But THAT’S what the salesperson told me!!??!!

So with a blog title like this it can mean ANYTHING, right?

Well for this specific blog let’s talk about debt collectors and GYM MEMBERSHIPS.

One company that was notorious for causing consumers across the nation to have a $2,000.00 plus negative debt collection account on their credit was Bally’s Total Fitness.

They were sued numerous times and sold their business back in 2011 so they are no longer the major threat to consumer credit they once were but that does not mean smaller companies do not do the same thing which we will go into later in this blog.

REMEMBER…. It’s not what they or ANY SALESPERSON tells you, it is WHAT YOU SIGN.

As they say, the devil is in the details. NEVER listen to the sales person AND PLEASE……PLEASE….. DO NOT sign up for ANY service right then and there.

Take the agreement home and review it, MOSTLY the cancellation/refund section. That is typically where the gotcha’s are in.

If you’re afraid that you don’t know how to read what can look like a scary contract I can help you get attorneys to look at it for as little as $20.00 so email me at wayne@waynethecreditguy.com to find out how something this small can save you time, energy and A LOT of money, especially if you have a family.

But now let’s go over some of the main gotcha’s listed in these types of contracts and similar ones.

#1- Is it a monthly contract or a yearly one (or more) ?

These days if gyms are not offering a monthly contract I personally would just walk away. This is what Bally’s did in the past, a customer would sign a 3 year contract and then if they cancelled (for whatever reason) they would be sent to collections for the difference the gym “hasn’t been compensated” for.

Note: this story based on numerous conversations with client’s years ago)

#2- What are the ways you can cancel and not be “Penalized” ?

Many times people hurt themselves and sometimes for months they are sidelined or they move away for a variety of reasons. Are these issues listed IN WRITING?

If your sales person says oh don’t worry about that we understand so you won’t have to worry about that just bring in a doctor’s note. AGAIN, if it’s not on the contract it does not count! It would make good customer service sense but many companies follow the letter of the legality of the contract that you both agreed to.

#3- MOST IMPORTANT— Do you need to give “WRITTEN CANCELLATION”?

Just like with apartment complex’s that require written notification the catch is of course as I have said many times, if you have no documented proof you lose.

# 3 is literally the most important I have found as if you did give them written notice if that is required how you get screwed by them is equally as easy.

So my question to you is prove it. Prove to the debt collector who has your account and placed it on your credit report dropping the score by as much as 70 points. Prove to them their system is wrong.

Did you get the manager or representative of the gym to sign it? Did you get a copy of it with their signature on it?

One thing I tell everyone I talk to is get a box and every time you stop doing business with a company, pay the final bill and get proof the balance with the company is zero and then print it out and throw it in the box.

So when you get that debt collector calling, you now have proof and can sue if they give you a problem. The one thing that will shut a company or debt collector up is proving you are right.

If you don’t do that then you have to do some research on hiring a credit company to help you. Or you can of course try to fix the situation yourself but if you don’t know how that industry works you can make the matter worse but restricting what the credit company could do before you “tried to fix it yourself”.

That’s it for this week, I hope you take this information to heart and read before you sign anything, it will give you so many less things in life to worry about. Life is good enough at causing issues without you adding to them.

* 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 just email me today at: wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

Student Loan Credit Report Scam?

Ok, allow me first to say that the headline was just an eye catcher to get you to read this article/blog, it’s not like the government is TRYING to scam you.

Or was it?

Let’s break it down for you and everyone out there. As stated in the past at this point I have review approximately 16,000 credit reports in my now 11 years of experience of the credit repair/restoration/management industry.

What amazes me is when I come across a client who has listed 5-20 student loan accounts on their credit and they range from $200- 20,000.00. I have even seen some reporting on a credit file where no payments were ever made and showed what seemed to be a $70.00 loan.

REALLY?? A $70.00 student loan??

Why the department of education and the other student loan lenders out there do not consolidate the loans into one once school is complete is truly beyond me, OR at the very least once school is completed. Many times if a consumer is negligent in paying the bill due to whatever reason then the consumer now has 9 negative slow pays (if they have 9 accts reporting) on their credit which is DEVASTATING to their credit as opposed to if the accounts were consolidated into one account with the creditor.

The other thing to point out is we NEED to get consumers out there to identify this horrible potential to destroy their credit file and get PROACTIVE, after all knowledge is power!

So what can you do?

FIRST thing is to contact the lender and understand the first person you will talk to is a customer service representative who has little to no authority to do anything that can help you for what you truly need. You NEED to be proactive when approaching this situation.

Now this is not a knock against customer service representatives but in my experience the bad ones (meaning ones that don’t care) greatly outnumber the few goods ones out there.

In my experience I have never come across anyone who has made the job of customer service as a career. In my experience they are poorly trained (try googling Comcast customer service complaints) or they just don’t care as it’s a 9-5 job.

Most student loans are federally guaranteed by the department of education. But don’t expect them to be leaping to help you by any manner. Understand that this is your life and your responsibilities so you need to be proactive in this and as you’re the only one who truly gets affected by this so it’s in your hands.

Your credit score needs to be good in order to do this, typically a 660 on average. Check with your current bank to see if they offer student loan consolidation. If they do then have your credit reports with you and layout just how many active “student loan accounts”.

What you want to do is limit risk if something happens and eliminate the ability to let something slip by.

NOTE: I had a client one time who had three 150.00 student loan accounts they had no clue about. And then of course something slipped by and now they had 3 negative accounts reporting current 90 day late payments. Destroying their credit for at least a year and that is with credit repair help.

Now when you Consolidate loans typically you increase the length of time the loan is paid back which of course means smaller payments but MORE of them. So you need to look at this in the same way you look at a home loan.

If they give you a 30 year payment plan ask for a amortization schedule of the loan repayments so you can see exactly how much money every month is going towards principle and how much goes towards interest and at least now you have an idea where you money is going.

And with proper planning you can identity if you make 1 extra payment per year or a few dollars extra per month how much that can lower the total time frame of paying off the student loan.

SOME IMPORTANT FACTS:

  1. Depending on your career some allow your student loans to be greatly reduced and even forgiven. Click on the link below to see

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation

  1. You CANNOT discharge your student loan debt by filing bankruptcy as a whole, but there are cases where it can happen. Check out the link below to see some examples and if they correlate to you.

http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/bankruptcy/

  1. Student loans can file to have a portion of your paycheck withheld as well as your tax returns. (Individual states may vary so check with yours).

NOTE: the links I have attached are for informational purposes only and I take no responsibility to their reliability. They are merely for a measuring stick to guide you some possible tools to help you the consumer.

Want to learn more about how the world of credit works? Contact me today and get my book in full blown color. No nonsense direct answers and easy to understand.

how the “Real world of credit” works. wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

And of course if you need some credit work to increase your credit score then call me today to discuss!

Late Payment forgiveness in Credit Repair Books

DISCLAIMER: you are not going to like reading this blog ( just a forewarning)

You may have seen an internet advertisement on this, you may have seen this statement in a Facebook ad. Many times its labeled as “the Hidden Secret the creditors don’t want you to know about!”.

I even saw this “technique” listed in a “Legal credit repair” book written by “attorneys. What it basically says is that if you have good history with a bank/creditor then you can ask them for a one-time late payment forgiveness since you have been such a good client prior to the one little mishap.

They may tell you to say you were out of town during this or had a family emergency and have been out of town.

I checked several credit repair books in the stores before writing this blog and it seems they are all in there.

NOW FOR THE PROBLEM…..

IT DOES NOT WORK!

Perhaps about 10-20 years ago it worked and companies allowed it but now and for quite a while now they do not. This is the problem with the “credit repair” books out there. So much of it is what is called “fluff” or “filler content”. Designed to make the book bigger and give the impression there is more to it.

HOWEVER, there is a simple test for this. I assume if you’re reading this you are doing some research on credit due to you having some credit challenges currently or have in the past.

OR

You’re another credit repair company/agent trying to learn how credit actually works (actually got a call one time from a credit sales person who said their boss said to read my site and info on my website). While im not crazy about that part I commend you on wanting to do the right thing by your clients.

Contact the lenders if you do not believe I am correct in this statement about this blog.
HOWEVER…

Most likely what will happen is the late payment will not be removed and you will get a letter from the creditor stating that after careful research it has been identified that the current reporting is correct and the Fair Credit Reporting Act Law will not allow them to change that information as it would be incorrect and thus against the law.

And then most likely in 30 days the late payment will still be there is you have a credit monitoring service but then get notified that your credit score increased!

Again…however this is what would or can be called a false positive in the credit world.

Check to see if the lender/bank now has your account marked as disputed.

Now for people out there thinking where there is a will there is a way there unfortunately isn’t.

So I do not mean to burst your bubble with this blog but more so I do not want you to waste your valuable time.

NOW, if you are reading this and you have a relationship with your bank and it is one of the really small/very local banks then there is a possibility of them doing that favor for you.

HERE is the little trick (so to speak) there is no law that requires the people reporting to the credit bureaus to actually report to them. They can choose not to report they just can’t report something that is incorrect.

Now if you are dealing with a really small lender or as mentioned before a really small community bank where you are on a first named basis with the president of the bank. You can sit down with them and ask them to omit the data for a few months that correlates to the bad reporting on your credit file.

Ex: A late payment in 4/2016 ask them to post no data from 1/2016 thru 6/2016.

Now they are in compliance with the law as well as you problem is solved.

The issue is this will work for maybe 2% of people who are lucky enough to be in the position I described above.

So while you can always try just understand that a good 98% of the time it will not work and the “secrets” in the books and advertisements are designed to get you to buy the product. It never hurts to try just be ready to undo the problem to your credit file that you caused by trying it.

And as a recap the problem it will cause is the bank marking their credit account with you as “disputed” which you will need to then go through the steps of having it removed.

Want to learn more about how the world of credit works? Contact me today and get my book in full blown color. No nonsense direct and easy to understand how the “Real world of credit” works. wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

How to leave an Apartment Complex & NOT get Screwed

If you have the future goal of home ownership (short term or long term) then this is one account that can definitely cause you some issues for several reasons.

FIRST thing is to understand is other than your credit score which may qualify you what is IN your report will affect the amount of money they want you for security deposits and other things (ex: utility deposits).

Each underwriting criteria for different industries will always pay more attention to delinquencies in their own industry, so while for example a 640 credit score may allow you to buy a car if there is repossession in that credit report then instead of perhaps an 8% interest rate it is now 10%.

But let’s get back on track here. When you move into an apartment complex there are many things the leasing agent tells you. While it is VERY possible they don’t tell you everything they are supposed to tell you the odds are they did and you just do not remember the full conversation.

Here are some of the highpoints of what they must tell you and you NEED to PAY ATTENTION TO:

  1. Notify you that you MUST give WRITTEN 30 or 60 day notice if you are leaving. (get a copy to keep for proof!)
  2. Provide you a MOVE –IN check list to go over any damage already in the apartment so you are not charged for it on your move out.
  3. Explain to you how you can break your lease by paying what is typically called a “re-letting fee” and how that works.
  4. How to schedule a “walk through” upon leaving the apartment with the manager and be provided a letter on site of the walk thorough with the MOVE-OUT check list.

The first two and the last one are in my opinion the ABSOLUTE most important as this is what will sneak up on you and kill your credit score and your credit report.

What you need to know mostly about all of the above as well as in general, in life and in relation to your credit report and credit score. This of course controls your financial life in majority of people is PROVE IT. If you don’t have any WRITTEN PROOF then YOU LOSE!

That is what you will be told; in credit you are guilty until you prove your innocence within the 7 year time frame of most items allowed to report on your credit report.

SOME STATEMENTS THEY WILL SAY TO YOU (bill collectors):

Did you pay that last utility or cable bill when you left the service”? We have no record of you paying so if you don’t have a receipt then tough luck, you need to pay it or it will haunt you on your credit.

Oh you say you returned those cable boxes to the company, they do not show that as true so unless you have a copy of the shipping tracking label you owe the money”.

Oh, you say when you left the apartment you gave your 60 days written notice per your lease agreement? Our records show you didn’t so if you did just provide us the letter you sent the apartment complex along with the managers signature we will correct it. OH you don’t have that? Well then you owe the money and we will mark it on your credit report”.

The apartment’s report that you left your apartment in disarray with several holes in wall as well as garbage. Oh you say that information is not correct? Well do you have your move out checklist with the manager signature and any pictures? Oh you don’t then according to terms of lease you signed you owe this money”.

These are just a few things that will most likely come back to haunt you unless you abide by the terms of the lease you signed and KEEP YOUR PROOF! Save it in a box and when you need it you can always look through the box.

If you don’t they will ALWAYS get you and if you want to move into another apartment then think about it, why would they let you into their apartment when history shows you don’t pay the previous places you have lived in?

You may be required to give a double security deposit in order for them to take a risk on you IF they want to.

Many times they will sue you for loss of rent and as legally unless you notify them of your new location and you can DOCUMENT and PROVE they know your current address then they will send notices to “LAST KNOWN ADDRESS” which of course you will never get as if you were smart enough to forward your mail with the post office you have to hope these dim wits do their job which is unlikely since LITTERALLY as we speak I took a call and a client who mailed me 3 letters I received last week got one important document back and they post office said the address does not exist? (INSERT confused look).

If you get sued? WELL then if you EVER want to purchase a home then you will have to pay it REGARDLESS of how unfair it is as NO BANK will loan you money for a home with a judgment, even if that judgment is $100.00

NOTE: many bank lenders look unfavorably on consumers who have a judgment on their credit.

I hope this is an eye opener for my readers and hope that this helps limit the damage to their credit from this apartment scam as I did not mention it before but I have interviewed several apartment complex managers over the years and they said corporate tells them to try to keep as much of the security deposit as they can.

One of my former employees told me when she was moving out that only the regional manager can schedule the walk thorough when moving out as the manager cannot do it and she said, you mean the guy behind that door that won’t come out to speak to me? ( true story )

NOTE: He refused to come out so we had to threaten a lawsuit while recording everything for a judge to view.

I hope this helps you, we live in a world with systems in place and with those systems ALWAYS hurt the little guy. So if you don’t keep track of things then you are the one who is going to get hurt.

Need to get your credit fixed or need just a few more points to qualify for what your goals are? I have been doing this for over 11 years now and have reviewed over 16,000 credit reports.

As long as you’re willing to hear the truth about the condition of where your credit file is today and the potential of where it can be then I believe it is worth your time to send me your credit report to review and go over with you the one thing I can promise is I will tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear.

Want to learn more about the credit system? Email me about getting my book as currently having an issue with the website page.

wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

Talk with you all soon!

Wayne

Medical debt, your Credit and a home – Oh My!

Medical bills and the medical industry/business, it’s a tricky thing for majority of consumers who do not have a clue how it works. You go to the hospital and it seems you get 15 people sending you bills. It works like that a lot depending on what happen to you.

Have insurance? Fantastic! Except don’t for one second think they cover everything, when going to the hospital or doctor in this day and age you need to look at this from a business standpoint. Don’t think that people are competent at their job so if you didn’t get a bill then it’s not your problem.

It is! Non-paid bills, even one that forgot to be sent out will go to collections, go on your credit and the moment it does drops your credit score.

One time I saw a $3.00 medical collection drop a score 43 points, I can only assume it was an aspirin but the point of that story is it’s not the amount majority of the time but a new negative account hitting your credit.

When you try to buy a home (or refinance one) you may hear the loan officer tell you “I don’t care about the medical accounts”. The mistake you make is that what the loan officer is actually saying is he/she does not care about the medical “debt” as mortgage lenders do not count medical debt against you but if the accounts are on your credit then from a secondary standpoint it is a factor that may or can be affecting you and your credit score.

Typically a bill will not be sent to collections until it has not been paid for the standard 90-120 days. There are medical facilities that send them to collections after 60 days as they do not have the staff or department to do that or that it’s just easier to outsource that part of their business.

Here is the kicker, if it hits your credit then your score drops, let’s say it drops your credit 70 points which is very realistic, paying it may bump it up 40-50 points. Hopefully those are the amount of points you need to get the home. If it’s not and you need all 70 points then you need to put your detective hat on. When was the services performed? What is the medical centers procedure for billing services and when do they send bills and then when do they send the follow up round? Do they have your correct address? If you’re lucky and they have the wrong address you have a strong case to get them to delete the account if it’s paid. Threatening a lawsuit in small claims court is a smart move but make sure you’re not yelling when you say that.

The old days of “pay for deletion” unfortunately are gone by most accounts. While some companies do them, most do not unless you can prove that a mistake was made and then leverage that to get a deletion letter.

Any good sized debt you acquire you should ask about financial assistance, depending on the income you make if you do not make much they can write off a good portion of that debt for charity purposes and then establish a payment program with you.

An article I recently read about this gave some inaccurate information so want to clarify if you read it. Most likely it was just a mis-print but here is how medical debt and lawsuits work.

If you get sued due to a medical debt then if you are going to buy a home then that lawsuit MUST be paid. There are no options. If you own a home and you are selling it and there is profit in the sale of the home the judgment gets paid before you get your profit. The judgment will show up on a public records search the banks do.

If you’re aiming for a discount from the collection agency they will not give you a deletion letter also. It’s either one or the other IF they are will to delete the account.

If your trying to buy a card most car lenders do not care about judgments, but credit card companies do seem to care about it especially lenders that offer secured credit cards. While information is limited when applying for this card speak to a manager and ask if a judgment disqualifies you for the card. They will hopefully be able to answer your question.

So in summary, medical debt is a double edge sword. Mortgage lenders do care about the medical accounts on your credit as they affect your score, they just do not have to worry about the medical debt attached to the account.

NOTE: a 30 day recent late payment can drop your credit score anywhere typically from 60-90 points depending on the rest of your credit file.

*** 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@waynethecreditguy.com