That company screwed me….. or did they?
This week’s blog will probably hit a nerve with some of you as its more designed to identify how as the “little guy” who signs a contract for goods or services hardly EVER pays any actual attention to what they are signing and rarely follows through. And if not done correctly you will be seeing it on your credit report and may have to hire a credit expert to help you navigate it as once you are in “the system” it is painstakingly difficult to get out of it.
NOW… we are ALL guilty of this but hopefully you have not been harmed too badly when a “company screwed you over” as I have been told more times than I could count so the phrase “you live, you learn” increases as we get older and more wise to the world.
But there are plenty of times as we move on in life that it does not happen and it is NEVER too late to learn how to not become a financial victim.
In this blog I will be going over PART I of a major life example and the “gotchas” as well as what I have seen typically over the years on the standard things that we all deal with. Hopefully this will help you if you’re currently with or in that situation and get out unscathed.
The really big one that can stop most forward progress in life:
APARTMENT COMPLEX/HOME RENTAL
When you move into a rental home or apartment complex it is explained at the time that for an apartment (we are going to insert example numbers to help you understand) that the rent is normally $1200 a month. BUT if you sign a 12 month lease we will give you a monthly $200 discount making the rent $1,000 per month. The agreement you nodded your head and they will also say:
- You agree to give them 60 days “written notice” prior to moving out.
NOTE: If you don’t keep a copy for your records THEN they can hit you for MORE MONEY YOU OWE THEM and you have no proof to back you up.
- If you break the lease you are charged a “re-letting fee” typically 80% of the rent.
- If you break the lease then that negates the $200 monthly discount and you owe that money to the apartment complex in addition to the rest.
- If you move out in June and the lease ends in January AND they do not re-rent the apartment until September then YOU are responsible for the rent for those two months.
- When you moved in you did a MOVE IN checklist with the apartment reps or manager. When you leave you agree to doing a move out check list to ensure you left things in good condition and it helps as if they try to charge you for things that were already damaged you can point it out.
- If you do not get a receipt showing you returned the keys or the garage controllers then you WILL have them added to the bill.
That is the bulk of how they get you AND you agreed to it, so now the question is since they told you everything when you moved in and you agreed to it as well as signed on the dotted line and when you left (for whatever reason)…..
Did they really screw you over? They could say you left them high and dry and you are the one who screwed them over.
What seems like valid excuses (to you):
- Obvious drug use in complex 9 dirty needles found in parking lot etc…
- Burglary or crime either next door or very close to you.
- Management is not or fixing issue like air conditioning or water, etc.(note: a hole in wall you created is not an emergency)
** now for this one above it can easily be hearsay so you need to prove this by emailing the apartment manager and say if it’s not fixed within a reasonable time ( a/c in summer is an emergency) then you are filing complaint with the city for code violations. (that is trouble for apt complex).
Understand 2 wrongs do not make a right, if you DO NOT document this then you have no leverage.
No leverage means if it goes on your credit it will stay on your credit. Typically apartment complexes like to sue so imagine going to court, showing the judge you gave written notice, you have pictures and you have complaint on living quality and then have it documented that when you left it still was not fixed.
Too many times people do not show up to fight and then they can add everything they want as you are not there to dispute it, thus you lose…..
Like I always impart to all my clients and that even includes the ones who call me and I just give them some free advice is ALWAYS remember….
Documentation is KING! It is not what you say but what you can prove.
Companies have your SS# and report to the credit bureaus and you do not. Think of it as if you went in front of Judge Judy, you tell her you gave them 60 days written notice as required and then she says did you get a copy of it from them acknowledging it by them signing for it?
When you say no she says, watch this…
Mr. Apartment complex manager, did she give you the 60 days written notice?
Answer? No she did not.
Now Judge Judy looks at you and says well what am I supposed to do now? It has become a he said, she said issue which cannot be rectified.
Now it is horrible if an apartment collection goes on your credit report but what makes it worse is if you are sued for the money in court then it will not go away.
You could be buying a $200,000 home and put down 100k and have a 700 credit score, if the judgment was $200 no mortgage bank would loan you money as a judgment can get paid before the 1st lien holder can which banks DO NOT LIKE!
And unless the judgement is removed from public records (NOT YOUR CREDIT REPORT) it will always come back to haunt you.
This ends part I of 3 of this series, ultimately you need to know what you sign. Contracts NEVER favor the consumer when you are signing for goods or services there are too many gotchas in there and majority of consumers just flat out don’t pay attention and basically get screwed.
Want to learn more about how the credit system works? Go buy my book online at here at : Barnes and Noble The Real World of Credit
Or contact me directly for a full blown color copy to truly grasp the real world of credit.
And of course have a question on credit for yourself? Contact me directly at: email@example.com