Credit Associates, “Step in it” AGAIN! (Pt 1)

*As always, let me point out I write these blogs for informational purposes based on my own opinions, my 15+ years of experience in the industry helping people navigate the sometimes “complex” world of credit and finance and no two credit issues are the same so I always recommend calling me for more specific information and direction for the best course of action for you and your family, not some company.*

That being said, I do (if you have read previous posts) prefer to write these posts as if we are simply two friends enjoying a cup of coffee, and I keep the talk straight, there’s enough companies out there hoping to sell you all  the “secrets the credit companies don’t want you to know” (see previous post regarding this little gem of a lie) to “help” you with all your credit and debt problems… (insert eye roll) So let’s just avoid all that and keep it real & direct. And on that note, let me share something that recently happened and I have been just itching to get to!

Now, this post is actually a little different than previous Credit Associates posts, because this time I was dealing with someone (let’s call him ‘Mike’) that had not only spoken to a CA representative, but had a detailed lengthy conversation with them he even received a CONTRACT for me to review!!! Now, how did he go from receiving a contract from them to talking to me you ask… EASY! Just while simply READING the contract he spotted more than a few rather major lies that certainly did not add up to what the representative on the phone had told him- which after all was all in hopes of getting him to “sign up”.

-Now we all know ANY time you call a company looking for help in some capacity or to sign up for some service you are talking to a salesperson. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves (Associate, Rep, Agent etc) they are a *trained* Salesperson that has quotas and incentives to meet! This is simply the world we live in, and sales and clients make the world go around (as well as their profit margin).

As I said, “Mike” had a feeling things just weren’t quite right, did a little research and came across me and previous posts and knew giving me a quick call would likely confirm any suspicions he may have had. During our first quick convo I asked if he would send me the contract to look over, assuring him I would not post it or any personal details, and Wow! It was like a gold mine!

For this post (Part 1) I am going to simply give an overview of the Credit Associates ‘Agreement’, and point out the little “gotchas” that an average person who hasn’t been in the industry over 15 years would likely not understand (they do that for a reason) or would just skim over thinking it was “normal”. *Again, read my disclaimer at top of post that these are my opinions*  to avoid any legal hawks swooping down at me!

  Unfortunately, but fortunately for companies like this, consumers call them when they’re in distress, and when you are emotionally drained you are more susceptible & compromised to believe when anyone tells you they can help just sign up and let’s get started. After all, we just want to be DONE with it. And Salespeople absolutely know this!

>Now, agreement in hand, the first thing I see in their Client Enrollment kit states the following, “the key points discussed in our initial Consultation are summarized here as well as incorporated into the attached agreement.”

*The one thing that I’ve always said I personally hate about this company is the direct lies that they tell customers. The customers are told on the phone that “in order for us to get settlement offers for you when you’re”current” on your account is you have to stop making your payments. (We’ll go into this in more detail later but it’s super important) and in the contract itself it explicitly states that you the person signing the agreement has been told that they didn’t tell you to do that.  Now there’s really no other way to spin this one it’s  A DIRECT LIE.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s many customers that contact Credit Associates, Freedom Debt Relief or National Debt Relief (probably the 3 biggest) and the customer is already behind on payments, and it’s because of this that it makes the whole settlement process easier to begin. 

>Now, a question I get a lot about this company and others like Credit Associates is: “ is this company a scam?” Well, I always ask them, to define for me what their definition of a scam is… because, at the end of the day,  Credit Associates, National Debt Relief, Freedom Debt Relief, to name a few, are legally registered companies, they have employees, they pay business taxes so they are legitimate operating companies. *People then see all the fine print in contracts and think, “that’s a scam” But I point out to them, “Well have you ever looked at a cell phone contract? Everyone knows fine print is necessary but never works to your benefit you just need to make sure that certain sections in the contracts don’t take away what the salesperson told you to get you to sign up.”

And that’s where I am always seeing problems with this company! I know that approximately a year or more ago in Credit Associates commercials (both TV and radio) used to say, “If you have more than $5,000 there’s a secret the credit card companies don’t want you to know” that was the initial line that started me down this rabbit hole in particular, since it’s a bold face LIE! (there is no actual “secret”, but more on that later)

Well, they have just within the last year or so changed that number to $10,000. Why do you ask?  Well if we crunch the numbers, I was initially under the impression they charge a 20% fee on top of whatever discount they get you. But this contract shows me they actually charge 25%. Example: if you owe $10,000 and if they got a 50% discount for you then you would pay $5,000 to the bank (that could be in one payment or a breakdown of payments) BUT….  you then have to add the 25% which was their “Success” fee to the numbers. So if we add 50%  Which is what you’re paying + 25% obviously that’s 75% which means you saved $2,500.

  Does that sound like a deal to you? Overall the number is decent but I don’t know anyone that thinks 25% is worth it! Call me crazy, but I’ve certainly never charged anyone that amount and I think that number is a little ridiculous, personally.

 But most likely the reason why they bumped it up to $10,000- I guess their Finance people realized there is either too much work and too little pay for people coming in at only $5,000 so they need to bump it up to $10k in order to profit the amount of money they want to profit off of customers. Profit Margin once again!

I find it interesting in their example of their “Success fee” in their contract  they still state $5k even though they post on commercials “if you have a minimum of $10,000” So I assume no one told their Legal Eagles to update contract,It’s minor yes, but to me still deceptive.

>In that same section I found their “guarantee”. It seems their “guarantee” is you will save at least 5% of your total debt balance.

 I’ll be honest with you, I was scratching my head on this one, because if you were delinquent you could literally call yourself and ask for a 10% discount and they would give you a 10% discount without even blinking, so I’m unsure why they would post such incredibly small guaranteed amounts but you’d have to ask those higher-ups on that one.

I would think if they’re so confident and if all those reviews that they post on their website are 100% legitimate then they’d have more confidence to post a higher number.

Heck i tell people i can help and get a 50% discount without even blinking but im greedy and always want even more of a discount.

(I noticed researching other big companies post something very similar which raises my eyebrow, maybe it should yours too?)

*Now, one thing I do like about this company, or should I say at least I can appreciate, is once you sign a contract there’s something called the “Right of Rescission” – where you have 3-5 business days (depending on the state you live in) to cancel the agreement and not be out any money. \

This company actually offers a 10-day timeline to cancel this agreement once they accept it in writing. Now reading into it a little bit more, once they accept your contract they state that they will mail you a confirmation letter (which we all know that the post office could take 5 + days) but should still give you more than enough time to rush and sign the cancellation page on the back and email it or fax it to them. *If you ever do decide to cancel if you mail it it’ll never get to them in time for the 10 days and then that might be a problem emailing it whether it’s your email or you send an email through a friend or family members computer something where you can document is always the smart thing to do.*

>Back to agreement!

Client & Company Obligations:

Now this section I think is pretty “standard” and pretty simple BUT there are a few things that make you scratch your head on some insight to how they plan on treating you

-For the client portion, you obviously have to maintain open and honest communications with them, return paperwork to them when you get it signed, return phone calls when they call you, all of that obviously makes total sense. 

But here’s another quick “gotcha” IF you write one of the creditors names on that list BUT you then decide, “Hey I’m just going to do this myself” you still have to pay the company their  25% “success fee”! Which is pretty shocking, but they do say “unless the company has no involvement in obtaining that settlement offer otherwise client understands that “companies guidance, experience, advice, support and service surrounding the receipt of the settlement offers is valuable and important.” (Pretty much all creditors you put on list are they helped if they mentioned it, so boom they helped! And you have no documented proof they didn’t so pay them)

Now for the company obligation: 

There are the basics that they’re going to hold and maintain confidential information on you, respond to you back within a reasonable time frame, doesn’t define what time frame “reasonable” in their opinion- but reasonable is relative. 

*A part that concerns me that says “client specific creditors may include amounts that require the client handle a negotiation directly with the creditors in which case the company will assist the client. -Now if the bank or creditor will only deal with the client I’m not really sure how the company is supposed to help if they’re not allowed to be on the phone call with them, which means your doing it yourself but it says “clients participation in this still means the company earned their fee”.  So I guess at that point they’re stating that if we gave you advice we’re still entitled to 25%. I could be reading that wrong but I don’t think so.

   Settlement

This is the section that basically says all offers will be presented to the client for review of acceptance. But again there’s also a section that says “if the company has not received a communication from you the customer within 48 hours that they provided the notice clients direction to accept the settlement will be acted upon by company.” 

Now I personally read that as, they send you out notification of a settlement offer, you get busy with life or God forbid something happen with a family member yourself and you cannot respond then *They’re accepting the offer on your behalf after 2 days (even though many companies allow you several weeks to consider the offer).

 I’m not saying this may not be standard protocol for the industry, but personally I don’t want some company saying “yes we can pay this account” with my money without me actually saying yes or no. Again, call me crazy right?!

>Now this was a very broad stroke of the “Agreement” and I plan on getting into more later but I just want to end with the Most Common Complaints I receive from clients of Credit Associates & companies like it..

“Client understands that their credit rating will be adversely affected should client default or be delinquent in their payments to their creditors.”  

 “Client understands that this program will not improve their credit score.”

*This is a common question that gets asked by people because they are under the impression that by paying this debt off, it’ll actually improve their credit BUT it’s a double-edged question. (More details later, suffice to say, yes obviously paying something you havent “can” improve but it doesn’t happen overnight and other factors are involved)

Client agrees that company has not provided them with any advice or recommendations either orally or in writing, regarding reduction or termination of payment to creditors and that company has been engaged for the sole purpose of debt settlements.”

Client hereby confirms that client has not been advised by company to stop making payments to clients creditors

This was the one that made our friend Mike in the story really, really mad because and I quote from his email to me “this is so COMPLETELY FALSE!”  the Rep told me that is exactly what we need to do in order for them to help. *I think you guys know the answer to that one- which unfortunately is just a part of the sales game. 

Now these companies may have at the corporate level have all the best intentions, but like any company, each department tells you what you can or cannot do with a wink of the eye, (which is not an acknowledgement that can be shown in court or proven).

So my standard disclaimer because I never want people to think I’m just picking on companies like this because don’t get me wrong they do help some people but I’m kind of a cheap individual and value my money so I want to keep as much of it as much as possible and I’m assuming if you’re researching & reading this you feel the same way.

 I always tell people feel free to call me or email me. My email address is:

Wayne @ Wayne the credit guy. Com 

and it’s spaced out to prevent spam, or click on the contact us portion of my website and give me a call, tell me your situation and I will tell you what’s in the best interest of you and your family not the best interest of some company. 

Wayne

New Credit Associates commercial, same lies… read & see!

So, it’s a new year and hard to believe that its march already. I was watching a favorite TV show of mine and low and behold a new Credit Associates commercial was shown.

I recorded the show so I can go over what was said in detail and the first thing I noticed was they removed the initial lie they tell the general public.

So as the phase goes same !&%$#^ different day definitely applies here.

Now as I always do when pointing out the lies that deceive unknowing consumers I point out that I have been in the credit industry now for over 14+ years.

Everything that I say in these blogs is my opinion and my opinion only. What I do is dissect what is said by these commercials and advertisements and point out:

Is it either a flat out lie or are they embellishing to get you to call them so they can “sell/help” you.

As we all know the whole point of commercials is to get you to call so their “expert representatives” can confuse you and double talk you into hiring them and get your money.

So before I start pointing out “things” to help you “possibly” realize they are lying to you to get your business, then you are informed and if you wish to work with them you’re an adult and can now make that an educated decision.

RED FLAG #1—- If they are talking too fast to you or if you feel they are talking “At you” and not to you then the goal of that is to confuse you to think they must know what they are doing so hire them.

RED FLAG # 2—- If after they finish their sales pitch/explanation they try to get you to sign up with them and even email you the paperwork so you can sign it while you’re on the phone with them that should be a red flag.

Their sales managers typically say if you give them time to think about it you will start realizing that some of the things they are saying do not make sense and you will change your mind. And that doesn’t put money in their pockets.

Of course I have no clue if the marketing people said since the phrase they use “there is a secret that the credit card companies don’t want you to know” was too much of a lie to put at the beginning of the commercial. So they changed it around but let’s begin.

SO, let’s get back to the commercial:

They now they start with the phrase “If your credit card debt is out of control”. A much better way since credit card debt seems to sneak up on you and you don’t realize how much you owe until you’re practically underwater.

So it catches your attention and then they hit you with the “powerful secret the credit card companies don’t want you to know’.

I have no other way of saying that is just a lie plain and simple, There is “NO POWERFUL SECRET”.

Then they try to qualify you and only get the people that they can make money on by saying “if you owe more than $5,000 you have the right to let them settle that debt for a fraction of what you owe”.

THE FACTS:

  • There is no minimum, you could owe $500 and could settle (but there’s a catch).
  • There actually is NO RIGHT you have in this matter. You signed an agreement and if you still paying them on time you have to break the agreement. they seem to love to hammer the statement to you that “you have the right to settle”.…. OR

You already broke the agreement and you’re finally ready to start taking the steps to handle this matter in some capacity.

BUT:

What’s in the credit card companies banks best interest is too do a risk assessment on the account and get what they can from you so they will allow a certain amount to be written off their books ( & send a tax form to the IRS which we will discuss later).

CRAZY FACT:

After Credit Associates settle the account for you (and they will) you will save on average a whopping (major sarcasm) whole 20% of your debt.

So you owe $25,000? They save you a whole $9,000….. OR DO THEY?

On their website they have a savings calculator and the above mentioned example is a 36% discount. BUT, ask them does that include their “fees”, the answer…. it doesn’t.

News flash…. You could literally get 36% discount by yourself but if you want 60+% of a discount you may need someone who deals with them on a consistent basis.

Another part is they then say (which is laughable after what I just mentioned above)

“Virtually eliminate your debt with a monthly payment you can afford’ and they mention you can settle it for a fraction of what you owe”

REALLY???????????????????? was the example they provided you considered a “fraction”? i guess technically anything less than the full amount mathematically can be broken down to a fraction but you see what i mean by the deception.

I had gentlemen who called me a month ago and spoke to them and said he owes about 80k and spending $4,000 a month in monthly payments they said they could get his payments down to $2,000 a month for 42 months.

He had said he read some of my previous blogs and agreed the sales person talked very fast and used words he was unfamiliar with which in my opinion if you don’t explain those industry words your trying to convince and confuse the consumer. he then decided he wanted to at least have a short conversation with me to confirm him suspicion and to see if i may be able to help him.

In the old commercial they said call our expert debt consultants or a similar term and now they removed that term and just said call us to learn more.

That tells me that they realized or were caught that these people answering the phones knew nothing about debt negotiations or how settlements work and were just on the phone to close you  (sales term for getting you to sign up). But I could always be wrong, it’s happened before but I doubt it but have to say it.

THE FINE PRINT:

Before I get to the really good part these types of commercials you need to pause the TV and get really close to the TV so you can read this fine print. A part of theirs says this:

“Retaining us to reduce debts is your right to settle”.

Using the term “rights” implies the law and there is NO LAW that gives a consumer the rights to settle a debt or pay less than they owe. This is a civil contract/agreement and both parties will basically renegotiate the agreement.

So hopefully your reading this before calling them and if not feel free to call them back and ask them the big question that they lie to you about and below is a response for you to see how quickly they moonwalk backwards.

WHAT is This BIG POWERFUL secret that allows me the consumer or you to do this on my behalf?

The first answer is typically the FCRA which is the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The FCRA is only concerning the reporting of the information from creditors on consumers in regards to accounts they have agreed to. There is NOTHING that discusses any rights to settle the accounts.

The second answer may be the  FCBA which is the Fair Credit Billing Act.

This also has nothing to do with any rights a consumer may have in regards to settling debts owed.

What it does concern is things like billing errors and disclosures. Don’t believe me on these two? Go google it yourself and check it out yourself.

NOTE:

I’m still doing some research but it seems that “TRUST PILOT” is being accused of paid reviews and fake reviews as i find it funny that on trust pilot they have 5 star rating YET EVERY OTHER site says….. well let’s just say they don’t get such rave reviews which makes it suspect.

So if they lie to you to get you to call and then lie to you to get you to sign up or don’t talk about the ramifications of destroying your credit or possible legal issues that can arise while doing this then all I can say is good luck if you go with them.

If you make good income and have good credit and it’s only the credit card debt hurting your credit score then call me and I can point you in the direction of a possible option. Doesn’t always mean it’s an answer as everyone’s situation is different but you deserve to know all options you have.

If you have the some funds and you let stuff go recently or awhile back email me as I may be able to point you in the direction that’s best for you.

One thing I always promise people I speak with is I will tell you the truth whether you like the answer or not and will tell you what I think is the best option for you and why I think its best.

P.S– if you are uptight on grammar or run on sentences i apologize if it drove you crazy however i don’t really care as i write these to help people and write these blogs as if i am sitting directly in front of them.

=)

Wayne

If you have a situation you want to chat with me on shoot me an email to the address below and give me a synopsis of the situation and if i can answer or direct you to what i think is best for you i will, or if a 5 minute call is easier i will call you.

Typically 90-95% of people that contact me i direct them elsewhere as they would not be a client for me with their given situation but as i always promise i will tell you the truth whether you like the answer or not, does not mean i cannot help but i will tell you what’s best for you and your family not some companies bottom line.

wayne@ waynethecreditguy.com      (spaced out to prevent spam)

Maxed out credit Cards? Read this before calling Credit Associates, National Debt Relief and others first!

READ ALL OF THIS !!!!!!!

 

A blog for you to read with a solution FINALLY that i found for those of you smart enough to read this.

 

** let me start by of course pointing the standard disclaimer that these blogs are my opinion and my opinion only. I ALWAYS point out tell me your situation and I will tell you what I would do if I was in your specific situation given the knowledge I have accumulated over the last 14 years in the credit and finance industry.

 

Earlier in the year I saw a credit associates commercial one too many times and snapped. Being in the credit industry for almost a decade and a half it drove me nuts that they lie with literally the first sentence.

I called them twice acting like a possible customer to see what they tell people calling them for help and do they lie as much on the phone as they do in their commercials. As for all the details you can look back into my archive blogs in 2018.

I was bombarded with email responses….

Many were people who saw an ad about either the two companies above or many similar ones and read what my seasoned opinion was as PERSONALLY I do not care if you hired them or not I was pointing out what I did not like them doing as certain things they were saying were manipulating them and taking advantage of people who were in a tough spot for a variety of reasons and their whole point was there to help them not trick them into hiring them WITHOUT giving them the full story or what will happen OR not fully painting the exact picture of what they are doing.

PLUS I found out that most of these companies charge 20% of their services so if they get you a 50% discount its really 70% you’re paying which is only a 30% and you could do that yourself.

So there were basically 4 groups people were in that emailed or called me looking for help or calling for nonpartisan advice on their SPECIFIC situation.

NOTE: I have classified everyone into 4 groups that everyone should fit into to help you put together what I need to best direct you below and at the end of this blog.

 

Group 1:

ALL or most credit cards are maxed out, they are only able to pay the minimum and the statements show it will take 15-30+ years to pay off. The credit score is still above 660 + so it’s only the debt that is killing them and their credit score and they do not need credit repair

Some make very good income, others make good income.

 

Group 2:

Most or all credit cards are maxed out, the monthly bills coming up they are not able to pay them or pay a part of them or all of them (or very soon). The credit score is still above 660 + so it’s only the debt that is killing them and their credit score and do not need credit repair.

Some make good income or very good income.

 

Group 3:

Payments are at least over 30 days since paid, credit score has taken a major hit and unable to see any daylight to get out of this.

Income can be good but just too much month and the end of the money with all that credit card interest being paid. If late payments are the start of their problem then paying someone for credit repair is a waste of money.

 

Group 4:

Have not paid any of the credit cards from 4 months plus, Credit score is destroyed and just not sure what to do and exploring if debt settlement can help them. They definitely need credit repair but they also have several other immediate issues that need to be addressed that they are unaware of.

Income varies.

 

*** the one thing all groups have in common was they were smart enough to be hesitant when talking to these types of companies and realizing that they are making it seem like all their problems will go away once they are hired.

 

As with most people, If they could just get all of these bills consolidated into one payment and not get killed with the monthly interest they could get back on track (group 4 is excluded from this part).

 

The first thought by all groups is to get a debt consolidation loan. The problem is they are going to get declined. This was recently mentioned to me last week. The gentleman who I did find an avenue for ( will share in next blog “Debt Consolidation Loans” has a 740 credit score. He Is 95% maxed out on most if not all credit cards (I can’t remember exactly) and the bank told him no.

The reason: His credit cards are too maxed out…..

 

WTH????

 

Isn’t that the darn (not word I wanted to use) point? To consolidate all the credit card debt into one loan.

It’s the typical B.S that we all know about the banks and the banking system, they want to lend money to the people who don’t need it and not the ones who need it and could make the most use of it.

 

Thus began my research into this oh so fun world to help those reading this find a path that’s best for them and not the sales persons company that they are talking to.

Below is a mini chart to help you classify possible options based on the way I grouped people and their situations.

My email is listed below so when you email me please include the answers to the questions needed to best direct you.

I do this because just like a thumb print every credit report is different and thus there is no clear cut if this is the problem then this is the solution as a full financial snapshot is needed to properly give you solid advice that can become a game plan/way out for your situation.

Group 1 info needed:

  • A breakdown of how many credit cards you have, total amount owed and minimum payment and the monthly finance charge.
  • Yearly income ( if 1099 then what is claimed to government)

 

Group 2 info needed:

  • A breakdown of how many credit cards you have, total amount owed and minimum payment and the monthly finance charge.
  • Yearly income ( if 1099 then what is claimed to government)
  • Do you own a home, if so what is owed and value.

 

  • As you can see group # 1 & 2 are similar just like groups 3 & 4 are very similar but there are differences based on other aspects of financial snapshot.

 

Group 3 info needed:

  • A breakdown of how many credit cards you have, total amount owed and minimum payment and the monthly finance charge.
  • Do you have any money saved in order to pay these if you had to (we know you do not want to but we have to ask).

 

Group 4 info needed:

  • What is total amount you owe and how many credit cards are there.
  • When was the last time you paid on them?
  • Have you been sued on any of them? (Listed on credit report as a judgment under public records).
  • If you had to do you have any money saved to pay/settle them IF you had to.

 

 

If you are in groups 1 or 2 I will be discussing what I will be posting about debt consolidation loans and the problems as to why the banks will not give you that loan so you will be able to get ahead start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The reason… I finally found a solution to benefit you

(And man it was not easy..)

 

 

* Want to learn more about how the credit system works?

   Have questions about your credit where you may need my help?

Or

  Buy my book for easy to understand concepts of how the credit system works and how lenders look at you.

 

Wayne @ wayne the credit guy.com    (REMOVE ALL THE SPACES)

 

 











FCRA Section 609 “B.S” Letter

FCRA Section 609 “B.S” Letter

You may have heard about this letter using a specific part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act called “Section 609”.

Before I start let me state a few words on my thoughts on this section people try to sell letters on:

  • Scam
  • Bull &%$#
  • Lies
  • Deceptive

Every once in a while I get annoyed enough to roll up the sleeves and start ripping to shreds certain things like Credit Associates & National Debt Relief (Debt Settlement Companies) to name a few.

I do some research then tell everyone reading this what my experience was with it and that experience is now based on 14 years in the credit industry and in the trenches, looking at case law, seeing how credit bureaus response to consumer letters. Those 14 years and allowed me to review over 17,000 credit file and analyze them and diagnose them to see what can be done to put that file in a position to obtain future lenders from a variety of lenders, mortgages, car loan, credit cards etc.

So I was asked about the “magical” Section 609 FCRA letters floating around. Of course everywhere you look practically you have to buy them. I found a site that had a discussion on them and then they started quoting the sections of law which allowed me to look into it.

There were people swearing by the letters and others saying it didn’t work. Of course the ones who swore by them didn’t give any specifics on the account which is the most important part of the story.

They quoted 609(a)(1)9a) to start and one idiot actually said they “vaguely refer to the credit bureaus having to have copies of original contract signed for proof”.

Ugh………………..

People, NO WHERE does it even closely say that let alone refer to that……. I really think that the rumor gets spread, some people post a cheap web site and then sell the letters for $10.00 or so and the get a check in the mail.

A little more research as I read the section before writing this and there was some more B.S from a guy back in 1999 that quoted a different section of Section 609 (c)(2)(E) so I read that and AGAIN……. L I E S !!!

What I love when reading this was it talks about how the guy has copyrighted his letters, while I’m not a lawyer I’m pretty sure you can’t copyright sections of a law that consumers could use. BUT I could be wrong…. But doubt it.

Now this is what I know and understand as I even saw a credit repair company write a blog about it and I’m convinced they are idiots as they talked about and then they discussed “Debt Validation”… that will be the next blog about that which drives me nots so stay tuned!

So these knuckleheads say:

Section (609) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is a Consumers Disclosure section which is to provide for the protection of consumers against false and erroneous reporting. This section of the FCRA places the burden upon the Credit Bureaus and the Creditor to prove an account is yours. To positively prove an account is yours, the creditor must provide the Credit Bureau a copy of the original creditor’s documentation (whatever you filled out and signed upon opening the account with the reporting creditor)”.

This is literally word for word that I found on several site touting the magic of the 609 letters.

The scary part is people hire bozos like this to help them trusting they have a clue about what they are doing. Further looking at their site they only sell letters to consumer for Do it yourself so “selling” the magic bullet is good for their business.

Totally unethical and they should go to hell because while I don’t know what they are charging the false hope they are dangling is just not cool.

Just reading more of this gets my blood boiling, the term creating a mountain out of a mole hill comes to mind when I read some of the “things” they claim.

I truly think they embellish on things then have some people (companies actually do this) post positive responses which gets you hooked and then say what the heck its only $10.00 (a money example)

Section 609 is rather an easy read and while there is a little bit of legal language in it it’s fairly cut and dry so a consumer with little knowledge should be able to understand majority of it.

UNDERSTAND the credit bureaus are like file cabinets of information on you, you have your folder and all the sub sections within it on all different accounts and the information on those accounts.

The credit bureaus sell our information and we willingly give (most of the time) to lenders in exchange of credit of some sort. They only report what is provided to them that we allow in our lender contracts

It is an automated system which has tons of problems and the law (FCRA) like all laws had to be sponsored and someone had to pay for that and you know a consumer group did not pay for that.

Folks, I understand that when your credit is bad you are looking for that “magic pill” to make all the problems go away…. It doesn’t exist, sorry it just doesn’t.

That is why one of the things I always promise before speaking to someone is I’m going to tell you the truth whether you like the answer or not.

It doesn’t mean I can’t help but you need to be aware of what the situation is and not let someone prey upon you to take your money and make it seem like once you pay them all the problems go away, it doesn’t work like that.

Designing a specific plan for your specific issues can always be done it then becomes a timeline issue for you.

I hope I stopped some of you reading this or thinking of spending your money but more importantly your hope and emotions on a joke of a claim of hope, and a mini news flash for the crazies who maybe tried it and got some things deleted.

Did you ever think that maybe the reporting company didn’t respond to the credit bureaus in the allotted time or cared to respond for company internal reasons and that why the accounts were deleted or it fell past the statute of limitations??

That’s it for this posting, hope it sheds some light on some things and feel free to google the FCRA and read section 609 for yourself, you will then see that all the claims they make are not remotely mentioned in the sections they claim. you cant even create an argument that they do, at least not without a straight face.

 

 

*** Want to learn more about how the credit system works? Buy my book for easy to understand concepts of how credit works and how lenders look at you at you.

Contact me at wayne @ wayne the credit guy.com

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Debt Settlement VS Bankruptcy

When I started including my thoughts on debt settlement and writing some blogs about them I was amazed at the response and the views so thank you to everyone reading them.

Many times I was able to point them in the direction they needed for their benefit not some companies benefit. So far I have estimated that 2% of the people calling me or contacting me after reading them were clients for me that I could in good conscience help and save A LOT of money (ranging from 17k-80k).

Some just needed the right direction but I had someone that wanted to know why not just file bankruptcy and wipe it all clean.

Which leads me to this blog Debt Settlement vs Bankruptcy

If you have seen, heard or look at advertisements/commercials paid for by of course lawyers who want you to pay them to file bankruptcy they paint the prettiest of pictures to make all your problems go away in a snap.

Since most people reading these blogs are not qualified candidates for me then I believe I can give a real non bias opinion and lay out the pros and cons for each and give you the tools to make an educated decision.

So let’s start with the Pro’s BUT first let’s break it down as there are 2 MAIN types of bankruptcy. Back in the old days (prior to October 2008) you could file bankruptcy in the blink of an eye, but now you need to QUALIFY for it. So it makes sense to understand the two.

  1. Bankruptcy Chapter 13

Chapter 13 allows those with enough income to repay all or part of their debts an alternative to liquidation. It’s bankruptcy for those whose biggest problem is dealing with creditors’ demands for immediate payment, not lack of income.

An example of this is if the bank is getting ready to take your car or home, filing bankruptcy chapter 13 can actually be done on your own and it staves off the wolves so to speak, at least for a month which buys you some time for other options.

An over simplified way to understand this is think of the courts cutting your bills in half and then a structured payment plan is paid out to the court from anywhere from 1-5 years.

  1. Bankruptcy Chapter 7                                                                                                                                                          Is the most popular one for a variety of reasons, it allows you to walk away free and clear of any debt submitted to the courts with the exception of money owed to the government and student loans.

However now after the new laws kicked in after October 2008 you have to be “assessed” to see if you qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy as you can no longer “just go file”. There was a means test created that you can google to read more so check that out if you are so inclined.

 

Bankruptcy chapter 7 stays on a credit report for 10 years, many future lenders look at this public record filing with different eyes. I recently had a client who filed Chapter 7 9 years ago and had a credit score now in the 700’s and he was denied for a credit card and the bankruptcy was the reason why. Now is that like that with all credit cards…. No. But it gives you an idea how future lenders look at bankruptcy and its given a more serious look as opposed to bankruptcy attorneys make it seem to be the ultimate tool to be free and clear.

PLUS from a credit standpoint what you need to understand that a bankruptcy is literally the worse mark you can have on a credit report. Plus from a mortgage lender position to buy ( or refinance ) if you have any more credit “hiccups” such as a collection or late payment lenders do not typically want to deal with you as they see this as  a continuous problem.

 

Now Debt Settlement

Debt Settlement can be considered an unofficial version of Bankruptcy chapter 13 without the public record on your credit report.

It’s basically a renegotiation of the original contract but without the bankruptcy stigma attached to it.

The quality of the debt settlement depends on the company involved. Many of the ones out there wait for the credit card companies to contact them and they take the 1st offer that is given to them which is usually about 30% of what the balance was.

I just found out that company I have never heard of (which means nothing as there are thousands out there) was charging the people I am currently guiding 20% of the debt owed! Wow!!

And they operate like I have typically heard with others, they come up with a number that you pay into an account of sorts and when the pot gets large enough they say they go after accounts for you for settlement but as I mentioned they just look at the letters and see who offered what and then say “hey we got one taken care of for you and save you …..”!

In this companies specific case if they saved them 30% of the balance but they charge 20% for their fees, so they saved you 10%?????????

 

Typically the “bigger the company” which they like to brag about to you the worse you are treated or once the agreement is solved the phone calls do not get returned like before you signed up with them as they have moved onto the next person/revenue/paycheck.

I don’t want to go into more stories but I typically help get an average of 60-70% of a discount and the absolute worst I have ever helped people with was 50% discount.

But that will be the difference between uneducated people who are basically just looking to get as many people into their program and take the deal offered to them as opposed to someone who teats your money as if its theirs and fights for every dollar as there is a BIG difference between a company’s profits and a family.

 

Feel free to contact me at wayne @ waynethecreditguy .com

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If you have any questions and PLEASE be as detailed as possible with your situation, such as what your current credit score is, are you on-time with payments or late and if late how late and amount owed

 

Wayne Sanford is a credit and finance expert with over 13 years’ experience in the industry. He has reviewed over 16,000 credit reports and appeared on local and national TV on CBS and is a contributor to many online publications as well as being an Continuing educational provider for the Texas Real Estate Commission.

 

NOTE: 

I just felt the need to point this out but if i believe that after a conversation with someone after being told their complete situation and i feel that filing bankruptcy is the best option for them then i will suggest that and then discuss  all the pros and cons that come along with that choice.

And i have done that, but of course while i have to make the standard disclaimer that everything i discuss with people cannot be construed as financial or legal advice i will put myself in their situation and then let them know what i would do if in that position and give them the information and then they can make their own choices based on that data.

 

****  UPDATE:

When I was getting ready to post this blog this morning a perfect example just got emailed to me. A lady was told by a bankruptcy attorney she can’t file Bankruptcy 7 because her husband (the household) makes too much money.

Per his advice which baffles me greatly as the attorney should have asked these questions at the start since it’s not rocket science and now he is not taking/returning her calls. But now gave her advice that puts her in an even worse position now so will be talking to her later today to give her all her current options for her to decide what they think is best for their family.

I have said this for YEARS…. Just because your first name is “DR.” or last name is “ESQ.” does not mean they know EVERYTHING! It truly drives me nuts.

I learned a long time ago to doubt everyone and get several opinions, make sure I understand them and then see what is best for me and I use that to help people like you reading this and I hope it does.   =)