FICO score questions
10-24-2012 02:14 PM
Hello, I've been lurking on these boards for over a year now. This is my first post. My situation is a bit complicated. I would appreciate advice from the various credit experts posting here. I should have an exceptionally high credit score. I carry very little debt relative to my income, the average age of my accounts is 10+ years and I have not been late with a payment in the 2000s.
In spite of this, my current FICO score bounces around between 690 and 705. I even know the reason for the discrepancy. Bank of America made an error on a payment of mine 78 months ago. I know this because whenever I pull up my Equifax subscription, I see one of two states. The first is right after a reporting cycle when the error has been re-added. This causes my score to drop. I question the validity of the payment, someone at EQ realizes that 81 month cycle is about to drop it anyway, they pull it, my EQ and FICO scores go up and then the same thing happens again the next billing cycle. This has been an ongoing concern for 10 months now since I requested a letter of documentation on the subject from BOA. I cannot get anyone at EQ to address this concern despite monthly disputes of my account. This is an annoying issue yet it is one I grudgingly accept since it should go away soon anyway.
My real problem is quite personal. Three years ago, I experienced a miscarriage and I discovered during an ultrasound. While still grieving over the unexpected news, my male doctor pressured me to perform a surgical procedure the following day. I had very little ability at the time to consider the ramifications of this and simply agreed to the medical advice given. What the doctor failed to mention is that the procedure would not be fully covered by my medical plan. In addition, he damaged my hip during surgery. Suffice to say that I was hurt and angry when a $2,500 bill arrived in the mail. The doctor's nurse and I argued, my insurance company and the hospital argued and the end result is that everyone agreed to hate one another. I told the doctor that I would not pay $2,500 and that he was lucky I would not sue for malpractice.
We reached an impasse as my insurance company told me they had paid what the procedure would cost while the hospital and the doctor continued to bill me. I eventually told him that I would be glad to argue the case in front of a judge. The doctor did just this, suing me and filing a debt collection. I was open with the debt collector about the situation and told them that we would pay if the judge told us we were at fault. Our attorney assured us that we were legally in the right but a fair-minded judge ruled against us. When we went to pay, the opposing attorney felt horrible regarding our testimony and dropped the cost to $1,800. We paid that morning, just as we had promised we would if we lost the case. The issue was never about the money. It was about the monstrous act that the doctor would misguide and later injure me in the moments when I was grieving over a lost pregnancy.
The above is a detailed evaluation of my situation and I apologize for its depressing nature. Here is my problem with credit scores. Not only am I being punished on my credit report for this but it is happening twice. On my EQ score right now, I have a 16 month old satisfied judgment listed on my account. While I have no idea whether this is a negative or not, the notation also specifically states that I paid *less* than the judgment. This is solely because the hospital's representative agreed with me, at least to an extent.
In addition, I am listed as having a paid collection for the same instance. In reading FICO score details, the argument is that a collection, even when paid, reflects a credit recipient's nature. So, I have a judgment and (initally) unpaid collection damaging my credit over a medical issue involving a miscarriage. I have been disputing the matter with EQ for some time and even paid Lexington Law to try to correct the matter as well. Nothing has worked.
I understand in hindsight that I had more options before I paid. My attorney, a friend, was so confident in the legal process that we never even considered it a serious concern. When the judge ruled, he immediately began apologizing profusely and I only now understand how problematic losing that judgment was to my credit score.
Can anyone here offer suggestions on how to improve my FICO score by addressing these issues?