Credit Scores in Foreign Countries


I’ve recently received a letter from what looks to be some sort of debt collector here in Denmark. It is for 128 dollars. I haven’t used this phone since November.

Now, here in Denmark it works like this. If you want to go to a new carrier, all you have to do is go to a shop and ask for a new phone. You tell them which was your old company, and they transfer over your new old number AFTER A MONTH. Your old contract is also canceled. Well, I figured that since I’ve already told everyone my new number, there’s absolutely no reason to switch back to my old one, so I didn’t. I told them I didn’t want to transfer over my new number. Fast forward to today, where I have gotten a bill for this amount of money in the mail, which appears to be from a collection agency.

Now, I know this isn’t my fault, and I sure as hell don’t intend to pay if I don’t have to. I want to get mad at my initial carrier, but they never received the cancellation notice. Fair enough, not their fault. But then I called my new carrier, and they say the only thing you can do is to go to the store. and talk to them. I have very little doubt that will happen either.

I definitely realize that this was caused by something that I did, but nobody told me that the cancellation of my old contract was dependent on my having transfered my old number out. I could have canceled the fucking thing myself that exact same day.

The question is this. If I never pay this bill, how likely is it to catch up with me in the future? I don’t plan on coming back to Denmark. They won’t let me take out a loan anyway. From what I’ve read, credit scores are pretty independent with regards to national boundaries. However, does the EU change this somehow? I want to go to Belgium next, and I was wondering if that would be a problem.

Let me see if I have this straight:

If you had switched carriers and transferred your phone number to the new carrier, the old contract would have been automatically canceled. Instead of doing this, you simply bought a new phone from a new carrier and got a new number, in effect never canceling your previous contract. And now they’re hitting you up with a bill, because you never actually canceled the old service.

I’m afraid in this case you made the mistake of not finding out what you were supposed to do. Mistakes sometimes come with a price tag. This one’s not too high, so go ahead and pay it, rather than trying to find a way to get out of it. And remember to follow through the next time you change services of any kind.

In France, “credit scores” don’t even exist at the national level (Another lender/creditor wouldn’t be aware of your current debts, let alone of your credit history), so it’s extremly doubtful that such a thing would exist at the EU level.

I realize that I should have checked up on this, and that it could be an expensive mistake, but I don’t have that kind of money. And I don’t feel morally wrong by not paying. It’s not like I’ve been using their service. It was a 6 dollar monthly fee for 3 months plus 20 dollar late fees.

Firstly I have a hard time feigning sympathy for telecom companies. Maybe it’s just me. They never made it clear that the cancellation of my previous service was dependent on my transferring my new number. Granted I should have figured it out, but given the abuse I’ve taken by the state for being an immigrant here I’m not particularly concerned.

No, there is no credit rating transfer between any countries I know of. I couldn’t transfer my credit rating from the UK to Ireland, Ireland to the US or the US to Ireland, or Ireland to the UK, or Hong Kong to the UK.

For some of the above, it’s probably a good thing that I couldn’t.

Credit reporting agencies in Europe and Asia are similar to the North American agencies in that they are unique to each country. Each country has varying degress of infrastructure and regulations to support the process, but regardless of the infrastructure, your credit history will not follow you outside the country.

If I understand correctly (IANAAccountant or similar, Lilbro is), Spain has a list of “defaulters” for individuals and one for companies. All the bank does when you ask for a loan is check to see if your name pops up and for what (nobody is going to refuse a mortgage because you once paid a bill late; heck, this doesn’t even appear in the list). You’re assumed to be a good risk until proven bad.

You get better rates for things like “getting your direct deposit here,” and of course if you’re having your salary dd’d they don’t request any kind of proof of earnings, since they already have it in their own computers. Some banks will require you to have been in your current job for X time. Mine doesn’t but does consider it a flag: the employee who prepared my mortgage was laughing because he could see that every single one of my frequent job changes involved a higher salary (funny thing is, that was never the reason for the change); “I do noooot think this is going to be a problem in your case, no sir.”