What Does Derogatory Public Record Mean?

Derogatory public records are negative public documents listed on your credit report.
Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Some negative information that may appear on a credit report comes from public records. According to credit-rating agency Experian, such information is deemed "derogatory" because it shows a consumer failed to fulfill agreed-upon repayment obligations. Derogatory public records on a credit report can make it hard to get credit and will adversely affect a credit score.

Implications of Derogatory Public Information

Derogatory public records include foreclosures, court judgments, wage garnishments, tax liens and bankruptcies. Most derogatory public records stay on a credit report for seven years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy sticks around for a full decade. If you don't pay a tax lien, it can show up on a credit report forever. Generally, you can't get negative public records removed early unless they appear on a credit report by mistake. Check your credit report periodically. You can get free reports from the Annual Credit Report website, which is the Federal Trade Commission's authorized provider. If incorrect information is listed, file a dispute with the credit reporting agency to have it deleted. Although you may be stuck with this adverse information for seven years or more, time works in your favor. The MyFICO website says that as negative items age, they count less against your credit score.