Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why checking your credit report is no joke.

My Rant of the Month for March - the other day I got a wild urge, while squinting at the wee screen of the wee MacBook yet again, a screen that may I say has gotten really really wee since the Brain Thang, so I hopped on the Apple website, and thought Screw It, I'm gonna get myself an iMac! Big, bright, 24" screen, here I come! I could actually SEE to manipulate photos, and even see spreadsheets and other serious work things. And I saw that they were offering a 12 months no interest credit offer, and though I could write a check and pay cash if I had to, I am all about using Other People's Money if it is offered with no strings attached. If I can do 12 months no interest I take it, and pay it off in 10 months. That's how I got my washer and dryer, and the elliptical machine, and I forget what else. I love to do that - it's my way of sticking it to The Man. Offer me credit and I will use it in a way in which you make NOTHING! HAH! So I applied for the VISA card - I know my credit is fantastic, I would not get turned down.

I got turned down. Excuse Me? HUH? and WTF? So I went to Equifax and did the credit report thing - two reports are spotless, but Transunion has this weird item on it - it says that a closed Bank of America account on which I was an authorized user is in collections(!) for - get this - $11. This was news to me - I definitely would have remembered getting a dunning letter from a collection agency for such a laughably small sum!

I finally figured out that it must be my mother's old credit card - the report indicated me as "authorized user" and that is the only card it could be. She had made me an authorized user on it, and that came in handy when I had to furnish her assisted living apartment, etc - but after she died I called them, got the balance due, and paid off and closed the account! I never received another statement from them, let alone anything from a collection agency! And, as an authorized user, not a co-owner of the account, I am not legally responsible for that "debt" which does not exist anyway! AND, Transunion had the nursing home address and the Spring Hill house listed as MY former addresses! So, in short, they f-ed up my credit report six ways from Sunday - attributing a debt that does not exist on a card on which I was not legally responsible to me, at two incorrect addresses - even though, hello Transunion, we had two different LAST NAMES, not to mention other details like, you know, wildly different dates of birth and Social Security #s. And that stupid little $11 report for a debt that does not exist on a card that was not mine got me turned down for credit. While that is hugely annoying, it is good that it came to light now, because according to the credit bureau, that little gem will remain on my credit report until 2015 if I don't get it removed.

So I called B of A to try to straighten it out, and the guy I talked to was very nice but said that he couldn't fix it, because according to their records, I had NO debt with them and they had reported nothing. So I had to challenge it with Transunion, and did so. It was fixed by 9 a.m. the next day, so lets have a half-hearted round of applause for TransUnion, because they never should have done it in the first place.

And yet the company making the offer on the Apple.com site still says I am a deadbeat bum, over an $11 debt that does not exist and would not be mine if it did, and I am still squinting at the MacBook screen. Yes, I could just buy the damn thing, but I don't want to spend my own money. I want to use the OPM I have EARNED by having really excellent credit, dammit! I guess the moral of this story is that even if you do everything right a credit bureau can still do you wrong, and even if you fix it, other idiot databases remember. Also a cautionary tale for how VERY LOW the bar of deadbeat has fallen in the last couple of years! I mean, seriously? $11, on an account on which I was only an "authorized user" got me turned down? Yes, the credit market is cowering in a corner sucking its thumb and crying for its Mama these days.

And, on that note - guess What? As of around noon today, the Spring Hill house is under contract! The price is disappointing, but it's a reportedly solid buyer and I'll take it, considering the market, and they want a very fast closing, and I said they could have it as fast as they want it. So I may be making my last trek across the state this weekend. Fingers crossed that this guy really does have a mortgage lined up and this will fly. I am not counting my sold houses before the check clears. We will know by April 2, if not sooner.

Work is gooder. Not fabulously good, but not so sucky. It appears that I will have a job for at least a while longer. So I am going to live it up - replace the broken down living room furniture, get new contacts if I can, or glasses if I can't (even with insurance, with my vision issues we are talking $700 here) and yes, I am getting me a badass iMac desktop, and later, a new desk to put it on. Because after all the crap I've been through in the last year few years DECADE, I believe in enjoying the good days.

And I have a reservation for MDS&W. The Queen and I and two of her friends are planning to be there. Shhhh...don't jinx it. I'll let you know when Baby is packed and it's on for real....

9 comments:

carlarey said...

Glad to hear things are at least stable, and looking up on some fronts.

Now I am going to go check my credit reports.

Linda said...

Awesome about the house, I'll kep my fingers crossed!

Catherine said...

Keep them very crossed. The buyer's status was oversold and he doesn't actually have a mortgage in his back pocket. Not that this makes him a loser, but with banks as nervous as they are now, it doesn't make this a done deal. Oh, and Girl's back is NOT better. She thought she was cleared to go back to work and was in pain after doing a routine thing that she used to be able to do. I do not actually have enough fingers to cross on so many fronts these days.

Anonymous said...

Catherine, more crossed fingers for you here, one hand for you and one hand for Girl.
Genie

Shana in OK said...

I would strongly encourage you to let Apple know about this -- they need to know why they lost your sale, or policies like this won't change!

Catherine said...

I intend to let Apple know, but it's not Apple itself, it's the bank they affiliated with. I doubt that Apple has any influence on them. It's just an illustration of how crazy banks are these days, that a single questionable $11 items is enough to get an instant rejection!

Restless Knitter said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed on the house deal.

Years ago, I got turned down for credit because I had a huge outstanding balance on AmEx. Being as I didn't have AmEx, I called them. Long story short, my ex and his wife had the balance and AmEx was using my SS number with her name. Like you, the credit reporting agency was quick in fixing it but AmEx was on my shitlist for quite awhile because they didn't want to admit their mistake.

Angie said...

Disclaimer: I know nothing about the particulars of your buyer's situation. That said: What I tell people when I do closings is, a mortgage takes six weeks. They tell you you're 'pre-qualified' but until there is a signed contract they do not actually start on the paperwork. I've never seen the paperwork take less than six weeks. The buyer may not have known that.

Hope it works out.

Catherine said...

I think he's further along in the process than the letter indicates, or so his realtor represents to us, but I'd have felt better if the letter said Whee, no problem, he has a loan all sewed up. The craziness of the credit market was really brought home to me with this week's incident. I never imagined that someone with otherwise stellar credit could get flast turned down for a credit card over an $11 error on one credit report! The banks are all "locking the barn door" after the horses were stolen and converted to dog food.