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I received a utility bill which is clearly in error. It claims that a previous payment is "past due", when the bill claiming this is dated before the due date on the supposedly past due payment it refers to.

So, I am wondering, can the fact that the company (erroneously) believes I have a payment past due, damage my credit rating? Do I need to contact them to set the record straight? I just moved to Canada so I'm very interested in building a good credit score as soon as possible*.

EDIT: Thanks for the replies below. When I called to ask about the situation, I got a friendly laugh from the service rep, saying "You have nothing to worry about!" but I would feel better if there was a way to find out exactly when, and what, gets reported in these and related cases. Speaking from experience, what a single rep tells you does not always match up with what actually happens.

*sidefootnote: to a European, the concept of having to get into debt to build a good score can appear a little backwards.

  • *sidefootnote response: If the concept of "getting in debt" is off-putting, just get a basic credit card for use like a charge card. Try not to change your spending habits, charge stuff regularly (like gas or groceries - less temptation to splurge on those), and pay it off each month. Ta-da. – fennec Sep 21 '10 at 15:59
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Generally speaking, if you resolve the issue within a month of the original due date, you're good to go.

  • Good to know. I'd still be interested in somehow checking this in a law or company policy or something, though... – Matt Mizumi Sep 21 '10 at 13:35
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It all depends on what they report to the credit rating companies. If you are concerned, you should call them and speak to them about the situation. It may be an error, or it may be a miscommunication/misunderstanding/confusing bill. Find out the specifics of when they consider a bill past due.

Update:

I understand your reluctance to rely on what one rep (or even manager/supervisor) told you. However, I think they would be reluctant to divulge the details of their policies for fear of being gamed. If you skip out on the bill or you let it lapse until it goes to collection, you can assume that they will report that to a credit rating company.

  • thanks! all they would say was, oh, don't worry about it, you paid it, it's fine... – Matt Mizumi Sep 21 '10 at 13:36
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My experience is that late utility bills are not sent to a credit report unless they are late enough to trigger being sent to collections. Typically, I think you can perpetually be late one month and never see anything on your credit report.

That being said, it is up to the discretion of the reporting company and each company maintains their own rules and policies.

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