“Recently all the cellular phone companies – Rogers and Bell – have been reporting their accounts on Equifax and in my opinion these aren’t revolving accounts that should be reported to the credit bureau,” John Panagakos of Dominion Lending Centres
Home Financial told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “So you have a dispute with Rogers, something happens you can’t pay it or you’re in dispute – boom – they go on the credit bureau, you get (a negative report) and it affects your total credit rating … I don’t know why they have the right to do this.”
Cellular companies have been reporting non-payments to Equifax since this summer and it is becoming just another roadblock in an increasingly frustrating environment of ever-tightening lending guidelines. And it can be the difference in a client attaining a mortgage or not.
“In some cases someone could have perfect credit and because they got into a big dispute with Rogers or Telus or, in some cases, Bell – they’re sometimes ruthless,” Panagakos said. “(The client) may oppose a bill, not pay it and get (reported).”
Panagakos, who says he doesn’t like it from a consumer protection standpoint, has started advising clients on the importance of dealing with disputes in a manner that will not negatively affect credit.
“I tell my clients if they have a dispute with a phone bill, you pay it under protest and then you write to them, you write to the ombudsman, you go to consumer protection agencies, the CRTC, you file a complaint; you do everything to protect yourself,” Panagakos explains. “Even with your credit cards: You pay it and then you fight it because they can report you.”
One broker is frustrated by negative Equifax reports that he believes aren’t a true indication of clients’ credit health.