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Mind Your Money

Ending Your Credit Mess

March 13, 1986|PETER WEAVER

Question: Can a creditor, a major store in town, close my account without the slightest provocation?

I have had their credit card for more than 12 years and have always paid as agreed.

Their reason for dropping me, they said, was my "history of delinquent credit obligations." I had one item (a student loan) in 1983 that became a "collection" account while I was renegotiating the terms. I paid off the loan, in full, with interest.

The store says I have to get the credit bureau to change my loan history. The credit bureau says only the debtor can make any changes.

This is outrageous. I have no other credit problems. I have numerous cards from stores, gas companies and banks. I have a good, steady wage. Can anything be done about this?

Answer: Yes. You have the right, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to put a statement, in your own words, in your credit record. Say that you were in negotiation with the student loan people and that everything was paid off satisfactorily.

You should also write to the president or general manager of the store that smudged your credit rating. Explain the loan negotiation (with any substantiating letters from the lender you may have).

Maybe the store will reinstate your account or add a line or allow you to quote them in your explanatory statement.

Meanwhile, not to worry. Major creditors we talked to--banks, stores and the like--said they would probably ignore one, modest blight on someone's record. They could see that, in every other aspect, you had a good record.

At least one creditor bureau company, owned by TRW, will be offering a service to debtors called "Credentials." For a $30 annual fee, you get your own, consumer financial profile, which can serve as an all-purpose credit or loan application.

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