A very nice snail mail from a reader

Yesterday I received this letter:

Dear Christine,

I just finished reading some of your articles on-line.  Thank You So Much for pulling the curtain back on this secretive and sometimes shady industry.  I am in the midst of checking on and cleaning up my own credit history and appreciate all you are doing to keep the “little guy” informed.

Best Wishes

It’s been a long time since I received a hand written letter and I hate to have to admit that I have a really tough time hand writing anything.  I can barely read my own writing, just got so used to the keyboard after so many years of doing all my writing on the computer.

I have many websites, have been online since 1994 and often readers find old posts.   Since the reader didn’t write what he was reading I can’t refer to updates.  Please click on the CONTACT link to send me email and it helps if you include the link to the post or page you saw.

I DO respond to all reader mail.

 

How to get FREE credit reports

I just received this email:

I thought consumers were entitled to one free credit report per year. I have had problems getting my credit report from Experian. Their website keeps prompting me to pay from $1.00 to $10.00 for a copy of my report. Although I am NOT asking for my score it continue to prompt me for payment. It appears that you can only get your credit report with the score and payment. There is no option for a free credit report.

You need to go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free annual reports.  Experian SHOULD have a link to the free annual reports at the order page.  Be sure to review all three reports from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.

HOPEFULLY you will get your reports without problems.  If you answer the security questions incorrectly or your reports are blocked for other reasons, you have to call them.

For a lot more info on getting free credit reports and credit scores please check out FREE Credit Reports and Credit Scoring FRAUD and Scams EXPOSED!

Cash-out mortgage with low FICO score due to Comcast collection

Hi!

First off, I would like to say I really like your web page. Now, maybe you can help me with my problem : )

My mom and dad recently got a divorce. My mom was left with almost nothing in the settlement, and is now in need of support from myself. So, here is the scenario….

I currently have 7100 credit card debt, and owe 7500 on a car……that’s literally ALL my debt.

Second: My mom is the owner of a 160k dollar house, paid in full.

So, my goal was to take out a 70k refinance loan to pay off all my debts, and generate some income for my mom. In doing so, at a reasonable fixed interest rate, my payments would be quite easy, because, I gross 3100-3500 a month (depending on how much call I take at the hospital). In addition to that factor, in 4 years, my mom is going to get Social Security of about 700 a month, so, the first 4 years will be fairly easy, and after that, they will be CAKE.

Likewise, the LTV ratio would be less then 50% on the debt. I have also spent countless hours doing some research, and realized I could afford a 3/27 ARM, for 70k, if the rates began at about 5%, and had a balloon cap of 6%. Even at the ballooned rate, I could afford this loan, if the initial rates were higher, I would simply take out less money.

So, everything seemed to be on my side when I went to the bank, I had everything in order, had sufficient income, sufficient collateral etc. As a matter of fact, I got some quotes on the house, for instant cash, that offered to pay around 95k, another factor I thought was on my side, because, the bank could immediately make 25k on the loan, even if I didn’t pay a single penny, within a few days of selling the house to an investo r. So, I walked into the bank with a good feeling inside, but then, that feeling quickly faded.

When they ran my credit check, they found that a Comcast bill had been sent to collections, even though it was Comcast’s mistake (and I have since got them to take the balance off), it docked my FICO score to 633, which of course, to the bank, is ALL that matters. Forget the fact that I can pay the loan easily with my income, and forget the collateral…..that’s ALL the bank cared about.

Consequently, I was pretty much denied on the spot. The core issue is this, if I begin supporting my mom now, I will be permanently stuck in my financial situation, never repairing the credit balance. My mom won’t be able to get a car, we won’t have any income etc. What will end up happening, is we will have to cash out the house at a loss and start over.

My entire intention trying to get this loan, is clearing my debt, rebuilding my credit, and taking care of my mom. I was wondering, do you know any lenders that can help me? Any lenders that perhaps would not be so focused on a FICO score, that is not only inaccurate, but is only a tiny factor in my financial ability (probably even no factor at all). I’m willing to take less money at a higher interest rate, and I certainly would not do this if I couldn’t pay it off. I want to keep the house and build a future. I would appreciate any help you could offer.

PS: Feel free to post this on your blog, but I would appreciate leaving my name out of it.

Let’s start with Comcast:

“… a Comcast bill had been sent to collections, even though it was Comcast’s mistake (and I have since got them to take the balance off), it docked my FICO score to 633, which of course, to the bank, is ALL that matters.”

So the collection has to be removed.  That’s usually rather easy, but you have to submit FACTUAL disputes.   An example:

NCO utility collection after move lowers FICO scores by over 100 points

I can’t give you specific info because it depends on YOUR situation and who reports.

So now that your FICO score is fine, let’s talk about the MORTGAGE:

“I could afford a 3/27 ARM, for 70k, if the rates began at about 5%, and had a balloon cap of 6%.”

Why would you even THINK about an adjustable rate mortgage when fixed rates are so low?

And I sure hope that you’re not considering a “balloon” payment, meaning that the mortgage has to be paid off in a few years.  You probably mean an interest rate cap of 6% over the start rate.  That would make it 11% – an OUTRAGEOUS interest rate when you could have a FIXED rate for 5% or less.

Many lenders have MINIMUM loan amounts of $50k or $80k because they get paid a PERCENTAGE of the loan amount for all “agency” loans (HUD, VA, FNMA, etc.).    If a lender wants to make $4,000 on a $100,000 loan, they’ll charge 4 points.  If the loan amount is $50,000, you’d have to pay 8 points.

I would NOT recommend applying with any bank, but instead find an “honest and competent” mortgage broker.  Brokers work with many lenders and can “shop” your loan.

The problem is that there are very few honest brokers and you essentially have to make sure they do their job and don’t deceive you.

Here is a related blog about lying bankers:

Provident Bank Mortgage Lending Incompetence

The blog name should be “Provident Bank Mortgage bait and switch tactics.”  This weekend I’ll finish our complaint to the FDIC and OTS and it should be posted after my clients mailed it off next week.

The current FNMA rates

These are the WHOLESALE rates and of course banks and brokers add their profits.

Also, I’m assuming that you will become a co-owner of the house and you need to let loan agents know that it will be part of the transaction.

And a word of caution:

“In addition to that factor, in 4 years, my mom is going to get Social Security of about 700 a month, so, the first 4 years will be fairly easy, and after that, they will be CAKE.”

That’s the BEST case scenario.   What if one of you gets sick or has an accident?  A gazillion things could happen.  I’m not trying to be overly negative, but there is simply no reason to pay 10% interest on a mortgage when you don’t have to just because you expect an extra $700 in income.

What you’re trying to do is fine, but you really should go for the best deal on a mortgage.

Additionally, I’m ASSUMING that you’re living in the house (you mentioned no rental expense) and I would certainly consider FINANCING a car for mom and keeping the house free and clear.  With your income and NO rent, you should be able to live well and pay your credit cards off within a few months.

You could also just get a HELOC (home equity line of credit) for emergency expenses.  OR, your mom could get a REVERSE MORTGAGE.

“So, my goal was to take out a 70k refinance loan to pay off all my debts, and generate some income for my mom.”

Getting a mortgage is NOT generating income.

You are generating DEBT.

You gave me lots of info, but there’s a lot more to know about your situation, it’s not your average refi.  You really need to run the numbers and discuss your situation with some brokers.

And remember that every time they run your credit you probably LOWER your FICO scores, so make sure you state IN WRITING that they are NOT authorized to get your credit.  AFTER you got the Comcast collection deleted you should select a broker to work with — if you really want to get a mortgage.

There is a LOT to be said for owning your home free and clear.  After all, few people who lost their homes to the banks planned on it.

I also started a new blog:

How To Get the Best Mortgage Rate

Wish I had more time, there’s so much to post.

Reader fax about BofA refusal to honor terms of reverse mortgage

I don’t normally respond to faxes, but this is the 2nd time they faxed it and I thought I’d take the time to post it here so that people can see why NOT to send faxes and use the CONTACT form instead:

Faxes are HARD TO READ, NOT indexed by search engines and take a lot of my TIME to post.  I actually took the time to run the OCR (didn’t work well, crappy fax) and I redacted the reader’s name and contact info (to avoid getting the demand for removal of their info later.)

So here is the pdf  fax-BofA-reneg-reverse-mortgage-pub or click for a larger pic:

So they’re upset because they were promised something they didn’t get: a $40,000 additional loan. Read more…

FICO scores and foreclosure

My wife and I used your services after a bankruptcy about 9 or 10 years ago. We were very pleased with the outcome. We now have a home in N.C. that we are going to let the bank foreclose on.  We have no choice, what actions can we take to protect our present credit score? Please let me know.

Thank you

I’m sorry you’re losing your home!

If you can’t get a loan modification with PRINCIPAL reduction, I suggest offering the lender a deed in lieu of foreclosure (giving the lender the house). The lender reduces the cost of the foreclosure and it should speed up the process.

You may or may NOT have to move out sooner, that’s negotiable.  There is also the possibility of negotiating the DELETION of the account from the credit reports.

The SOONER the transfer takes place, the sooner your FICO scores will improve.

How big an impact the foreclosure or deed in lieu will have on your FICO scores depends on WHAT ELSE is on your credit report.  If you have only a few and relatively new accounts, you’ll lose many more score points than if you have many old positive accounts.

And of course it’s also very important that the mortgage is reported with a $0 balance.

So many people worked so hard on their credit and finally got a home — only to now lose it again.  I highly recommend pursuing a loan modification with PRINCIPAL reduction to current value if you would like to keep your home.

Wells Fargo charges huge DMV fee when trying to refinance

Dear Christine,

I actually got your name as a moderator for the website “creditcourt”. I tried to register and it said board moderators have not set up any new user groups that can accept new members, then it stated I should contact you.

I am really getting the run around by Wells Fargo and I think I could sue. The problem is, they’re causing me a big problem in the meantime.

In Sept ’09 I financed my car through them to buy out a lease on my Honda. It was a ridiculous interest rate, but being in the process of improving my credit, I took it with the plan to refinance when I could. I’m assuming at the time I signed the paperwork, I paid the DMV registration (reason for stating that to come).

Once refinanced, I received paperwork from where ever, they’re such a huge black hole of an organization. I signed it and returned it, never thinking any more about it.

On June 30, 2010, I was approved for a refinance loan through my credit union at close to half the interest rate. I was given a payoff quote (good until 7/13/10) by WF and I went into sign the loan docs. It was then that it was discovered that the registration I had still listed Honda Leasing as the lien holder, so of course my CU couldn’t proceed until the registration was corrected.

It has take until July 23 for them to correct the registration, and when they sent me a new payoff quote (good until 8/6/10), it increased by $1972.89! Upon close inspection I realized that $1726.44 is DMV fees they had to pay in order to correct the registration (not my responsibility, I paid those once) and the remaining $246 is interest they’re charging me over $8/day. There would have been no interest had I been able to proceed with the loan on June 30th. My payment was due July 12th, an I’m waiting for an added late fee for that. It was a long, arduous process to get put into the voicemail of the car loan supervisor today (July 24, 2010), was assured I would hear from him, and of course I haven’t. I assumed this large banking institution would behave in a reputable way, and now I’m very nervous that they won’t.

What can I do to fight for myself? Who do I contact? Do I write WF? Do I get an attorney, or just pay the different payoff amount then take them to small claims court? This is wrong. The IRS is more scrupulous.

Thank-you for any advise you could provide.

First of all, like all the large banks, Wells Fargo is pure scum.   You might have seen my documentary of how they stole Lynette’s mortgage payments after she made CASH payments at the branch:

2002: Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. and the Buckley Firm conspired to defraud Lynette and her family out of her home

Despite my publications, they only credited the funds for the payments for which she had receipts and there was never an investigation.

Please also see how the Citi Bank executives ADMIT to stealing customer funds and see NOTHING wrong with theft:

California judgment against Citibank for STEALING customer funds

Back to you:

You write very well and you submitted a coherent summary.  That goes a LONG way!

Two questions:

1) Are whether the DMV fees are ACCURATE? It sounds ridiculous to me, I can refinance a MORTGAGE for less.

2) Did WF make a MISTAKE?

If you are correct and you already paid the fee (review the paperwork for the loan) or the fees is bogus, you definitely can sue in small claims.  However, some states require a demand letter prior to accepting a small claims suit and you have to be well prepared and bring all your documentation.

In some states like Arizona they could actually transfer the case from small claims to the civil division where their corporate attorneys can crush you.

It sounds like you COULD refinance despite the fee, so I would go ahead and do so while also disputing the fee in writing with Wells Fargo and demanding complete accounting for the loan and that they refund the DMV fee AND the additional interest and other costs you incur.

Do you have the statement with the DMV fee when you got the loan?  If not, you also have to request it from Wells Fargo.

Mail with delivery confirmation as they will not hesitate to lie about receiving your demand!

If you do have all the paperwork to document the duplicate / fraudulent fee and they don’t resolve the issue, you might even be able to get an attorney to take your case on contingency.

This is the kind of fraud like to see documented here at Liars and Cheats EXPOSED!

As I previously wrote in response to another reader’s problem, it’s also the kind of work I like to do.  Of course my fee SHOULD be paid by Wells Fargo, but I learned many times (including in Lynette’s case) that most people simply cannot take their case to court without an attorney and few attorneys are willing to take on the large  banks.

Please feel free to ask questions here and I’d love to see an update with the outcome of your dispute.

Compass Bank deposited check into WRONG account – refuses to correct its mistake

Reader mail:

I had a check mailed to my bank for deposit. It had my checking
account number typed on it for the depositing account. Someone with
thick fingers blundered it and deposited it to an AT&T account
instead. After multiple phone calls and trips to the local bank, I
still haven’t been able to get Compass Bank to correct the error. They
claim it was intended as a payment to AT&T! This all happened over a
year ago! I’m looking into what I need to do to get resolution on
this, but it’s not looking too good. Can I sue them in small claims
court (the amount was for $700+)? Any suggestions?’

In the future, don’t waste your time and energy on phone calls and trips to the bank, especially if you do NOT record the calls and conversations at the bank.
To prevail in court, you need to prove the following:

  • That Compass received the check.
  • That Compass  Bank did NOT deposit it in your account.
  • That Compass Bank refused to correct the error.

I’m assuming that you have the canceled check from whoever gave it to you and that’s how you know that it was deposited in the AT&T account.    It should show the account number you typed and obviously is made out to you, so the only thing left to prove is that Compass Bank refused to correct their error.

Some courts require that you send a WRITTEN demand prior to filing the lawsuit, so I suggest you do that.

Prepare your FACTUAL SUMMARY of events in chronological order, such as:

[DATE]:  mailed check for $…. made out to [you, your  business name] to Compass Bank for deposit to my account # [number].  My correct account number was typed on the check.

[DATE]:  [describe what happened next, list as many dates and summaries for calls and bank visits as possible]

And of course include your demand for immediate payment of the amount of the check + your damages.

I would request the interest according to the highest rate I’ve been paying.  If I paid 20% interest on credit cards, that’s $140 for one year for a $700 error.   Of course it would also include any bank fees incurred, such as NSF fees or account fees for dropping below the minimum balance for free accounts, etc.  It really depends on your individual situation.

Someone who subsequently had their phone or electric shut off because they didn’t have the money has far greater damages than someone with plenty of cash on hand.

Also, this is the kind of dispute I would ENJOY handling.

I provide dispute resolution services as part of the Flat Fee Debt Settlement.

I fully document my attempts to resolve the issues, I record the phone calls, communicate by fax and provide affidavits for my client if the dispute ends up in court.

I love to help people get their money back.

I’ve been providing these services to clients and they just paid the $300 CreditActivist fee, but I could also work on contingency, meaning that I get paid when you get your check.  I’ll try to create a separate dispute resolution services page this weekend.

In cases of documented wrong doing by corporations, the fee paid to me is part of the damages.  However, most corporations will not pay damages unless you sue.  I once had the Compass Bank attorney send me a $60 check to compensate for a $6 ridiculous fee — AFTER I published the press release: My 5/6/04 Compass Bank Press Release: A $6 Fee Instead Of A Reward For Returning $500

Here is an example of  collection lawyers conspiring with a dental office to DEFRAUD my client:

Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery attorneys Cawthorn and Picard’s Illegal Collection Practices

They sent a partial refund and finally reported the judgment as paid (as required by law), but they did not pay my fee and they still overcharged my client.

She could have filed a complaint with the Bar, the attorney general and/or in state or federal court for numerous claims.

But, she has a job and a life and at least we had partial results and she enjoys the satisfaction that we exposed the crooks and the TRUTH about their deplorable practices are available free of charge to the public.

If these crooked attorneys don’t clean up their act, they will certainly be sued by OTHERS who find our fraud documentary and they can use it in their lawsuits to establish that Cawthorn & Picard defrauded other consumers.  I’ll be happy to provide my sworn testimony to authenticate our documentaries.

So I hope you finally get your money after submitting your written demand (review YOUR small claims rules).

If you decide to sue, be aware that you may actually be required to arbitrate (according to the bank terms), but I would ignore that and sue in small claims anyway.  It is quite likely they would settle after you served them.

And of course you could also publish your own documentary at any of the free blogs sites or at Liars and Cheats EXPOSED.
Also, I’m assuming that this is NOT the BBVA (formerly Compass Bank) I wrote about at BBVA Compass Bank CLOSED my Accounts to RETALIATE for my publications. It was always very confusing that there were two Compass Banks in America.

Obviously, keep in mind that your account might be closed too.

Good luck!  And feel free to post questions here and I hope you’ll update with the outcome.

Single mom with a $4,000 problem, but what exactly happened?

porfavor ellos me isieron creer q me ayudarian y me robaron de mi
cuenta $4,000 .00 dls. y soy mama soltera y ahora me quede con deudas
y no tengo dinero para pagar y me robo la compania y no se q puedo
hacer y de pilon me dieron descanso en el trabajo y no tengo ni para
mantener a mis hijos no se q voy hacer , nescesito hayauda para q esta
compania page lo q no solo me hiso a mi sin o a cuanta mas gente una
mujers desesperada
I don’t speak much Spanish and the online translators aren’t that great, but I get the idea – something about $4,000.
FDRS?

Reader mail: Recommendation for debt consolidation?

Hello, I’ve read through the various blogs about debt consolidation,etc, and I am just thoroughly confused. And not because I have a “low IQ.” At the end of all this, is there an entity you can recommend, or a resource for additional research? I’d like to find a solution (positive), but all I find are scams, lawsuits, and suffering (negative).

If there was a debt settlement / elimination / consolidation company I could recommend, you’d see a BIG ad for it on every page here and I’d make mega bucks from commissions.

Our Google ads are NOT endorsements as almost all credit-related ads are deceptive or outright fraud – PLEASE read our page on advertising.

You probably saw the Federal Debt Relief System fraud documentary and some of the many scams I’ve investigated. I don’t have time to write about EVERY scam I see and my clients have been scammed by all sorts of debt settlement companies.

Not all are total scams like FDRS, some DO settle debts or set up payment plans, but they do so without taking into consideration whether the consumer will be helped AND they are primarily concerned with their profits.

Why spend $10,000 to settle accounts if there is a $20k judgment with a vile outfit like Capital One that demands 80% of the CURRENT inflated balance (or three times the amount of the charge-off due to 28% interest) and you don’t have the extra $16K?

Most people only benefit if they can settle or consolidate ALL accounts.

Why enroll in a payment plan if you still owe almost as much after YEARS of payments as when you started?

See Credit counseling and the effect on your credit for details.

When you sign a contract with a debt consolidation company, the owner of the debt is NOT obligated to honor that contract. You may have legal claims against the debt consolidation company if they lied to you about a creditor accepting payments, but they might just file for bankruptcy or disappear as FDRS did.

Before deciding how to deal with your debt, you need to analyze your accounts, your finances, your credit and your desires and NEEDS.

Of course most people would agree to settle their debts for 10 cents on the dollar with affordable monthly payments and have the creditors delete the accounts from the credit reports. But that’s not going to happen unless you are very shrewd and prepared to fight in court.

If you seriously consider enrolling in ANY program, READ THE CONTRACT.

Read the FDRS damage reports and how most people thought that they really would settle their debts.

I read the FDRS contract and FDRS did NOT claim to settle debts at all.

Their ADVERTISEMENTS and their telephone sales pitch had NOTHING in common with their contract.

According to one FDRS victim, WorldNetDaily sent a PERSONAL letter to subscribers, highly recommending FDRS. It is a sign of the times that the organizations and people who CLAIM to be the “Free Press for a Free People” and “truthers” are either pure scum or incredibly stupid.

I have to mention “Info Warrior” Alex Jones.

He claims to fight corruption, but is so incredibly corrupt himself and sells out his fans to every scammer you can imagine. Alex Jones made some great documentaries — financed with the money made by ads for scammers who defrauded his listeners/readers.

George Noory on Coast to Coast.

Occasionally they have some really good guests, expose corruption and George Noory does a great job creating mainstream awareness of the dangers of GM food and additives and all sorts of interesting research.

Recently I’ve been hearing this commercial for another debt settlement scam, falsely claiming that you have the RIGHT to settle your debts for less than the full balance and insinuating that there is legislation providing you with a debt bailout. I don’t know whether Coast or KSFO (the radio station) airs the commercial, and it doesn’t really matter. The Coast listeners are deceived.

Since even the self proclaimed truthers couldn’t care less that their supporters are defrauded, you obviously can’t expect any diligence at financial or any other websites. They get big bucks for the ads and couldn’t possibly care less about YOU.

Debt settlement, consolidation and “elimination” is a HUGE and EXTREMELY profitable business.

The ad commissions are HUGE. FDRS paid a PERCENTAGE of the amount received from their victims. I checked out their affiliate program and I would have made a killing had I endorsed FDRS.

The criminals get away with bribing the FTC.

The regulators KNOW about these scams, but they rarely investigate and I’m not aware of anyone having been imprisoned. When the FTC actually pursues scammers, they usually sign consent agreements, refund part of the loot and write checks to the FTC for the cost of the investigation.

I’ve seen similar settlements in California for illegal lending practices. Usually, the scammers can CONTINUE to operate their businesses.

To all of you who are looking for HELP with your debt, this may NOT seem helpful.

I know that the reader is looking for “positive” solutions, but they do not exist and I don’t have a magic wand to create solutions.

You’re looking for HELP, not a lecture on how everything sucks. But I can’t recommend anyone because our capitalist system rewards the most ruthless liars and scammers and bankrupts HONEST and hard working people.

The American PEOPLE still SUPPORT the scammers and ADMIRE the wealthy and famous.

Most people  haven’t even figured out yet that it makes no difference which party they vote for — they’re all bought and paid for by the industry.

There won’t be any changes, forget about hope. You’ve been scammed.

Accept reality and evaluate your options.

Stop looking for miracles. If your debts are legitimate, assess you situation.

Do you qualify to discharge your debts through bankruptcy?

Many of my clients did NOT know that they qualified to discharge their debts. Most people CAN own a house, car, furniture and have retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s and discharge unsecured debts without losing any of their assets — rules depend on STATE law.

That doesn’t mean that you HAVE to file for bankruptcy, but it puts you in an excellent negotiating position. Contact all creditors and advise that you are considering filing for Ch. 7 bankruptcy, but that you would be able to settle (possibly borrow some money) if all creditors agree to whatever you can afford.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t — it depends on the creditors.

AmEx has killed deals and chosen to be discharged and get nothing instead of accepting the settlement offer. But that might have changed too as bankruptcies are increasing.

If you are judgment-proof, you don’t have to do anything.

If your wages can’t be garnished and you don’t want to buy, sell or refinance real estate, invest in a new unlisted phone number, don’t keep any money in the bank under YOUR name and you can let the creditors do whatever they want.

That’s also a good option for FIGHTERS — people willing to pursue collectors for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and other consumer protection laws. I filed my share of lawsuits and got some settlements, but it is hard to make minimum wage unless you’re in a very debtor friendly court.

Do NOT take the advice provided at the free credit forums.

Some of my clients ended up in deep doodoo after sending out moronic disputes and cease and desist letters. Much of the free advice is provided by people who may mean well, but simply are not competent to give credit, collections and legal advice.

Few people understand how creditors and collectors decide what to do after receiving disputes and that they continually change their procedures. What worked for one person might not work for you.

I’ve been meaning to post about an excellent recent court ruling against collection attorneys. The plaintiff had sent the “cease and desist” demand to the original creditor. Since they could no longer contact him, they SUED him.

After 10 years of litigation AND settling the account with the original creditor, the consumer finally received an award of $1,000 from the collection attorneys.

Incredibly, the collection attorneys may have to pay $200,000 for the consumer’s attorneys’  fees AND of course they had their own litigation expenses.  According to the court filings, the collection lawyers REFUSED all attempts to settle this case.

NOBODY can predict what creditors / collectors will do.

Their strategies continually change and it’s a bit like playing chess. You can anticipate the opponents’ moves, but you can’t predict them with certainty.

The LAW is irrelevant UNLESS you are willing to sue.

And that goes both ways. Creditors have to sue you and prevail in court before they can garnish your wages or clean out your bank account. If you document collection and credit reporting violations, you can submit counter claims if they sue you even if you don’t want to file a lawsuit yourself.

Life is NOT simple.

If all this sounds too complicated and you decide to enroll in some debt consolidation program because it’s easier to write a check every month, at least read the contract and make sure you UNDERSTAND it BEFORE you sign. And accept that your credit will be destroyed and that you might get scammed.

I’ll be glad to have a look at debt settlement contracts and give you my opinion. Request that they email the contract to you (most companies will gladly do so) and you can forward it to me for review.

Moronic Focus Receivables dispute faxed to me

I have received several notices from bankruptcy courts regarding infamous collector Focus Receivables accounts.  I’ve been returning them to sender and once I even emailed the consumer’s attorney, but of course he didn’t even bother to respond.

So I’m GUESSING that some moron substituted MY address and fax number for Focus Receivables on the web and people simply copy what they find at the free credit repair sites.  Today I received this faxed dispute addressed to Focus Receivables:  5-21-10-Focus-dispute-pub

Do NOT use CREDITOR and COLLECTOR contact information posted on websites not maintained by the creditor or collector without VERIFYING that it is accurate!

Unfortunately, people also copy the MORONIC sample disputes posted on those same free credit repair sites.   I see them all the time, many of my clients sent these letters and people with NO knowledge about credit and collections are so impressed with those horrible form letters.

  • Collectors do NOT have to provide any agreement evidencing their authority to collect the debt.
  • Collectors do NOT have to provide signed applications to validate debts.  Most debts are NOT incurred after signing an application!

What a collector SHOULD supply depends on the account.  If it’s a phone bill, they should provide statements.   Use COMMON SENSE, not what some moron posted at a free credit repair website.

Do NOT  tell a collector what to provide in the initial dispute.  You’re not their lawyer and it’s really NOT a good idea to pretend to be a lawyer — especially when you OBVIOUSLY have no legal skills.

When you send these MORONIC FORM LETTERS you identify yourself as really clueless.

So send your brief FACTUAL dispute and if you don’t have one, simply advise that you are disputing the account and request deletion from the credit reports (if they report.)

Don’t lecture collectors or ANYONE about the law when you know nothing about it.

And of course don’t send your disputes to me unless you are a client 🙂

I sent a fax requesting info about the source of my fax number to the sender and I hope to be able to get my contact info removed wherever it is incorrectly posted for Focus Receivables.