WSVN — Their credit score was messed up and they say it’s because a credit card company made a mistake. Sounds simple, but fixing it was a nightmare. So they did what you do in South Florida– make a call to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Some people pay about as much attention to their credit scores as they do to the gum wrapper they throw in the garbage, but not Mildred and her husband.

Mildred Rodriguez: "We brought up his score by paying off his credit cards. My score was perfect, we were waiting for his score to go up."

The Rodriguez’s were tweaking their credit scores to get the best rate to refinance their mortgage.

Mildred Rodriguez: "We love our house and we were trying to bring the mortgage a little lower and we had everything ready to go."

They were ready, but not for the phone call Mildred got from the bank.

Mildred Rodriguez: "And he says, ‘I’m sorry, I can no longer refinance you house because you have an R2 in your credit.’"

An R2 is a late payment for a bill. Mildred was stunned.

Mildred Rodriguez: "He told me it was a late payment from Target reported to my credit, which caused my score to go down almost 100 points."

Mildred called the company.

Mildred Rodriguez: "And I started calling Target. ‘Oh yeah, that is happening because you had a balance of $28.96 that you never paid.’ And when I told them, ‘Look I haven’t received anything.’ ‘Yes, we have been sending you bills!’"

Mildred started digging. Two years earlier, she had sent the credit card company a change of address from her old house to a new address. The bills came to the new one for awhile, then stopped.

Mildred Rodriguez: "And I said, ‘You know what, I haven’t received any bills from you guys.’ To me, my account was paid off."

The credit card company said they had been mailing and e-mailing the $28 bill. Since Mildred says she got neither, she drove over to her old address.

Mildred Rodriguez: "So they went to the prior home where I lived before. When I first opened the account and they were sending all the bills there."

Mildred was excited to discover the reason for the problem and called the credit card company to explain their mistake.

Mildred Rodriguez: "The mistake is that you were billing the incorrect address. ‘Oh no ma’am, we never did that.’ ‘No? Then what are the bills I have in my hand?’ ‘Sorry, there is nothing we can do.’"

Mildred paid the old bill, but it didn’t matter. The late payment charge was still on her credit report.

Mildred Rodriguez: "I was frustrated, I was crying because it hurts. It takes years to built your credit! Years."

Well Howard, can a company do this to you.

Howard Finkelstein: "There are two federal laws that control credit reports and they say a billing error, like sending it to the wrong address is the company’s responsibility to correct and they have to notify the credit bureaus, but remember, if you agree to receive a bill by email that is considered the correct address and not a mistake."

We contacted Target and they stood behind their decision to report Mildred to the credit bureau for a late payment. Writing: "Our team has reviewed the records which indicate this guest signed up for online statements in late 2013."

But Mildred is adamant, she did not sign up for online statements and says she never got them.

Then suddenly everything was resolved.

Mildred told us that Target had removed the R2, or late payment charge, from one credit report and Mildred is getting the charge removed from the other two credit reporting agencies. 

Howard Finkelstein: "When it comes to bills, if you don’t get one you normally receive or expect to receive, call and find out what’s going on. It will avoid headaches down the road."

Mildred Rodriguez: "They never admitted it was their fault and they are still saying I signed up for e-statements."

It’s a "he said, she said," but she is happy now.

Mildred Rodriguez: "Thank you guys, thank you Help Me Howard. I’m very grateful for what you guys have done, thank you."

Glad to help. Now Mildred and her husband can refinance their home, exactly what they wanted to do in the first place.

Not getting the credit you think you deserve? Want someone to take charge of the dispute? Contact us. We have interest in your problem. And we are free. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Fair Credit Billing Act:

Fair Credit Reporting Act:

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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