Author: Harry

Reasking a couple of questions

Maybe no one can provide me the answer to questions I’ve asked in the last couple of months, but I will try one more time:

a) In July I mentioned that my mortgage company called before 8 am to find out where my payment (only a couple of days late) was.  I complained to the FTC but is there any other recourse?

b) What constitutes Proof of Debt when you request it?  I asked for proof of debt and all they sent me was some phony bill that anyone could make up on their computer.

In response to your first question, it’s the FTC and the Better Business Bureau. That’s about it. Maybe your state’s attorney in case they’re abusing other customers as well.

As for the second, here’s a really good response I found online:

Thanks for that. Well then I did all I could for the mortgage company calling early (now I think they’re getting back at me by calling even if I’m a day late).

The link for the other question is great. Now I know how to proceed.

Take care.

The Ramsey method progress

I’ve finished several steps of the Ramsey method (link):

  1. there is a 1000 dollars in an envelope for an emergency.
  2. i have paid all credit cards.
  3. within two months there will be sufficient money in the emergency fund in cash that could support me for 3 to 6 months in an emergency.
  4. i’m single with no dependents, so i don’t have to put away money for children’s education.
  5. i haven’t owned my place since 2001, mainly because in California real estate was not affordable, so renting was the only option.
  6. now i’m living and working outside the country, so buying a house is not an option at the moment.

i’m not sure what steps (4) and (5) would be for me. i have rolled an 401k into a traditional IRA and another one into an annuity. they lost 30% like most people’s 401ks did during the downturn. i’m contributing to another retirement plan. maybe in five years i could be buying a house that could be my eventual retirement place. retirement is probably 15 years away. once i have cleared debt and prepared for an emergency, it’s not clear what to do next other than stay out of debt, keep funding some investments and keep focusing on planning for eventual retirement and stay healthy.

I am now in a position where I am able to start paying back on some serioulsy deliquent accounts. I do not want to get out of paying. They are my respinsibility. What I am concerned aboutis their willingness to work with me. In this economy have you noticed collection agencies more willing or less willing to work with a debtor?

We are financial strapped but not deliquent. I have noticed that cc are less likely to work with me under these connditions. I think alot of it is getting to the right department or the right person. I would suggest you start with the debt with the highest interest rate or the oldest debt. On your credit report a history for example with a credit card that you’ve had for a longer time will help your credit rating more than a newer one.

Question on Bankruptcy

Hi everyone, I wanted to get advice of filing for Bankruptcy in California. Basically if I should do it or not. I’ve been told yes and I’ve been told no. Here’s my story:

On unemployment, (i bring in $358/wk) and work occasionally through a temp agency.
I believe my cc debt is about 21k
Living with family, just have to pay for food, my bills, gas, etc.
Own my car.
I do not have any 401k, IRA or retirement saved
I have $1k in a savings
I have another savings that I move money around in. When I get paid, I pay a bill, give myself $100 for the week, and put the rest in the savings, for when my large bills come in.

I essentially live with family, and two of them don’t want me there, so they try to make my life miserable. If I hold out, I can pay off the debt in two years, but others have advised me to file for bankruptcy so I can move out and take care of my mental health.

I would hold out as long s you could! You may get a better job…then you could get going faster…2 years of hell verse 7 years of bad credit…not sure that is a good trade off…does the bankruptcy effect your status of getting an apt down the road? Just my 2 cents! 🙂 Talk to an attorney. They are the only ones qualified to tell you if you
are eligible to file for bankruptcy. You have to pass a means test. I think you probably would since you are unemployed and have so much cc debt. Most attorneys will give you the first consultation free. So, that would be my advice.

If you’re living with parents and the “two that don’t want you there” are siblings, then perhaps they should move out? You don’t have a lot of income or assets, if you can, check out the Legal Aid centers to find out what would be good for your particular case.

Bankruptcy is not the only option. Keep in mind if you go see an attorney that specializes in bankruptcy. They will steer you toward bankruptcy, because that is what they do.

Educate yourself and consider all options.

  • Can you move in with a friend, partner, other relatives and tough it out for the next two years?
  • Consider the long reaching repercussions of bankruptcy, can affect [ future employment, loan request, credit request, even qualifying for an apartment] paying down debt?

Weigh all options but do not make decisions when mentally stressed. I know this is hard but you will come out stronger and wiser once you make it through this temporary situation.

You can do this, we are all here to support and share ideas.

Negotiating reduced pay off with Discover

I’m one of those lurkers that has learned a lot from the more experienced people on this list. I am looking for your assistance with my brother’s finances which I have taken over.

My brother lost his job on Friday and the prospects of find a new one soon are grim. Right now he and his wife have a Discover card balance of a little over $4,000 at 20% interest. This interest rate was already negotiated down from 28% back in June. Anyway, we are considering telling Discover that my brother is considering bankruptcy and would like to negotiate a payoff of the remaining amount or risk not being paid at all. We are wanting to see if we can pay $2,000 on this account and have them either close the account or let them just write it off and keep the card (which I doubt they will do). The $2,000 is coming from my other brother, but he cannot afford the full amount which is why we thought we could negotiate. The reason we want to pay this off is to reduce their monthly payments and not have to pay the ridiculously high interest rate any longer.

Here’s my question, if we do this, will this affect his or his wife’s credit score? Will it show up as a bad account?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

I got them down to 10% by being ornery and obstinate. I closed the card and didn’t give a hoot about credit ratings. One of their folks told me if I stopped paying them within 90 days they would negotiate. So I stopped paying them! I owed 11000. Its now down to 5500 at 10%. When they tried to hit me with late fees and penalties I hung up as many times as it took to get them to play ball. All that went away. They will only give you a one year deal at a time so you have to keep a calendar of when the deal runs out to renegotiate another year. They are a PREDATORY lending company so be vigilant and strong.

I am mostly a lurker here as well, but would like any further information you can give regarding your settlement. Did they make the offer first? Was it all handled over the phone?

We have an 18k balance with Chase; had to stop paying over 4 months ago and they call multiple times a day, 6 days a week. We stopped answering when they call. This was a business (LLC) cc, and we cannot pay it. I want to write a letter explaining our inability to pay as well as what our circumstances are (husband has MS and cannot perform this physically demanding work; it’s also only a warm weather business). I think it’s time we communicated before they turn it over to a debt collector. The cc is in the business name, but I guess it is also in my husband’s name since his credit is already affected – other cc’s are reducing limits or closing accounts.

Credit Card after Chapter 7

I just recently filed Chapter 7 and was told to start rebuilding my credit by getting one credit card and charging/paying off $100.00. Questions. Is it better to get a secured verses an unsecured card? Also are their any credit cards that convert from unsecured to secured? Finally,any credit card recommendations?

Hubby and I went through bankruptcy about 10 years ago (chapter 7).

My advice is DON’T DO IT AT ALL! It’s way too easy to get sucked into the same cycle all over again. Your credit will repair itself. If you think you absolutely have to have some kind of charge card – do a secured only.

You may want to account your income and your expenses first (just to make sure you can afford to do something like that). I don’t know that it’s necessarily better to get a secured vs. an unsecured card–it really boils down to things like fees and interest rates. Your second question, I think you meant to say “from secured to unsecured,” and I believe that there are (Bank of America may be one).

After I filed, I went without credit cards for about two years. I found that to be a good thing because I needed to get back to spending real money, whereas I had been treating credit cards like “hypothetical future money.” I had to adjust my lifestyle and re-evaluate my priorities because I was spending too much on relatively unimportant stuff. Now I use credit more judiciously, on stuff I need, can afford and would have bought with cash anyway, and pay my balance in full every time.

As far as recommendations, please read the below very carefully.

The following are cards to AVOID – DO NOT TOUCH THEM with a 39 1/2 foot pole:

  • Imagine Gold – issued by First Bank of Delaware
  • Continental Finance – issued by First Bank of Delaware
  • First Premier Bank
  • Centennial Gold – issued by First Premier Bank
  • Salute Visa – issued by Urban Trust Bank
  • Total Visa – issued by Plains Commerce Bank
  • Credit One Bank
  • Aspire Visa
  • Access Visa
  • Applied Card Bank/Cross Country Bank

These are cards that charge fees out the wazoo and have low limits, meaning you never have much available credit to use.

As far as positive recommendations, you may want to check out the forums at and click on Credit Cards.

I wish you all the best where rebuilding your credit is concerned–I field Ch7 myself four years ago.

I have a question regarding a second mortgage

I havea question regarding a second mortgage. I made the AWFUL mistake of taking out a second mortgage to consolidate some bills a while back. Side note NEVER NEVER do this!! Anyway, I had fallen behind on the payment and the company agreed to work with me to get the payments current. The next month, they sold my account to a company called Greentree. This company must be run by monkeys, no offense to monkeys.

The person I deal with is polite and nice but tells me things that he a) doesn’t remember the next time we talk and b) are not correct. This company will NOT work with me to modify the loan, so I have spent the past 6 months SERIOUSLY struggling to make the payments plus a little extra to get my past due paid off. As in, took a second job. They called me earlier this month and told me that due to my payment history, all calls would cease and that I could simply make the payment by the end of every month. Great, right?

So I call to day to report that my payment is on it’s way and should be in by tomorrow and my loan guys gets all stern and tells me that the account has been sent for charge off… What??? When I tell him that the payment is on it’s way, he acts like that makes it ok.

But the bottom line is that I am tired of this game. I am upside down on my house. I owe 106, the house is worth about 102 and the HE loan is for 32. I am scared of losing my house but the research I have done in my state indicates that it is more likely they would not come after the house, but simly charge it off, as they would lose money trying to get my house. If I stopped paying this loan, it would cause the release of a lot of stress. However, I am not wiling to risk my home for this.

Irresponsibility aside (I know it is irresponsible to just let them charge it off) does anyone have any insight to this? Has anyone been in a similar position? I’ve never been in that position, but my first reaction was to call an attorney. They’d be able to give you more information than any of us could.

A few things on which I would like to comment:

  1. a) Never take out a second mortgage to consolidate bills. I did the same thing a long time ago and still regret it.
  2. b) I tried a loan modification on my second mortgage and was told that was nearly impossible.
  3. c) My second mortgage is with Beneficial and I’ve been given the same run-around when I’ve been late. They tell me something and I follow through. The next thing I know they are sending back the checks telling me it is not enough even though that’s what the guy told me what to do. Now, even though it costs a little over five bucks a shot, I send a letter (registered mail) reminding them what they told me.

These second mortgage companies are vultures and some of us have been duped.

BTW, are people getting more collection calls lately? I’m getting these calls for bills that are very, very old and I’ll be sending out letters to tell them to stop calling.

Soc Sec retirement income

I just started receiving Soc Sec retirement income. I have debts which creditors have gone to court and got judgements against me. Twice they attached my bank account even tho I had less than $1000, and the law says I am entitled to have under $1000 in the bank for my use. Now I keep less than $100 in the bank.

They tried to levy my car even tho my car is worth under $1000 and I had to get Legal Services to get them to let go.

Now that I get Soc Sec. I am not putting it in my bank. Even tho the law says they cannot touch Soc. Sec., I think they will anyway, and the $880. is all I am living on.

The problem is I mistakenly signed up to have my Soc Sec. check go into something called Direct Express, which really is a bank. I thought I was applying for more information but somehow I got a letter saying my check is going to be deposited there. Me and my wife even had to apply for cash advance loans online at and I have to admit I changed my opinion regarding payday loan companies. I think sometimes they are quite a good option.

Now I am scared the creditors will find it and take it. I called Soc. Sec. and had things changed so the check comes to me, but that doesn’t take effect until Dec. Meanwhile for Nov I am living in mortal fear that the creditors will take what I’ve got to live on.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

Who to Contact to Settle/Negotiate

I am ready to start my negotiations…

  1. 1. Who do I contact to start the negotiation process…should I start by phone or mail/fax?
  2. 2. If by phone, who is it I need to talk with?
  3. 3. If by mail, what address do I send it to to get it to the right department? I know there’s addresses on the bills, do I use that one, or is there a different one I should be mailing to?
  4. 4. The accounts are about ready to charge off….do I settle with the CC company before charging off? Or wait until it gets to debt collectors??
  5. 5. Is there success in negotiating great settlements AND doing so on a payment plan, over say 3-6 months??
  6. 6. How LOW should I start? 10 cents on the dollar to hopefully agree on 20 cents on the dollar??

I have collected debt with: MBNA, Chase, Sears, Citicard, Discover, Capital One and a Credit Union Card.

I know to get everything in writing, and have reviewed some of the form letters….but shouldn’t I get the settlement in writing on company letterhead??

Thanks for your advice!

Only if u ask

I’m a immigrant worker in US 4 years ago and when I went for a trip to home country after around 3 years of stay in US, had my visa rejected and couldnt come back to US. I recently had my visa issued again and will be coming shortly back.

But…here is my situation, at that time, i had around 20k in debt, and I was paying my credit card & carloan bills perfectly fine till around 2003, but after not being able to enter US couldnt make the payments anymore.

These questions maybe tough to answer…pls try

1. How much would my current amount be to be paid in full?(4 year 4months gap, initial amount 20k)
2. What will be the best option for me (consolidation,settlement…?)
3. Which is the best firm/company/attorney that can assist my case, as you see I also have an extra angle as immigrant and not citizen

I have so many questions and worries, but please try ansering any of above and I will try bothering you all excellent ladies and gentlemen trying to fight back to get your own lives in order. Hope I could win back my own life after such a long period of uncertainity these last 4 years.

I believe you are talking about the same thing as I heard on radio. I have ever asked them to send me a free CD. It turns out the CD is free, but they charge about $10 for S&H, and they required me to pay with a credit card or debit card. Check is not acceptable.
So I believe what you said is right. $10 is not what they want, they want that $3000. But I don’t think their solution will help.

If it’s the one I am thinking of, first they sell you a $3,000 product and get you to take out a HELOC on your home. Then they have you put all of your income into the HELOC and have the HELOC pay your bills. However, you will have to reduce your current budget/spending (something you can do for free) and you have to take additional risk on your home (something you should avoid) and finally, and most importantly, you will be out $3,000! What fun!

Save your money, do something more along the lines of Dave Ramsey or Clark Howard.

Good Luck

Bankruptcy – Going Back to School

I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October of this year. I’ve been living on cash, paying bills on time, and working towards yoga teacher certification as another stream of income. I’m interested in going to 3 year MFA program. I talked to the chair of the department and he stated that there is educational funding, federal student loans, and that a lot of students that work. I will definitely be working. Question: Should I apply this year to start in October or wait until 2016 because I just filed Chapter 7?

I think I should go for it. I’m in the perfect spot right now – no bills to worry about other than your living expenses. If I wait, I may have other debts that delay school. Jump now while I have the chance! I don’t know the rules of bankrupcy, but i don’t see the logic of waiting until 2016 to apply for financial aid for education. bankrupcy takes years to clear. if you’re fortunate to receive financial aid despite it, perhaps you can keep a separate account in which to deposit the funds and not reveal the account information to a creditor. but your question is whether you should wait until 2011 to apply for the MFA program. no, i would not delay education. bettering your skills will help you get on your feet sooner, so don’t delay.

If she’s already been discharged through the bankruptcy, creditors can’t touch any money she has no matter where or what it is. She could win $6 million in the lottery and they couldn’t touch her. I went through Chapter 7 about ten years ago (what she said she had done). Once it’s finalized through the courts, it’s done and over. The creditors can’t do a thing to her.