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My credit journey

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My credit journey began the same as any other student... I applied for a card from a form I grabbed from a bulletin board at school. I had a nice $2600 limit on it. The usage never ever went above 10% and if I recall correctly it was probably more like about 5% maximum usage. I always paid in full. My trouble came from an atypical source - my father. He was very controlling growing up and for nearly a year I'd managed to keep this card entirely secret from him. He'd said while I was living under his roof I wasn't to have a card, but yet I knew I needed to start early to build a positive and lengthy credit history so that I'd be ready for a home of my own hopefully in my mid to late 20's. I was an am very much the sort to plan ahead.

 

Well he found out about this card which at that time had a balance of about $180. It was near the holidays and I'd just finished my shopping and hadn't yet been to the bank to get a money order to send off for payment. Oh the days before electronic banking! haha! I do not miss those at all. My dad decided to require that if I was going to live under his roof I was going to have to give up control of my finances. Given that I was in 3rd yr university and had only a modest income from nannying on weekends and babysitting when I wasn't in school through the week. It was easier to just give up that control than to risk my schooling - I was an insanely driven student making A's in everything (which I now realize means nothing once you leave those 4 walls!). I now had a weekly "allowance" out of my earnings of $10 to include any books/pens/etc I needed for school as well. If I needed anything more than that I had to plead my case - which was denied on several occasions. And my father was going to be paying my Visa acct.

 

Fastforward a few months a I applied for a small student loan of $3000 with my father as cosigner. I'd had some pretty big life catastrophe's that year and my earnings had suffered considerably and so he reluctantly cosigned for a Scotiabank student loan in early September so I could finish 4th year. My loan was paid in full by December 1st of that same year. I was allowed to use my Visa to pay for my books that fall as well so about $800 or so went on the card. It was my understanding that it was paid off. I moved out in May of the following spring. I still didn't bother with that particular Visa acct.

 

I'd already opened another bank account and had a "real" job and was living on my own so he wasn't going to get another cent from me. Apparently he decided the balance that was remaining in my other bank account was his to use rather than to pay off my RBC student Visa. That summer a friend and I decided to take a small trip. I decided to app for a Scotiabank Visa to allow us to rent a car which I was approved for $500. We went on our little trip and it was paid in full the same afternoon as returning. A couple months later just before Xmas I received a limit increase to $6600. I ran up a balance to approx $3500. Not the smartest thing in the world, but hey I was young and I did actually have the means to pay it off in full. I still had a GIC of about $5000 from a car accident settlement where I broke my neck and have permanent damage (another controlling thing by my father... the accident was when I was 17 and he told me I'd received $5000. I found out years later that the settlement was for $24000. He still doesn't know I know.) Or so I thought...

 

Early that fall I took out a loan of $1100 for a computer - also a Scotiabank loan - and paid for it via payroll deductions. It was easily paid off within a couple months.

 

Shortly after Xmas I received a phone call from RBC Collections. Apparently my father had stopped paying off the bill and with fees & interest it had now grown to over $1500 of a balance. I panicked and called TransCanada Credit (purchased by Wells Fargo a few years ago) and got a loan to pay off the balance in full at a ridiculous interest rate (This meant $1500 was now going to have a final payout amount of over $6100), but I had a great job right? And that GIC? Yeah apparently my father had put his name as a co-investor on it and had cashed it in ages ago!

 

Fast forward to Nov of that year and my Scotiabank balance had dropped to about $3000 because i'd not used it and had been paying toward it. I got a bill in November for $6800 - well over my limit. I called immediately and was told there were fees for this that and the other thing. Um... wow yeah see no those fees have never been there before and they're not mine! The balance eventually got up to over $8700 with these erroneous fees - I have paperwork from Scotiabank admitting that they were fees from someone else's account that were billed to mine due to a glitch in their system. Ack! In the meantime my life had blown up yet again - my daughter passed away, her father and I separated, I lost my job, and then I lost a 2nd job. Life was kind of a mess really. I was doing my best to pay it down and had made an agreement with their collections of $100/month while i was on EI and as soon as I got a job I'd gladly at least double that.

 

I managed to get sucked into a relationship with a fellow who I ended up moving out of province with and he bled me dry financially. He took over my finances and decided his credit balances were more important to pay than even my minimum payments. I received a call from ARC out in BC. I'll never forget him... Peter Clarke. What an a&&. He had me to the brink of suicide when I got off the phone with him. Keep in mind that I was now working 2 jobs while the nutcase I was in a relationship was in school - he only knew about 1 job - so that I could pay our home bills plus keep paying this $100 agreement I'd had with Scotiabank and to keep up my payments to TransCanada Credit. Yes I'd agreed to increase it once I was working, but I had far more expenses now than before both supporting 2 people and living in the GTA which is insanely more expensive than where I'm from originally. Even still it was sent off to collections.

 

Thankfully a good friend of mine happened to call and despite my typical nature to not answer I did that afternoon and that's how I managed to get myself connected with the credit counsellor who ultimately got me out of my financial mess. Because of the agreement I entered into with him though I also had to lump my TransCanada debt into the debts he'd be helping me with even though it was mostly up to date - there had been a few lates, but I was keeping up with it on my own.

 

I ended up leaving the nutcase I was with and buckled down hard financially. I was paying between $3-600 each month depending on what I could spare. I was living with a roommate to help save on expenses too.

 

3 long years of saving and hard choices - missing my niece's birth, Christening, several funerals of people important to me and some weddings of close friends - and I was finally debt free. Absolutely 100% debt free.

 

In Oct 2008 I applied for the Cap1 secured card. I was given a $300 card with a $300 security. Yikes! I have kept it PIF every month.

 

May 25, 2009 I decided to be brave and pull my credit reports including my credit score from TU. TU showed a score of 648 and plenty of OLD and long forgotten accounts. That RBC account was still there and so were those 2 old loans smiling back at me. My TU reflected my Scotiabank Visa with the last reporting before the whole mess happened and EQ didn't show it at all! There were 4 entries for my WFF acct. Equifax only showed one, but it was full of errors - showing still 30days late since June 2006 when it was actually PIF.

 

That was right about the time that I found CreditBoards. I'd just started to read the Newbie section and hadn't really taken much to heart yet when I called TransUnion and disputed several accounts that although they were good had wrong information. I didn't have any idea that this would mean they would be entirely deleted so this meant several good TL's disappeared as well - ie closed revolving accts (Canadian Tire, Sears, etc). I was told that RBC had to be the ones to remove the entry for their Visa. Thankfully it was such a run around because I ended up speaking with their credit collections centre and apparently as far as they're concerned it was a good account and there's absolutely no reason why they wouldn't take me back unless there was something recently on my CBR! So I decided to leave the entry. It is my oldest after all and reflects 79 months of good history with no lates on the CBR, etc. :rofl:

 

WFF was a much more difficult story. I had 4 entries for the same account. I was told because of this I had to dispute directly with the OC rather than through TU. I spoke to 2 managers including the manager I'd originally dealt with way back when it was TransCanada Credit. They were happy to update the account, but the lates were still showing there. Ugh. Keep in mind this is an account that should have been completely removed from my TU report as of June 2008 due to being part of a credit counseling program. It should have been off my EQ by June 2009, but now that it's reporting as a decent I1 tradeline I've decided to let that beast lie for now. All I wanted removed was the one of 3 tradelines remaining for that account which showed the lates. I was stonewalled over the phone by TU reps & supervisors that because it's a negative account it doesn't qualify. Oct 21/09 I finally received a confirmation letter that the tradeline had been removed. Oct 22/09 I received a letter that they needed more information - thankfully this letter was actually dated for much earlier in October and was just now arriving. When I first read it though I about lost it! I had a letter from WFF, a letter from the credit counsellor, a copy of my final bank draft payment showing payment to credit counselling for WFF account #xxxx. What more info could they want! Thankfully someone must have opened their eyes and crawled out from under their rock. LOL

 

It was just before I received this letter that I applied for an MBNA SmartCash card (stupid, I know) and was turned down due to the lates on that account and get this... lack of credit history on my TU report!!! It shows more than 13 yrs of history! And then she stumbled again and said well... it's because you haven't had a major credit card. Um my TU report shows 79 months of history with an RBC card. Um ok so it's not an open revolving acct. Well what exactly do you people want?! Apparently they want a credit card with one of the big 5 for a minimum of 5 yrs. I know that's BS because I know others have received it as their first EVER credit card. haha! Oh well.

 

So once I had the confirmation on the removal of the TL's with the lates I applied for the CIBC Dividend card and was approved for a $3500 limit. I've closed my Cap1 card now that I've also been approved (still waiting on a limit!) for an AMEX Costco card.

 

I'm planning to app for an RBC Westjet Mastercard as soon as it launches.

 

My nemesis is still Scotiabank though. When I can qualify for credit with them again I will consider my story complete and having come full circle back to before all this mess happened. Interesting news... I've been getting calls this week from one of the Scotiabank pre-approval telemarketing offices. I've been at work when the calls are received though. Could it be? I was told just last year that the interest that would have owed if I hadn't been in credit counselling - over $4600 - was only written off in Nov 2007 which means I am not even remotely eligible to apply for credit with them until Nov 2010. I could app sooner if I wanted to pay that off, but yeah no I paid more than I owed to begin with so I'm not paying a penny more! But could these calls really be a pre-approval! GASP! :)

Edited by Quasei2

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Oh wow. I'm at a loss for words, which says a lot coming from my usual rambling self! :ph34r:

 

It's funny how I had the same feelings for Amex as you have for Scotiabank. Amex is the one that I had to have back, come hell or high water, to prove to myself that I was back on my feet. So good luck with Scotia. I honestly mean that. I hope you get something from them. It's a great feeling to have that arch rival, or nemesis as you called it, back on your team. It's nice to have an old friend working for you again.

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Thanks for the understanding words, Stu. For so many years I felt so alone with the issue and a big part of me felt so stupid for having allowed myself to be scared into agreeing to pay Scotiabank back so much money that even they admitted in writing that I didn't owe to them. It was all so ridiculous, but I was desparate. The call from the guy at ARC came just after I'd been discharged from hospital with a major staph infection - I'd convinced the surgeon to let me go home early with 3x visits from a nurse every day - so I was in really rough shape both physically and emotionally. I'd been out of work for a couple months at that point and was facing moving back to my home town and in with my parents because of the illness and knowing I'd be out of work for at least a couple more weeks. It was a complete nightmare. Is it just me or does it seem that collections monsters never call when life is good even if you are behind on something. They only seem to call if you're down and wanting to dig your own hole. Hmmm... TMI I'm sure, but as I'm sure you've already figured out I'm a bit of a rambler and this is really the only place I can freely discuss my credit woes.

 

I found out just a couple months ago that there were approximately 100 accounts that were affected in the glitch. I've spoken to 2 other people who were affected - by chance I happened to come in contact with them! Their stories are similar nightmares.

 

Scotiabank will be conquered. Heck I'm working on it already. I'm staff there. ;) So yeah I'm taking advantage of absolutely EVERY possible benefit that exists right down to the custom orthotics and custom made sneakers via my health benefits every single year. LOL And they're looking after my schooling costs now so that I can get ahead. Yip. I've probably made back what I overpaid them at least 10 fold, but still... I want that credit card. Strangely even a line of credit won't make me happy. I need that credit card just for that satisfaction of being back where I was before this all started. At one time I had R1 credit with them across 3 separate accts - 2x installments and 1x credit card. I will have that again. I figure at worst Nov 2010 I'll have it, but depending on how this telemarketing thing pans out if I manage to be home when they call it just might be sooner. :) Cross your fingers for me!

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Oh, I'm rooting for you Quasei. Keep on plugging, you'll get what you want.

 

So you're going to take down Scotia from the inside? ahahahahaha. My daughter works for Scotia too, so please don't leave such a wasteland that she's out of a job, okay? ahahahah

 

(speaking of my daughter. Please tell me you are NOT 25 years old, work at Scotia, currently on maternity leave, and live in Ontario. If you are, welp, this is a really embarassing and awkward situation. For both of us I imagine. ahahaha)

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Hahaha, Stu! No rather strangely I am really very much enjoying working there and hope to stay there for the remainder of my working days. Despite my nightmare dealing with them, they're an amazing employer to work for - and that's not the brainwashing speaking. LOL

 

And no I'm not your pup. hehe! I'm on the east coast and no mat leave here. That's entertaining though!

Edited by Quasei2

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Yeah, that's right - you're on the east coast. You said that before and I forgot.

 

Interesting you had to deal with TransCanada Credit. I remember having to deal with them once when I was about 18 and thought I needed the highest priced cassette deck on the shelf in that new stereo store in the mall. Guaranteed Financing??!?!?!?!? Where do I sign?

 

Bad idea. Oh my it was a bad idea. I did manage to pay them back, but looking back I wasted a lot of money on the price of that cassette deck, and the interest charges by TCC. If I was smart I could have just saved for a few months and pay cash for a more reasonably priced deck and been done with it. But I wasn't that smart. I recall figuring it out years later and discovered I paid for the cassette deck twice over by the time I paid off the loan. I also remember missing a payment every now and again, and they certainly weren't shy about calling my work and ensuring everybody in the office knew I missed a payment at TransCanada Credit.

 

I wonder whatever happened to TCC. No, actually, I don't care. As long as they're rotting in hell then I'm fine with that.

 

EDIT. Holy Crap. TCC was bought out by Wells Fargo.

Edited by Stu.Padaso

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