Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Removing Default Judgments From Credit Reports & Public Records

Have you ever gone and applied for credit or pulled your credit to qualify to buy a car or house and the finance manager or loan officer tells you that you  have to take care of a judgment in order to qualify and you say, "What judgment?"  I hear it quite a bit. This usually happens because you got sued and never were properly served. I see this happening a lot to people who have been sued by 3rd party debt collectors.

If you've read much of my blog, you know that I absolutely loathe debt collectors. These companies are the scum of the earth.  They have no business meddling in your life. They play dirty, violate the law, and should never get a dime from any consumer.  What is really rotten is when they sue you.  They file a lot of lawsuits because they know that most consumers will not fight back and they get default judgments.  If they think you might be a fighter, or they just don't want to take the chance of that, many times they will improperly serve you a summons and complaint or not even serve you at all. If you don't know about the lawsuit, you won't fight it and they'll win by default.

Courts do NOT furnish these judgments, or any judgments for that matter, to your credit reports. They don't verify them with the credit bureaus either when you dispute them.  These are furnished to the bureaus by data diggers. They scour the public records to find new public records and I believe they are paid to furnish them to the credit bureaus.  These data diggers are considered "Vendors" by or to the credit bureaus and they are the ones who both furnish and verify the disputes with the credit bureaus.

This really pisses me off because they are not qualified to do either of these things and when you demand that the bureaus give you the contact information for the person who verified, they lie and give you the court's address and contact info and never expose the true furnisher of the information nor who claims to have verified the information.  I say that they are not qualified because in order to verify something, you have to have first hand knowledge and the full documentation to back it up. They have neither.

But let's talk about how you remove them. Before I explain the following process, let me state that paying off a judgment does not make it come off your credit report. When you are repairing your credit, you will dispute the judgment with the credit bureaus.  You need to give a specific error.  You can say things like, I have never had a valid judgment for $xxx.  Or, I didn't lose any lawsuit on 1/1/01 or whatever date they are reporting.  You need to spin it if it looks sort of accurate.  You can challenge the court location, dates, amounts, plaintiff, missing information, inaccurate information, even the age being obsolete if its too old to even be on a credit report. You must be VERY CAREFUL not to admit anything about the judgment.  Use "I don't recall..." if you have to but don't even hint at admitting to it.

At the same time you are disputing with the bureaus, send a letter off to the court requesting their method of furnishing information and verifying information with the credit bureaus.  Do not get specific. Do not include your social security number. Do not include any case numbers. Do not reference ANY specific case.  You are only inquiring about whether or not they furnish information and verify information with the credit bureaus.  Make sure you include a self addressed stamped envelope so that they can send you a response quickly.

You should have the response from the court back before you even get your bureau responses back. This is most of the time.  Sometimes courts fail to respond.  When this happens, I think that there's a clerk or court employee that is intentionally trying to make it difficult for you to remove your public record items because they believe you deserve it.  I'm just very suspicious of them like that. I like to see the good in people but I've seen so much that I just have a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt.  Anyhow, hopefully they will answer your inquiry properly so that you will have some good ammunition for your next round of bureau disputes.

Hopefully your bureau disputes will come back showing that the judgment has been deleted.  But if it comes back as "Verified", you will need to do another round.  This time, your dispute will be, you told me to contact the court regarding the verification of this item. Please see the attached letter I received from the court when I did as you told me to do. They had nothing to do with this information and they certainly didn't verify it.  Please either give me the contact information of the liars who claimed to have verified this or delete it.  Make sure you have attached a copy of the letter from the court and you can also include an FTC staff opinion letter that I use and highlight, that states bureaus are allowing inaccurate public record information on credit reports.

This time, your bureau responses should come back showing the judgment deleted.  But, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Bureaus will occasionally claim they can't use the supporting documentation that you sent with your dispute and its still verified.  Even though the correct and lawful response would be that it has been deleted, unfortunately, bureaus are big lawbreakers too.

We are moving on now to the next section. Whether or not you removed your judgment from the credit report it will still be in the public records.  If you are buying or selling property, when they do a Title search, they will find this judgment and underwriting for your mortgage may require that you pay it off as will escrow for sellers to be able to close.  Credit repair does NOT remove the judgments from public records.  But, getting the judgment vacated with the court sure does!

Now, this is good for everyone who hasn't been able to get it off the credit reports.  I also want to reiterate that this is ONLY FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENTS!  Removing a judgment from a public record should cause your next dispute to the bureaus to finally delete it off your credit reports.


You will need to get the judgment vacated at the court level. This means you will need to file a Motion to Vacate and Set Aside the judgment, and Motion to Stay the Execution of the judgment. You will also need an Answer to the lawsuit which will be entered as an attachment to your Motion to Vacate.

Court rules vary from state to state and county to county. Sometimes courts have rules specific to that court.  There are 2 arguments that can be raised to get a judgment vacated.  The first one is the one most often used and pretty much the only one that an attorney would use. It is a Motion to Vacate for Lack of or Improper Service.  What this means is that you weren't served at all or they didn't serve you properly.  They may have served the wrong address. But for whatever reason, you were not timely and properly notified that you were being sued.  There is also an argument to be made that you were in the hospital at that time or out of the state/country, and didn't get served properly.  They may have done what is called "Substituted Service" because they weren't able to serve you personally.

You will need to pull the full case file and buy a copy of everything in that file. You will want to see the Summons and Complaint (sometimes called a Warrant of Debt), the proof of service, any affidavits that were included, and anything else in that file.  You will be using these items and the information they contain, especially in their Complaint, which has "Causes of Action" to form your defense for both your motions and your Answer.

Remember I talked about court rules?  Well, its very common to see a deadline to file a Motion to Vacate within 6 months of discovering that you had a judgment.  So, when you find out about it and you want to use this defense, you will usually need to get your motion filed into the court and served upon that plaintiff within 6 months.

Now the 2nd argument that can be raised to be granted a Motion to Vacate, and again, this is ONLY for DEFAULT judgments, is the court's lack of Jurisdiction. A default judgment is considered a "Void" judgment and it can be challenged AT ANY TIME - There is NO Statute of Limitations to challenge a default judgment.  The court lacks jurisdiction because there are 4 requires items for every case.  A Plaintiff; A Defendant (Whoops, that was missing); Subject Matter; and A Competent Witness.  

When the court grants a default judgment, there was No Defendant. That means the court lacked Personal Jurisdiction.  If when you pull the file you find that the Plaintiff didn't include an affidavit from a "Competent Witness" (one who has first hand knowledge and is qualified to testify - not hearsay!), then the court also had no Subject Matter Jurisdiction.  Also, subject matter jurisdiction can be challenged at any time and the case cannot move forward until the PLAINTIFF establishes, proves it.

Here is the beauty of vacating default judgments, especially when using the argument of the court's lack of jurisdiction. As I stated, default judgments are Void judgments and can be challenged at any time with NO statute of limitations.  What this means is that if you look at the Date of Last Activity for the original account, and had there not been a judgment it would now be outside that Statute of Limitations for debt, once that judgment is vacated, that debt is now considered Time-Barred and they can't come back and sue you again!  While a judgment is active, they can pursue payment until the statute of limitations for judgments expires.

So keep in mind these Statutes of Limitations:
State statute of limitations on debt is based on the Date of Last Activity (when you last made a payment.
State statute of limitations for judgments - based off the date of judgment and runs for usually at least 10 years but it varies by state.
Statute of Limitations for vacating a Default Judgment - ABSOLUTELY NONE!

So the moral of the story here is, be excited for default judgments. If you get sued, even served properly, but are not prepared to fight and doubt you could win (you probably could if you knew how to fight it properly), don't be afraid to get that default judgment.  You have the ability to reopen the case when you are ready. vacate it, and if you can hold off the vultures trying to collect on that judgment until the debt statute of limitations has passed, you can totally get rid of it from the public records as well as your credit reports.  

Oh, PS.  It is much more wise to vacate a judgment than to file a bankruptcy to get out of paying off a judgment.  Filing a BK will add 10 more years of crap credit to your credit reports and they are a pain in the butt to remove. Save those BK filings for emergencies such as one of your strategies for avoiding foreclosure. By the way, if you are facing foreclosure and want to fight, you can contact me for a referral to a friend of mine who is massively successful, its what he does for a living, and just so you know that he knows what he's doing, he's been in his house now without making a payment for over 11 years. 

If you would like someone to help you remove your judgments from your credit reports, I can help you with that. Though it is illegal to guarantee results, my partner and I do use an escalated and proprietary process that generally removes them in approximately 30 days and we have a 100% success rate.  I would love to help you remove your judgments, your tax liens, your collections, etc. and help you raise your scores so you can have that fresh start you so deserve! You can find my contact information on the top right of this blog. Both my email and phone number are there for you to reach out to me.

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  1. Hello shannon, this is amazing information. I've Been researching for over a year now for both myself and to help other people. I ve had some successes but needed this type of information to really seal the deal. My question to you is for situation where there is a default judgment and a person were force to enter into a payment arrangement because of wage garnishment threat, can the strategy still work even if a person made payments ?

    1. HI TSM, the answer is yes. Give me a call sometime to chat about this. My number is up at the top on the right.

  2. How do I contact you and do you work with people in other states

    1. Hi Gregory, you can email me at futurefico@gmail.com or call me at 951-801-2828. Yes, I help people in all 50 states.

  3. Should I contact a specific person or section of the court? Also is there a chance that it can be reported back onto ones credit report after it's been removed? I'm assuming these data diggers continuously check the public records.

    1. Hi Russell,
      The court clerk letter and form goes to the court clerk with a self addressed stamped envelope so they will fill it out and send it back to you.

      Yes data diggers continuously check public records but once removed from your credit reports the FCRA does not allow it to come back on without notifying you within 5 days.

      They would have to provide some documentation to put it back on and I've not heard of any data digger to pay for copies of documentation of a public record. Also, the databases they use tell them that they do not guarantee the accuracy of the information. So they will be lying if they verified the accuracy. Only you and the judge/trustee can do that as you are the only true parties to the action.

  4. Hi Shannon,

    I have a public record of a tax lien which was a mistake to begin with. They mistakenly considered a child support settlement as income and although the IRS fixed it on their end, the public record still shows as a paid lien. How can I get this removed? It has destroyed my credit for almost a decade. It's been on my Experian since 11/2009 and I don't know if it automatically deletes 11/2016 or if I need to take action. Please help.

    1. You can contact the IRS and have them send you the form they should have recorded, withdrawing the lien as it was filed in error.

      Make copies of that form and send it with a dispute to the bureaus that are furnishing it to your credit report. Dispute that you have no valid tax lien and see the attached proof from the IRS.

      It should be removed quickly when you send that in. Please send it certified mail so you know that they received it and when.

  5. I have a default judgement from a apartment complex over 6 years ago. I was in a new lease in another county and they served me papers to the address at their property. They were given a documented 60 day notice, knowing I would'nt be able to answer the lawsuit, because I had already moved. They didnt call me back to do a move out so I let it go not knowing the consequences. I keep fighting with the cra's, creditors and now the court to vacate default. I had written the judge to vacate the judgement but was denied. I just wrote the clerk asking them to not furnish my records. I have been greatly affected by this and wont give up. If there is anymore advice for my paticular situation, please let me know, Thanks

    1. Hello T Sheri, I'm sorry for the situation you are in. It sounds like the judgment is not going away, at least not from public records. I suspect that if you get a response from the court clerk that he/she will tell you they don't furnish records to your credit reports and its a public record that anyone can see if they look at your public records.

      The judgment is 6 years old. In most states they have a 10 year statute of limitations. Some states are less than that. That's how long it will be on the public records. It is also set to come off your report in about a year since those will stay on for 7.

      We have an escalated process that we use to remove them from credit reports. The law doesn't allow us to guarantee results but I can tell you that we have a 100% success rate. So, if you want to get it off your credit reports now instead of waiting for the time to run on it, I can help you with that.

      I wish I had other advice to tell you but it sounds like you have already done everything I would have told you. If you just wrote a letter to the judge but didn't actually file a full motion to dismiss with all the required paperwork, you could try filing an actual motion.

      You will need to also draft a legal answer in response to their (plaintiff's) complaint. You may need to include a notice and motion to set aside and stay the execution of the judgment. You'll need to read the court rules.

      If you already filed these when you say you wrote to the judge, then its already been adjudicated and you'll just have to let the time run out.


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