Mortgages and dodgy debt

Oct 18, 2010 by glennji

Times flies when you’re busy doing other things. It doesn’t feel like it’s been a busy month, but when I look back at what we’ve been up to I realise it sort of has been.

The first bit of news is good: I’ve started work, even had my first invoice paid. It is with the same company I was working for in London, which is nice (great bunch of people) and I’m working mostly from home. Or, rather, I would be working from home if I actually had a home — instead, I’m working from Mum’s home. (I never really lived here for very long, so although it feels like “family”, it doesn’t feel like “home” so much — I’m also working from Dee’s mum’s place in north Victoria.) So Dee and I would really like our own place, of course, just to settle down a little and set up things the way we want.

Which is of course the next bit of news, also good: Commonwealth bank have agreed in principle to give us pre-approval for a mortgage loan. That’s right, pre-pre-approval: dependent upon my proving that I’m working again (contract plus paid invoice does that) and Dee’s proving that the credit-default note on her credit file is bogus.

A funny one, that: seven years ago she cancelled a credit card with the National Australia Bank (NAB). A month later they’d charged another $6, but for some reason didn’t send us any notification of it — when she rang last week they had an incorrect address, but come on, it was seven years ago. Anyway, they didn’t contact us for two years about this supposed $6 (and growing) debt, and then we left the country. Five years later we return to find that $6 incorrectly charged (she’d cancelled the card) had grown to over $100, then been sold to a debt-collection agency … and they want over $1500 for it!

Which of course we have no intention of paying, for reasons you can probably imagine: the original “debt” was incorrectly charged, then the NAB had two years in which to contact us (and we had mail redirection when ever we moved, of course). To ignore it for two years and then sell it to a collection agency? That sound legal to you? Ethical?

At any rate, an outstanding debt that has gone for seven years without acknowledgement of culpability (on our part) must be removed from the credit file, apparently — it’s too old. So she has ignored the debt collectors and gone straight to the privacy people; they have something like 28 days to take action, and we’re both pretty confident the action will be to clear the default flag without prejudice. $6! Seven years! Sheesh.

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