I cheerfully went to one of the mayor shopping centres near home about a week ago. If I remember correctly it was Thursday morning. My intention was to go to the post office and hand over company laptop and phone to our new employee. The issue of having to return a phone particularly bothered me as I was unable to find a petrol station that would sell Optus pre-paid starter kits. I got an idea to rather get a post-paid plan for approx $30 a month that would give me better value than a pre-paid and I would never have to bother with recharging it as you can actually arrange a direct debit to pay you phone bill. I found a couple of booths from mobile providers and what I was looking for was a plan that would give me approx. $100 of call and at leat 1GB of data, for less than $40 a month. Offerings from the big names such as Optus, Telstra and Vodafone were dull and I would have to sign up for an expensive plan to get that 1GB of data and I would also get more than $500 of calls which I don't need at all.
My eyes sparkled when I stumbled across 3 (three) shop. They had a lovely INQ 3G capable phone on offer for measly $29/month. A quick chat with the teenage sales representative there revealed that the phone was included in the cap... what a beauty. Okay, sign me up I said to the sales chick. She asked me a set of standard questions:
- What's your name? Address?
- Employer and employment status?
- Credit cards?
I called the credit reporting agency from the basement carpark and nearly ended in tears. Why can't someone who has always paid her bills on time, has a regular full time job and earns shitloads of money get a simple mobile phone account? This is beyond me but it's the way it is in Australia.
The helpful lady from Veda Advantage said she'll dispatch my comprehensive credit file, basically everything they have on me, right away. And sure enough, when I arrived home an email was waiting for me. With trembling hands I opened the PDF file and entered the password - I expected horrible data to jump into my face, telling me that I am a financial wreck indebted to my eyeballs. I actually thought that someone must have stolen my identity and abused it because I'm the new generation and use internet so much.
The document revealed nothing special... they had the details on me and they were accurate including my residential history. There was info about where I currently lived, that I had a credit card with this and that bank and what the limit was, there's also info about the mortgage enquiry that we made in November, an enquiry from the electricity company and that was about it. No outstanding loans, no defaults and no unpaid bills. I thought having a credit card was building my credit history but as it turns out, that isn't nearly helpful enough because any dickhead these days has one. To have a "good" history you must be quite seriously indebted or at least must have been in the recent past, e.g. have had a proper big loan taken out in your name.
So I rang Three again and asked them to explain exactly why I was rejected... the answer was quite suprising and I reckon is one they have "in stock" for cases when the rating is simply too low - we weren't able to verify your employment. So I gave them my managers phone number, company details and sent them my last four payslips via email. I haven't heard from them since and I lost the will to call them back because people employed at that call centre probably deal with ex-bankrupt people and people who have actually defaulted on their loans on a daily basis, hence they put everyone (myself included) in the same basket - that is, a basket of financially irresponsible or perhaps even fraudulent people and by all means I don't want to have anything to do with such people.
[...to be continued.]