The little-known moving mistake that can cost you big

Make sure you tie up all your financial loose ends before you change locations.

By Credit.com Jun 30, 2014 11:55AM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyYou’re moving? Be careful. Once you’ve managed to get all your stuff packed up and transported to your new place, unpacked and settled in, you’d better make time to check your credit reports and credit scores because moving can wreck your credit. Seriously.


Why? Because there may be a final bill for some service you canceled making its way to a collection agency. If that collection account hits your credit, your score is going to drop -- and probably by a lot.


Moving boxes © Michael Hitoshi, Getty ImagesIt happened to me, years ago when I moved from Virginia to Florida. I closed my checking account, but the teller failed to tell me I needed to separately close my overdraft line of credit, which carried an annual fee. When that fee went unpaid, my “balance” went to collections.


And we’ve heard plenty of other stories like that on the Credit.com blog. For example:


One reader recently described how she notified her gas company in writing that she was closing her account more than a week before she moved. Six months later she found out the account was still being billed for service the new tenant was receiving. The gas company claimed it never received her letter, and filing a complaint with the utility commission hasn’t resolved the problem.


Another reader, Rachel, is battling a final charge from a cable company for just $33.12 after she moved out of her ex’s place. She said she received a final notice that her balance was zero, but thinking all was OK, she threw it out. The next week she discovered a collection notice was sent to her at her old address, and she’s spent hours trying to straighten it out.


Don’t unpack before you have done this

If you are moving, you must be extra careful to make sure no unexpected or unknown final bills wreck your credit. To do that, take the following steps:

  • First, get organized. Create a list of all the accounts you need to close. Also, set up a folder where you can keep track of your efforts. Better yet, consider starting a file in the cloud using a free service such as Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive. It may be safer than keeping track of paper records, which could get lost when you relocate.
  • Get your confirmation of cancellation in writing. If you close an account over the phone, ask for a confirmation number and record it where you won’t lose it. To be on the safe side, send a written notice of cancellation to your provider with proof of delivery and keep a copy of it (along with your receipt showing when it was mailed) for your records. If you cancel online, save a copy of the confirmation.
  • Check your balances the month you move, the month after you move and six months after you move. If you check your account online, print out or save a copy of the screenshot of your account showing a zero balance.

Don’t assume no news is good news

It’s all too easy for a bill to get lost in the shuffle when you change addresses. (Not to mention that your former roommate or a new tenant might decide it's easy to use your information to get credit.) That means anyone who moves should always monitor their credit carefully. Any unexpected drop in the score could indicate a problem. Consumers can order their free credit reports once a year , and also can monitor their credit scores for free at Creditl.com


More from Credit.com


VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

5Comments
Jul 4, 2014 10:12PM
avatar
Yeah like I am worried about my credit report with this crow "Obama" in office, maybe three or four left in America with good credit maybe not, who cares?
Jul 4, 2014 4:32PM
avatar
What do you get when you mix ignorance and a feeling of superiority over anyone who has a religious thought?  ...... a liberal!
Jul 4, 2014 2:42PM
avatar
what do you get when you mix Holy water with castor oil? a religious movement.
Jul 4, 2014 6:12PM
avatar
Is it wetter underwater when it rains?
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

SMART SPENDING

Can you trust Carfax?

If you're thinking about buying a car and the Carfax report comes back clean, you're good to go, right? Um, maybe not. Here are four other ways you can avoid buying a clunker.