Dembele walks confidently into the branch of HSBC whistling away and when greeted by a Customer Service advisor, asked to speak to someone regarding mortgages.
He was confident you see, he has a substantial amount saved, he was in permanent employment with a good employment track record, his address history in the UK stretches back 10yrs, he has banked with HSBC for 9yrs, he was just 28 years old…
Dembele had everything going for him to get this mortgage and finally go back home to Rwanda to marry his childhood sweetheart Talala, bring her to the UK so they could live happily ever after…how sweet!
Well, that dream began to fall apart fast when the Mortgage advisor looked up from his screen after running a quick credit check on Dembele and with a worrisome tone said ‘I’m sorry, but there is a default on your account and this has drastically affected your credit score to the point we will be unable to grant you a mortgage.’
Dembele’s joyful mannerism was gone in a flash! He asked what was wrong and all the mortgage advisor could suggest was for him to register with a credit agency online and see his full credit report himself and hopefully he can get the issue resolved.
So what happened?
When Dembele was leaving a previous rented flat 3yrs ago, there was a £50 charge levied by his broadband provider which he challenged and was told over a phone call by a customer service advisor will be waived. However, this was not waived and series of letters chasing payments were sent to this said address (which Dembele had left at this point) but no response was received by the broadband provider so they had no choice but to put a default on his account and effectively ruined his credit.
Once Dembele realised what caused it, it took him another 6months to sort it out and get it off his credit report. Lots of phone calls. Lots of letters. Lots of stress. Lots of embarrassment. This effectively delayed his mortgage and his wedding and caused poor Talala not to see her heartthrob for another 8months.
Could this have been avoided?
To an extent, yes! If Dembele was signed up to one of the many credit reference agencies, he could have been getting his report regularly or monthly. This way, he would have seen the first flag when his ratings drop. He would have seen that the broadband company has marked him down for being 1mth late payment and he would have chased this up quickly and gotten it resolved there and then before it got to the point of default.
Question for you, do you know your credit rating? Do you check your report regularly? Are you loan-worthy? If not, go to google and type FREE CREDIT REPORT, that is one way to start your journey. If you found this useful, share with others.
Written by Enoch Adeyemi
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