I read mine daily, although I know in my heart of hearts and mind of mind that it’s just a horoscope. Except today’s said something like arrows being shot at me from all sides.
Well, that much was true.
Things were just off today. I woke up with a cold sore (blech!). Couldn’t find my Abreva (ultimately did–it works wonders). Then my go-to coworker (in that we’re lunch buddies and can complain to each other all day long) texted to say he’s calling in sick–allergies. (Totally understandable, the weather turned to spring overnight, and the entire state of NJ is now sneezing).
Then there was SO. MUCH. TRAFFIC. on the way home. Like the weather was too nice and people forgot how to drive–that much traffic. My 11 mile commute took over an hour. Which made me late to start dinner, which was going to affect my 6:15 ortho appointment. What made me even later was this:
I got a letter from Bank of America stating that the dispute I had initiated with them was denied.
Ok, this is some crazy story, so I’m going to tell it. In the fall of 2011, I closed my BoA credit card account. I had two; the one I wanted to close had a small balance. I called the bank, made the payment in full. End of story. Never receive anything AGAIN from the bank about that account (the other one was still open, and I continued to use it).
Fast forward to last week. I get a letter from BofA regarding the 2nd account that I had kept open. The letter stated they periodically review customers’ accounts and based on my past “charge off” with the bank, they were suspending this account.
CHARGE OFF?! WTF? I’m all confused. I call the number on the letter, and they state that there was a balance on the account I had closed, and that it was charged off in May 2012. This is news to me. The customer service rep asked if I had gotten the collection calls and letters. Nope. I told her that I had closed the account in 2011. She went back through the records, and yep, there it is–documentation of my closing the account to a zero balance.
My heart is just pounding at this point–charge offs are serious business and they do serious damage to credit reports. I’m thinking my card number may have been stolen and a whole bunch of loot may have been charged, and I’m in the hole for a whole bunch of money. So I ask her how much the charge off is.
I’m so flabbergasted, before I can think, I blurt out (watch out–NSFW): “Holy Fuck! $16.37!”
It seems as though after I closed my account, the bank decided to charge me interest on the amount I paid off (even though I asked for the ‘payoff amount.’) And then it continued to charge me $1.50/month until they decided to charge off the account.
I told the CSR I’d pay the $16.37, and then could they take the charge off off my credit report? And she said no. Once the charge off is on there, it stays. Instead, I have to initiate a “disputed charge” with the bank, and then depending that outcome, the charge off will be removed, or I’ll be responsible for the $16.37 and continue to have the charge off on my credit. So I initiate the dispute.
Then the CSR sends me back to the CSR handling my still-open, but suspended account, to re-instate it. And this conversation does not go well. I’m still reeling from the charge off process and when she starts pressing me for income verification info, etc on a card that I’ve held since the early 1990s, I told her to just cancel it. And I paid it off (yes, I know. Bad move. This is probably going to end up being a vicious circle).
Today, I get a letter from BofA rejecting my dispute. So I called the bank, waited on hold for 42 minutes (while trying to cook dinner so as not to be late for my dr appt), and any modicum of patience I may have had when the CSR came to take my information totally disappeared. I paid the $16.37. Not pleasantly, but I paid it.
And this is what I learned: to remove the charge off from my credit, I now have to initiate a dispute with the 3 credit agencies. Why is the onus on me, when it’s the bank that’s made the mistake? It’s clearly in the documentation that I called to make the payoff, and that I paid it off in full. Anyways, I have to wait at least a month to get the letter from BofA stating that I paid off my debt. The bank is under no obligation to get this letter to me any more quickly than that.
As you can see, I’m still fuming. My tax dollars bailed out this bank, and they still can’t get their act together. I totally get the confusion regarding the mortgage-backed securities–that was a mess and untangling that takes time. I get it. But, when a customer closes out an account, does not get any statements from that time forward and then finds out a 18 months later that there’s been a $16.37 charge-off? Holy freaking cow! Something’s not right. And I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but now part of me thinks that if I had let the 2nd CSR reinstate my 2nd credit card (jumping through those hoops all over again), the dispute would have been validated. But I paid off that card, and they’ve just lost any source of income from me, thus the rejection. Just sayin’ (from atop the grassy knoll).
Oh, and btw, BofA, if I really lacked all integrity and charged things willy-nilly without regard to debt, I wouldn’t have a charge off for $16.37. It’d be more like $16,370. If my credit’s going down, then it’s going down BIG!
And the last arrow? My dr. appointment. This swelling has not been sitting right by me. It’s been 4 weeks, I should be feeling better. Or more better than I do. So I called my doc last week, and tonight, he couldn’t believe how swollen my leg/foot was. And that I still had hot spots of pain. He (and the intern) were all over me, asking “ok, really how much running have you been doing?” When I told him repeatedly that the two bike rides I had this past weekend were the only activity I’ve done in a month, he mentioned something about a hidden broken bone, possibly needing a fully immobilization cast, ordered a CT scan, told me under no circumstances should I do any activity.
I’m looking wicked hard for that silver lining.