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My FICO score dropped 100 points after my incompetent utility company posted false late payments. It had been 780 prior to the late payments.

I have a legitimate case but they are so bureaucratic and slow, my repeated calling and writing if proving futile. What is the best third party service or agency to go through to coerce them to remove the late payments from my credit repoort?

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    Did you dispute the late payment via the credit reporting agency? – Timo Geusch Feb 18 '11 at 3:57
  • Did you contact your local gov't agency that has sway with the utility? A FUH, HUD or Utility District is what they are commonly called. – MrChrister Feb 18 '11 at 4:52
  • Chirag's Comment From the other site in case people are wondering. "People's Gas has been incompetent with my billing. They completely cancelled my automatic payments because I went paperless. Then they filed 2 late payments on my credit report without e-mail notice (after having gone paperless). I was completely unaware that the automatic payments had stopped." – stoj Feb 18 '11 at 11:53
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State governments generally regulate public utilities, although some states have a very laissez faire approach to regulation.

You should start by sending a certified letter to the utility that states:

  • Your problem. (You incorrectly noted payments as late)
  • Your desired solution. (You want late payment reports removed from your credit record)
  • A list of the evidence that you have to support your case.
  • A rough log of the number of times you called. Dates are helpful.
  • Note that you intend to follow up with the appropriate authorities.

If you hear nothing in 2-3 weeks, you escalate to the State government. File complaints with your state Attorney General, Consumer Affairs agency and Public Service Commission (that what's it's called in New York, your state will probably vary). Once you get acknowledgements from the regulators, call your local state legislative offices. Legislative staff can often help with these things as well.

It's a lot of work, but if you have a case and follow through you will be successful.

The credit report protest approach can work to, but you are basically sending a request into a black hole. If the utility is truly incompetent, you'll also run into issues where they re-submit negative credit records after the reporting agency removes them.

Note: The paper letter is absolutely essential to getting results.

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    duffbeer703, per your suggestion, I got in touch with the Illinois Commerce Commission a year ago. Nagged them for almost a year and they finally removed the negative entries. Thanks! – Chirag Patel Oct 30 '11 at 18:35
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Dispute the item on your credit report with whichever of the three major credit agencies are reporting it. This will start a process wherein the utility company will be forced to provide documentation that you did indeed make late payments. If they don't the item will be removed by the credit agency.

There are three possible outcomes:

1) The utility company doesn't want to hassle with the paperwork and will not respond to the inquiry and it will be removed from your credit report.

2) The utility company won't have the documentation and it will be removed from your credit report.

3) The utility company will provide whatever documentation they have (even if it is erroneous) and the credit agencies will take that as proof and leave it on your report. If YOU have any documentation that you paid on time, you might offer it to the credit agency and hope it is more convincing than their documentation. This outcome could go either way.

  • This is the correct answer - you dispute with the credit reporting agency, not the utility. – ssaltman Mar 18 '14 at 1:29
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Sorry to hear that, man.

I don't really know what your recourse is, though. The way they see it is that you provided service, and you didn't pay. (Would you disagree with this? Based on what I've read here and on the other site, I wouldn't disagree.) Incompetence and computer glitches aside, you're still responsible for paying your bill in a timely manner.

Our power company last year screwed up a transfer of an account to our renter pretty badly. I kept getting bills for the property even though our tenants (who are model tenants in every sense of the word) stayed on top of this. I paid the bills, but the power company refused to "roll back" the account to what it was so they could pay. The bottom line (literally) was that they had the money, and they weren't about to trade having money for not having money.

(What ended up being the problem was that they got the address of the property wrong. How they did this, I haven't a clue.)

It's unfortunate that things work this way, that we have to babysit our financial obligations. Things should "just work" but they sometimes don't, and the high-priced legal team almost always is on the other side, and they've written up the customer agreements so that they are largely absolved of liability for things like this.

This isn't comforting, sorry, but the pragmatic lesson is to make sure your ducks are still in a row whenever something substantive happens about the way you pay your bills.

In fact, I need to check with my mortgage company, because I think I just went paperless. :)

  • If AcmeCo has an agreement to automatically collect from Bob Smith's account any money Mr. Smith owes him, then until such time as Mr. Smith is notified that AcmeCo will no longer do so, I don't think AcmeCo would have any right to hold Mr. Smith responsible for ensuring that it pays itself in timely fashion. If Bob had an agreement with FizzCo to pay AcmeCo, then AcmeCo could hold Joe responsible for FizzCo's failures, but if the agreement is with AcmeCo or a subsidiary, I don't see how AcmeCo could hold Joe responsible for its own failures. – supercat Jan 30 '15 at 18:25

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protected by Chris W. Rea Jan 5 '17 at 4:51

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