Starting July 1, 2017 the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – will no longer report public records like judgments and tax liens unless it contains the consumer’s name, address, and either Social Security number or date of birth. No civil judgments in Arizona contain this information and to include it would violate privacy laws.
These are major changes in the standards for reporting public records and it is estimated will impact over 15 million consumers.
This is a huge win for consumers who have often tried in vain to get inaccurate information removed from credit reports.
This was particularly true in Arizona where civil judgments are only valid for 5 years unless the creditor files an affidavit of renewal with the court. If a creditor failed to timely renew its judgment then the creditor could no longer attempt to collect on the debt – the judgment was void.
However, even void civil judgments would continued to be reported by Equifax, Experian, and Transunion for up to seven years from the date the judgment was entered. Consumers were left with trying to get invalid judgments removed from their credit report and working through the maddening process of correcting the now-inaccurate information on their credit report.
These new standards will be welcome relief to consumers and, in my opinion, a certain amount of karma coming into play for big junk debt buyers like Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery Associates who file debt collection lawsuits numbering hundreds of thousands each year based upon flimsy evidence and inadequate proof. Debt buyers have inflicted harm on countless low-income families forced many into unnecessary bankruptcy cases. The fact that they won’t be able to intimidate consumers with threats of judgments appearing on their credit report will not only help in those who have had a judgment entered against them, but will assist in getting more reasonable settlement offers.