Oops, 7 Days. Hey look I don't update on weekends.

Screwed my credit

Dammit. Months ago, I got a credit card as part of one of those "10% off a large retail purchase" deals. I immediately paid off the card from my bank account, thinking I was so smart.

Months go by, and I'm travelling all the time. When I get home, I occasionally see envelopes from the bank of the card, but (and here's where this is my fault) I assume it's just my monthly statement with a balance of zero, and it gets lost in the flood of maintenance tasks.

Occurred to me last week that there may be an annual fee on the card, so I should check the balance (I assumed the fee would've been charged a year after first getting the card, if anything, so I didn't have to stress about it yet).

Open the envelope, and it's a final notice that my account is in default and about to be turned over to a collection agency. Turns out there was a $20 internet-check charge when I paid off the balance originally (which was NOT covered in the balance listed, so it wasn't paid off), and with late fees and whatnot the new balance is $175.

I managed to pay them and close the account before they turned it over to the collection agency, but the 30-days-late, 60-days-late, etc. reporting still went to the credit bureaus. The lady at the credit card company suggested I write letters to the major bureaus explaining the situation so that at least there's a story behind it.

Anyone been in a situation like this? Any tips for me besides telling me what an idiot I am?
Permalink Dummy 
March 21st, 2005
Repeat after me. "The bank is not your friend. Credit card companies are venal bloodsuckers luring people into far more debt than they can carry."

As a general note, never trust that financial transactions happened the way you think they happened. Get a receipt. Check every piece of mail from them. Get on them instantly if not sooner if you notice any problems.

Expensive lesson. My sympathies.
Permalink Calgarian 
March 21st, 2005
I'm astonished that you paid instead, instead of arguing. But since you did, here's what you do:

Tell the major credit reporting agencies that you suspect fraud on your account, and get free credit reports. Find the report in question, and place it in dispute, which is as simple as calling the credit reporting agencies back and telling them you want it disputed.

Then it goes back to the place that originally reported it. If they don't reply within a certain period of time, it gets taken off your record automatically. There's a good chance they won't reply, since it doesn't directly affect their bottom line.

I still think you should try to get the money back.
Permalink Kyralessa 
March 21st, 2005
>> Turns out there was a $20 internet-check charge when I paid off the balance originally <<

A WHAT?
They're charging you more money in order to accept your payment?

Do as Kyralessa suggests. Screw them over.
Permalink example 
March 21st, 2005
Okay, some updates. I dug up the receipt from the transaction, and it indeed mentions the $20 charge. Whether or not such a charge is justifiable is another story, but I can't claim I didn't know about it even though I didn't notice it.

I did try to argue it, spoke to a supervisor and whatnot, but they wouldn't budge. I don't find myself eager to trust them offhand, but at least contracturally they appear to be in the right in this case. :(
Permalink Dummy 
March 22nd, 2005
I agree it sounds like fraud to me. Contest it.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 22nd, 2005
You can also sue them in small claims court. If they don't show up, you win automatically.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 22nd, 2005
And if they do show up, it costs them thousands in lawyers fees.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 22nd, 2005
how is this fraud?

it's a giant ripoff, but it's a pretty typical pracice: offer the customer some service (a 'better' way to send them money), then charge for it.
Permalink mb 
March 23rd, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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