Bad Credit Could Mean You’ll Freeze To Death

My credit score has been a work and progress for the better part of my adult life.  Ever since I decided to take out more than $150,000 in student loans, I've been fighting with the three-digit dragon.  From the pits of a 414 credit score, I now sit somewhere in the 650 – 670 range, depending on which bureau you ask.  Pretty good considering, but it seems not good enough to stay alive during the winter.

My wife and I just moved into our first new home in Connecticut and our credit scores were good enough (her's is about the same) to secure a pretty large mortgage.  Having made the journey from Miami about three weeks ago, I'm still getting settled with all of the new bills, all of the new responsibilities of being a homeowner.  One of which is having to purchase a large amount of oil for the winter months, as oil heats a home up here in the northeast.  Sadly, no one wants to sell me oil, because my credit score is not good enough.

Three times now, I've applied to oil delivery companies and three times I've been denied.  To be honest, I had no idea a credit check was going to take place when I selected the first oil company I wanted to use.  In fact, because I chose a plan to prepay for all of the oil that would be delivered for 12 calendar months, I think it's pretty stupid to run my credit.  I give you money today, you deliver oil a few times a year beginning in November … seems like I would be a perfect customer.

I've placed a few calls to the oil delivery companies that already declined my “application” to see if there's any way we can work around this issue.  800+ gallons of oil at a rate of $3.50 means I'm willing to pay almost $3,000 upfront simply for the ability to heat my home and I can't find a company willing to take the money.  Living in a small town has limited my options for choosing an oil company, so if I don't hear back from anyone, I'm not sure yet how to proceed.  (Only the homeowner(s) can apply, no cosigners)

The moral of the story is two fold really:

  1. First, when it comes to financial responsibility, never procrastinate.  Had this situation been taking place in October when I needed oil, this could have been a real pickle.  As it's pretty hot outside right now, I'm confident I'll figure something out between now and then so that come winter time, we're very comfortable inside.
  2. Second, your credit score is even more important than you know.  I've written a lot of articles on the subject of credit scores but always thought that if I had the cash to pay for goods and services, I wouldn't need a solid score.  Seems as if in some weird way, cash is not as strong as credit so it's important to always know your credit score.
Services like Credit Sesame, Credit Karma and Quizzle allow you to check your credit for free anytime you'd like. I use all three to get a good all-around picture of my credit score and am still a little surprised that 660 wasn't good enough to secure oil for the winter.  With so many mortgages upside down and under water, I would imagine a lot of other homeowners are having trouble getting oil for their homes too this winter, but I'm not dead just yet!


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About Michael Pruser

After spending a ton of money to go to the private University of Miami, Michael now enjoys spending time at home, writing personal finance articles for the world to read. His journey out of debt continues 500 words at a time.


  1. EasyFinancialTips says:

    I can’t believe an oil company willing to give you business has really been that difficult to find. In this economy I don’t think any company should be that picky with customers willing to give them money for services. I can see how costs like this can affect you greatly moving from Miami to Connecticut. Good luck!

  2. SpringCoin says:

    Credit Sesame & Credit Karma are awesome tools, no doubt about it.  But don’t mistake the score that they provide as your actual FICO score. 

  3. AverageJoeMoney says:

    I’m surprised, too. My understanding is that 670 is around the median score in the country. That means that about half of the people out there would be denied. That seems pretty cutthroat on the business’ end.

  4. Money Life and More says:

    I have used Credit Sesame and Credit Karma and liked them both. I’m glad you were thinking ahead because that would be horrible if you actually needed it and no one would deliver. There has to be some sort of local program to get you oil somehow.

  5. OrnellaGrosz says:

    I’ve used CreditKarma in the past. I like them!  Your credit score is very important. It’s kind of like a report card for the financial world 😉