Credit Repair /  Debt Solutions / Business Credit & Funding

Stop Debt Collectors From Calling.

I will preface the following information by being perfectly clear that I am NOT providing legal advice.  A consumer does not need to retain legal services in order to handle many debt collection issues.  With that said, if you are facing legal action, you need to retain legal assistance.  That means, hire an attorney that specializes in this area of law.

Need help with dealing with debt collectors calling?  Have you lost your job?  Laid off? Medical issues? Divorce?  There are many reasons why someone may not be able to pay all of their bills.  Once a bill hasn’t been paid it may be turned over to a third-party debt collector.  When this happens, it helps to know how to handle the situation.

debt collectors

Debt collectors calling?

Okay!  Let’s get equipped.  You need a notepad, pen and keep it with you at all times.  I suggest that you record your calls just so you can review the call for complete notes.  If you want to use the recording for a lawsuit be sure and check the laws for One Party State or Two Party State for recording calls.  Check for apps available to install on your cell phone.  Droid has a free one, RECORD MY CALL.  This begins recording as soon as the call is activated.  Now that you are ready for the calls, answer them.

1.  STOPPING THE CALLS.  Answer the phone.  Ask the person on the other end of the line for their name, name of their company, their mailing address for disputes and their phone number; making notes of all that is said.  Now that you have this information write a letter to the company telling them not to call you and if you have ever given them permission to call you, you revoke it now.   Dispute the debt and ask for validation. I personally do not recommend sending a Cease and Desist letter. I recommend stopping the calls and receiving the mail.  Mail it certified mail return receipt and be sure and keep accurate records and do not lose this documentation.  Save a copy of the letter and on each certified mail receipt in a safe place.  Once they have received the letter it is a violation for them to continue to call your phone.  They can however, contact you again to inform you that they plan to take specific action against you, such as a lawsuit.  In my opinion, I would welcome that call so that you would possibly have an opportunity to work out suitable payment arrangements before a suit is filed.

Please note:  A Cease and Desist letter or a letter demanding that they no longer call you, does not make the debt go away if you actually owe it.

Now that the letters are mailed and received be sure and answer your calls documenting any voicemail or answered calls.  Many times debt collectors will continue to call even after they legally are not supposed to.  When this happens you may have legal grounds for a lawsuit against them.  There are attorneys that specialize in these cases on a Pro-Bono.

The FDCPA states that every time a collector contacts a debtor they must disclose who they are and what they are calling about. It helps keep collectors from being deceptive or misleading. This is known as the Mini-Miranda and generally goes as follows:
“THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT AND ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE. THIS IS A COMMUNICATION FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR”

Information to keep in mind.  A debt collector can not legally:

  1. Call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm.
  2. Harass you with excessive phone calls.  Document with phone records.
  3. Receive phone calls at work, AFTER you have informed them not to call you there.
  4. Pretend to be an attorney, law firm or government agency.
  5. Inform others of your debt without expressed permission from you.
  6. Attempt to collect a debt from you that is not yours.
  7. Attempt to collect a debt that you have previously been sued for.
  8. Threaten to have you arrested.  Tell you there has been a warrant sworn out for your arrest, especially when they haven’t.  I see this with unpaid internet loans.  These companies regularly do this and it’s against the law.
  9. Call you at a time or place that you have informed them is not convenient.

There are many things that debt collectors do that is not legal.  If you find that you are in this situation please call us for help.  There are many things that we can help you with, and when needed, you may need the assistance of an attorney.  Call us today at 205-352-3448.

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Consolidate gift cards with small balances to one card!

Those gift cards!  You received a few for Christmas, then your birthday and you aren’t sure where the others came from. You used them to make various purchases and  and found that you now have gift cards with a few dollars left on them?  Forget to use them or maybe you aren’t sure how much is left on the card?  You may be thinking that you will eventually use them but the amount is so small.  Well there may be a solution to this problem so you can make sure those balances don’t go to waste,  This solution really only works on gift cards with a credit card logo on them such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express.  Basically any card you can use at ANY store.

Consolidate gift cards into one card.

Consolidate gift cards into one card.

Note: You may have to REGISTER the card with the bank in order to use it, especially with American Express. So if the transaction doesn’t go through, you may have to call the issuing service and assign your name, address and phone number to the card. Make 100% sure they match your Amazon account.

  • Step 1: Gather all your old gift cards that still have small balances on them.  Get them all!
  • Step 2: If you don’t already have a Amazon account, sign up for a shopping cart.
  • Step 3: Go to the gift cards page on Amazon.com and select and email gift card.
  • Step 4: Grab one of your gift cards and call the # on the card (or use the web) to check the balance left on the card.
  • Step 5: Enter the amount left on the card into the box labelled “amount” in the Amazon E-mail gift card details box (.50 cents is the least amount it will take).
  • Step 6: Enter one of your own email addresses in the recipient email box.
  • Step 7: Click ‘add to order’ on the lower right.
    • Step 8: Click ‘proceed to checkout’ on the right side.
    • Step 9: Sign into your account when prompted.
    • Step 10: Under “more payment options“, select Add a Card and enter the card number, name and the expiration date for the gift card you just checked the balance of and click ‘continue.’
    • Step 11: Double check all the info and click ‘Place your order.’
    • Step 12: Wait for email with gift card claim code and copy the code to your computer clipboard.
    • Step 13: Go back to Amazon.com and then select ‘your account’ on the menu at the top.
    • Step 14: In the second area under ‘Gift Cards‘ select ‘apply a gift card to your account‘ and paste your claim code into the box and click ‘apply to your account.’
    • Step 15: Repeat steps 3-14 for each of the gift cards you collected that have small balances on them.

Now that you have all of these cards registered on Amazon you can now use the card to purchase at one place.  Once you receive the email from Amazon.com with your gift card claim code, throw away those old gift cards immediately.

While this may seem complicated, it’s really very easy.

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What is a Good Credit Score?

Most credit scores operate within the range of 301 to 850. Within that range, there are different categories, from bad to excellent.

  • Excellent Credit: 781 – 850
  • Good Credit: 661-780
  • Fair Credit: 601-660
  • Poor Credit: 501-600
  • Bad Credit: below 500

But even these aren’t set in stone. That’s because lenders all have their own definitions of what is a good credit score. One lender that is looking to approve more borrowers might approve applicants with credit scores of 680 or higher. Another might be more selective and only approve those with scores of 750 or higher. Or both lenders might offer credit to anyone with a score of at least 650, but charge consumers with scores below 700 a higher interest rate!

The Credit Score Range Scale

There are many different credit scores available to lenders, and they each develop their own credit score range. Why is that important? Because if you get your credit score, you need to know the credit score range you are looking at so you understand where your number fits in.

The Credit Score Range Using Various Scoring Models:

  • FICO Score range: 300-850
  • VantageScore 3.0 range: 300–850
  • VantageScore scale (versions 1.0 and 2.0): 501–990
  • PLUS Score: 330-830
  • TransRisk Score: 100-900
  • Equifax Credit Score: 280–850

With all of the scores listed above, the higher the number the lower the risk. That means consumers with higher scores are more likely to get approved for credit, and to get the best interest rates when they do. And they are more likely to get discounts on insurance. What is considered a “high” score depends on what type of score is being used.

If your FICO score is 840, for example, you’re just 10 points shy of the highest score possible and your credit is “superprime.” But if you have an 840 VantageScore (using version 2.0), it’s not as spectacular because you’re 150 points away from the highest possible score.

What’s Your Score?

Don’t assume your score is good (or isn’t) just because you have always paid your bills on time (or haven’t.) The only way to know whether you have a good credit score is to check. Get your credit monitoring today.

How Are Credit Scores Generated?

Credit scores compare factors like payment history, debt levels and the age of credit accounts to figure out what consumers who pay their bills on time have in common. The goal is to predict how new and existing customers will handle credit.

Ultimately then, a credit score summarizes the information in your credit report, which makes it easier and faster for a lender to process a loan application and make a determination as to how likely you are to pay back the loan in question.

The Benefits of a Good Credit Score

A good credit score will help you borrow money for a car or home, or open a credit card with a comparatively lower interest rate. That means you will pay less over time for the money.

Consider this: if you’re buying a $300,000 house with a 30 year fixed mortgage, and you have bad credit, then you could end up paying more than $90,000 more for that house over the life of the loan than if you had good credit.

So, in the end, it really pays to understand your credit scores and to make them as strong as possible.

Article by: Gerri Detweiler  Credit.com

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Know Your Rights When Shopping for Credit

Ready to purchase a car or mortgage?  Shopping around for a great rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan, not to mention that some banks charge application fees where credit unions usually to never charge extra fees.  Credit unions can be a great source of lower interest rates and easier qualifications for getting the loan.

When shopping for great rates and services ask as many questions as possible before having your credit reports pulled.  These are considered “hard” pulls and will lower your FICO scores.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects you when dealing with obtaining new credit with anyone who regularly offers credit.  This includes banks, finance companies, stores, credit card companies and credit unions.  When you apply for new credit, a creditor may NOT:

Credit rights

Applying for credit?  Know your rights.

1.  Ask about your marital status or your spouse, unless you are applying for a joint account or relying on your spouse’s income, or you live in a community property state.  ( Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin)

2.  Ask you if you plan to have children or if you plan to raise children.

3.  Ask about or consider your race, sex, religion or national origin.

4.  Refuse to consider public assistance income or regularly received alimony or  child support as income.

5.  Refuse to consider income because of our sex or marital status or because it is from part-time work or retirement benefits.

You have the right to:
1.  Have credit in your first name, birth name,and your spouse/ partner’s last name, or your first name and a combined last name.

2.  If a co-signer is necessary, it can be someone other than your spouse.

3.  After you change your name you can keep your own accounts or marital status or retire, unless the creditor has evidence you are unable or unwilling to pay.

4.  Know why a credit application was rejected.  The creditor must give you the specific reasons or tell you where and how you can get them if you ask within 60 days.  Once you receive the letter from the creditor, the letter usually will inform you of your FICO credit score and give you reasons why you were turned down.  The letter will also state which credit reporting agency the creditor requested your credit reports.  You have the right to contact that credit reporting agency and request a copy of your complete credit report so that you can review it for any inaccuracies.

5.  You have the right to have accounts shared with your spouse reported in both your names.

6.  You have the right to know how much it will cost to borrow money.

7.  YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A FREE ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT .   You can request these once every 12 months.  When denied credit you are entitled to an additional, free, credit report from the credit reporting agency that the creditor requested your credit report.

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