Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Help Me Howard: Debt Relief
This may be you, in debt and needing a way out. It's why many people hire debt relief or management companies, and its why so many wind up feeling ripped off. Its also why one man called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Jason Bandy: "Just to be able to smile to a student that day and you know, maybe that's the only time an adult is going to smile at them in a day."
Jason is being paid now but while in college he couldn't find work. And so like many college students he went into debt, $37,000 dollars in debt.
Jason Bandy: "And living off a couple of credit cards so I can finish school and get a job."
After graduating and getting a job he started repaying those credit cards religiously. Then decided to pay a debt management company $300 a year to speed up his repayment plan.
Jason Bandy: "And I wanted to put all payments into one and to see if they can give me a lower rate or a lower payment."
For seven months Jason sent the debt management company $830 each month over $5,800 to pay off his four credit cards.
Jason Bandy: "They weren't paying the credit cards like they said they would. One card didn't get a single payment and the other three only got paid every couple two or three months."
Jason found out his credit cards weren't being paid from the credit card companies.
Jason Bandy: "I had credit card companies call me all the time and I would tell them over and over, I'm paying another company."
Jason contacted the debt relief company they first told him be patient.
Jason Bandy: "To give it a little bit of time, a month, two or three for things to settle in place."
When his credit cards still weren't being paid, they played the excuse game.
Jason Bandy: "Such as this computer had a virus."
Finally, Jason had enough and stopped using them.
Jason Bandy: "I think its terrible that a company can exist to take people money and then not do what their suppose to do with it."
Jason estimates the debt relief company now has $2,200 dollars of the money he sent them to pay his credit card debt down. And he says not only have they taken his money, they have ruined his credit score which was 700 when he started with them.
Jason Bandy: "After all my cards were delinquent for months it dropped it down to 500."
Jason hired the company to get him out of debt instead he says, they dug a deeper hole for him.
Jason Bandy: "Devastated, frustrated and upset."
Well Howard, legally what can Jason do?
Howard Finkelstein: "Since the company failed to pay the creditors within 30 days its a breach of contract. Legally, Jason is entitled to get back any fees he paid the debt company, any money the company didn't turn over to the creditors, plus any costs Jason incurred in trying to get them to do what he paid them to do."
When we called the owner of debt relief company he told us not only did he not owe Jason any money, he repaid him too much. He did agree to meet with Jason. Who showed proof of what his credit card companies had been paid. Showing the debt management company still owed Jason the $2,200. The company owner disputed that and said he owed Jason $415 and gave him a check.
Jason says he is still owed nearly $1,800 from the debt management company and he wants it.
Howard Finkelstein: "Jason's best avenue is to file in small claims court and a judge will make sure Jason gets back all the money he is owed. And if Jason wants to hire an attorney, if he wins, the judge will make the debt relief company pay the legal fees."
Jason will probably take the company to court and in the meantime has found a reliable trustworthy person to handle his debt management, himself.
Jason Bandy: "I was paying them fine before I will just go paying them by myself again, but now I have this big mess to clean up because I'm behind in all of them."
Patrick Fraser: "Now the Federal Trade Commission says beware of debt consolidation companies making promises to reduce the amount of money you owe. In some cases they are scams and you wind up in worse shape. Bottom line, do research about the company before you pay them. Or like Jason is doing now, be disciplined enough to pay your creditors a certain amount each month to get yourself debt free."
Problems piling up into a mountain of a mess? Need some relief? Contact us, you wont be in debted to us instead it may pay off for you.