Don’t let Cable Providers Kill Your Credit

When it comes to credit here is what you as consumers need to understand. A credit score focuses on recent negative and positive history. Lenders do not require you to have perfect credit. You can have charge off’s, collections, late payments and they will still do business with you.

But, they need to be older as why would a lender give you a line of credit in some form if you could not pay a recent bill on time?

A recent negative or late payment tells them (and the credit scoring system) that there is a problem or some financial instability and that you are not a good risk because of this. And your credit score will drop dramatically as a result reflecting that.

When it comes to cable providers specifically what you need to understand is you do not own those boxes. They are the companies and typically valued at approximately $230 each.

You need to assume that when you send them that their tracking system they have is poor to incompetent at best and you need to save the receipt for your records. You may not want to spend $25 to mail them but the question is do you want to try to fight them when they say you owe over $400 for two boxes they never received but you claimed you sent them and have no proof to prove your case, thus you and your credit lose.

In the book I wrote The Real World of Credit there is a specific chapter about this in detail but the main part you need to understand is documentation is king. You do not report to the credit bureaus the other companies do, they have your Social security number you do not have theirs thus you lose.

This is a monster system that you typically cannot win against. At the end of the day you signed a contract with them. Your claim they never told you there was a fee is wrong, they tell us all of that at the beginning when we sign up for their services we just forget. I tell everyone I have no clue what I had for dinner last Tuesday night so how am I supposed to remember what a service provider told me 9 months ago, correct?

So the moral of this story is SAVE YOUR PAPERWORK, receipts and any other papers you get when you terminate services with a cable provider or any other type of company. Even if you throw it in an old box if a problem arises worst case scenario is you have a box it’s in you just have to pour through it.

When you cancel/ end services and don’t get a receipt call them for one or log into your online account and print out a snapshot of what it says showing you have a zero balance, now you have some proof on your side for leverage.

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 http://waynethecreditguy.com/waynes-store

Credit Repair or No Credit Repair…..Are you a Candidate?

Credit Bureaus say credit repair doesn’t work and it’s all a scam, the Federal Trade Commission tells people (and so do the credit bureaus) that there is nothing they can do that you can’t do yourself.

BUT ISN’T THAT TRUE ABOUT EVERYTHING TODAY???

You can repair your own car yourself; fix your own plumbing or electric issues in your home. You can even represent yourself in court. So why this is not also called a scam?

Economics for one thing, the credit bureaus bring in approximately 11 billion according to a survey that came up in the last year or so. Most articles that you see on the internet are done by seasoned reporters who are good at their job but smart enough to need the expertise of a credit expert for some quotes. I have done many of these. When I first started I was excited and was ready to talk about the type of scams the credit bureaus pull but was told that can’t be mentioned.

When I asked why I was told it’s because the article is being sponsored (paid for) by one of the credit bureaus.

So that means most articles you see out there may be sponsored by the companies who sell your data. That is why you hear the phase “don’t believe everything you read on the internet”. Now its not like they are out there spreading tons of false information of course but understand when they say the main things like pay your bills on time and don’t overspend that is 100% excellent information.

Funny how they never mention much about if the companies that pay them illegally… sorry “make a mistake” on your credit report that hurts your credit score. I have looked at over 15,000 credit reports and never once have I seen a mistake that was in favor of the consumer.

Don’t real mistakes go both ways? At least some of the time?

So how to know if you’re a good candidate for credit repair. Our job is to provide a service, sometimes clients don’t want to bother with trying to figure it all out, others know they are in way over there head like I would feel when I lift the hood of my car.

Of course remember when you call companies to check them out going with your gut feeling helps but understand 98% of the time you are talking to a sales person who’s job is to make you feel comfortable with them and like them so you need to keep your eyes open on a few things first.

#1, after every question you ask after answering they say are you ready to get started?

#2, do they make it sound very easy and there are going to be no problems getting you fixed up. ALERT, unless the negative information is not your (ID THEFT or if you share same name as dad etc) IT’S NEVER EASY! This is one of the things that the warnings about credit companies are warranted.

#3, Do they make claims they can’t verify? For example, they are the number one rated or Industry leader in credit repair. ALERT: there are no surveys done on this, ask them who did the survey and watch them do the Michael Jackson moonwalk backsliding.

So those are just a few things to be on the lookout for, so now let’s talk about when it’s not worth wasting a single dollar of your hard earned money. I have had several people come to me wanting to fix their credit and after reviewing the credit report they would be a fool to pay me or anyone else for that service. They were just lucky they got one of the honest ones and I told them why and if they don’t believe me when calling others what to look out for.

UNDERSTAND the number one thing is if you recently stopped paying on your credit cards don’t expect to be able to pay someone to go in and fix that huge mess.

If the credit card is still open or just closed and your 90 days late and letting it go it will still keep reporting late payments until it’s charged off (180 days).

I have had many people come to me after they started to or stopped paying on all their credit cards or car payments and then ask me to help them as they want to buy a house. This I hate to say are people who are not living in reality and would not be a candidate for credit repair. Why would you expect a bank to loan you maybe 100-300k for a home when you can’t pay a $50 or $100 a month payment on time? It makes sense when you say it out loud but unfortunately very few people put thought into things or make the attempt to educate themselves on the subject matter of interest.

If you were investing in homes and put debt on credit cards and you had to let them all go, paying a credit repair company may not be a good option for you especially if they are large debts as at least in Texas (other states vary) you can be sued for 4 years after the charge off date.

So two main reasons why you may not be a credit repair candidate is brand new delinquent late payments or recent charge offs and very large credit card debts or car repossessions that put the difference of what is owed on your credit file.

Many times if there is a large amount of debt I suggest they talk to a bankruptcy attorney which of course I am not but after 11 years in this business I know enough to tell them the ramifications on any option out there that they have and tell them what I believe is best and point out future ramifications of the decisions they will make today.

When trying to find a credit repair company look for credentials, number one are they registered and bonded with the state they are doing business in?

NOW…. This is really not a credential it’s the law, that’s like an attorney bragging they passed the bar; you kind of have to do that.

Asking for referrals at first glance sounds great but a referral for credit repair is like a referral on a resume…. Do you really think they are going to give you a bad one?

So look for things they make claims to for things you can verify. Telling you they have 30 years of experience and finding out they are personal banker’s means absolutely nothing. So just be wary.

If the credit person you’re talking to tells you what will or should be easy, what will be more difficult or certain things they can guide you on but you have to do yourself that is the making of what sounds to be a good honest credit company who understands the credit bureau frustration tactics and demonstrates what sounds like the ability to help you.

Recording Phone calls for “Quality Assurance” they say?

One thing I am CONSTANTLY saying to clients and anyone I get into a financial discussion with is “no offense to customer service people but” they are the least trained employees of all companies and majority look at the position as it’s just a job.

So while I have to say there are MANY people in customer service positions who do an amazing job and are sweet and wonderful there are their polar opposites and those are the ones we tend to get when we have problems and are trying to handle the situation.

So let me break it down for you why I have that opinion as I have experienced it myself several times and you can hopefully follow my lead to what I did.

Let’s look at the hierarchy of a company. The top is the president or the CEO and you can’t pick up the phone and get them on the line with your problem. You also can’t just get the vice president or the national director or even the technical director as they are at the top of the food chain (so to speak). And their salaries are a lot more than $15 an hour that I guarantee you.

So as you go lower down the totem pole so to speak you get to customer service agents. Now again, no insults here but I have NEVER come across someone who has a career as a customer service agent. Many use the position as a stepping stone towards management or higher.

I have heard numerous stories of people saying they were never trained properly and NUMEROUS credit clients telling me they contact their electric or cable, paid the final bill and asked for the service to be turned off but it never was and then they get a call from a collection agencies months or years later but now the battle of how do you prove it kicks in.

Ever have them say the call is being recorded for “quality assurance purposes”? if you get to the point where you have to sue or at least threaten to sue its amazing how the recorded call they make has been scrubbed as they did not need it any longer so the proof of their employee either broke the law or didn’t do their job correctly or the proof of what they told you was on that tape is now gone along with your case.

I once called to help a client pay a bill and get the account removed and the rep on the phone told me she has been doing collections for over 20 years and was telling me negative items don’t fall off your credit they just move towards the back of the credit report because it gets older.

Now how many consumers have probably believed her as she did say this to me with a great deal of conviction until I started quoting laws and pointed out she is in need or serious retraining.

After I got her manager on the phone I stated of what she said and also said I recorded the phone call and the manager/supervisor did the Michael Jackson moonwalk faster than I ever saw. Of course agreed with me and then said she will speak with her and I said forget the conversation, if I was an attorney I would be getting ready to serve a 1st class lawsuit and shut your company down because it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this lady has been lying (intentionally or unintentionally) to consumers for possibly 10 of the 20 years she has been in the business and god only knows how many consumers she tricked into believing the crap she was spilling.

SO… the moral of this story, as we are in the cell phone age ALL cell phones have a app on it that can record. If not just download and app. Take the time to be in a room where you can put the call on speakerphone to record the call, then when talking about closing an account or switching services or speaking to a debt collection you let THEM KNOW you are recording the call for your quality assurance and they can’t do anything about it. It’s amazing how much more professional someone gets at their job when they know the call is being recorded. And then you can now save the call on your phone for future use IF you ever need it.

As with everything in our lives, ESPECIALLY financial issues you need to be proactive. Consider every move to be as if you had to go to court for the issue how could you prove your case?

Don’t be a sucker and let someone either damage your financial good name over a mistake on their end or take money out of your hard earner wallet.

Be proactive, protect yourself. Every agreement or contract you sign never is in your favor and if you don’t protect yourself you’re in trouble, let’s end this blog with a too real life example.

As a family you get a family cell phone plan with several lines for each family member. If you decide to cancel before the 2 year contract for any reason (EVEN POOR SERVICE and your provider only agrees to give you service NOT GOOD SERVICE).

So you’re mad at the service and switch, maybe to a company who is offering to pay the switching fees (good luck and limber up for hoop jumping). Well cancelling triggers the up to $300 early termination fee (FOR EACH LINE). So if you have 4 lines that’s a total of $1,200 just for the termination fee. That company that says they will pay for the switch? Find out what they need first and make sure it’s something your current carrier will or can provide you as I have heard many stories on this and problems…. Coming from …. You guessed it, the customer service department.

So if you record both calls for yourself and there is a problem you now have some ammunition on your side.

From this point technically getting an attorney involved would really help but with their fees it’s not worth it….. or is it? Email me and I can get you in touch with top level attorneys for basically free at they are top rated so contact me as literally every family needs to have the ability to speak to an attorney or have an attorney help you for the little problems to stop them from becoming monster problems.

Who is the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau?

Who is the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau?

This governmental oversight division was created from the creation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act & Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

What do they do?

Their core responsibility is to try to educate the consumers of America to help prevent abuse as an educated consumer will be taken advantage of a lot less than an uneducated consumer who will fall prey to tactics they do not know either cannot be done or are illegal.

They also try to analyze available data to better understand the challenges that consumers are going through as well as utilizing that data for the following final responsibility.

Enforcement of the laws and lenders that are blatantly taking advantage of consumers.

Typically when you hear the enforcement aspect of something like this you roll your eyes.

HOWEVER…

While they obviously have an uphill battle they are taking giant steps while doing so. They have taken steps towards attacking debt collection companies which are one of the number one complaints by consumers as well as lenders in the banking industry.

They have also made it very easy to help you let them know what is going on if you are being taken advantage of or jerked around.

Simply go to: www.consumerfinance.gov and on the right side in green there is a “SUBMIT A COMPLAINT” and the layout to submit the complaint and tell they what happen to you in a very easy layout.

Now the reality is all of this of course takes time but they are what I deem as aggressively going after lenders and collection companies and they truly want to stop these companies from basically screwing over consumers.

As I always say, knowledge is power and the educated consumer is a powerful consumer as there are so many things (too many to list) that companies to and lie to consumers and all the scam artists out there that people get taken advantage of daily.

This can be quite possibly one of the best things our government has done if it keeps up this pace to help protect consumers.

BUT…. As with everything they need your help! If you see something that doesn’t seem right or legal or you know is illegal, go to their website and file a complaint!