Will a unauthorized credit card appear on my credit?
February 24, 2007 8:37 PM   Subscribe

I recently applied and was pre-approved for a mortgage at Chase. The sales rep asked me if I wanted a credit card and I said no. Then he sent me one anyway.

I have already cancelled the card, but I have a few questions,

1) Will it appear on my credit?
2) What is the best way to file a complaint and get some response? So far, the supervisor is not taking my complaint seriously, saying things to me like "unfortunately, it's a he said, she said situation."

At a minimum, I want my $250 returned, because at this point in time, I'm definitely not getting a mortgage from Chase. I really think it's outrageous that while I'm in the process of applying for a mortgage, a company would do something like this, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I'm guessing from my conversations with the supervisor, that this is a pretty normal practice for Chase.
posted by hazyspring to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Huh. Weird. I got a Chase mortgage earlier this year but I already had a Chase credit card... did you work through a broker or straight through Chase?

FYI - get ready to get all kinds of offers and mail once you buy your residence. Real estate sales are on public record and you're in for a whole new level of spam.

I'd say the best way to get their attention is to pull the plug on your mortgage loan. But it will very likely cost you either the $250 or a lot of time and pain worming your way out.

If you're willing to spend $25 pursuing this, try contracting http://www.consumerhelpweb.com/ I know the proprietor and although I have not used their service I can vouch it's not a scam.
posted by scarabic at 8:52 PM on February 24, 2007

Thanks for the suggestions. I went directly through Chase. When the rep offered me a credit card, I told him no because I already had 2 chase credit cards.
posted by hazyspring at 8:56 PM on February 24, 2007

Usually, when you cancel a credit card it has neutral even positive effect on your credit score. I say this based on the "what if" simulator on the credit monitor I subscribe to. If I delete the cards even with zero balance, it projects my score to increase by a few points.

Getting your $250 returned may take more phone calls to Chase. The supervisor you spoke to should escalate your issue if you pester politely.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 PM on February 24, 2007

he said, she said situation.

Isn't this precisely why these calls are recorded? Ask to have the pulled up.
posted by dobbs at 9:03 PM on February 24, 2007

My general sense of the situation is that if you didn't activate the card, you never agreed to a credit card account and it would not show up on your account. That having been said, that's just my understanding of the situation and not anything official.
posted by WCityMike at 9:17 PM on February 24, 2007

Unfortunately, the call wasn't recorded. They only record some of the calls in this call center. For example, that day, the supervisor told me only one call was recorded.
posted by hazyspring at 4:54 AM on February 25, 2007

Whatever happened to "the customer is always right?"

Seriously, who calls their customer a liar? Especially if all you did was cancel the card as soon as you got it, it's pretty damn offensive that they would take that approach with you.

I'd keep pursuing it up the supervisor chain if you think it's worth it. Google around to find execs if you have to-- I watched my mom handwrite letters to the president of a company that was trying to screw her over and within a few days they were bending over backwards to help her.
posted by atomly at 6:16 AM on February 25, 2007

Usually, when you cancel a credit card it has neutral even positive effect on your credit score.

Unfortunately, that's not always true. If cancelling a card increases your debt-to-available-credit ratio, it can have a negative effect.

Say you have 2 credit cards, one with a $10,000 limit and one with a $5,000 limit. You have $7,000 credit on the first card, with a total limit of $15,000...swell, you've got more than half your credit available. You cancel the $5,000 limit credit card... now you have $7,000 in debt with a total limit of $10,000... now over half your credit is unavailable. Some sites even recommend you don't cancel old credit cards... you just have to look at your specific situation. No, I can't specifically remember what sites I've read this on, but I know a few have mentioned it.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:39 AM on February 25, 2007

IndigoRain is on the right track here. Raising your percent utilization (account balances/total credit limit) by closing an account (and thus losing that available credit while maintaining the same total balance across all cards) can drop your credit score.

An important point not yet mentioned is that when you close an account, it doesn't drop off of your credit report entirely. Rather, it stays on for at least 7 years.

Which brings us to the issue of canceling old credit cards. Average account age positively benefits your credit score: the older your credit history, the better your score, all things being equal. Now when you cancel that new account, you may think you're increasing your credit age, but since the account will stay on your credit report for another seven years, it actually does no such thing. In fact, when that closed account does fall off your credit score after seven years, it may in fact hurt your credit score if it ends up lowering the length of your credit history. The way this would happen is if you open more accounts between now and then, making the seven-year-old account that's about to disappear one of the longer-standing accounts.

hazyspring, the best thing to do in your situation is to continue complaining to Chase and the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). The only way to resolve this matter in your favor would be to get the bureaus to delete the account altogether if that's possible. Note, though, that it may take a month or two before the account shows up, so if you can get the issue resolved with Chase, you may head the whole thing off at the pass.

As for resources, definitely file a complaint with the BBB the first chance you get. They, in turn, will forward the complain over to Chase which might open some doors for you. Also, The Consumerist aboslutely loves these kinds of stories, but it would help if you had a complete and packaged story (details of the events, calls you made, what they said, etc.) when contacting them to make them more likely to pick the issue up. Good luck.
posted by stomicron at 8:06 AM on February 25, 2007

Thanks for all of the responses. Luckily I have no credit card debt, so I don't think my debt ratio will be a problem. I have a credit watch through experian, so I will know as soon as the account gets added on my credit. (If it does, I cancelled the card as soon as I got it, so maybe it will not show up, I'm not sure.)

If it does, then I will send letters to the collection agencies to remove from my credit.

I will definitely file a complaint with the BBB and write up some stuff for the Consumerist. I'm pretty angry that this happened, given the fact that I am buying my first house, and have been doing a lot of research just to make sure I didn't get screwed over. I'll post back on here if I get any results or whether it actually does appear on my credit report or not.
posted by hazyspring at 8:17 AM on February 25, 2007

The Federal Trade Commission also has a very good website about credit, including a form for your complaints.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:08 AM on February 25, 2007

I got my refund. I'm still continuing other avenues to complain though. I ended up escalating it to the Assistant VP. He didn't call me back, but the manager called me back immediately telling me the money would be refunded.

I have since sent him a certified letter, and will be filing a complaint with the BBB. In about a week, it's going to be 30 days, so it will be interesting to see if it shows up on my credit.
posted by hazyspring at 12:00 PM on February 27, 2007

It did end up appearing on my credit report, I am going to fight to have it removed.
posted by hazyspring at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2007

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