I was told that could get a cell phone through att and pay a 100$ deposite . Then i was told to call back a series of times . Little did i know that each time i called the were re running my credit without my permission and the deposite went ffrom 100 to 500$ . Now they tell me that there is no way to fix thier mistake and it my problem to deal with my credit issues . No reparation was offered at all . What can I do ?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Who is they? And whjat anyone told you doesn't matter? What does the signed paperwork say? You left that out and that contains the entire answer.
I don't know who "they" are. AT&T? Or a dealer of AT&T phones? If you have credit issues, why are you signing up for a cell phone with one of these horrendous big cell phone companies? Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are awful in terms of price, customer (no) service and the benefits you get.
If you have credit issues, the best thing if you just need a phone for usual things (phone calls) is to get a phone at Wal Mart or the grocery store and buy pre-paid phone cards. There is no need for credit checks - when you run out of minutes you just buy another card. And since there is no need for a credit check the phone companies do not make inquiries on your credit report.
Now back to your problem. When you went in to apply for a phone, did you authorize them to pull your credit? If you signed an agreement or applied for phone service through them you had to have authorized this because they had to pull your credit in order to see if they would want you as a customer.
Did you make these attempts to get an AT&T cell phone within a short period of time (say 2-3 weeks)? Its like shopping for a mortgage or a car. Many people shop around and may put in credit applications at several places. My understanding is that these will all not count against you (most people can only buy one house or car at a time) and so these will ding your credit only once. I would think the same might be true of a cell phone.
These "hard" inquiries will stay on your credit report for 2 years. Just like other information, you can dispute it with the credit bureaus. You may be able to make a persuasive case that this should only count as one inquiry if this was done over a short period of time.
To learn more about credit reports and credit scores, try www.myfico.com. They have a score simulator there and you can see what your credit score would be without all these hard inquiries. If it really makes no difference, then I would not spend a lot of time worrying about it especially if you are not going to be applying for credit (car loan, mortgage) any time in the next 2 years.
Of more concern is what you have on your credit that would cause you to require such a large deposit. Do you have late payments? Delinquencies? Charge-offs? Judgments? If so, then you need to focus not on AT&T pulling your credit 5 times but on resolving your debts and turning the charge-offs and delinquencies into positive things. To get your free credit reports, go to www.annualcreditreport.com (you get one free report per year) unless you have some other credit report service. Review your report thoroughly to see what all is on there. If you find errors or mistakes, dispute it in writing. Do not use the online dispute form that comes with the reports. Write a letter to each of the credit bureaus and tell what you are disputing and why. If the information comes back verified, then you write to the furnishers of information (like AT&T) and repeat your dispute. Send the letter via certified mail return receipt requested. See if they will amend.
If they will not and the existence of this is really dragging down your credit score, get a lawyer to see if they can write a letter on your behalf to AT&T. If AT&T will not remove the information and if you really have a FCRA case, then the lawyer can sue AT&T and recover up to $1000 in damages and attorney fees.
And see if you can get a pre-paid phone card so you do not have to deal with cell phone companies and their lousy deals any more. I have ditched the cell phone companies. If enough people do likewise, they will eventually change or go out of business.