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October 07, 2008

Fix my credit PLEASE??

October 7. Day 99.

I was wondering what to ask for today. Then I saw my credit report.

I went to, which I check once per year, and saw that there was some "negative activity" under an account I've long stopped using. It's a credit card I keep for emergencies, so imagine my surprise when I saw it was listed as 30 days past due, and account closed.

I logged on to Chase's website and saw that someone made two small charges, a month apart, in the spring. I don't know if it was an individual or a service that tapped into the account, since they were from an internet service provider I don't use. Well, those two small charges were then buried under late fees and finance charges. Strangely, a few months later the balance reverted to $0, despite the absence of payments.

The total losses weren't huge -- under $100 -- but the effects on my credit are grave.

I called Chase to sort it out.

First, it was too late to dispute the fraud, since you only get 90 days.

Second, I must say they were humane, even charitable, under the circumstances. After the charges appeared and I didn't pay, they closed the account and didn't refer it to a collection agency. Instead, they closed it as soon as possible, so I wouldn't get more late fees or have the balance grow. They wrote off the balance as their loss. And they listed in their files that the customer closed the account, which doesn't look bad on credit histories.

I'm really impressed. Of course it's all about the bottom line -- sending it to collection would have cost more than the $30 they paid that merchant. But it was nice of them to avoid screwing me over, particularly when they just thought I'm a delinquent customer.

In tears, grateful but still scared, I asked the agent if she could help me dispute the charges to the credit bureaus, so I could get the "30 days past due" pock removed, and she said she will.

I'm keeping my fingers cross this will be resolved, but when it comes to the credit industry I feel so powerless, I dare not hope.
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