Act 280

Slay one dragon at a time

I might have taken on too much in one day. As I discovered yesterday, my credit score was damaged by a clerical error made at the local branch of the Bank of Montreal. So I printed it, brought in my paper work and closed my account.

It was an uncomfortable situation to say the least. Customer service reps are not trained for this kind of high level frustration with suggestions that I should phone equifax and mastercard to straighten it out. Straighten out their mistake that’s cost me immensely over the last 18 months? I don’t think so. Their fall back position? I needn’t be rude, I only brought this concern to them today and they are trying to help. Trying to help? You’ll forgive me if my confidence is not high. They couldn’t even get my address right, which led to the problem in the first place. If my indignation is set to 11, you’ll have to forgive me. And being firm is not being rude. They should know the difference.

Every dispute with a bank reminds me that bankers are not used to being spoken to harshly. As if their position is above it. And we enable that. But their duty of care towards us as consumers is not being met. Not by a long shot.

In addition to this, I attempted to resolve two other issues related to money. I’m tired. Really tired. I must remind myself to slay one dragon at a time. And least I’ll have the fortitude left at the end of the day to enjoy the accomplishment while still managing to get some real work done. As for today, very little was resolved and the drama continues tomorrow. Best I get a good night’s sleep.

Act 279

Beware the BMO (but you’ll have to check your credit report to figure out why)

So, I’ve had this feeling of late that maybe, just maybe there’s something wrong with my credit report. So first I called Trans Union. No luck. And by no luck, I mean about 8 calls that either got dropped or told me that “all lines are busy now”. Apparently, we are a nation of credit report checkers. Then I phoned Equifax – and a couple hours later got through to an actual person who did what needed to be done so I could see the report, $23 dollars later, the mystery revealed itself.

I’m so glad I followed my instinct. Really glad. And seriously pissed. In June of 2012 I opened an account at BMO in an attempt to move my business from a local institution to national one. One that had branches in more than one province. One that might offer me options that the other wouldn’t.

Anyway, it just so happened they were having an “open an account and get 1,000 airmiles mastercard” promotion. Fine, whatever. I didn’t really want yet more credit. But truth be told, if the damn thing had ever shown up in the mail, I probably would have loaded it up. Thank goodness for small miracles. But it never showed. And the offer disappeared from my online banking info. Phew. Bullet dodged. Or so I thought.

Then, it turns out, the offer didn’t expire. The card was sent. To the WRONG ADDRESS. Are you freaking kidding me? So the $99 fee (which I was never told about) went 30 days, then 60 days, then 90 days overdue. The records show the mail was returned. Is that not a clue? Do they not have phones in Montreal? Seriously. One call would have fixed the whole GD thing.

I had stellar credit. When I bought my current vehicle, less than a month after the 2008 crash, the sales person told us nobody was lending money but with our score, higher than they usually see, it was no problem. In fact, they were just happy to make a sale. Nothing was moving. Now, while it’s true, car sales people will say what they need to say, nothing really was moving. The economy was frozen.

I have worked my whole teenage and adult life. I have paid my all my personal bills on time. I have done more than what I needed to do. This is a serious breach of trust – for what, a clerical error? ┬áSo tomorrow, I will visit the local Salmon Arm branch of the Bank of Montreal and have a conversation with the manager. And if she can’t see me, perhaps I’ll explain it to the teller in as loud a voice as I can muster so everyone else waiting in line (and there’s always a line) will also know the BS that’s afoot.

If my credit score is not restored within 30 days, and they will pay for the next check, I will go as far as holding a bake sale at the community hall to raise money for a legal fight. You might not know this, but the fines for falsely reporting on a credit score are very, very expensive. So I hope my friends like rice crispy squares and apple tarts, because, if that’s what it takes to fix this and to shame these gigantic, abusive financial institutions into realizing that their incompetence can seriously mess with the dreams and obligations of ordinary Canadians, that’s exactly what I am prepared to do.

Enough already. If you agree, get your credit score and give them hell. It’s likely you’ll find something wrong. Do not let their mistakes be your downfall.

Louis the XVIth, King of France, was beheaded for the price of bread. Consider yourself empowered or warned. Whatever the case may be.