The Never-Ending Account

I had an account with a credit card company and was not happy with their services (they were deceptive, to say the least) so I called to close the account and paid off the balance. However, the company refuses to close the account.
– H. Stephen, Via the Internet

There is a right way to cancel a credit card. You’ve done part of the process, but there are a few more things you need to do. Call the customer service department again. Reconfirm that your balance is zero, and then notify them that you are canceling the card.

Then write a letter stating that you want to close the account immediately. Be sure to include the information from your conversation, the account number, and your billing address. Send the letter by certified mail or with a return receipt request. Then, wait 30 to 45 days and get a copy of your credit report to confirm that the balance is zero.

If you haven’t received your credit report in the last year, order a free report from www.annualcreditreport.com. If you have received your report recently, order a copy from www.myfico.com. In general it’s better to leave an account open if you don’t intend to use it because closing it could lower your credit score.
If all else fails, file a complaint. Contact the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and your state’s attorney general’s office.

Mail your consumer empowerment questions to Ask Your Advocate, BLACK ENTERPRISE, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 or send an e-mail to sykest@blackenterprise.com.

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