OK Credit Guru's (Or cell phone experts) Here's one for You

I have two documents in front of me, the first one is my credit report from December last year. I have one blemish from Verizon Wireless. The other document is a letter from said company dated February 11, 1997, which is a response to my earlier letter complaining of lack of service in my area and the fact that I still had a year’s contract to fulfill.

Cells were relatively new here and another business associate and myself met with the salesman at a local coffee shop where he demonstrated his wares. Suitably impressed, we bought into the hype and signed a years contract for the service. Proud of our new purchases, we added the cell numbers to all our stationary and business cards as well as added it to our yellow page advertising.

Problem is, there are approximately three small areas where there is any reception in this admittedly mountainous area, the best one at that particular coffee shop the salesman demonstrated his equipment.

I don’t believe I ever completed a single call. Even with line of sight to the cell tower, I’d be cut off. I finally added premium service which was voice mail so that I could at least listen to my messages when I got back to the office. The thing was no better than a glorified answering machine and expensive at that.

Finally I flung my phone off the middle of the city bridge, one of the only other reception points, because I got tired of all the other cars honking at me while I parked to make a call.

I wrote Verizon a letter detailing my problems and informed them that I would be canceling my service and telling them where they could find their phone.

Here is in short their response: We are focused on providing service throughout your area, however the cell phone we provided you is incapable of receiving a signal. For another 75.00 we’ll send you a big honkin’ bag phone that may or may not solve your problems.

Short answer to a long story, I didn’t buy a cell phone to drag around a backpack, so I dropped the service and told them to join their old phone in the river.

Five years later my credit report still shows that I owe Verizon 332.00 for the balance of my contract. How do I go about getting it removed?

The first thing you should do is attach a comment to that entry in your credit report explaining why the balance is outstanding. That way, future creditors will at least have some explanation for the blemish. Beyond that, your two alternatives are:

  1. wait another 2 years for it to drop off the report
  2. pay it

For such a small sum, in the long run, it’ll be cheaper to simply pay it. With a nicely worded letter, creditors will sometimes remove the negative mark. By the way, did you get a report with your FICO score? If the rest of your credit history is good, this may not matter very much.