§ 31.2 — Use of Credit Reporting Agencies
Revised: April 24, 2009
It is often helpful to get information about the debtor from a credit bureau or credit reporting agency as a technique for determining debts. Some Chapter 13 practitioners report that they routinely order a credit report on every debtor client as a way of gathering creditor information to complete the schedules. A credit report is a reimbursable expense in some districts.1 The debtor should be instructed to bring a current credit report to the initial client interview, or the debtor should sign a release of information form to enable counsel to purchase one.
A word of caution about the use of credit reports to complete the debtor portions of the Official Forms: credit reports are often not accurate—especially with respect to creditor addresses in bankruptcy cases. Detailed elsewhere,2 after BAPCPA there are complex and technical statutory rules that determine whether notice is effective in bankruptcy cases. The addresses that work in the real world—the addresses that may appear on a credit report—may be insufficient altogether for notice purposes in a Chapter 13 case. Counsel has to dig deeper for debt information, including getting familiar with the addresses that many national creditors have designated with the Bankruptcy Noticing Center and through the local bankruptcy court Electronic Case Filing system.
1 See, e.g., In re Helquist, No. 06-31174-DOT, 2007 WL 2319865 (Bankr. E.D. Va. Aug. 10, 2007) (unpublished) (Reimbursement for credit report fees in Chapter 7 and 13 cases is allowed over U.S. trustee’s objection; credit reports are valuable resource for conducting effective reorganization and advising debtors.).
2 See § 365.1 [ Section 342: Notice in Chapter 13 Cases after BAPCPA ] § 4.3 Section 342: Notice What Didn’t Happen.