CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A bounced check branded her a criminal, so Ella Smith figured she needed help quickly. She called 12 on Your Side and got her name cleared.
The 'Virginia Credit Union' admits it made a mistake with her money, and then another mix-up after that. Both parties agreed to close the account. But even the dormant account caused distress.
"They're treating me like I'm a crook and I'm not a crook," said Ella Smith.
The bold print scared Ella Smith. Chesterfield's Commonwealth's Attorney warning her to take care of a bounced check to Sam's Club or a criminal conviction may result. The $35 returned check now, $205 plus the bad check is on her credit report.
"Plus they want me to go to fraud school," she said. "This is Virginia Credit Union's fault for not processing this check."
The Virginia Credit Union told me it regrets any distress but says the check came through after Ella's account was closed and they advised her in October to pay the retailer. Ella says she tried and blames earlier mistakes. The credit union put her money in the wrong account. It corrected that and then...
"I needed new checks. They sent them to the wrong address," said Ella.
That's when the account was closed. Ella says two checks went to the dormant account. She wants to know why the credit union paid nTelos but not Sam's Club.
"They assured me they would watch for any checks that might come through," she said. "They assured me through the overdraft protection too that they would protect the account."
Virginia Credit Union says Ella only told them about one outstanding check. They say the Sam's Club check was converted to electronic payment by the merchant and was processed differently. After talks with us the Virginia Credit Union covered the check, cleared Ella's name with the commonwealth's attorney, and is working to get the bad check removed from her credit report.
"It would not have been accomplished if Channel 12 had not helped me out. This was my last resort," Ella said.
Make it a point to review your credit report. You're entitled to one free copy a year, from each bureau - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. If you see a mistake, write the credit bureaus and tell them you want it removed. They have 30 days to validate the debt.
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