If you are over 18 years of age and live in the United States, there is a 97% chance that you have a FICO score that is higher than mine. I'm in the bottom 3% when it comes to credit ratings.
1) I have a $600 adverse account from Verizon, my former phone provider. When I signed up for my calling plan, I asked if it included Canada and was told that it did...years later I got a bill for $600, my "unlimited domestic plan" included ten hours of calls to Toronto, billed at 99.9 cents per minute. My plan had changed, I was told...I was notified via mail months ago, they said. Didn't I read the notice?
"Cancel these charges", I told a phone company rep, "I never got the notice."
"Yes, you received a letter on (date X). You will need to notify us in writing to dispute the charges."
"Cancel my service then."
"We will need a letter..."
Please remove the long-distance charges indicated or cancel my Verizon services immediately. [Verizon] changed my service without notification and billed me nearly a dollar per minute to call [Canadian phone #]. I am not paying you for these charges.
They cancelled my accounts and started sending me threatening letters.
According to my credit report ,I simply have to wait until December 2013 and it will be cleared.
Curiously, Verizon has stopped sending threats and started trying to sign me up to FIOS service, but the mark is still on my report.
2) I have very large medical bills stemming from three surgeries and an uninsured week spent in Intensive Care back in 2005. The hospital, through a charity program, covered nearly 90% of my bill and the balance is still equal to a year's rent. What I have paid so far barely registers, it merely keeps the wolves at bay.
My credit report indicates that this debt should be removed sometime in 2012. If I keep two jobs and move out of my apartment and into my car I can probably pay it off by 2010.
3) I have never had a credit card. Surgery notwithstanding, I never buy items I cannot afford. Cars and other expensive items are purchased used, with cash, or not at all. To me, this makes perfect financial sense, but it's anathema to lenders. I am being punished for what I consider to be responsible spending habits.
I was told by Transunion that the best way to improve my credit score would be to get a credit card and/or to take out a loan and pay them off in a timely fashion. I was also informed that since my score was very, very low, getting a legitimate card or affordable loan will be virtually impossible.
Great. I hate my current apartment and would love to move somewhere else, but there's the credit check...
On a more upbeat note, I took my Feral Gubbermint Management Test last week and aced it. It will probably be a few weeks or months until I hear about the job, but I feel confident about my score. If I get the job, I can start fixing my debts. I just hope they don't check my credit rating.