I recently filed bankruptcy, which was granted in April 2005. My
daughter Sarah was listed as an authorized user on the four credit
cards included in the bankruptcy. All but one credit card company
has removed the credit card debt from her credit report. The fourth
credit card company refuses to do so, claiming she was a joint applicant.
Several times I requested a copy of the application proving her
liability -- as did she.
She wrote letters requesting a copy of the application,
which was never received by either of us. The company made promises
it would be sent immediately. A second dispute was filed with the
credit reporting bureaus. Sarah was an authorized user on this account.
The company disagrees but has no signed application by my daughter.
The account was opened in 1996 when she just turned 18. She made
no purchases on the card. It was to be used for emergencies only.
How can I get this off my daughter's credit report?
-- Sally Stressed
If the authorized user is a spouse, the credit bureaus are legally
obligated to report the credit history on both spouses' credit reports.
No obligation exists for authorized users that aren't married, but
creditors and credit bureaus can choose to report that information
on the authorized user's credit report. That's normally a benefit
when the authorized user is trying to build a credit history, but
it can become a detriment if the account holder has credit problems
-- such as your bankruptcy. The Bankrate feature, "Dangers
of being an authorized user" has more about the credit
risks of being an authorized user on an account.
Removing your daughter as an authorized user from
these accounts prior to your filing for bankruptcy would have avoided
this problem. I know that this piece of hindsight doesn't help your
family in this situation, but it could help others that are contemplating
filing for bankruptcy.
Write a letter to the credit card company requesting
that your daughter be removed as an authorized user on this account.
If they agree to take this step, the account should drop off her
Write another letter to the credit card company
requesting a copy of your credit agreement that shows your daughter
to be a co-applicant, mention how many times you have requested
this information and send copies of this letter to your state
banking commissioner and to the Federal
Trade Commission. Then send one to the Federal
Reserve Board for good measure.
If the credit card company is a national bank,
you can contact the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency using
Complaints and Assistance service. Let me know how things turn