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Obnoxious Bill Collectors


Tabula Rasa
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So, I just got off the phone with a rep from one certain credit card company, and I'm a bit steamed. Ok, I know I'm about 70 bucks over the limit and I'm past due, but good grief. I had called them yesterday and said I'd send them the full amount, on Friday. I told the rep this. She wanted to set me up with a withdrawal from my bank account to get the account current. I was ok with it, but I sleep during the day, and I'd just laid down two hours ago. I told her I'd just woken up and in an attempt to placate her, told her I'd call them back tomorrow and set a direct deposit to them. Even with that seeming to be enough, it wasn't without a little more chatter from her before I could hang up.

 

On to annoying call center employee two: I was also behind on this account too but I'd paid them about a third of the full past due amount about a week ago. I told them at the time that I'd be able to pay about half of the remaining amount this coming Friday when I stopped on the way to work at one of their stores. I got a call about this on Monday, and they want to know if there's anyway I can go ahead and pay part of the remaining amount then. Then, in my opinion, is when it got obnoxious. The asked me if I could borrow money from my parents, any friends, if I could get it from savings or a 401K . :vent: :vent: :vent: :vent: :vent: :vent: :vent: :vent:

 

Ok, now I know that I need to keep my payments on time, and the only work some people can find is as bill collectors, but son of a bitch, these two I dealt with were obnoxious.(The worst was another one who ended all her sentences with Right?)

 

Should I complain to their managers? I'm pissed off, but I know that the economy's still in the toilet, and as obnoxious as those two were, I don't want to risk them get fired.

 

Another question: the second company had offered to set me up on a fixed , low interest payment plan for 12 months that'd come directly out of my bank account to help me with my account, but the downside is, it'd close the account. I'm thinking of taking them up on it, but I'm a little wary, and am wary of the first mentioned company wanting to take a one time deposit from my account.

 

Last question:Whether or not I go with the second companies payment plan, I'm seriously thinking of closing my account because my interest is 29 percent, and I'm tired of having to pay so much, and it taking so long to pay them off, even when I'm on time with payments. The reason I'm hesitant, is because I have a credit line of $ 2,800 dollars, and I've had the account since 1989.

 

Do you think I should cancel the account?

 

Looking forward to any advice you guys have,

Tab

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Don't bother complaining to their managers. They won't care. The employees are doing their jobs and part of that job is to make you uncomfortable enough to want to get them out of your life by giving them the money back.

 

If the direct withdrawal method is going to be through your original credit card holder and not a debt collection agency, it might be fine. Personally, if you can't pay off the balance of the $2,800 card in 3-4 months... I support closing it entirely. With that interest rate, you're paying almost $1,000 a year in interest (if it is the account you are also maxed out on). You can't afford that. My understanding of such plans is that they drop your interest rate significantly (to around the 10% mark in many cases... sometimes even lower). If it went to 10%, you would pay about $250 a month towards the balance for the next year. You would pay less in interest over that year than would accumulate in a couple months at the old rate. And you'd be done with that card at the end of it.

 

Things are even better if the balance is lower. But the lower the balance gets, the more likely you become able to pay it off in 1-2 months and keep the account. Still, considering the spot you're in... closing the account is probably good.

 

The only real reason you'd want to keep this account was to help your credit score, since it is an old account. But your score is probably shot right now anyway because of the late payments. Closing the old account won't hurt much at all. It certainly isn't a reason to keep it open. And you shouldn't be planning on keeping it open in the hopes of using it. Once it is paid off, the company could close it anyway and you'd still end up with no account but have paid a lot more in the end.

 

I know you want to be responsible here and talk to these scum. But when they call to ask you to borrow money to pay them, just tell them no and hang up. And don't answer or stay on the line again until your next agreed upon time (Friday in this case).

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Oh, and don't ever agree to direct withdrawals if you're already dealing with 3rd party debt collectors. Those people are shady and can and will often take the full amount owed and not what they agreed to take.

 

Also, if you close the credit card and go on a payment plan... before you agree to that, find out the new interest rate and the monthly payment amount. Make sure you really honestly can make that payment amount before you agree to it. It would be insane to agree to the monthly payment plan and then realize two months later that the $250 monthly payment is just unmanageable. If you know that up front, they can often extend the payments out for another year or longer.

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I think it's good advice not to agree to any automatic withdrawals. I would also agree that complaining won't do any good. They are doing what they are trained to do. Finally, if you feel you cannot make the payments or that they are an unreasonable burden, consider going to a credit counselor. They are usually free and usually advertise their services on tv (used to be anyway) and they will create a payment plan for you, give you great advice and will negotiate with your creditors for you. I used them when I was younger and they really saved me a world of pain by getting me out of debt and helping me avoid it in the future.

 

And yes, get rid of the damn card. You never need to be making 29% interest payments to anyone. They are loan sharks and you are the bloody surfer getting mauled. If you make minimum payments at that rate, you will never pay back your debt, or it will take you many years and you will end up paying many times your principal.

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Thanks for the advice Fallenleaf and Vigile! Vig, they're actually being fairly reasonable in regard to the automatic payment plan they suggested. I'd pay $40 a month with only 3 % interest for a year, which would help me get back on track. I'll probably get rid of the card once I pay them off in full.

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Another question: the second company had offered to set me up on a fixed , low interest payment plan for 12 months that'd come directly out of my bank account to help me with my account, but the downside is, it'd close the account. I'm thinking of taking them up on it, but I'm a little wary, and am wary of the first mentioned company wanting to take a one time deposit from my account.

 

Last question:Whether or not I go with the second companies payment plan, I'm seriously thinking of closing my account because my interest is 29 percent, and I'm tired of having to pay so much, and it taking so long to pay them off, even when I'm on time with payments. The reason I'm hesitant, is because I have a credit line of $ 2,800 dollars, and I've had the account since 1989.

Even if you close the account you're on the hook for the money at whatever rate(s). You just can't rack up any more debt with that card (which looks like it would be a good thing at this point). If you call to close the card the customer retention people, when they ask why you're leaving, may not notice the issue with collections and, if you don't bring it up but just mention you are having income problems and can't keep up with the whole thing and would rather do without, they could offer you a nice deal to stay with them (a short term low-interest payment plan or something). This worked for me in the past.

 

But the reality is you can't manage your current credit line of $2,800 so why kill yourself trying to hang onto it? It's a noose around your neck that's just getting tighter and tighter. Pretty soon the floor is going to drop. You won't have your card since they'll take it. Your credit rating is likely screwed already. And you're going deeper and deeper into real debt servicing this imaginary $2,800. I imagine you're actually in way deeper than this with all your credit. Credit is a wonderful thing. It allows you to get things that you can't otherwise get in a convenient way but it's got to be managed meticulously or it will ruin you. Your credit is ruining you. Get rid of it and consider this an expensive lesson that you can't learn in school. Pay your debts and try to start over if/when you're ready.

 

mwc

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I think it's good advice not to agree to any automatic withdrawals. I would also agree that complaining won't do any good. They are doing what they are trained to do. Finally, if you feel you cannot make the payments or that they are an unreasonable burden, consider going to a credit counselor. They are usually free and usually advertise their services on tv (used to be anyway) and they will create a payment plan for you, give you great advice and will negotiate with your creditors for you. I used them when I was younger and they really saved me a world of pain by getting me out of debt and helping me avoid it in the future.

 

And yes, get rid of the damn card. You never need to be making 29% interest payments to anyone. They are loan sharks and you are the bloody surfer getting mauled. If you make minimum payments at that rate, you will never pay back your debt, or it will take you many years and you will end up paying many times your principal.

I would have to agree with everything here except the credit counselor's. They're hard to find. Good ones at least. They've changed the rules and most of the services are so screwed up you'd probably be better tossing your money down a hole. It's a real shame because your experience is spot-on for how they used to perform. A quick look around the net (I shopped for these myself after the rules changed) will show how these once helpful services have changed in recent years. They still perform the same services you mention but they frequently fail to negotiate better terms and they fail to pass-on the payments they collect onto the creditors leaving people in a worse condition than when they started. It seems many of them are no longer truly consumer advocates but lazy middle-men.

 

I would think there are still some gems out there but I wouldn't know how to tell them apart.

 

mwc

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Yeah, those folks are definitely doing their jobs. Complaining may get them a raise!

 

I have never done automatic payments to a credit card, but I recommend cutting up all credit cards pronto and closing each one out as soon as they are paid.

 

Cash is king, Tabbles!

 

Phanta

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They're hard to find. Good ones at least. They've changed the rules and most of the services are so screwed up you'd probably be better tossing your money down a hole.

 

Good to know. I won't be recommending this again in the future then. It's been over 20 years since I used one. They helped me pay off my debt in a year and I watched them cut up my cards. It was such a pain in the ass to pay it all off that I haven't used credit debt since. If we use our card today, we pay it off before the end of the month to avoid interest.

 

Really, the only good debt IMO is debt that earns you money. If you buy a house and earn equity in excess of the interest you earn, that's a good use of credit IMO. Likewise, if you can produce a good ROI on business debt then borrow all you can. Cars, clothes, vacations and all other things that are essentially wasting products are just bad products to go into debt over. You end up paying the bank for your livelihood when you could be paying yourself instead by investing and earning your own interest. Bankers figured this out eons ago, which is why they have all the money today.

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Another question: the second company had offered to set me up on a fixed , low interest payment plan for 12 months that'd come directly out of my bank account to help me with my account, but the downside is, it'd close the account. I'm thinking of taking them up on it, but I'm a little wary, and am wary of the first mentioned company wanting to take a one time deposit from my account.

 

Last question:Whether or not I go with the second companies payment plan, I'm seriously thinking of closing my account because my interest is 29 percent, and I'm tired of having to pay so much, and it taking so long to pay them off, even when I'm on time with payments. The reason I'm hesitant, is because I have a credit line of $ 2,800 dollars, and I've had the account since 1989.

Even if you close the account you're on the hook for the money at whatever rate(s).

 

mwc

 

I plan to close the account after it's completely paid off.

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I plan to close the account after it's completely paid off.

Why wait? It's clearly a problem now. By then it won't be and you should have learned to manage and maintain credit. Do I have to guess that you've grown dependent on it in the way you do your finances and that's why you're putting it off? It's okay if you do since you wouldn't be the first here to do that. Just know that it's usually best to just rip it off quick like a band-aid.

 

mwc

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I plan to close the account after it's completely paid off.

Why wait? It's clearly a problem now. By then it won't be and you should have learned to manage and maintain credit. Do I have to guess that you've grown dependent on it in the way you do your finances and that's why you're putting it off? It's okay if you do since you wouldn't be the first here to do that. Just know that it's usually best to just rip it off quick like a band-aid.

 

mwc

 

Can you close an account that isn't paid up?

 

You can cut the card up into little pieces...

 

Phanta

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Can you close an account that isn't paid up?

 

You can cut the card up into little pieces...

I have in the past. I don't know if this varies by card issuer (differing agreements and whatnot) but I wouldn't think so. I did a quickie search and it seems you still can.

 

From creditcards.com (not because I consider them experts but because it's fairly concise and seems to agree with the others):

Cancel credit card accounts with current balances that you want to pay off and no longer use. If don't want to use a credit card anymore, you can close the account and then concentrate on paying off the balance. This strategy keeps you from spending more on that account and lowers your amount of available debt when applying for a loan.

If anything the willingness to just walk away might allow for a better negotiation for rates/payments than what they're currently offering when they believe they hold all the cards.

 

mwc

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Neat. I learned something new.

 

I guess sometimes you can settle with them for a lump sum, too.

 

P

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