Monday, January 25, 2010

Guard Your Credit Well....

Posted by Terry McNichols

I have recently had an experience that has upset me.  The bank that we do business with for our mortgage and a line of credit notified us that they were closing our line of credit due to a negative report from one of the credit report companies.  I was horrified and began to research the reasons.  I got a credit report from each of the 3 companies, using my husband's name and sent the reports into our bank.  They replied that they needed reports for both of us.  I then got credit reports on myself and alas, I am the culprit.  It turns out that last June I used my Penney's charge card on a day when there was a special discount for doing so.  I spent $31 on something and then completely forgot about it.  I had kept the Penney's card in my desk drawer for years, having been coerced into getting it for another special discount at some point in time.  Unfortunately, I have several such cards from different companies and really don't use any of them.

Since we have moved a couple of times in the last ten years, I had also neglected to update the information on these seldom-used credit cards.  Penneys tried to send me a bill and then began making calls to me to collect the $31, which eventually grew to $91, with the added fees and penalties.  I now recall several phone calls that I chose to ignore because they were a computer-generated voice telling me to call Penneys about credit.  I tend to be very quick to hang up on anything that sounds like telephone spam, and this computer didn't give me any clue that it was otherwise.  I now wish I had returned the call.

After discovering my error, I paid the Penney's charge and wrote again to the bank, explaining the issue and asking to be reconsidered as a good credit risk.  I once again received a letter stating that they are freezing our equity line of credit.

So, after 40 years of absolutely perfect credit, with one of the highest ratings possible and never missing a single payment at any time, my husband and I are now in a state of "SERIOUS DELINQUENCY."   I have spent several hours trying to remedy this situation and now must spend several more.  I will be getting rid of all my unused credit cards and taking my banking business elsewhere.  Let this be a lesson to any of you who have gotten lazy about the credit cards you own!  Of course, I've also been told that canceling multiple credit cards will lower our credit rating, but at this point I think it makes sense before senility completely sets in!

(Photo by Andres Rueda, shared via Flickr)

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