No. of Recommendations: 3
Kim, you are absolutely correct in asserting that you cannot be late in 6/98 for an account that was closed in 3/98. Let me elaborate that just a bit. Please note that there are two kinds of "account closed"...

1) The first type of "account closed" is a reduction of ones line of credit to zero and a cancellation of additional account maintenance charges (monthly or annual fees) other than late fees and interest on the remaining balance. In this case, you have simply called the credit card company and stated that you no longer wish to use the card and intend on paying off the remaining balance. The credit card company does not report the account as CLOSED to the credit reporting agencies until your balance is zero.

2) The second type of "account closed" is a reduction of ones line of credit to zero and a cancellation of additional account maintenance charges (monthly or annual fees) WITH NO OUTSTANDING BALANCE OWED. In this case, you have paid the remaining balance and interest in full and then closed the account. The creditor then reports the account as CLOSED to the credit reporting agencies, and your business association with the creditor has been terminated.

It sounds like yours was the second type of closing -- an actual closing -- where you paid off you balance and told them to take a hike. In either case they have no right to assert another yearly fee, of course, but since yours was the second type of account closing, your credit reports reflect that, and that's all the proof you need -- i.e., there is a self-evident error on those reports when a late payment is alleged three months after the account was fully closed out.

I certainly would recommend that you pursue this vigorously with both the creditor and the CRA. Track 1, creditor:Bear in mind that Cross Country Bank has a poor customer service record, so this may take a bit of work on your part. I certainly would begin with a nice letter. Then I would move to a "nutcase" sequence (referenced on this board and elsewhere previously). Finally I would send an "intent to sue" notice -- if you would like a good example of that, I would be happy to post one. Track 2, CRA: Credit reporting agencies tend to believe just about anything creditors report, even when that report makes no logical sense, as you probably know. On the other hand, a few things work in your favor here. First, the account is definitely "old and cold." Not only would you find it difficult to locate these records now, but so would Cross Country Bank by this point. CCB will probably not invest the time and effort to pull your archival data if you initiate a tradeline dispute. If, for example, Equifax comes back and reports that CCB did in fact verify the tradeline, then you follow up and request DETAILS regarding that verification, including the name and contact information for a human being at CCB who provided that verification. This demand is a lawful and reasonable one in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Finally, if the credit bureau doesn't play ball repeatedly, you need to fax an intent to sue to them (and I would go down to my small claims court and get the forms, fill them out but don't file, and include copies of those papers with your intent to sue document you send the CRA). If you need the fax numbers for the receptive departments and legal counsels at the CRAs, I would be happy to provide that as well.

I hope at least something here is helpful, whether the factual data or the tone of the approach, etc. :)

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