home loan. I contacted HSBC today regarding the debt asking if I could just pay them directly the remainder of the debt in exchange for removing the blemish from my report but the girl told me since the account had been sold they had no rights to it. After further research I discovered that in some instances it is possible to have the original lending company resend the debt to allow the borrower to pay them back directly. My first question is, is this a good option or not? If not then my only other option is to pay the third part company the remainder of the debt. I have read that it is possible to negotiate a deal with the company to pay in full and have them remove all marks from my report, is this true? If so, correct me if I’m wrong, but that will remove the account having not been paid, but will still show up from HSBC that the debt was sent to collections which will in turn still continue to hurt me? Without this blemish my score shoots up to nearly 800!

    Your advice is much appreciated.


  78. Hi Mike in 2007 I leased a car the loan was from chrysler financial services america. I became ill as i suffer from mental illness and was not able to continue paying the car by 2009. As the years passed I have not payed the debt and it has become a judgement on my credit report which was filed in 2011. I have been doing some reading and was unaware of how bad this could be(may last longer than 7 years possibly 10-20). I have also read that making any payment at all could actually make it worse as they may prolong the debt situation. Will it go away in 7 years from the filing date or do you think it may not? What should i do the balance is rather large now like over $8000 and i don’t really want to pay it the court was westchester supreme court if that helps my email address is [edit: email address removed] in case i dont come back to this site

    • I live in new york by the way

      • Michael Bovee says:

        Paid collections in New York may be removed in as little as 5 years. Paid judgment debts will generally result in them being dropped from the credit report after 7 years. But no, the judgment is not going to go away. Judgments in New York can be good for 20 years. That means the judgment creditor can pursue extra ordinary collections for all of that time, and the judgment is likely growing from an interest rate set by the court (though not in excess of the 9% limit on judgment debt in New York).

        Judgment debts can be settled for less, which will lead to the judgment record being updated to show paid or satisfied. Are you simply uncollectable and certain you will remain that way, or can you come up with a strategy to settle this for less than the current amount owed?

        • well I don’t really want to settle i can’t afford to it is a lot of money I owe unless they would settle for a really low amount I don’t see myself being able to pay the debt so I guess it’s just going to sit there? Any other options

          • Michael Bovee says:

            You might be able to get them to settle for half-ish.

            No, not many options for dealing with judgments. Not unless there was something wrong, or some defect, with how the collections all went down. And even then you would have some costs working with your own attorney.

            • i know they say it usually resolves itself within 7 years of the filing date but what is you opinion on how long it will stay if it doesnt get paid do you think it really would hang around for 10-20 years?

              • Michael Bovee says:

                It is a trivial matter to renew a judgment, and costs them little, so yes, I think the odds are high that you will have to be aware of extra ordinary collection efforts for the full 20 years if the judgment is not resolved. But that would not be the case with the credit reporting. You may see that fall off automatically after 7 years from the entry date.

                • ok last reply sorry for so many replies but say i went to get a car after the 7 years when the judgement should clear from the credit like you said, would it still be an issue would they see it? or can they always see it when trying to get an auto loan or etc house…

                  • Michael Bovee says:

                    Public records are… public. And there are big data brokers that track and trade public records. Now understand that different lenders use specialized reporting. Home loan lenders will often use a tri-merge report for example. Part of that may include public record data searches. Here is where a prior judgment may prevent loan approval.

                    In other words, I cannot say for certain. But if an issue does arise after the judgment is no longer showing on your credit reports, it is probably likelier to prevent home loan approval than auto loan approval.

                    • Thanks for your help

                    • Hey Mike I was afraid to open a checking account because of the judgement on my file I didn’t want them to take the money so i haven’t had a checking account in a long time is this true should i not have one and if so how long should I stay without it. Or would I be able to have one anyway

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      Around 1700 dollars in your personal bank account is exempt from judgment creditors in New York, and up to 1k more possibly, if you are not taking a homestead exemption.

                      You can go your whole life without a checking account. But if you do get one now, do not keep much in the account until this all blows over, or you resolve the debt.

                    • and if i am mentally ill or disabled can i fight the judgement

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      I am not a consumer law attorney, and not familiar enough with how your disability would be viewed by the courts. I can refer you to one to speak with about your options to fight the judgment.

                      Given what you have shared, I do not think your disability would open up additional options to fight the judgment having happened and existing. You may have additional collection exemptions that could be established at a court hearing, but here again, I would check with an experienced collection defense attorney in New York.

                    • thanks for all your help mike im sorry for the numerous replies i’ve been ill and am trying to back on track but appreciate all of your responses

  79. Lindsay says:

    Hi Mike,

    I have a judgment I paid off. I did it on the day of the court date in full in front of the plantiff but it was still filed. The clerk even has told me the judge notated it paid in full. But the court refuses to give me a letter stating it’s removed and Equifax won’t delete it without one. What do I do?? Please help

    One Lost Lindsay

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I am skeptical of whether the court will remove the judgment. They would not it as satisfied/paid in the court record, and that is how Equifax should be showing it. This situation may not get better than that.

      Was there something the court said about dismissing the case?
      Do you have some credit and financing goals a paid judgment on your credit is holding you back from accomplishing?

  80. jasmine says:

    I stayed in a apartment in 06! lost my job and had no way to pay my bills. I got evicted. its now 2014 and I cant rent anywhere. I tried contacting the apartment complex, with no results they have been sold 3 times since I moved out. I went into the apartments leasing office and spoke with one of the leasing agents whom was very rude and told me he would not give me any information about my account balance. which I was prepared to put something on it because I cant find any place to stay. what should I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Look up your name in the local court records and see if there was a lawsuit filed against you and a judgment entered.
      Also look at your credit reports and see what negative account information is on there.

      Post an update with what you learn and lets go from there.

      • jsdmine says:

        I have looked up my credit and the complex is on there as well as a judgment. I have no idea where to go from here because the guy that works at the complex will not give me any information on paying off my balance

        • Michael Bovee says:

          The apartment complex employee may not have any information to give you.

          Get a copy of the judgment from the court, or see if you can pull it up on line, and call the law firm that sued you. If they still have the ability to deal with you, they can make arrangements for payment and updating the court record so that the judgment can be updated to show paid or satisfied.

          If the law firm cannot work with you, find out who may own the debt today if the original judgment creditor sold it off, or if it was absorbed as an asset in some other acquisition.

          If you do not get anywhere in that effort,you may want to start considering what your options are to pay the full amount of the judgment to the court, and can talk to the court clerk about that option.

  81. Hello Michael!
    Great info that is giving me a good idea on how this all works, because believe you-me, the two places I’m dealing with aren’t willing to help with understanding.

    My situation: I’m trying to get a home loan and I’m dealing with a company credit reporting me with a past due/charge off and an attorney collecting their debt after a civil judgement. Both are reflected on my credit report, and I’m not sure how to deal with it. The charge off is $7,675 and the judgement was for $12,461. The attorney is willing to accept a lump sum offer, and credit company says our account is inactive and we can’t deal with them. I am a few points shy of qualifying for a home loan and I’m unsure if this is the route to take to get those few points up, or to focus on another $115 charge with AT&T that I can very easily get off my credit. My credit has been rising, but the Home Loan lady says I should handle the big issue before applying again. If I were to go about handling a seemingly double report for such large amounts, should I contact a lawyer? Or attempt to save money to give them an large offer?

    Or any other advice you have for this situation would be appreciated….


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Darren – Who is the original lender reporting the charge off?

      You can attempt to save money on fees by negotiating and settling the judgment with the attorney yourself. That generally will work out in your favor. I would not suggest this DIY method as a means to offer more in your negotiations, but it may come to that.

      I am not sure that the double reporting is an error. You may be the victim of credit report double jeopardy, and it is allowed. But this will get resolved after the record is updated. If it isnt, you can affect change by disputing with the credit reporting agencies.

      How much money are you able to pull together to settle the judgment?
      When was the judgment entered in the court?
      Does your credit report show you are paying other debts on time?

      • Thanks for the reply Michael!

        The original lender is CNAC with JD Byrider and the judgement ($12,461) was 2 years ago. We’ve been paying $100/mo on it since then. As far as I know, or CR says everything is fine other than those three things (The double report and then AT&T).

        We are thinking settling may be our best bet but even if we throw out an offer that is close to the original debt ($7657) we wouldn’t be able to pull together that kind of money for a while. Now we could easily postpone looking for a house to save (we were gonna do that anyways). But if I go to settle with the attorney, what would be a good starting point for negotiations?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Given what you shared so far I would target between 50 and 80 percent as my settlement goals.

          What is the judgment interest rate set by the court that you are paying?

          • There was not a rate set to my knowledge. We talked to the attorney, agreed to pay $100 month and that’s what we agreed to in front of the judge. The attorney is sending payments to CNAC from what I gathered. And the attorney made the comment that CNAC may still be reporting my past due because the payments aren’t enough the cover the monthly amount. Does that sound accurate since my account is inactive? Shouldn’t I only be dealing with collections?

            Thanks again Michael!

            • Michael Bovee says:

              It is accurate. I am concerned that the 100 a month you spend is not really putting a dent in anything depending on the interest rate set by the court. What state are you in?

  82. Hi Michael, I stumbled on this site looking for assistance.

    I was the defendant in a personal injury case. I rear-ended someone, they claimed I caused pain and suffering, they racked up a bunch of chiropractor bills and then sued. She won medical bills which was $3800.

    My insurance company represented me and paid the judgment. This was in November of 2013. However, it is still showing as unpaid on my credit report. I spoke to both attorneys (plaintiffs’ and my own) and my attorney drafted a Release of Lien/Judgment which the other attorney signed. My attorney filed that with the district court clerks’ office.

    What do I need to do to (hopefully) remove this from my credit report, or at the very least make sure it is reported as paid in full?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If the court record shows a satisfied judgment today, this will likely take care of itself. The company that mines data from your courts records only do so periodically. When they do, they sell the information to the credit reporting agencies (the court does not send or update information with the credit bureaus).

      You can also dispute the credit report entry appearing now as inaccurate by providing copies of all updated court information. Be sure any dispute letter you send is sent certified mail return receipt requested. And keep a copy of everything you send to the credit bureaus in a safe place. If they do not correct your credit reports, you may need a copy of all correspondence later.

      • If I do initiate a dispute, will that have any adverse impact if, for example, the company that mines the data updates the status of the judgment before the dispute is reviewed/resolved?

        Furthermore, do I have any legal recourse against either attorney in this situation for failing to file the release of lien in a timely fashion? It has been almost 8 months.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I cannot think of an adverse outcome from you sending a legitimate dispute about inaccurate judgment information on your credit reports, if the furnisher of that info updates the credit bureaus too. If something like that were to occur, post an update and let’s go from there.

          There are general guidelines to follow in order to release a judgment lien, or that will cause the court to update it’s records to show that a judgment has been paid or satisfied. It sounds like that happened already.

          What do the last two or three entries in the court record reflect?

  83. Sacajawea says:

    I have a judgement that i have been paying on and never signed the agreement that was sent from the law office. I am trying to buy a house. I have paid at least $600 on the judgment so far and believe i have about 1000 left to pay. Will have to pay the remaining balance? Or can i call and negotiate if i pay a pump sum?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is not very common to negotiate a lower payoff on a judgment balance when you are current with payments on a prior agreement.

      Are you working on a loan with a broker now? Have they mentioned anything about the judgment, or other debts on your credit reports?

  84. Patricia says:

    I found this helpful but seek advice. My crefit score is 614 from one 650 from another and I belive the last was a 660. I have 3 credit cards that are in good standing payed off/low balances but not very old. On my credit report is a Judgment that was filed in 2008. It was paid in full to the lawyer the day I got notified of it but still shows not paid. Also an Att cellphone bill from 2008 is showing up now as a new debt listed as 2011. I want to have these taken care of and removed or updated but dont want my sxoee to drop aa I am in the process of buying a house. I have paid off several auto loans but thanks to my xhusband there is a repo that also shows up on my credit report nothing I can do about it now mortagae comapny said not to worry because it was repoed well afyer the divorce was final. What can I do about the other to items. I have paper work from 2008 showing the ATT bill was delinquent back then and the charge off paper fromt he courts. Any advice would be great need to get my score up.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Ask your loan officer/broker if they offer any rapid rescore as part of their loan service. If so, they can help you pull the documents showing the judgment is satisfied and get that to the credit reporting companies that show the judgment unpaid, so that this item on your credit can be fixed.

      If they do not offer anything like rapid rescore than you need to dispute these items, or work with someone like Lexington Law to help you.

      If you do this yourself, do it in writing, and use certified mail return receipt. Keep a copy of everything you send and the green card you get back for your records. You may need them later if the credit reports are not updated appropriately. Include a court clerk conforming copy of the case record showing the judgment is paid.

      Who is reporting the ATT bill as a collection? Do you have an ATT account? Do you remember leaving a balance owed back then, or are you certain there was no balance owed? How much is showing as owed on your credit?

  85. Recently sued by Capital One, I did not file an answer, but did call and agreed to payments. They sent me a Settlement Agreement and Agreed Judgment to execute. I have made 2 payments, but have not yet signed and returned the documents. In the agreement, it states Plaintiff shall file with the Court a “Release of the Agreed Judgment” upon completion of the payment terms. Is there any reason not to sign these documents? What exactly does the Release mean regarding my credit report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It sounds like it may mean that as long as you make the agreed upon payments on time, all the time, you would not end up with a judgment on record. But if you do miss payments, or otherwise fail to honor the agreement, they file the record of judgment and the court will rubber stamp it, as you waive your rights to defend the suit.

      You should run the situation by your own attorney in your state to be sure all of your questions are answered.

      At this point, having made a couple payments pursuant to the agreement, I would sign and send if it were me.

  86. Hi Michael,

    I hope you’re doing well. A former manager sued me for $1000, a default judgment was recorded and I paid it. That was 2 years ago. I called my former manager and told him I was having a difficulties obtaining credit because of that judgment. He actually wants to help me and have it removed from my reports. However, when he went to court, all he could obtain was a certified copy of the judgment. What form(s) does he need to fill out to have it removed from my credit report? It’s the last derogatory mark on my credit reports. I hope to see a big jump in my FICO score.


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanh – The judgment on your credit reports is due to the public record of the judgment in the court. He would have to petition the court to undo the judgment.

  87. Hi Michael,
    I have had a judgment on my credit report since February of 2008. It stems from a Providian credit card debt from 2002 that was sold to velocity investments who hired an attorney to collect. I was properly served and ignored it because I was unemployed at the time with almost no income so I figured it didn’t matter. Now I would like to buy a house and I am unable to do so because of it. My wife doesn’t work and has bad credit so that is not an option. The Judgment is for approximately $5500 and the original debt was about $2200.

    I am currently judgment proof and probably will be for some time because I currently receive public assistance. They tried to levy my bank accounts and when that failed they tried to garnish my wages shortly thereafter which also failed. Every 6 months they send me a form and I certify that I am still receiving public assistance. They know that they may never collect anything at all from me unless I voluntarily give it up, which I am prepared to do but not at the full amount.

    I currently rent and have no other assets that they can collect and probably never will since one of my vehicles is in my wife’s name and I lease the other one. I am not worried about the effect that it has on my credit score as that is not an issue any more. I just need it to go away to get a home loan.

    I recently received my property tax refund for $1500 and I am willing to give it to them to settle this debt. What I need advice on is how I should proceed. For the initial contact I can either call them and lay out my terms and ask them to draft something that I will sign or I can send them a formal letter. Which one of these is best? If they counter I can probably do $2000 at the very most. I have been searching the net for a sample letter that I could use for this negotiation to save time and money but no luck yet. Do you have a sample letter that I could modify or know of where I might find one? I want to try to avoid any additional legal fees if at all possible.

    I have read that some creditors will send you a 1099-c for the amount that was not paid and I want to avoid this if at all possible so I plan to add this as a condition. I have also read that some creditors will try to get the balance from you at a later time which I obviously don’t want so I also feel that I need this as a condition as well.

    What kind of leverage do you think I have with them for a reduced amount? Do you think I need an attorney to do the negotiating for me and get the legal jargon correct? If you were in my shoes how would you proceed? If there is any way for me to do it myself I will. The only thing I am afraid of if I do it myself is that they might try to trick me some way with legal jargon that I don’t understand and have paid them the money and have it still remain on file with the court? Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated! Sorry this is so long! I live in the Duluth, MN area.


    • Michael Bovee says:

      I think your concerns about the legal jargon are a bit overblown, but that is understandable given the collections process you were taken through. When you negotiate debts at this stage of collection, and with the goal that the court record is updated to show the judgment is satisfied (updating any credit reporting that the judgment is resolved), and pursue your home loan goals, there is not much trickery that can be found.

      You can call and negotiate the lowest pay off possible. If 2k is not accepted, you can wait until they are willing to accept the offer, making a new effort to reach out and negotiate every couple of months, or continue to save up and increase your offer incrementally. Realistically… you may want to be ready with an amount equal to 50 or 60 percent.

      Once you get the deal negotiated on the phone, then get them to send you the agreement in writing. And that document, while certainly containing some legalese, should be straight forward enough, and easy to understand. If there is any room in the agreement for them to later try to collect more from you, it would not be a settlement.I just do not see that kind of thing happening these days. If for any reason the agreement is not very clear on the point that you are satisfying the judgment, get some feedback from an experienced attorney in your area.

      You are going to be hard pressed to get a creditor to agree to not follow the guidance the IRS gives on such things as forgiven debt. This is not a pre judgment negotiation, so leverage you are thinking you have, you don’t.

      • Thanks for the advice! I will wait till I have $2000 before I call them. If they don’t accept I will try again every few months like you suggested. Maybe I will get lucky and they will accept! If and when they do accept my offer, I will ask an attorney to look it over if everything is not absolutely clear to me.

        I thought that I had some leverage because the only way they will ever see any money from me at all is if I voluntarily give it to them. They know this too, so I figured that they would be happy to get something, rather than nothing at all. They have been trying to collect this since 2004 when they bought the debt from Providian, and I have a gut feeling that they would be happy to be done with it. This is why I thought I had some leverage.

        Could you please explain to me why you think that I don’t have any leverage here?


        • Michael Bovee says:

          You have a goal to resolve the judgment and buy a home. They have a judgment that will prevent that.

  88. Hi Mike,

    I have a question. Late last year I received all three of my credit reports. On one was a civil case, a medical bill, that went to court. I never knew about it but I knew it was valid from who initiated it. I ignore it and didn’t think much of it because I assumed I’d pay it off with my taxes. Low and behold, a few weeks later I get a certified letter from my county court stating that the case has come and gone and I owe nothing! $0! I was wondering that since the case ended in my favor does that mean they are required to delete it from my credit report?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It could mean just that. What is it that is shown in the court record? Is it shown as vacated, something else?

  89. Hi Mike,

    I have a question for you. In 2010 my husband got a judgment against him for a credit card gone wild. We both lost our good jobs during this time due to lay offs. (not at the same time) But we were really struggling. We got into a program and got all our bills taken care of and paid, except for one . He got a judgment against him with arrangements to pay $35000 in payments of $1000.00 a month. It got paid off a year ago! We even over paid and got a refund. Sadly we can not get the creditor to send a satisfaction of judgment letter to the court. All they did was send us a letter that says our credit card for $24000 has a zero balance. It shows nothing about the court amount.

    When we called to request it because we were applying for a loan, the creditor said WE have to send them a copy of the judgment. (even if they sued us?) I guess they hired a lawyer that practiced in New Mexico because they are out of state. We made all payments to their lawyer. They said that lawyer no longer works for them, so now we cant get our credit fixed. No loan for us. I have looked on line and I have been told DO NOT SEND THEM A COPY. I dont know how else to fix this. Any ideas?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Where did you read not to send them a copy?

      Was this a lawsuit from Zwicker and Associates? I had a file not that long ago where something very similar happened. Who was the plaintiff?

      I would file a complaint with the state bar association against the attorney in state, and the attorneys out of state you are now communicating with, if they have violated any timely court notice norms. I would also file a debt collection complaint, with all the details, against the bank or debt collector plaintiff, and the collections law firm.

      Post an update with how that progresses, and lets go from there.

      • Hi Mike,

        Thanks for replying. No it was not Zwicker. Plaintiff was Citibank the law firm was Ferrall and Seldin out of Colorado but licensed in NM. I saw on a few blogs that said asking for a copy of the judgment is a common tactic that creditors use, and it said not to send it. I don’t know why but I was afraid to find out. When I called the negotiators they also told me not to send it. Not sure what can happen but glad I didn’t send it.

        Here is an update since my first message. I contacted the credit negotiators that helped me with all the others, I figured I paid them to handle Citi in the first place. They contacted Ferrall and Seldin for me and told them that Citi would not issue the satisfaction letter. They said that they would start looking into the matter ASAP. I guess they were not aware, because Citi no longer was using their law firm. So this is going to be awhile.

        I don’t know if I will get the Satisfaction of Judgment letter but I wont stop until I do. We have really worked hard to fix our credit. And paid through the nose for it. If I don’t get it, I will do all you suggested. I guess I’ll give the thirty days, then it’s on.
        I just know they are going to come up with something so I cant get my letter. They have been so ridiculous all along. But I am a weirdo, I keep records like no one you know. I have so much documentation. If it goes back to court I hope it helps.

        Thank you for all your suggestions. I hope I don’t have to use them, but I will do all I have to. This all started in 2008 and I have finished paying my dues. I just want this resolved already.

        Have a wonderful day.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Thanks for the follow up reply Eve.The documentation will come in handy if you later need it.

          I would give Ferrall and Seldin the 30 days if you are up to it. After that, I would file my complaints with the CFPB and the New Mexico bar association.

          You did not say who the settlement company was you worked with that called Ferrall and Seldin, but if you do not get results, you can call Ferrall and Seldin yourself. You are not at risk of anything here if they were already paid. They are the ones that dropped the ball.

          • HI MIKE,

            Just to update you. We contacted the AG in our home town that sent a complaint to the CFPB, we got our satisfaction of judgment letter. Lol, but they sent a cover letter that said they settled at 50% with us. As far as all my bank records show they are nuts! They claim that we paid 17500 starting in 2012. But the court ordered payments stated in 2010! I dont know what games they are playing but I can sure use a refund of the over payment. Do you think I need a lawyer? This is getting crazy! I’m afraid they will try to send us a 1099 for the write off.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Were your payments toward the judgment going through the debt settlement company first, who then paid the attorney for Citi? Were you making the payments yourself, and directly to the attorney or a court office?

              • Hi Mike
                Sorry it took so long to respond.

                All payments were made to the Law office directly from us. We sent checks for all payments but the last few months we had them draft it from our bank account.

                Another thing that is driving me insane, I requested a copy of our credit reports. Citi has been check our credit and sending us credit card offers constantly. (You know how it tells you who is checking your credit scores? I hope that makes sense..) Doesn’t that lower your score a little?
                How do I block them from doing that?

                Thanks again,

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  If your agreement was to pay the amount you sent, and they screwed up how they worded it with the recent court filing, you may be able to fix it. You would likely want to pay an attorney of your own to try to get it changed to reflect you paid the judgment in full. But why? A satisfied judgment is what you need to realize your finance goals, and you have that now.

                  Those Citibank inquiries on your credit reports are not hurting your credit score. Those are soft credit pulls that are promotional in nature. If a creditor were to pull your report after you applied for financing, they would not see those promotional inquiries.

                  You can opt out of promotional screening if you like, or even get a credit report freeze (a bit overkill unless you need to for security purposes).

                  • Thank Mike,

                    I’m just afraid that they send me a 1099 for the write off. And if no one can see the promo pulls then I’m fine with that. I guess I’m just so frustrated with them, I keep thinking they are messing with me. But I guess you are right.

                    Thank you for putting my mind at ease. You have been a great help through this.

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      You have a record of all of your payments for the judgment. Just keep them in a safe place. If this were to some how pop up (I kinda doubt it will), you have the records to show the IRS that you did not benefit from any forgiven debt.

  90. As of this September, I will have completely paid off a court judgment from Capitol One Bank. What do I need to do to have the law office (Fred Hanna and Associates in Georgia) send satisfaction of judgment letter to the court? Will they automatically send this letter or will I need to contact them? Thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      As a general practice, the Frederick Hanna firm will update the court record that the judgment is satisfied. It can take a few months for your credit reports to show the judgment is paid. Do you have any financing goals in the next few months?

      • I am looking at purchasing a new car due to mine being high mileage and getting horrible gas mileage. I have recently opened up a new credit card (abount 3 months ago) in an attempt to also help my credit score. My bank reported my credit score was a 644 but would not approve an auto loan – they stated the reasons as the judgement and my other debt being too high (it is a student loan though and I make my payments every month). I may just end up having a parent co-sign on the loan.

  91. Hi Mike,
    I have a judgment against me. It came at a very bad time in my life, two immediate family members died within a few months of each other, both unexpected, and to be honest, I just didn’t care. Now I’m trying to buy a house. Here’s what happened- Judgment received for Collection Agency A. Two years later debt sold to Collection Agency B. I settled with Agency B, paying an amount slightly less than what was due and about $200 less than the judgment amount of $1047. Agency A has no record. Judgment appears as unpaid. The judgment is due to come off my credit this winter. I’m due to close escrow in two weeks, and this is holding things up! Agency A responded with- we don’t have a copy of the judgment and it may take 6 months for the court to respond. Once they respond, we’ll forward the copy of the judgment. I can’t get it vacated, they followed procedure. How do I at least get it reflecting as paid?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Getting the judgment updated as paid is the most realistic expectation to have.

      What are the names of the debt collection companies involved, and any attorney collection firm?
      What are the dates involved (when judgment entered, when you paid what you negotiated)?
      Was anything documented regarding the payment you made, and written agreement with the collector?

  92. Hello, I am about to pay off the remainder of a large credit card debt. How do I get the court judgement removed from my credit record once this debt has been repaid?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The court judgment will likely remain on your credit report for 7 years from date of entry. When was the judgment entered in the court?

      You can make sure that the judgment is updated to show paid and satisfied in the court record. Once your final payment is made, give it a month or two to update. If you need to get this done faster you can take all of the documentation and dispute the credit reports to get them updated.

  93. Hi Mike,

    I’ve read a lot of the comments here so it answered some questions I had, but mostly I just would like some advice on how I can improve my credit score, or if it’s even possible. I’m 28 and ready to think about buying a house in the near future. Probably within the next couple years.

    My credit score sucks to put it plainly. I have a 539 (this is from creditkarma, sorry). According to that site, I have improved my score about 18 points since June by clearing some things up. I have a court judgment that I’m currently being garnished for in the amount of $2400 from an eviction because of a break up in ’09, 5 medical accounts in collections from a motorcycle accident in 2010 and 8 student loan accounts in deferment. The thing is, I have no credit cards. I have tried to get one a couple months ago and was denied, even for Fingerhut(how embarrassing). I’m pretty sure a secured card is all I’m going to be able to do.

    I think my score really plummeted because my student loans showed late payments for 7 months! It’s all figured out now but I don’t think they’re going to remove the late payments off my report. Haven’t asked though.

    Anyhow, this was long-winded but what do you think I should do according to your experience and expertise? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Side note: I wish my parents would have told me how important credit is so I wouldn’t have been so dumb when I was younger!


    • Michael Bovee says:

      To reach your goal of home ownership in a couple of years, you are going to want to get any collections accounts paid. Those bills, even if they cannot sue and get a judgment like the other one you have, will weigh down your ability to get a home loan approved. And there is little you will be approved for to rebuild credit right now too (as you are learning). If it were me, I would stop applying for credit of any kind right now, and focus on a plan to resolve the debts.


      What are the totals on the medical debts? Are all of them showing on your credit reports, or are there some that are not on there? List all.
      What is the amount still owed on the judgment? How much are they getting from the garnishment each pay check?
      What room is there in your monthly budget to consistently use to improve your debt situation?
      What is the total of all student loans?

  94. Mike,
    Back in 05′ I enrolled at ITT Tech, the signed me up for Sallie Mae student loans when I told them I had my GI Bill that I wanted to use. Long story short I ended up with like 5k+ in student loans. Before I used to see Sallie Mae on my credit report but just recently I applied for my first home they said I had a score of 635 and got me in a VA Loan, but I no longer see Sallie Mae on my credit report. Not do I get any letters from them. Can that still affect me from getting my first home? Even if that’s not in my credit report any longer!

    • I must add that this was while I was in the navy, I couldn’t continue going because my ship was in and out to sea. I never made any type of payments to Sallie Mae.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        Because this page is about dealing with judgment collections, I should first ask if you were sued for this debt?

        • Mike,
          No I was never sued for this. I actually do se Sallie Mae on my credit but it shows under my Credit portion and they show Paid XP/TU/EF and one says Transfered to another lender.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            No, I do not think this will gum up your home loan approval at this point. Post an update with how everything progresses, but especially if any flags come up.

  95. Hi, I have a question and an issue I can’t figure out. I applied for a loan and was denied. After getting my credit report I found 2 judgments listed that I knew nothing about. They are from NCO and MIDLAND both filed a month apart in 2010 I believe is listed as date filed but they swear they file them in early 2009 but that is also a side issue. After raising questions about the legality of judgment i.e. service, court jurisdiction, age of debt because I honestly did not remember them(if they are mine) and asking for account information as well as process they went about in obtaining the judgment and copies of the judgment as well. I also contact the State Attorney General and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and raised my concerns as to the validity of the debt and means they have used in its collection (default judgment). The judgments and associated abstracts have disappeared from court records for MIDLAND and for NCO the judgment no longer shows but the abstract is still there.

    The letters I recieved from NCO indicated that the case was closed for them and that they were no longer collecting the debt for the creditor. The filed the court records in the name of the original creditor and theirs but the credit report says they are sole owner. The letter seems to indicate that a debt buyer was actually the owner not the original creditor at the time of the suit. However, the listed the original creditor in court records as far as I know. The record disappeared from the county recorder records online before I could get a copy. Midland the same happened after raised the same issues and contacted the same agencies.

    I call the county clerk trying to verify why the records no longer appeared online. The lady told me that no records exist as far as they know. I asked how can they disappear and she said they can’t unless the plantiff withdraws them otherwise they are “like a birth certificate, you can’t undo a birth and the records can’t just be removed.” I currently outside the U.S. temporarily and have been at lost how to proceed. The credit bureaus keep coming back that the “verified”. However, information such court address, non working court phone number and improper court name are on the credit investigation results. The results list the court address as one place and credit report list it as a different one.

    I am at a lost because I can’t verify the judgment by obtain copies from the county clerk. The credit companies say verified but how can they if the county clerk say the no longer exist. I am handling all of this from outside of the country and at a lost how to get legal representation and not be in country. The state is California. I am worried I found a clause in California that indicate can challenge judgment within a certain time after first “discovered” or some wording to that effect. I can’t if I cant even get basic information on the judgments which according to the county clerk don’t exist anymore. Help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would contact the CFPB and file another complaint, but this time under the credit reporting heading. If that is something you have already done, I do know an attorney you could speak to about challenging judgments that are more than a year old in California. He has had success with getting older judgments vacated.

      Have you already tried to address a credit reporting complaint with the CFPB?

  96. Hello,
    I’m in Charlotte, NC , the collection agency is Escallate, LLC in North Canton, OH. Are the legally allowed to charge interest on medical debt? I researched, but from the legal jargon, I can’t tell.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Do you have the original agreement with the service provider? If so, is there any reference to fees and interest?

  97. Hi Michael,

    I too have a judgment on my credit report from an EDD overpayment in California (Nov 2009). I now live in Washington.

    My questions:

    1. Will this fall off my credit report in 2016 without any further action from me? Or is there something different/special about this type of debt/judgment?
    2. Can a judgment still hurt me down the line after it falls off my credit report?

    I don’t have any immediate plans for a mortgage, and have no real need for other types of debt now (my credit score is in the mid-700s and I have access to plenty of revolving credit that I never maintain a balance on). I could easily pay off this judgment, but I’m trying to determine if it’s A. even necessary to do so and B. potentially harmful in any way.

    Thank you,

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How much is the judgment for?

      • The original amount was ~$400, and the judgement is for ~$2000. If it’s best/easiest to just pay it off, that’s fine by me, just want to make sure that’s the best option.

        It’s there because of a weird situation where I took a job in another country for two years, and during that time a judgement was filed (without me ever knowing about the overpayment in the first place). I saw the judgement as soon as it appeared on my credit report, but EDD had no sympathy for my situation. I’ve always been a little miffed by the whole thing, but I’d pay it off today if that’s the best option.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Before you look at paying it off, talk to the attorney I am going to send you contact information for. Adam has had success getting older judgments vacated and set aside in California. He offers a no cost consult, so the price is right to see what he suggest may be possible. If he is able to reverse this it would be worth it. If your file has something about it that suggests you just pay it, he will tell you that. And if he does, I would pay it if I were you, and I could afford it.

  98. Hi Michael,

    I have a situation that is concerning me about a judgement against me that is rather unique involving 2 states. I will be 35 year’s old next month, and the judgement is originally from a credit card from when I was 18/19yo in Michigan. Just before the SOL was up, they served me with this judgement in 2/2006. In 2008 I moved my family to Florida to attend school; we ending up staying here permenantly because I got an awesome job where we are all happy. I had my wages garnished here in Florida in 4/2011; I mailed an objection to the court and drove to Michigan to dispute the garnishment on the basis of Florida statute 222.11. This states that all disposable earnings of head of family whose disposable earnings are less than $750.00 a week are exempt from garnishment, and if over that amout, you still must agree in writing. Well, I won the objection in my favor and was awarded all moniey to be returned, and for them to stop all garnishment activities. The 10 year SOL is around the corner (2/2016), and I am preparing for home purchase in a few more years. Would it be in my best interest to ignore the judgement in hopes I dont wake them, and they dont bother to renew for another 10 years. Or more logically pay the balance if they agree to dismiss/vacate the judgement before it sits for another 10 years if they decide to renew, as this is the only way they will ever see any money collected for this judgement.
    Current fico is 594 average between the 3 reporting agencies. I have a few other small derogatory items under 300, like 3 of them. My student loans are around 30,000, and are in good standing on Income Based Repayment Plans. I have one secured credit card from my credit union, and a small $1000.00 personal loan in perfect standing; minus the high balance on the card (which I am paying down now with lump payment). I also have an unsecured credit card now to help rebuild credit; and just got approved for my car loan for $12,900 last month; but the interest is relatively high due to me being a risk.
    What options would be best in your opinion on the judgement; for me to be in the best position for home loan approval at the lowest rate in the next few years. Thank you for the time reading this; I wanted to be very specific, so you may have a more educated opinion.I really value your input and hope to hear back from you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thank you for all of the pertinent details Patrick. It helps me, and other readers too.

      It is trivially simple for the debt collector to renew the judgment. Given the credit improvements you are making, and your stated goals for the near future, I would settle the judgment debt in order to get that updated in the court record, and therefore your credit reports.

      How much is the judgment for?

      • The judgement was at $2000 when I received notice of garnishment in 2007. It was from a credit card that had a limit of $500.00 orignally. I am leaning towards paying them in or around full balance if they will vacate/dismiss it; do you think that would be in their best interest? But if I pay off before they renew it, would it matter if they dismiss it or not, being that in just over a year it will be removed from my credit reportanyway because the 10 years will be up. Thank you.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          It would be extremely unlikely to get them to agree to vacate the judgment. You can expect them to file a notice of satisfaction with the court. Once that is on record, data miners that feed court records to the credit reporting bureaus will pick it up and your reports will reflect the resolved status. You can expedite this process on your own if need be.

          Paying in full or settling for less will carry the same benefits at this point. Because they have tried to get paid, and have not been able to take advantage of the extra ordinary collections afforded judgment creditors, you can likely negotiate a lower pay off. But mentioning your concerns about credit reporting, or talk of vacating/dismissing the years old judgment (that is not going to happen anyway), can lead to judgement creditors being much more stingy with the settlements they approve.

          • Thank you Michael. You always have such great advise on here. Best choice would be to settle with them in exchange to show judgement as “satisfied”. Would it still be removed from credit report in 2015, even though I just made a payment to them in full?

  99. Hello hope u are able to help. In oct 2004 a judgement was taking out againt me for 2302.84. Well fast forward to today i got a civil summons from them again Its from Turnip Investments in charlotte NC. Before the judgemnt i was paying them $150 every month i want t say . Well i paid on it for over a year and almost went broke. After paying for a year i got a statement from them and owed more than what i started with. Now after interest is 1583.63 plus annother $200 in fews. What if anything can i do so hey dont garnish my check or freeze my bank account Thanks for the help

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Judgment interest in North Carolina can be as much as 8%. If that amount of interest was accumulating since 2004, I can see where your payments to date have only knocked down the balance this much.

      Can you pull together a lump sum amount to offer as a settlement for less?

      • Yes i may be able to Ho much should i offer? I just got the one from today guess it is called re judgement?

        • also forgot to write that i havent paid any of it since 2004

          • Michael Bovee says:

            When negotiating in a situation like this, it is best to be prepared to settle for 60 to 80%. Is that something you can realistically round up?

            • So are u saying 60 to 80% of the total amount or the beginning amount? Also what will happen if I’m it able to pay it off can the freeze my bank account? Also I have read where in the state of nc they can’t garness my wages Thanks for all the help

              • Michael Bovee says:

                Off of the total owed as of today.

                You are generally safe from wage garnishment in North Carolina. Your bank account and other property are at risk, but there are some limited protections there too.

                • Ok thanks for all your help do u think it would be a good ideal if I can get it lowered to pay with a credit card? May be a dummy ?

                  • Michael Bovee says:

                    You can pay some debt collectors the settlement amount via credit card. You will have to ask about that. Just be sure it makes sense for you.

  100. Good Afternoon,
    I had a CC debt that I paid over 2 years to arrow financial. At the end of my payments, they were purchased by LVNV. LVNV filed a judgement against me for the original amount of the debt. I stated I had paid the settled amount, they did not reply except with demand for the original amount again. A summons was served to a person who did not reside in the house and due to the fact they were a caretaker, did not leave the summons where I could see it. The judgement showed up 2 years after and I am afraid to contact them as I know they can garnish wages. I have record of the payments made to Arrow financial, I do not have the original settlement paperwork as it was in 2008. Would an attorney be best to handle this or can I take care of it? I do not want to pay this debt twice.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What is the name of a nearby large city? I can help you locate an attorney you can talk with at no cost initially, in order to learn more about your options.

  101. Ash Kumar says:

    Hi Micheal
    I really hope that you could help me here as I am not getting any satisfactory responses to this situation:
    I was a student in US since August 2005 and left US in June 2007, when I left- I had 3 credit cards issued in my name. During my stay, I was always particular of not missing any payments and making sure that what I owe was paid in full every month. Recently I got a job offer to move to US in Feb 2015 so I decided to pull my free credit report and I am shocked to see the below details:

    – 3 special civil par dockets 6k+5k+1K (date filed 1/10, 10/09, 7/09)

    – credit card 1 (4k limit maxed to 5K) in October 07 (after I left the country for good)
    – credit card 2 (4k limit maxed to 5K) in Feb 08 (after I left the country for good)
    – credit card 3 (3k limit maxed to 3.5K) in October 07 (after I left the country for good)
    – credit card 4 (1k limit maxed to 1.5K) in Jan 2008 (note: the issue date of the card is 08/2007 after i had left US)

    – there are 3 collection companies listed
    (1. saying account paid in full for $128),
    (2. status in collection for 5k) and
    (3. status in collection for 5k)

    I called the banks and they have no history of transactions as accounts are closed and sold to collections which is very frustrating.

    removal dates as shown
    Credit card 1 – 12/14
    Credit card 2 – 9/14
    Credit card 3 – 10/14
    Credit card 4 – 8/14
    My Biggest mistake that I dint cancel my cards before leaving US

    Please advise, i have this great job offer that i have to accept by December or I will lose it

    Thanks in advance

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What state were the lawsuit in?
      What are the names of each plaintiff that sued?
      What state will the job you are thinking about taking be in?

  102. hi michael!
    I need help in improving my credit score. currently it’s at a 531.. I have all medical bills that have a negative impact on my score. i didnt have insurance at that time. I also have student loans still showing but because I started paying on them they are out of collections and are out of default, but I haven’t seen any change on my score. and lastly I have a court judgment on my report from an old medical bill. now when it comes to that, as soon as I received the judgement I payed it off within a few weeks. I also received a satisfaction letter as well. now my concern is why is this still on my credit report? currently I have $1483 in collections for medical bills. I don’t have much credit established which is why I believe I have such a low score. what if I pay off all medical bills.. how long will that come off my report? what can I do to improve my score? and also I need assistance about my court judgement even though I paid it.. why am I still seeing this on my report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      When did the student loans come out of default?
      When was it that the judgment was entered in the record and then quickly paid? Is the judgment showing as satisfied on your credit reports now? It will typicality take 7 years from the date of judgment entry in the court for that to fall off your credit reports. But it does not have to hold you back from your credit and finance goals that whole time.

      While you need to resolve the old medical collections on your credit report, you also need to establish credit. You have a thin credit file. And what is there is stuff that hurts you.

      How long will it take to resolve and pay the medical bills outstanding? How old are those debts? What state do you live in?

      • my loans came out of default in august. and no, the court judgement still states “filed” on my record. which was filed November of 2013 and I payed it I believe in December. I called the court and they have in their records that it was satisfied but it’s not reflecting that on my score. also after logging into credit karma I had 7 medical bill accounts removed recently as well, but I saw no change in my score. 3 of the 4 medical bills are from January 2014 and the last one is from 2 years ago. being that it’s only 1483 I will most likely pay that in full or most. and I love in ohio.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I would send a written dispute to the credit reporting agencies regarding the satisfied judgment. Send that certified mail return receipt. Include proof you paid the judgment. Keep a copy of all communications and the green return card in a safe place. If this does not get the credit report updated post an update.

          Get those medical bills taken care of and updated to show as being resolved with a zero balance(does not really matter if you pay in full or settle for lower lump sum). Once you do that, start adding good credit history. I like the credit matching tool available at Look for an unsecured card that is the most likely to approve your credit profile, and get one card for now. You may need to start with an unsecured card, and I like Bank of America’s program for those.

  103. Mr bovee,

    i have a judgemnt in texas from an eviction in 2008. i finally am in position to pay off the judgement, but the apt. complex has been sold atleast once, perhaps twice. Tried contacting the complex, and after being sent to multiple people in the owning buisness (northland) i was told they cannot help me. I was told i need to send a certified letter to the complex, informing them that i have tried to pay, and they have not giving me a route to do so, so i can trigger a hearing with the JP Court. What should such a letter say? where might i find an example?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would work with a consumer law attorney on this, and one with experience defending people against banks and debt collectors in the court.

      Post the name of a nearby larger city and I can help you locate one.

  104. Hi michael

    I have a judgment on my credit report I’m trying to get removed I’m just not sure how to go about removing it the judgment is for a bail bond I Co signed for a friend’s friend and they never went to court but were caught I believe within 30 days after there court date and now i found out i have a judgment because of this and i don’t know if there is anything I can do about it there is also 3 other people listen on the judgment for $14,000

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would want to talk this over with a debt collection defense attorney before doing anything else. What is the name of a nearby larger city?

  105. I have a question. I have a judgment from C&F Finance company for a car loan. At the time of the claim being brought against me my daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer. I had no choice but to get her to radiation and chemo treatments. I could not to court and defend myself. I live in NC is there any way I could get it vacated or is that just too late? This company is known for it’s illegal practices with debt collections and court cases against it’s consumers. Please help because it’s been 6 years and it’s my only hold up with buying my house.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I think you will have a real hard time getting a judgment 6 years old vacated. If you have a shot at it, it would likely be from hiring an experienced consumer law attorney, which has a cost and risk. You may be able to settle this for less than it would cost to challenge it in court. Paid or settled judgments can still get you approved for a mortgage.

      How much is the judgment for?

  106. Hi,

    I was sued several months ago for a private student loan in default which was sold to an attorney.

    I went to court without a lawyer (stupid) and admitted to the debt, I mean there were papers signed by me so what could I do. However, the judge told me to write a payment plan proposal to the attorney offering a certain amount. I would then be advised if it was accepted or rejected.

    I never got any letter or document in response to my proposal, nor did I receive a notice of the Consent to Judgement. Suddently they garnished my bank account I had no forewarning whatsoever. They are also claiming to be attempting to garnish my wages for 25%.

    I looked up my credit report on Kredit Karma and saw the debt was delinquent status and open. However, today I looked at it again and the account was removed.

    What does this mean? I probably am foolishly hoping it means something good for me, but I am hoping for some sage advice.

    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The student loan not showing on your credit report in the normal way it was prior could just be temporary. And it sounds like the judgment that is now in the court records has not been updated to your credit reports yet. But that is a new blemish you should realistically expect to hold you back from achieving future credit goals until it is resolved.

      It would be a good idea to consult with an attorney now. Also, you do have options to contest the garnishment. Ask the court clerk about requesting a hearing to contest. And keep little money in your bank accounts for now, until you come up with a plan.

      Here is more details about dealing with judgment debts:

  107. We got a summons from a medical collections agency and I have made a payment agreement with them (I can not pay in full at this time). The court date is in November and I am wondering if I need to file a response with the court? And also what will this do on our credit (a judgement against us). They say I don’t need to do anything but I am trying to be sure what the consequences really are. Trying to rebuild our credit and just want to know if I have any options. Colorado

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Juls – If you are trying to rebuild your credit, you will want to do everything you can to prevent this lawsuit from turning into a judgment on your credit report.

      What is the amount owed?
      What is the amount you agreed to pay each month?
      What was the date you were served the summons?
      How old is the debt?

      Judgements on credit reports are not the end of your credit options. Once the judgment is updated to show paid/satisfied, you can go on to accomplish goals like refinancing, or purchasing a new home, while the judgment is on the reports.

  108. Had a summons delivered on Aug. 7, on summons there was a number to call to settle debt to keep out of court which was scheduled for the 27th. Contacted and number was dead, left messages with no response, but attempted contact for 17 days multiple time per day. Finally looked up attorney online and called the office, explained that we would pay in full to avoid court, they accepted payment on the 24th, and on the 27th the attorney went into court and filed judgement against us AFTER agreement and monies were exchanged. I have the receipt for payment with their letterhead on the 24th signed with case number and recipient of monies, the judgement was filed on the 27th and the 10th of the next month I hold the letter where they advised the court that the matter was satisfied in full. Is this not a clear violation of (4) of the the FCRA?

    I am in Tennessee, and this kept us from a refi that would have saved us over 230K and we missed the opportunity,
    While I could contact the attorney that received the payment, I feel that I have been violated, and even if it was by mistake, I paid dearly fort he mistake of missing a single bill out of many over the same period. I feel that since the number given by the attorney was never answered, and the fact that the judgement was filed three days after agreement was made, that this could be an intentional attack on us for not paying the bill prior. Any idea who in Tennessee who could not only remove this illegitimate judgement, but also look to see if I can recoup the damages done by the frivolous attack on my person?

    It is time for the people to go after these collectors with no morals and act as slimeballs against the people for profit. While I would be satisfied from the removal of this judgement, I feel I have suffered damages, and mistake or not I didnt have a day in court to represent myself as I was told not to appear on the 27th as jno action would be taken.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I sent you an email with several consumer law attorneys in Tennessee listed. All of them have debt collection defense experience. And that is how I would approach this, as it is the court record that needs to be addressed in order to permanently affect your credit reports.

      Post an update with your progress.

  109. Hi Michael,
    I have a question about this Court Judgement that I just notice a few months ago. I’ve try to contact the Apartment complex but no one return my call. At that time, my ex and I were living together. I was the main co-signer on the lease for the apartment. I want the Court Judgement removed by I’m not sure which route I should take. I went to annual report and got to look at all three credit reports to find any information. But after looking at all three, I didn’t find any information on collectors/debit collectors. I want to talk to the clerk and file papers to do installment plans but I’m a bit scared about the garish on my wages.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How much is the judgment for? How long ago was the judgment entered in the court record? What can you afford to pay each month? What state do you live in?

      If you can post your answer to those questions, I can likely be of more assistance.

  110. Tiffani L says:

    I’m applying for an apartment and my credit was ran and its showing that as per Experian I have a judgment. It’s in TN, the SOL has passed which is 10 years and its not on my Experian CR, however I was told it’s showing up through a 3rd party. How can I get this removed? I have contacted the court and have spoken to the clerk who advised me to request a “10 Year Letter.” I’ve done this and have it. I called Experian and they told me it wasn’t on my report, however it is showing up when a credit check is being done.

  111. Hi Mike,

    I have a question about a judgment i received in 2009. I had a car that was repossessed in 2008 and they sent me letter telling me that they sold the car at auction. They decided to take me to court over the remaining balance that they did not get in the auction and I was served the papers but during the time we were suppose to go to court my daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer. There was no way I could make the court appearance, due to the fact she was undergoing treatment.

    I have been contacted by the collection agency that holds the account and they offered me a lower settlement but at the time I couldn’t pay what they were asking for and I am in the process of trying to buy a home. That judgment is my only hold up. What is the best way to approach the collection agency to get a settlement that is in my budget? What should I ask for when speaking with them? I was thinking about being beside a fax machine so that if a agreement is reached they have to fax over a document that states the debt has been paid so I can take it down to court house and to my lender.

    I am desperate at this point because I lost everything in a one year’s time frame and I am now able to at least get my kids back into a house that they can call theirs.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What was the amount of the lower settlement offer they made prior, and what was the approximate date the offer was made?

      You can settle this judgment, and still save money, but what are you budgeting for?

      If you were declined a home loan, your credit is going to show the inquiries. Debt collectors use software that gives them real time access to your credit reports if they want it. You may/may not look like a file that should pay more to them as a result.

  112. My question is this…
    We have a judgment filed in our name from 2009. It is scheduled to fall off in 4/16. Weare selling our home and want to use proceeds to pay off our debts. My question is will paying this judgment reset the clock for removal? WE are hoping to buy another home in about a year. Our scores are currently in the low 600’s. I also have someolder collections that I want to pay off. The collection agencies are midland for 4500 and portfolio collections for 570. The original creditors were Barclay credit card and Orchard bank credit card respectively. We live in louisiana. Will paying off these old ddbts hurt our score. We have established some new credit recently with cards from capital one. We also have some auto loans in good standing.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      They do not get a new set of years for credit reporting with judgment debts of this nature.

      You may see a temporary drop to your credit scored due to the freshness that comes to the negative entries by their being updated as resolved. But then again, you may not. It will depend on the scoring model used. In any event, given a year between getting the judgment paid, and other settlements updated to your credit, you could be in good shape for FHA type of underwriting approval.

  113. Hi Mike,

    I have a situation similar to someone who posted a while back:

    I was in a car accident in 2009, and was personally sued for damages to the other driver’s car. However, I had attorney representation from Geico who handled the entire situation and I never had to go to court. There is a judgment on my credit report that shows “Civil claim paid.” I personally did not pay this claim (Geico paid it), nor was it late/sent to collections. It never affected me before now, so I haven’t looked into the issue previously; but recently I was denied a credit limit increase on one of my long-standing credit accounts and this judgment was listed as a reason why I was denied credit.

    Is there anything I can do about this? Or am I forced to be denied credit for the next two years while I wait for this to fall off my report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You are pretty much stuck with the outcome of that lawsuit being on your credit reports. And right or wrong, that unfortunately means some creditors will turn aside your business, or deny you additional credit access.

  114. dewayne wilson says:

    I have a judement entered against me for $4100.00 but my credit report has the amount listed as $4,700.00. I wanted to pay the debt off so i spoke with the landlord lawyer but she has gotten no response from her. I’ve also sent her a email and left voice messages but she still havent responded. what can i do in order to get this issue resolved and off my credit report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is unlikely to get the judgment set aside from the court record in return for paying it off. But getting the court record updated to show it is now satisfied will often help you move forward with your credit goals.

      Is the attorney trying to reach their client to get something you proposed approved?

      • dewayne wilson says:

        The landlords attorney says she being trying to reach her as well but she is not getting a response from her. the next question i have is that can i pay the judgement to the court?
        thanks for your advice

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You can often pay the court directly. Contact the clerk of the court and ask about how to proceed with that.

  115. Credit Bo Beddit says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for all the advice, I have learned a lot reading this thread. Now I have specific questions. My credit score right now is 560.

    1) I had majorly delinquent student loan debt (over 120 days late), including a full year of missed payments. I recently consolidated my student loans in Oct 2014 under Pay As You Earn. So they are no longer delinquent and are now in good standing, with 2 months of on time payments. But of course the giant string of missed payments show up on my history.

    2) I have one credit account that has gone into collections and has a public judgement recorded and my wages are currently being garnished. The judgment was for a total of a little under $3,000 and I have paid around $1800 into it so far through the garnishment. Do you know if, at this point, a “pay for delete” and/or a good will removal letter to the creditors could end up with any results if I explain the situation? If so would I write to the original debtor, or to the collection agency, or both? I would be able to pay off the entire rest of what’s owed in January.

    3) I have one credit card with $1,100 left on it, that is old and I don’t use anymore. It is in good standing with no late payments, but is at 65% of the limit. I will be able to pay it down to 1% in mid-January but not before. This one isn’t really an issue because I know exactly how to deal with it when the time comes.

    4) Do you think it would help or hurt me to get a secured credit card and be responsible with it right now?

    My immediate goal is to relocate to a new city in a different state, and get an apartment living alone. With my current salary I can afford it, my only worry is getting past the credit check. I’m also applying for jobs and want my score to improve in case they do a background check.

    (The reason for the delinquency is that I had an injury that led to medical problems leaving me unable to pay my debt. The reason for the injury is, I was in an abusive relationship where my partner controlled my finances, and injured me badly including broken bones so I was unable to work, and when I was able to re enter the workforce he was controlling my bank accounts and mails. I left him about a year ago and have managed to turn my financial situation around completely. But the negatives are still there and my credit in ruins for now.)

    • Michael Bovee says:

      2. A pay for delete on a judgment, and in the situation you are in with the garnishment, is simply not going to happen.

      4. I would not apply for any additional credit right now, when you have at least one revolving consumer credit account that is updating as pays on time currently. With just getting your student loans out of default, and maybe getting your credit reports updated to show a satisfied judgment in the near future (by paying the judgment off as you suggested), I would wait to see what your credit looks like in 6 months before taking any addition credit building steps.

      • Credit Bo Beddit says:

        Thanks for the advice.

        I am changing jobs next month, and the garnishment will not be done. Is there any way to contact them and pay off the balance somehow or negotiate a percentage? I just don’t want to follow me to a new job and I’d rather pay it off in full if that’s possible.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You can pay off the judgment any time. It is difficult to get a reduced payoff settlement for a judgment debt when you are being garnished (they know they are going to get paid as long as you have the job,and do not meet state exemptions). But when you leave that job for another, they will not get the garnishment amount until they locate your new job and get that in place. Negotiating the lower pay off a bit after you leave your current job is great timing. And the fact that you can pay it fully if need be means really have nothing to lose if you wanted to go for some savings.

  116. Credit Bo Beddit says:


    In terms of the good, I have an auto loan that is in perfect standing over the past 2 years, another one prior to that which was also in perfect standing. My consolidated student loans are in good shape and Pay As You Earn means I have an affordable monthly payment tied to my salary.

    Mainly wondering:
    –if Good Will letters could help with some negatives on my old student loan records (which are now showing as paid in full due to consolidation, with the consolidated loan in good standing)?
    — if Pay For Delete will help with the judgment/garnishment getting cleared from my records?
    — if a new line of secured credit would help my score overall?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The positive auto loans add to my impression of fixing what you can, and giving yourself time. Once resolved collection accounts like the judgment, and student debts brought current have time to season, you will not be in all that bad a shape all things considered.

      Good will letters on student debts are not likely going to lead to any credit improvements.

  117. Hi Michael,

    I have a 4 years old default credit card debt judgement, and I’m looking for a lawyer in CA to do all the paperwork and negotiate a payment. I know it’s hard to negotiate judgements, but I’m ready to pay it off with a lamp sum payment. Now it’s around ~ $20K for a 2008 credit card debt, if we can get it down to 12K, it would be great.

    Can you please recommend an experienced lawyer in San Francisco/Bay Area who can help me with this?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I am sending you an email with contact details to Jeremy Golden, a highly experienced consumer law attorney in Southern California. Jeremy handles cases all over California, as distance is often not an issue in theses cases. Settling with the attorney that got the judgement would not require an appearance in court.

      He offers an initial consult at no cost.

  118. Hello Micheal I had a judment against me during 2010 on a apartment I was evicted from since then I haven’t been able to find another apartment be cause it kept showing up on my credit when they ran it since then I have went thru the Lexington Law firm and it has been removed from my TransUnion and Equifax I was wondering would I be able to apply for a new one before it shows back up?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If the property management company uses TransUnion or Equifax as the source for their credit checks, now would be a good time for them to do that. You can even ask the person you drop off the application with who they use for credit checks.

  119. I been in debt program for about 41 months and about done now but I have collections, bad debts and settled for less than full amounts all over the place. I am 66 years old, retired military, 2 tours in SEA and it looks like the chances of my giving my wife a new home are nil. I do have a question but I would like to state that these problems were caused by me and nobody else. I knew what I was getting into and and nobody had a gun to my head. Now……I know better! My question is if i have a judgement that “the execution is stayed until the debt is payed, at which time it will be deemed fully satisfied”, will that judgement be filed on my public record?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The collections and settled for less showing on your credit reports are very common when signing up with a debt settlement company, or when settling debts on your own.

      I am not certain what took place with the collection that reached the court. Did you reach a settlement on that debt that is still being paid? Have all payments on this negotiated deal been paid on time? Who was it that sued, and who is the attorney for the debt collector?

      • Hi Michael, Firstly it was a Consent Judgment Entry that was ” FURTHER ORDERED AND AGREED that execution will be stayed pending defendant(s) settlement payment in the amount of $6,602.32 to be paid to plaintiff in monthly installments as follows: 6 $50 installments to be paid beginning on 6/28/2012 and monthly thereafter until 11/28/2012
        On 12/28/2012, monthly payments shall increase to $350.00, and will continue until $6,250 is paid,at which time a final monthly payment of $352.32 would be made settling the account in full. After $6602.32 is paid, this judgement will be deemed fully satisfied”. It then goes on about missing payments. Which none were missed as they were being paid by FDR. We received a SATISFACTION OF JUDGEMENT letter stated it was sent on 9/4/2014 from DAVID A KRAFT & ASSOCIATES, LLC, KC, MO. The attorneys that filed suit in behalf of AMERICAN EXPRESS CENTURION BANK. The terms of this judgement were the terms of the settlement between FDR and the attorneys. Thanks again for any help even if nothing is done. Sometimes somebody just caring is enough!!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If you approved the consent to judgment, and one was entered, there is not much to work with. It is likely part of the court record, and if it is, it should show as paid or satisfied. Paid judgments, and the paid or settled collections showing on your credit reports, will not always hold you back from getting a home loan approved.

          Do you know if your credit scores are 620 or higher?

          • 2 of my scores are 625 or higher and 1 is lower. 2 have gone up 10 points in 3 months. Me and Fair Isaac have become close friends. Thanks a lot Michael I thank you and from what I see you help a lot of other people too.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              A 620 credit score is what many lenders see as a minimum to qualify you for FHA loans. Your middle score is higher than 620, so credit scores will not necessarily hold you back from a home loan. If all of the old debts are resolved, your current monthly cash flow, and debt to income, will be what to look at next.

              You could connect with a local bank that offers FHA financing, or even look into any opportunities that may be available with VA loans.

  120. Hi Michael, I have a email that is between my debt relief counselor and an attorney(on letterhead) that is an agreement on a settlement that was dated a week before my court date. I foolishly didn’t go thinking that the agreement was reached and terms were set making court a moot point….wrong. The same attorneys that reached the agreement with FDR were the same attorneys that showed up at court at which time I received a Default Judgement. Something just doesn’t seem right here but I am afraid it is more of a moral issue. I would greatly appreciate your input.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who was it that sued (name of creditor or collector)? Who was the law firm that handled the case?

      What were the terms of the settlement agreement?

      I will be better able to offer feedback if I had more of those above details. Also, what did Freedom Debt Relief say about the judgment (if anything)?

      • Hello again Michael, I was sued by Portfolio who was represented by Gamache & Meyers law Firm, St Louis, MO. I am paying the amount of $340 per month until Feb 2016. FDR never told me about the suit, I told them. I have an automatic payment of $1106 that is withdrawn by FDR and then placed into another account, CFTPay, that issues the checks to the creditors. In researching that account (CFTPay), it shows a check was sent to Gamache & Meyers on Sept 20, 2013 that was sent 2 day delivery and my court date was Sept 23, 2013. I just checked past paperwork and found an email from FDR congratulating me on a settlement with Gamache & Meyers with date of settlement Sept 25, 2013 with the settlement % savings being zero. The entire amount of $9995.11 would be paid. Again any incite is appreciated….good or bad!!!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Thanks for sharing more of the details David.

          My feedback is all after the fact. It is neither good nor bad. What is already done cannot be undone. Would I have encouraged you to look at some other approaches back then? Yes.

          You have a satisfied judgment. This fact will not necessarily hold you back from accomplishing your home ownership goals moving forward.

  121. Good morning!

    I just want to preface my comment by saying how appreciative I am for the information and insight you have provided so many people before me. I have read most of the comments and replies on this article, and it has helped to assuage some of my fears as I stumble to reclaim my credit. My friends always joke around about how loquacious I am, so I will try to keep this succinct and to the point.

    I should have listened to my parents about the importance of healthy credit habits when I was 18–how I wish I could go back and make amends! I am now 27 years old, and haven’t had an open line of credit since….I was 18 or 19. I literally received cards in the mail, activated them, made a few payments, and then defaulted when I deviated from the “path”. I stopped out of college, joined the Army, and my debts went into collections. Recently–over the course of the past couple of years–I have witnessed most of these debts “fall off” of my credit report. I have to admit that this has been refreshing for me, as I have lived my young adult life without credit, and suffering from my poor decisions when I was younger. I have only recently (within the last couple of years) found myself in the financial situation to start tackling my debt and repairing my credit, simultaneously as the allure of my VA loan and the dream of owning a home has surfaced. I am tired of paying someone else’s mortgage for them, and would love to invest my money into something that will return the value down the line. The idea of owning a home is petrifying (although I think my experiences with my credit have contributed to this).
    I requested my free annual credit report last week (as I religiously have over the last few years), and was pleasantly surprised to see that the sum of my debts right now are around $3500. The majority of this are unpaid medical bills (that were, for some reason, never run through my health insurance…but that’s another story). I haven’t had an open line of credit in years, and my old credit card debt has “dropped off”. There is, however, a looming black hole of a public record that I would like to address. It concerns an automobile that I had financed through Coastal Credit LLC while I was active duty Army in Virginia.
    I have a personal vendetta against this company. I was young and naive when I took on the loan, and trusted the recommendations of a close friend who had purchased through a small dealership in Virginia Beach. I went in around August 2007, picked a vehicle, signed the papers (without reading….YOUNG AND DUMB!), and was ecstatic that *I* had been financed for a vehicle not long after encountering all of the bumps in the road with the aforesaid credit cards that were in collections (at that time). Well, the transmission blew on the vehicle (I kid you not) the second day I owned the car. While I waited for Starbucks. I’ll never forget it. I tried to address it with the dealership, who did have it towed and repaired. I requested to trade it in for another vehicle, etc… as it was under a 30 day warranty, and the owner avoided my contacts and persistence for the 30 days the lemon law protects you under. I paid my car payments through an allotment until I got out of the Army in February 2008. I continued to make my payments while I simultaneously fixed my lemon car, at an APR of 19% (if I recall), while on unemployment out of the service. I ended up ceasing use of the vehicle in October 2008 because it was incredibly unreliable and unsafe. I was late on payments, and then requested that they repossess my vehicle, which occurred in January of 2009.
    After my car was repossessed, I received notice that it was sold at auction for just over a grand. The remaining balance was nearly $9,000, and certainly not anything I could afford off my unemployment. I didn’t even know how to react in this situation, and my instincts with credit at this point of time, was to simply avoid the debt. I resided in NY out of the military, and a default judgement was brought against me in April 2009. It is now almost 6 years later, and the judgement on my public record has had little importance to me because I have learned to live my life WITHOUT credit (simply, lamenting the fact that I had ruined it).
    Fast forward to wanting to obtain a mortgage. I am now much older, wiser, and tired of letting my credit woes tug at my conscience. I have beautiful children, work in the ER as a nurse, and gross over 100k a year with my husband. We have settled into Kansas, and the rental market here is incredibly overinflated. We are renting a duplex that hardly accommodates our growing family, and I struggle with feeling like I am failing to provide my children with the childhood home they deserve. I contacted a lender specific to the VA loan market, and they stated that this public record will continue to prevent my abilities to obtain a mortgage as long as it persists.
    While I harbor very personal feelings towards a lender that is notorious for financing lemon dealers…and very personal feelings regarding feeling taken advantage of as a soldier….I know that, ultimately, the responsibility falls on my shoulders. I am very motivated to settle this judgement as soon as possible, but I fear the unknown.
    I have been doing a lot of research on the credit system, and the VA lender rep I spoke with was so informative and kind. My highest score (Experian) at this time is a 606. He referred to it as “being stuck in first gear” since I have such old debt, and no positive open credit. Then you add in the judgement.
    The judgement, as I mentioned, is just under $9k. Back in the day, I would have rather declared bankruptcy than pay these people another dime for their tactics and ploys. I learned a valuable lesson that capitalism isn’t based on compassion. Or integrity. For the most part.
    I have never heard from Coastal Credit LLC since being advised of the default judgement back in 2009. I have never had my bank accounts seized, or my wages garnished…and I have no assets for them to pursue. I would really love to offer them $2k, with the very realistic expectation that they will counteroffer. I worry that they will refuse to settle for less than the full balance…even though the debt has been “charged off”, though the judgement remains (and I believe it’s effective for 8 years in the state of Virginia…) The statute of limitations on the judgement is coming to a close soon, yet I know they can always pursue reenacting it. I would rather negotiate a settlement, and have it show as “satisfied” on my credit report. Then, at least, I can prove to a mortgage lender that the debt is, indeed, satisfied, and hopefully fulfill my dreams of becoming a homeowner.
    Do you have any suggestions on how I can pursue this with the most optimal outcome? What are some key points I need to address with this company before I pay them an agreed settlement? I worry most about being beat around the bush concerning physical documentation of a verbal agreement. I plan on offering a settlement, hopefully negotiating terms, and then requesting a written statement on letterhead that they agree to satisfy my debt upon receipt of payment. If I obtain this letter, will I be able to forward this to the original court that issued the judgement? Or will the creditor? I am so worried that I will be led astray by this company, and I have a mentality that I can’t trust anything anyone says who is trying to collect a debt. They should put that in their spiel: “This conversation is being recorded. I am attempting to collect a debt. Don’t trust anything I say.” Just a suggestion.
    If they refuse to negotiate with me, what are my options besides paying in full? While our financial situation is solid, I simply cannot afford to dish over $9k. I am hoping to resolve this and be in a home by the end of the year…which may be unrealistic, but I’m a dreamer.
    What is the likelihood of the creditor reenacting a judgement if the SOL expires? Is it simple on their end, or a hassle for a creditor which hasn’t made any attempt to contact me or reel in payments through garnishment, etc… over all of these years?
    I’m a really bad liar, and I cry at commercials. And I obviously ramble on and offer up too much irrelevant information (which may benefit whomever I speak with). I want to make sure that *this* time I have a plan in place which I DON’T deviate from.
    Also, at the same time I pulled up my credit report this year, I randomly applied for a cc with Capital One. I was shocked to not only be approved, but to receive an initial credit line of $1k. It has blown my mind, and excited me at the same time–because I feel like I am finally getting an opportunity to rebuild after all of these years by keeping my utilization low and payments current.
    Any insight into my credit situation would be the biggest blessing, as I have spent hours and hours researching, reading, watching and begging for more information that is similar to my predicament. I have to satisfy this judgement, but all of the reviews for Coastal Credit LLC have me petrified that they will have the mentality of “they have nothing to lose” by refusing a settlement. I worry that by calling them, and attempting a settlement, that they will refuse to settle and attempt to garnish my wages…especially since I make a comfortable living at this time.
    How I wish I had a time machine!
    I apologize for the long-winded comment, and hope that there was some cohesive layout of everything. Thanks so much for all you do!

    Warmest regard!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Active duty military have some additional consumer protections. I would like to have seen you explore those options all those years back. But there may still be some things to pick apart from back then.

      I have a few questions for you:

      Were you living in New York, but sued in Virginia at the time? It is not clear from what you shared.
      What is the name of the law firm that handled the collection suit?

      I will have more feedback, and specific to your entire post, once I know the answers to those questions.

      • Hi Mike!

        Thanks so much for your response. I was very naive back then–wish I would have explored my options, as well!

        I purchased the car while on active duty in Aug 2007 and paid on it for 9 more months after I separated in Feb 2008. The voluntary repossession occurred in NY in Dec 2008, and they took me to a VA Beach court and had a default judgement entered Jan 2009. I believe I did get a letter in the mail advising me of the hearing, and later, a letter stating that it had been sold for $1100.

        I don’t know who the law firm was. Perhaps I can call the courts and find out?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Please do find out the law firm involved.

          It sounds like you were living in New York, but they sued in Virginia. That can be a problem for them, which is why I want to pin that down. Can you clarify the timing and where you with a bit more detail?

          • Do you know how I could go about finding out who was involved in representing them without contacting Coastal Credit LLC?

            And, yes, I had been living in NY for almost a year by the time that they took me to court. The hearing was in VA Beach, VA, but I had left VA 11 months earlier when I separated from the military.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              You can pull up the court record (some offer free access online), and find the attorney and law firm name on their filings.

              I am going to send you an email with contact details for an attorney in that area you can consult with about your options to unwind, or otherwise deal with the lawsuit. You likely have service and jurisdiction issues to stand on. The issue being from that long ago presents a challenge in some states, but not all.

  122. I wanted to add an addendum to my previous comment I just submitted:

    I just searched my e-mails for any information or correspondence with Coastal Credit, LLC (who enacted a judgement against me for the balance of my repossessed vehicle), since my memory is a little foggy since 2009.

    I actually stumbled across my credit report which I pulled on January 21, 2009. I thought I had fallen behind on payments, but apparently I had not. From August 2007 through October 2008, my payments were on time and “OK” as reported on my credit report to the bureaus. November 2008, I had an orange 30–my firstborn was born November 26th. It was the birth of my child that made me ultimately decide to voluntarily repossess the vehicle, since I wasn’t driving it, and felt it was unsafe. December 2008, my report shows a red RF–for repossession.

    Looking at my current report which I just pulled a few days ago, the judgement was entered into VA Beach courts on January 14, 2009 for $8679.

    They didn’t waste any time, and I don’t recall any outreach by them to try to obtain the money before a judgement was enacted.

    Just thought I would disclose that I was always current on payments with the judgement that is in question until my voluntary repossession. I wish they would have never enacted a judgement! Ahhh, the rearview mirror.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for the additional details Kate. I can better suspect your answer to my question in reply to your first comment (I did not see this follow up until responding to your first entry).

      It appears you only knew about the suit after the fact. But I will wait to hear back from you to confirm your answers to those two questions.

  123. Jimena Salas says:

    I had a judgement issues against me in 2007 in NJ, for an unpaid credit card. I was out of the country since 2003 until 2008. I don’t exactly remember what I owed on that credit card, but the judgement is for $9000. It doesn’t show up on my credit report anymore, 7 years have passed.
    After I came back to the country I have been able to work on my credit and have a 767 score right now. Will the judgement be a problem for me buying a home? I don’t see it on my credit report anymore. Please help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      That judgment can show up in a factual or other type of underwriting report that a mortgage lender may run. If it does show up, it will likely impair your ability to get approved for the loan.

      Who was it that got the judgment (name of plaintiff and the collection attorney that sued)?

      • Jimena Salas says:

        Well that’s the thing. I wasn’t living in the country, I was living in South America for 5 years. I think it was Citibank credit card or GE Money, but Erin Capital Mgmt LLC appears on record. Is the judgement legal, since I wasn’t aware I was being sued?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You can have an initial consult at no cost with one of the collection defense attorneys I will email you contact details for. Ask them about the likelihood of vacating a judgment with your particular set of circumstances.

          Let me know how that goes.

          • Jimena Salas says:


            Just wanted to let you know that in fact it’s not on my credit report. My broker ran my credit and I am good to know. Thank you so much for your quick response.

  124. Jimena Salas says:

    Actually I don’t even know if it’s my debt, I left in 2003. Does it take that long to take someone to court?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Creditors and debt collectors can take years to bring collection efforts to the courts. It is not that uncommon at all.

  125. Hi Michael,
    My husband has a few accounts in collections and when I look at his credit report the negative information is being shown by the original creditor and the collection agency. Is there anyway to get one of these removed? Also he has a judgment on his report and is currently making monthly payments based on the agreement established by the court. If we make a deal to pay this off will it be removed from his cr or does is a reporting of settlement pd sufficient?
    Thanks, Alicia

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Is the original creditor reporting the debt as a charge off, and a zero balance owed to them, while the debt collector is reporting the balance owed them? That is normal.

      Paying the judgment off does not mean it gets removed. But it does allow his credit reports to start healing from the hit it took in the first place, which is often all you can do with this stuff.

      You would be surprised what you can get done credit improvement wise, and how quickly, once your accounts are updated to show resolved.

      • Thanks for your quick reply. Yes the original creditor is showing a zero balance. One more question, my son has a collection agency attempting to collect on a Comcast bill from 2008. When does the 7 year time period begin for how long something can stay on your credit report. The collection agency is showing a much more current date…

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You start counting the time limit for collections to stay on credit reports from the date of the first missed payment.

          DOFD is date of first delinquency. Is the collector showing a more recent DOFD? You can dispute that so that it is corrected. What is the name of the debt collector?

          • The only date that I can find on Credit Karma is the “open date” which is July 31, 2013. There is no mention of Comcast on his report anywhere.

  126. Oh and the collection agency is SW Credit Systems Inc.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You can dispute this with the credit bureaus as a first step. If the dispute does not result in a credit report correction, or removal, I would file a complaint with the CFPB.

      Before you do anything, get a copy of the report direct from the bureaus that have it. Verify that the account has been raged to stay on the report starting from 2013 (so not scheduled to drop off until 2020). Date open may just be the day SW Credit Systems received the account.

  127. L Erickson says:

    I have defaulted on a credit card. I have the last statement from the original bank showing when I stopped making payments in 2010.. Sick with cancer and not expected to live, paying this debt was not my highest priority. The debt has been sold to LVNV per my credit reports.
    Obviously I have survived but continue to collect SSDI which will be my income until I am not longer on this earth or it transitions into Social Security. The SOL will come long before this is an issue. I believe the SOL is 7 years.
    I have not been sent anything by mail nor have they bothered me by phone so I have not sent a cease and desist /do not communicate letter. I did go to a attorney to discuss this several years back and he told me to just “forget it” unless I am contacted.
    Recently I applied for a secured credit card to try to raise my credit score and I was approved. I do not have any large credit plans, just would like to have a better score than ‘poor’ to be able to rent a home. My plans are to wait out the SOL and then try to get the credit reporting agencies to take this off my reports. I have no money in which to barter with LVNV anyway.
    Did I make a mistake in applying for a secured credit card? I also see that LVNV has added what looks like interest to the amount of the original debt too. Is that legal? It racks up to be about three thousand dollars over the original debt amount.
    Thank you for your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What state are you in?

      The interest LVNV adds may, or may not be legal. That would be determined by the contract you had with the original creditor.

      I would not say you made a mistake applying for the secured card. It may have put an alert in front of LVNV, but it sounds like you are not collectable, so not to much to worry over unless you hear from an attorney licensed in your state. That would be a clear indication LVNV is ready to escalate their collection efforts.

      • L Erickson says:

        WOW! You are quick to respond and I find your advice brilliant. I am very grateful.

        I am in the state of California. I went to legal aid to get some help as I wanted to make this right but I am so below the poverty level it is impossible to consider this option. My home is gone, 401k gone…..all after a great career in Nursing. It was beyond my control. I had such great credit before this default of 8K. The default amount, is now over 13K, with all the interest applied.
        I would like to build my credit and a well known bank approved a secured card for a $49 dollar deposit. I do not know if this had something to do with the small deposit amount but I had a card in fantastic standing with the same credit card company before I closed it. I was trying to put my affairs in order.
        So I guess I slowly use this card, not going over 30% of the total limit, pay in full every month and hope 2017 comes and goes without hearing from LVNV. Would my family be responsible for this unpaid debt when I die if I do not pay it?
        Thanks once again.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Being in California you are passed the 4 year SOL for LVNV to try to collect through the courts. You can basically tell them to pound sand with any collection efforts they make at this point.

          You generally have to wait out the 7 year time limit for most negative entries to come off your credit reports. But attempting to dispute the item off now (as inaccurate somehow), would not cause collection fallout you couldn’t handle (they cannot legitimately sue).

          You have not shared anything to make me think your family would have any responsibility to pay this collection after you pass.

  128. Great info. I have an interesting issue. I recently discovered I have a judgment against from Capital 1 from 2013. What happened is I have 2 other Cap1 cards between me and my wife and this one somehow got overlooked. My signed a summons (certified letter) while I was working out of town and never opened it. I assume it ended up in the trash and never was seen. The judgment against is me for $711. I have not contacted anyone other than to get the official court documents emailed to me, which all seem in order. I would like to pay Cap1 and have the judgment and charge off removed from my credit as this was not an intentional non-pay (though correct). I am looking to purchase a new home in a year and need the credit to do so. Any advice? Can I get Cap1 to do a pay for delete on the account and the judgment or somehow vacate the judgment even though its been over a year?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It will be difficult to get the judgment vacated if your wife signed for the summons.
      Capital One is not going to do a pay for delete in normal circumstances, and this is an escalated collection, so any effort in this regard will likely prove a waste of time.

      You can pay or settle the judgment and get the court record to reflect as paid or satisfied. If this Capital One account is the only negative on your credit reports (charge off and a judgment, so two negatives), but show as having been paid when you are out shopping for a mortgage, you may still be in good shape.

      Are there any other collections besides CapOne showing on your credit reports? How about your wife’s credit?

      • around the same time I have a 120 day late on a mortgage from Nationstar which seems very inaccurate as I have never gone 4 months without paying. Im thinking of either challenging this one or asking nationstar for a goodwill adjustment. Other than that I have a few 30 day late issues over several years (4 in the past year spread over 3 accounts). It is of note that I also have a separate Cap1 credit card in good standing and so does my wife. As far as my wifes credit, she only makes $4,000 a year and has 1 credit card in her name in good standing. We share credit on a car payment that has a few 30 day lates. I currently make $70k and pay a mortgage of $1000/mo with no issues and only 1 car payment. Plan on keeping ccs under 25 percent for the next year and paid off monthly. Thanks for the fast response!!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You should be okay come home loan time, if you get the judgment settled or paid, and be sure that the attorney for Capital One gets the court record updated.

          Make sure all payments are kept up on time from now until you close on the new loan.

          I would definitely do something with how Nationstar is reporting that 120 day late. You have some time, so perhaps starting with the goodwill letter is not a bad idea. Post about the progress you make with this. I can help you further if need be.

          • Thanks. You have likely saved me a bunch of time. I absolutely hate where I live now and want to buy a $200k home and seeing this on my credit as a surprise has me panicking! My first thoughts were how to get it all removed but it seems that wont happen. Gonna have to do it the hard way….. I will update when I can on the progress. Thanks a million!

  129. Hello,
    We won an appeal on a lawsuit that was won against us. Once the appeal board had given us the award, the attorney went back to the district court to try to get attorney fees. The lost that case also. Now we need to make sure this judgement is removed from our credit history. How do we do that?


  130. Christalynn Large says:

    Hi I have a question about a judgment made against me by a credit lawyer and I am trying to pay it off in full and e mailed his office to pay him off? Do I pay the creditor or do I pay the court that I have the case number it is attached to? When I pay it off how do I go about getting it off of my credit my husband and I are trying to buy a home and this is the only thing holding us back, so I am trying to get it all settled. The original date was 8/20/2010 and there was garnishment of my wages does this make the amount go down at all? Do I request for the lawyer to have it removed off of my credit? Thank you for your time, also this is in Arizona

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The lawyer nor the court is going to remove the judgment from your credit reports. The judgment on your credit is based on the public record. Unless you remove that, which is not likely, the judgment stays for 7 years. The fact that you paid/settled the judgment should result in the attorney filing a satisfaction with the court. That would update to your credit reports, and remove this as a home buying hurdle.

      What are your credit scores right now?

      • Christalynn Large says:

        Thank you for your reply, I am not sure on my current score but I have not made the payment on the judgment I am trying to pay it off and have my credit score go up, I am having trouble knowing how to go about paying it off, do I go to the court and pay it in full or do I contact the lawyer on the case? it has been Five years so will it be higher then what the court says it will be or less because they garnished my wages when I was working?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Each state sets their own limit on judgment interest. It is highly likely there is 5 years worth of interest accumulated on the judgment.

          FHA type of home loan financing is often going to be based on a 620 credit score floor. That is why I asked.

          I am a fan of trying to negotiate the lowest possible pay off on old debts. If you want to see how much of a reduced payoff you can negotiate on the judgment, call the lawyer. If you want to pay off the judgment in full, you can deal with the lawyer, or call the court clerk and ask about your options for paying the court directly.

  131. Hi Mike, I was wonderingif there isa way to remove a public record from your credit report? I had a civil judgement from TD bank to pay money I owed to the bank, and it resulted in my check being garnished for a few months until it was paid off. This happened in 2011, and I am still having issues opening up a bank account and the public record is still showing up on my credit report. Is there a way I can resolve this?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Does the judgment show as unresolved on your credit reports still, or is it appearing as paid/satisfied?

      • Hi , Mike . I have a Judgment against me filed on 11/04 /2009 In Washington state , I was sued by NCMI Corporation . I never knew about this , I asked NCMI about information on this and they told me it was about a credit card my wife had that she didn’t pay . I was not a consigner or authorized user or anything on this account . I never received a notice about this Judgment , I moved to Michigan about a year before ! I have asked them to remove this from my credit file but they have refused to do it . Recently , I call Equifax and open a dispute and this judgement was deleted from my credit file , I called Trans union about a week ago so I am waiting to see what happens . Reading the responses here this doesn’t treat the root of the problem but if I could get it removed while a purchase a home it would be great , later I would fight this with an attorney . What are my chances of winning and what are my chances of Trans union also deleting this ? Thanks

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I do not think the chances are great for getting the judgment deleted by all of the credit bureaus, but it can happen, so cross your fingers and get the loan through before they come back on.

          If you can show you were never served, and lived in a totally different state to boot, I like your chances of dealing with this. Would you like to consult with an attorney I know with the experience you need?

          • I was living in Michigan during this time , I have all the rent records and School records . I was living on Campus at a University . I would like to consult with an attorney and see what happens . So send me any information you have . Thanks .

            • Michael Bovee says:

              I sent you contact information to an attorney that covers all of Washington. Call him and see what he thinks of all of this. Please post an update and let me know how you progress.

              • Michael , Judgement was deleted from Equifax in about a week after I contested it , it was never in Experian and Trasunion deleted it after 30 days from the date I challenge that debt . I challenge some late payments . Credit went from 587 Experian to 734 , Equifax from 601 to 685 and from 582 Transunion to 710 . Thanks for all the information here . I aply for a home loan today and everything looks good . I should have my home in about 30 days . Refinance a car loan , interest went from 12.86 to 5.93 .

  132. Jessica says:

    Hi Michael,

    My husband and I are trying to purchase a home, we ran a report and found 2 judgements under my husband’s report from 2009 and 2010. How can we fix this issue? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who are the judgments in favor of?
      What are the amounts?
      What state are you in?

      Are you closing on the purchase soon, or just starting shop for loans and houses?

  133. Charles says:

    I’ve been living in Florida for 8 years now. I’ve built my credit up to just under a 700 score. Not great, but I’ve made a lot of progress. About 2 years ago I started getting really proactive about it to the point that I check my credit report at least every other week, and there have been no judgements or collections on my credit report in that time.

    Today (2015) I got paperwork in the mail from my bank stating that $4,652 from my savings account was put on hold by an attorney because of a judgement that was filed against me in New York in 2005. Plus from what I understand, 10 years worth of interest. I had my Mom go to the courthouse in New York to obtain a copy of my file and she was able to verify that the judgement from back then was legitimate. So they are collecting on it from me now, 10 years later, and several years after the judgement has already come off of my credit report.

    If I owe it, I owe it. It’s going to hurt me financially, but it is what it is. I just don’t want it to harm my current good credit.

    So my question is; when this is all said and done and the attorney finalizes getting the money from me, will this somehow pop back up negatively on my credit report? Or because the judgement has already come off of my credit report years ago, he just collects the money from me and that’s the end of it?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      He collects and that is the end of it, based on what you shared.

      I would look to try to negotiate a lower lump sum payoff on the judgment if possible.

      • Thank you so much for your reply Michael. I’ve been searching for the answer to this for almost a week now. I must have worded it a hundred different ways in Google and read a ton of posts before finally posting the question myself. I really appreciate your help and I think what you’re doing here is very noble. Credit and everything related to it is a mystery to most of us, and can be really scary at times. It’s great to have someone like you in our corner.

        Thanks again.

        – Charles

  134. I found out in November by checking my credit report that liberty had filed a judgment on me and I had no idea what the judgment was about well after several attempts to contact liberty I got a hold somebody found out what it was about. Liberty has sold to another company and no longer owns this debt I have not heard anything from the courts, had not heard anything from liberty and have not heard anything from the new company they sold to but liberty still has a judgment with the courts on this debt my question is can liberty still keep that judgment in place even though they do not own the debt. I did contact the other collections company and requested some paperwork be sent explaining the debt and the amount owed that was in January and I’ve not received anything from them yet I am out of town working and unfortunately do not have the information of the other company with me. I would like to get this matter cleared up and get that judgment removed from my credit report I live in Utah. Could you give me some information on what I need to do thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The court keeps the judgment in place. Liberty has nothing to do with it at this point, and it will stay in place unless you resolve it through payment (settling for less works), or challenge it successfully for some legitimate reason (never served).

      Sending the new owner of the debt a request for paperwork explaining the debt will not result in anything useful.

      What is your goal with this account?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I should say… what is it you are looking to accomplish by getting the judgment removed from your credit reports (which is highly unlikely)?

  135. Beth Jackson says:


    I had a judgment against me for £990. As the forms were sent to an address my family and I had moved from years before, and did not know the occupants so had no idea I was being taken to court until last month when I saw it on my credit score (Experian). I have paid that off now, I would like this taken off my credit score – I believe it’s unfair as I never got the court papers.

    Can I get this taken off easily?

    Thanks for the help.

  136. Tiffani L says:

    I current live in NY and I have a judgment from FL, which should be removed from my credit repots in October 2015. With that in mind, I’m scared that Florida can renew the judgment. Is this possible? Also what state statue of limits do I follow, Florida where it was filed or NY, where I currently reside?


    • Michael Bovee says:

      There is a difference between a judgment being renewed on your credit reports, and the court renewal for the judgment to remain collectable.

      Florida judgments are 7 year renewable (for collection purposes, not credit reporting).
      New York judgments are good for 20 years (both domestic and foreign), both with a 10 year lien renewal. That is also for collection, not credit reporting purposes. And they would have to domesticate the Florida judgment in New York.

      If it is your credit reports that are the main concern, you may still have to worry about an unpaid judgment lingering out there before you can realize different types of credit and financing goals, regardless of whether the judgment still appears in the public record section of your credit profile.

      • Hey Michael, Charles again. I know you’re probably sick of my questions by now.

        To refresh you on my situation, I’m the guy living in Florida for 7 years who recently got a hold put on some of the funds in my savings account by an attorney for a default judgement filed against me. The judgement was filed in New York 10 years ago. The judgement, new collector, and the attorney collecting on behalf of them are all in New York. They also have not yet officially collected. The funds are still on hold.

        I see you have someone with a similar situation, except they’re in New York, and their judgement was in Florida. You replied to them and said that the Florida judgement would have to be domesticated in New York. Does it not work the other way around? Because I now have every piece of paperwork on it, and they didn’t domesticate my judgement before putting the hold on my account. Should I confront the attorney about that?

        The other thing I was thinking about was that my account is in a national bank (Wells Fargo). Is that why they were able to do it, because my bank has branches in New York?

        Thanks once again,
        – Charles

        • Michael Bovee says:

          It would work the same way from NY to FL for wage garnishment, property liens, etc., they would generally need to domesticate the foreign (to the state) judgment.

          Did you open the Wells Fargo account in a New York branch office, or in Florida?

          I think your situation is worth talking to an experienced FDCPA attorney about whether there are collection violations that can be pursued.

          • It was opened in Orlando, FL. About 2 months after I moved here. I literally never had a bank account before that. I tried talking to a consumer lawyer here, but he said I had to talk to a NY lawyer because the judgement was in NY. I called at least 5 lawyers in NY and non of them really wanted to help me, mostly because the judgement was so old, and because I was out of state. One of them told me that he could try to take care of it, but I would have to pay him “around $1,500″, and there was no guarantee that there would be a positive result.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              And you have searched for your name in the court records in your area and found nothing about this?

              • Yes. The lawyer that I spoke to here actually did me that favor. Nothing turned up.

                The new collector is Palisades Acquisition btw. Since this all started I’ve been reading many many articles and comments. Their name and especially their ‘unorthodox’ tactics come up quite often.

                I’ll look into the judgement domestication further and let you know what I find..

                • I checked again (myself this time). I searched my local court and all surrounding counties. The only thing that turned up were a couple of automobile violations that I took care of long ago. Nothing judgement related. I bit the bullet and called their attorney’s office. I got (what I assumed was) a phone jockey. I threw the Domestication of Judgement thing at him, and he came back with kind of the same thing I was asking you about before. He said if they wanted to garnish my paycheck through my employer or something, then they would have to. Since there was enough in my bank account to cover the judgement, and because my bank has branches in NY, they didn’t have to. This is what the guy told me. That doesn’t at all mean that it’s true. I have to mention that at that point he also offered me a chance to satisfy the judgement for less money. I didn’t really understand this considering that they already have the full amount on hold from my bank account, and are really close to getting it all. I didn’t admit or agree to anything. I told him I had to talk to somebody before I was going to make any kind of deal. He started to get pushy. He started telling me that the best thing for me to do would be to settle it right then. I broke it down to him. I said, “Look, you already have my money on hold, you have all of my contact information, and you have ME calling YOU to discuss this matter… I’m not going anywhere. Give me a day or so to get answers to some questions I have, then MAYBE we could work something out.”
                  He told me I could do what I wanted, and that he would have one of the attorneys give me a call tomorrow. The conversation ended there.

                  • Michael Bovee says:

                    I checked with an attorney resource of my own. They did not see a collection violation worth pursuing.

                  • Hey Michael,

                    I found more on the subject:

                    “If you bank in the state in which judgment was awarded, the judgment creditor (the creditor who sued you and won a judgment against you) will petition the court to garnish your bank account and then ask the court to send a writ of garnishment to whatever bank they think you bank at. Think is the operative word here. They have to guess where you bank. They usually just have a writ of garnishment served on the top 5 local banks in your area—and they usually get lucky. Next your funds will be frozen and they will use this as leverage to get you to enter into some type of payment plan (most people don’t have enough cash in their accounts to satisfy a judgment). The lesson here is to bank online with an out-of-state bank.”

                    Hopefully this will be useful information for someone in a similar situation to my own.

                    – Charles

      • Tiffani L says:

        So just to verify if I don’t hear anything by 10/15 I’m out of the clear?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If I understand all that has happened correctly, that is the date the credit reporting agency says this will drop from your credit. But you are not in the clear necessarily. The judgment can still be found in the court record, and often can show up and prevent mortgage and other credit approvals. And for as long as the judgment is legally enforceable, you are at risk of extra ordinary collections like lien, levy and garnishment (as each would apply in your state, and if a judgment is domesticated).

  137. Michael,

    I owned a bunch of real estate that dramatically became under water in 2009 and could not renew the loans. I was able to work out a deal with the buildings with only some late payments showing up on my report. My issue is that I stopped paying the utility bill at one of the multi family buildings at the time. One of the banks I was doing the workout with said they wanted the rents if they were going to work a deal so I complied. The Energy bill was for around $30k. I missed the court time by 10 minutes and they were awarded judgement against me for around $33k. One issue with the judgement was I was initially charged to $6k as a deposit that I was not given credit for. The rep who turned off the utilities threatened me and lied to the city to get them to break the door down in order to shut off the utilities. Oct 2016 the credit report shows this falls off. Would you wait to see if this just falls off ? My concern is they renew? Another concern is interest although no one has contacted me in years? Is there someone you can recommend or any other advice?

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