Thanks to all of you who have dropped me get-well e-mails and posted comments on Facebook and on this blog showing your concern. I am pleased that you’re glad I am still among the living, despite how the computers at Capital One and the credit bureaus have been reporting my demise.
Actually, I feel something like Superman, defying the fate of mere mortals. How did the line go on the old TV series? Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound…
My prognosis is as good as can be expected in my corner of the virtual unknown, as the C-One server has now accepted the fact I am alive. That company has so issued e-mails, finally, to the three credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) that rule our lives. The first two of those agencies have acknowledged that by resurrecting my credit files, and I am in hopes the third will do it in time for me to close on a home.
A few of you have actually chimed in with stories similar to mine, wherein computer glitches have erroneously wiped your friends or relatives off the planet, or have confused you with someone else who has the same name but a vastly poorer credit rating, sticking you with his rating.
Misery loves company
Apparently it’s not just me that Capital One is somehow targeting out of spite or, more assuredly, incompetence.
One (hopefully) final snafu did pop up early last week, however, when a very self-satisfied Capital One worker from the Probate Services Department called me to announce that my request had been handled successfully. “That’s great,” I said. “You mean you have notified the credit agencies I’m alive?” I realized I was being unrealistic, however, when she replied, “Oh! Is THAT the problem? I was just calling to tell you that we are sending you new credit cards.”
Do you need credit in the afterlife?
Thousands bite the dust
One writer commented on my post a couple days ago that his brother – and a lot of others like him – had gone through the similar experience of being declared dead prematurely. He wrote, “My brother Barry went through this same scenario, but with his military retirement and the Social Security Administration… Seems that during a ‘computer upgrade’ they ‘killed’ about 85,000 vets! Working through personal contacts, he was able to find what actually happened, but had to do some of the same things you are doing albeit w/o the call center routings. Glad to know you are alive.”
That post came from a friend I haven’t seen in decades, and it made me realize how my premature funeral had reconnected me with long-lost buddies. So I guess I have at least one thing to thank Capital One for.
A soul mate in SFO
I was not surprised to find another situation identical to mine which occurred earlier this year in San Francisco. You can find the full story and a KGO-TV video on http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/02/11/woman-mistakenly-declared-dead-by-credit-reporting-agency/ Here is how writer Mitch Lipka reported this story:
“Anne Howe is not dead, but her credit report said otherwise. So, as far as the bank refinancing the mortgage on her Bothel, Wash., house was concerned, there would be no loan. After all, she was dead. If you’re dead you don’t have a credit score. Without a credit score you don’t have a loan.
‘Never mind that Howe was a regular at the bank, had an active account there and signed a notarized statement that read: “The report of my demise is inaccurate information.’”
A final irony
I do find it ironic that the same new-age communication environment that can bring lost souls together via Facebook and computer dating sites, can also cause our world to become so faceless and nameless where, at the absolute best, you are talking to a powerless first name and I.D. number. And this individual works where? At a corporation’s forgotten and underfunded department carrying the name of the most absurd misnomer ever devised: