Before I got married, all the way back in 2004, my car died. I was engaged and my then fiancé wanted to get a car loan to get a new car. He found what he wanted, had a good job, but got rejected for the finance. At the time I was getting paid cash with no proper pay slips (because hairdressing is often dodgy like that), so I couldn’t get a loan. I rang my parents in tears as I had no way to get to or from work, we were 1.5months off getting married and it was not something we could find the money for. We were under enough stress planning the wedding without having to sort out a car. They ended up giving us a loan.
Next he got rejected for a phone plan, which was weird given he had a higher income than me. At the time, neither of us knew much about finances, so shrugged it off.
In 2005, we started looking into buying a home. At this time we discovered there was an issue with his credit history. Had we got one of the free credit checks available back when he had the car loan issue, we would have seen that there was an unpaid bill of nearly $2,000 from a few years before in a location we didn’t know, so obviously not his.
We went through the process to get it removed from his file, yet after 12 months, things were still not happening. We had sent the letter, the statutory declaration, talked to different people and were getting absolutely nowhere. What I could not believe was that the company was a phone company and they were more than happy to sign him up on a home phone plan despite the $2,000 unpaid bill already!
At this time, a friend of mine was seeing a financial advisor, so we decided to have a meeting with him about our situation, what we could do mortgage wise based on my apprenticeship income and that sort of thing. He said once the statutory declaration was sent, they should have removed it from his file. He put us onto a lawyer friend of his to get it sorted.
One visit to the lawyer, one call made by him, for no charge finally had it cleared. Finally, we were able to buy a house with a mortgage we could afford on just one wage and move on. I had seen so many properties I wanted to buy, even now there are a couple I wish I had been able to purchase, but we were not in a position to do so.
Had we checked our credit history often it would have been a much smoother process instead of over 12 months of stress. We would have been able to have our own home sooner instead of paying rent and now it is something I do regularly. It costs nothing to check, but by not checking it can cost you dearly in not only time and money but lost opportunities because your finances are not in order!