If there was ever a doubt that your credit score exists primarily to manipulate you and your finances, you can put that doubt to rest. The credit bureaus that keep and create your credit score are like all businesses and they exist for a single purpose – to make money. Recently, a would-be renter found this out the hard way.
Checking your credit score is a practice we are all encouraged to adopt. After all, how else are you supposed to know when someone has stolen your credit or has opened accounts in your name? More importantly, how else are you supposed to find out if the credit bureaus have made mistakes with your financial wellbeing?
Of course, the best part of this particular arrangement for the credit bureaus – one bureau in particular it would seem – is that they get to charge you for checking the credit that the bureau is so carefully monitoring for you!
One would-be renter found this out in an ugly fashion. This gentleman went to an apartment complex to rent a new apartment. Part of this process is a credit check – the apartments want to be sure that you can pay the bills after all! What the would-be-renter found out was that there was a large debt on his credit report and the apartment manager wouldn’t rent him the apartment because of it.
The renter went to the bank where he allegedly had such a huge debt. The bank agreed with him that there was an obvious problem with the records and that the credit bureau had a mistake on his record. However, the bank was not able to do anything about this without a printed copy of the credit report in hand showing the error.
The renter hurried home to print out his credit report. He signed up for a special service to get his report for $1 directly from the credit bureau. Everything seemed to go well until his credit card bill came. That $1 credit report didn’t cost him $1. It cost him almost $20!
Puzzled, the man called the credit bureau to sort this out. He was told that the $1 charge was only valid with a credit monitoring service that he had been automatically enrolled in at the time of purchase. The man admitted that he had been in a hurry at the time and might not have read the fine print, but he wanted to cancel the service immediately before he was charged again.
The customer service representative at the other end of the line seemed to have a hard time understanding him. This was fair enough since he was having a very hard time understanding her.
Over the course of a ten minute conversation, the customer service representative tried to convince the frustrated renter that he didn’t need to cancel the service since he didn’t have any mistakes on his report now. She claimed it was best to leave the expensive monitoring active. He told her again to cancel the service immediately. She countered with an offer for discounted monitoring over the next five months. Again he refused and told her to cancel the service immediately.
The customer service representative tried repeatedly to leave the account active and went so far as to tell the renter that he was sure to be satisfied so she would simply apply the discount and follow up with email in a month. He finally shouted at the representative to cancel the service. She got snippy and sarcastically acknowledged his request and cancelled the service.
It’s a shame that a company who holds your credit score and finances in the balance is one of the biggest financial scams out there. It makes you wonder just who you can trust at all.