We all know that good customer service is almost non-existent today, a mere fantasy. It only exists in stories or old movies and fantastic commercial marketing. We seen the case of fraudulent foreclosure practices on the news and last year a news report on even a congresswoman could not get a hold of “Mortgage Company” for her constituent. Now since loosing my job, I spent over six months other than searching for work but contacting the credit card companies and the credit card insurance that I invested in. I even went to myficoscore.com and keyed in backdoor numbers some of which had been canceled and gave you an alternate number. Here is the play back: the whole press this number or please say the name and it gives you the wrong department or please hold and an operator will get back to you the dial tone. If you do get some one it is a customer service agent in India with such a heavy accent you can barely make out English and they can’t help you as they are only authorized to take information and nothing more. I have become an expert now to recognize Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati and Manipuri accents. Linguistics was never a major and don’t get me started on the light adult contemporary elevator music or eighties music I use to like Boy George but now ugh!
If I do get an English-speaking customer service representative they sound clueless not understanding I lost my job and trying to negotiate a new payment arrangement or access payment insurance. No, they ask me you can make a payment today with us over the phone and get your account up to date. Well, here is why I use to work as a telemarketer and know a dirty little secret. The business of customer service is to push the customer first and foremost to pay-up before offering services. I know this cause as a past customer service representative/Telesales/Collections they offer commission as encouragement. The business doesn’t take the hit but the CSR will take full accountability for this act and will block you for the benefit of the debtor before you can access decent or rightful service. This commission practice works cause everyone wants a padded paycheck. Customer service reps are willing to take the risk even it might be their last paycheck! The main reason this is such a high turnover industry to work in I seen so many do it for the debtor employer and they push this practice hard even offering quota bonuses. I have acquired a good comparison knowledge of certain let say signs that company is bad at providing quality customer service the heavier the commercials and marketing key monikers: service, valued friend, trust, there for you and all those phrases you can depend on us RUN!
They have to counteract all the consumer complaint blog sites with personal account postings or reports to consumer advocates in media. If you see these happy feel good words on there marketing check the consumer postings first that is the best key evidence to what I’m telling you here. Ask for help from federal government good luck. The past thirty years they have passed more laws to eliminate consumer protection for the ones they supposed added. It’s harder now filing for bankruptcy, you now longer get canceled check the burden of proof and there is eminent domain. Not all savings are protected either in some states: debt collectors can come after retirement savings and government agencies deny unemployment benefits till you exercise some use of those savings first.
I discovered credit card holder dies such as a family member and self serve as administrator of estate to close out an account of an insolvent estate instead of negotiate a settlement they can legally do the following: Jack up the interest rate as high as 42% or 58% and sic a collection agency to harass all members of the deceased family. See the account holder is dead no way to notify them that they are increasing the account a great loophole it is take the kids inheritance not thinking the deceased was insolvent (gross in debt no assets). The worst scenario attach the debt to spouse or acting administrators personal finances even the decease’s children, in some states they are permitted to come after the home or personal property even it only partially owned by the deceased.
The mortgage companies have more rules but there plenty of loop holes here too. Try dealing with their customer service agent is more complex and the means to get adjustments utilize any is just as bad as the credit card company. Big hint if in foreclosure and you don’t have me as a relative state these words “Ask about a relocation plan!” In a foreclosure they can take your house in under two weeks this is a request to move out the house gives you four to twelve weeks to do so pending their policy. Please ask though it is an assistance program to move out and is required by law as an option in some states they don’t have to tell you about it you have to ask for it to waive more time this also takes time to apply as once requested you have to fill out paperwork have them mail it to you it helps.
What I have done is let my personal credit cards go to cancellation and to debt collectors once this is done it freezes the account to the closing no more interest fees. Look I know what you are thinking ones credit score is important it’s your biggest asset, wrong your credit is their biggest asset for their profit margin. I only acquired credit cards and a loan for my family’s financial chaos. Unfortunately, I have played the role of human bailout person. I’ve taken care of State and Federal back taxes going back to 2004 and a house in foreclosure process during the week of the funeral. It was no picnic.
The debt during the worst of death and taxes three years ago: personal debt to waive foreclosure and funeral expenses $25,000, Mortgage $227,000, Equity $8,700, State tax $2,800 and Federal Tax $4,700. I took out a personal debt to close out most of the problems today it’s: personal $5,000, Mortgage $108,000, Equity $0, State tax $0 and federal tax $0. I’m a cash person as; two cars paid cash, had multiple CD’s and retirement savings wipe out to expel the needs of family financial havoc. The fact on paper I don’t have a mortgage but have paid for it from the beginning for family, I did not have a business but subsidized 80% of it all to keep things flowing and supported a family that should be my deduction but never took the head of household status. I also subsidized a sibling’s education without deduction 6yrs graduating December this year with $17,000 in student debt and car loan free this month. If I get a job soon I look forward to wipe out the personal in about 3 to 6 months and the mortgage in 3 to 6 years. Mind you this is a 30-year mortgage that was made in 2001 at the sum of $250,000 dollars with equity line of $12,000 so total in 2001 was $262,000.
The jobs that paid this I was a retail cashier at a full-time job and a part-time job well I did more than cashiering some full retail management, foodservices and catering actually but yes I did this with only an associates degree in accounting some real strategy in finance on a $24,000 a year income and 1/3 in a years salary in savings. There are financial strategy options if you have a job even at $10,000 per year for two years but it is a grueling beast to follow, so strict it can make a homeless man cry. Which I have done, under unemployment ten years ago fighting: two education loans (mine & sibling), three medical debts (my kidney disease, mother cancer not once but twice and fathers diabetes with foot ulcer and laser eye surgery) and foreclosure. If drowning in debt student loans, mortgage, credit cards and etc don’t panic. Even the most beloved President of the United States “Abraham Lincoln” filed for bankruptcy and had several business failings. Why I mention honest Abe well you have to shave the beard off a Lincoln penny. It’s just a phase and just focus on prioritizing and planning. I’ve been this route so many times at the hands of family. The key living a minimalist life style only the bare bone basics, I can live off $150 per month honest or $5.00 per day it can be done. But with children expect $15 per day per person and more if there are medical issues at hand.
Here are the best clues: Lower all utilities the lowest $15 per month for phone as an example. Gardening I achieved $4,000 in crop rotation on 12 X 16 lot only cost $16 to do. The free route libraries: Internet, DVD’s, books, magazines and newspapers. Attend local free events, public parks for your entertainment. Looking for a vacation go camping/fishing or camping/hunting the cost $55 per night but return with $260 to $500 in protein. If you don’t hunt or fish then picnic or camp in a park runs $15 max per day if you ruff it. Fashion appeal I browse thrift stores, consignment shops or sew, knit and crochet. Don’t under estimate yard or estate sales for clothing, household goods and gifts. Make you gifts bake, crafts or build custom baskets from items purchased at discount stores.
Dining out hit the web sites for the restaurant club programs for freebies I get over $1,000 in free dinning per year. Don’t forget doggie bags as soon as you get your order then you have lunch for work. Grocery here is a hint you can make money here and it is not taxable it takes skill to have $400 worth and the cashier pays a return of $48 in change from coupons and rebates. Food well go simple eliminate the junk food does more than healthy it reduces heath and life insurance cost. Even tougher sorry the beer, wine and spirits are not on the budget this includes tobacco. This financial food diet got me off medications $120 per month. Dine smarter for more savings grill and out on freebies in spring to summer and cook more frequently in fall and winter for energy savings to the home. Think about it cooking heats the home in cooler months and eating out keeps it cooler in warmer months.
Drop the gym by using less gas: manual push mower, bicycle and walking reduces mileage on vehicle that you can request a lower insurance rate. The house try do it yourself as much as possible there are free workshops at Home Depot. Keep the home, car, appliances and etc maintained is crucial as repairs cost more money. Go, green it works well reducing energy costs and eliminate some commercial cleaners for green alternatives or homemade will save you thousand per year to stay in your home.
Hunt for freebies they exist everywhere free tax filing, free garden seeds, book swaps, food fair sampling, and free vacations for work like grounds keeping at a historic landmark for boarding. The department of interior waves cabin fees for some national parks for helping maintain hiking trails. There is even free or low cost education, sports and hobbies that offer more savings in community centers across the country. Volunteer training others and get discounts to other educational or recreational activities some include: cooking, sewing, computers, finance, auto maintenance, golf, tennis, martial arts, self-defense, first aid and art classes. You can even do house swaps just make sure you do a background check or you do give to charity. Imagine renting your home for a $600 to $1200 per week and vacation a week camping for $200 or $400. Do take advantage of no purchase sweepstakes, recipe contest, and free samples. There are over 78 writing sites and growing for money not to mention blogs or writing contests.
I fear not the bill collector just the stupidity they will keep me from work as most will try to harass potential employers from wanting to hire me. A hint for employers don’t drop good workers you can state to bill collectors: :It is against the law to harass and inform others personal finances and calls impede business request a cease and desist order or offer to report to FCC (Federal Communication Commission) on phone harassment abuse is a Federal Offense.” It stops them cold even if they call months after you’ve let go of that employee in collections.
This also works dealing with collectors yourself contacting them directly and ask for an address to mail a letter that you send certified for cease and desist it can’t be a P.O. Box failure for a street or business address report to the FCC make the business collections communication via mail. This reduces threats and verbal abuses or contacting which is illegal neighbors or places of work. Business by letter is less stressful on your part and can free you to focus on getting out of debt instead of panic. I’m confident with employment income soon debt will disappear fast and it’s my specialty as taken on family members burdens personally. So, let the financial institutions stiff me all that money I paid into payment protection. What comes around will go around when financially paid in full I will stiff those fair weather friends of business it’s only fair! As I don’t plan to own a credit card, loan or mortgage in the future again as I never use it for myself not once.
The real secret to pay off so much with so little: Stop buying into mass marketing of what your ideal lifestyle should be having this and that others dictate. Start living, as you own your life with less invested in others and you have more for yourself later free from the debt dictator. If you don’t understand that concept remember you allow your debt or allow others encourage you to accept debt. I hope these ideas help you cause unfortunately they don’t help debtors one bit, wish you all success and hang in there as I’m in that boat now and have dipped in and out the sea of drowning debt many times it is just a phase in life that will pass. I learned as the family’s bailout program, I placed myself in havoc and paid it off to do it all over again! I have placed the ultimatum at nearing forty, retirement is approaching and I can’t wait for a retribution of past effort nor participate in future financial issues again with family. I’m just “DONE” living their life for them!