Excessive debt is never a good thing, and research reveals that the ramifications may be worse than what was previously believed. There are consequences that hurt not just your financial well-being, but your physical and mental health can also be at stake.
Rahul Bahl had just settled in his sofa in front of his TV, preparing to watch his quotidian primetime news. "This should be a wake-up call for all of you", said the news reader. They broadcast news about a woman who had to contact a credit bureau several times to have her report corrected which was muddied with all sorts of incorrect information. She discovered the problem only after she applied to a bank to get a personal loan but it was rejected. It took her close to two years to have it completely resolved and come out clean. In the interim she was left with no option but to apply for a personal loan with low CIBIL score to meet her requirements. "Did you know that one in four reports contain errors", pointed out the news reader.
Rahul was indifferent to the bulletin but little did he know that he would soon be facing a similar situation. The next day Rahul's personal loan application was rejected for his credit score was poor. Startled by it, he recalled last night's news. Immediately he applied for a copy of his credit report with CIBIL. What happened next was beyond expectations.
Rahul discovered that there wasn't an iota of truth in the details in the report. Right from his date of birth to vehicle loans (which did not belong to him) it was all wrong. As per the report Rahul had a gold loan, a personal loan among others which was not true at all. Remarks such as "written off (WO)" and "Suit Filed (Wilful Default)" were aplenty. Rahul was clearly dismayed and trackless on what to do next. "Did he even have an option?" he wondered aloud.
Had an identity thief intruded his life and messed up his score? Is it the fault of the bureau? It is the fault of the lender? How must he resolve the errors? These were a few questions that crossed his mind in an instant, among a million others. No matter whose fault it was, it wasn't surely his.
Rahul soon discovered the reasons to why his report was so blemished were:
His uphill journey had only begun.
The first thing that Rahul did was that he wrote to his banks. He wrote to those banks too who featured on his report without an existent relationship with him. He cited his concerns regarding how misreporting had affected his score and therefore his life.
Simultaneously, he formally lodged CIBIL complaints by raising dispute with the bureau. Typically, a CIBIL dispute resolution process takes 30 days. He couldn’t dispute all the inaccuracies in a single shot. He had to plan and take it one at a time.
For his entire struggle, Rahul had to amass a huge dose of patience. Initially, he did not receive a response from the institutions. But he kept on following up with them, lodging his complaints repeatedly. CIBIL’s procedure was bound by 30 days. Sometimes he would get his response before 30 days but mostly it would ask him to contact the lender. He was simply going to and fro between the lender and the bureau. It was harrowing, tiring and quite irritating.
A few months had passed and there was little progress on his case. He was struggling to have multiple errors removed from his report. The simpler ones such as date of birth, were handled swiftly but others were taking a long time like accounts with "wilful default" remark. Yet, Rahul did not lose hope.
He was now exploring options if he did not get a resolution soon. If a customer is not happy with a bank's resolution, he can escalate the matter to banking ombudsman. If the banking ombudsman fails to provide a satisfactory solution too, then he can go upto RBI. Once RBI too doesn't seem to be of help, then Consumer Courts must be approached.
Rahul had prepared a complete plan on how he would progress on his case further. In his mind, he had given the bureau and the bank a final deadline of 30 days. If nothing would ensue in this period, then he wouldn't take it anymore and simply escalate the matter.
All this while, he had to put-off several plans because he couldn't secure any credit. Bad credit can hinder the flow of funds, which would eventually disrupt ones plans and life and look for loans for bad credit. Luckily, for Rahul, his woes came to an end within his imaginary deadline. His score escalated quite a few points and was certainly above 750+ in a matter of months.
One important thing is that during this period, Rahul ensured that he did not lag in any of his repayments and maintained not only his equanimity but also remained steadily responsible towards his creditors.
The only advice we have for Rahul is that don't just blindly assume that you would have an impeccable score. Vow to self-review your own credit report atleast once every year and make sure important things such as CIBIL report are maintained in spic and span condition.
This should indeed be a wakeup call for one and all. If this isn't then what would be, one wonders?