Monday, July 19, 2010

A Little Story..

I saw this via WC Varones...... CountryWide (US) trying to auction a home that they no longer carried the mortgage for

How scary for that couple. My only question to them would have been, instead of calling the sherrif's office and waiting for a return call, why didn't they take the notice along with all their title and mortgage papers TO the office itself. But it has since been rectified, hopefully, so I will wait on the question. Im just posing it here in case someone else happens to know of a similar current situation.

This reminds me somewhat of my bf having a months-long struggle to get his credit rating fixed. He paid off a bill eons ago and was waiting and waiting for it to finally disappear off his credit report so he could shop for a new car and get a good interest rate.... but the report constantly had this bill listed as 'unknown'. He contacted the company the bill was with and it was from so long ago, they didn't have a record immediately handy showing he has paid or not - he was no longer a customer with them at all so nothing showed when they put his name in. He was back and forth with 3 different groups trying to get this thing marked as paid and then taken off his credit report. Nothing would happen. One would say they would contact equifax, etc, one would say they already had contacted, then equifax would say they heard nothing. What was going on? Leaving something marked 'unknown' on his report dropped his credit rating. Finally after almost a year, it was gone but he had to rake through boxes of papers in the basement to find as much as he could showing that the bill was paid. Who keeps random credit card bills from eons ago? Are we really supposed to keep every single receipt, bill, letter from every single company for like 10 years now? It really is stupid but these companies ARE supposed to keep records - but we find from time to time that they do not. You'd think in the age of computer filing, it would be easier but nope. I've had similar problems off and on where I have paid a bill, received a letter or receipt, and then ages later been asked to pay up.

That happened with an old daycare bill too - I paid for my son to go to a summer camp and I know I paid because you had to provide the money in advance or the child could not attend... then THREE entire years later I received letters from the center telling me I owed $125. I called and told them I did not, but no long had the receipt (it was summer camp, why would I keep that for three years??). The next thing I knew, I got a letter from a collections agency! I talked to them right away and they said I had to prove that I had paid the bill or they would move ahead with the action. I had something like 30 or 60 days to settle this or it would appear on my credit report. I went to the center and demanded that they check their past records but to no avail. I had paid cash so I had no returned check to find at my bank... I had no receipt because I did not claim that sort of thing on income tax at the time because I already received it all back for being a single lowincome parent.... so I ended up paying the $125 in order to save my credit rating for any future prospects like trying to purchase a home. As a single parent, $125 was a big dent - over a week's worth of groceries for myself and two children. But I felt there was nothing more I could do. Imagine if the bill was higher, or for a full month (over $600) or for a bigger thing.

Where can people go to sort these things out if they do not earn enough to retain a laywer, or earn too much to get Legal Aide? Where do they turn when a company (like Country Wide in the above link) has bad book-keeping?? Ever since that happened to me, I have been keeping receipts for everything I can think of but it's getting ridiculous to have boxes piling up full of crap 'just in case' you get landed with a Collections letter wrongly. I project that feeling onto what happened to the couple in Ohio and it nearly gives me an anxiety attack wondering what I would be able to do in such a situation. We cannot afford a lawyer right now and have 3 kids to feed. I can't imagine how that couple must have felt.

I also had something similar happen in 2005 with Alberta Health Care. I was subsidized but I got a letter saying I owed $800. I contacted AHC and was told that they must have had a mistake and it would be fixed. Naive me, I didnt call them again to confirm that it was indeed fixed. I had a statement every 3 months from them saying I owed ZERO so I figured it would be easy enough for them to see that. But I then got a letter of court action! My name telling me that I had to appear in court in 30 days if I did not pay the bill or arrange a payment plan with AHC. I was seething because I would call them and they would not call me back. It seemed like a plan of their's - not call me back so that the days edged closer and closer to my court date. I was freaking out! COURT? I had never been to court for anything in my life and I wasn't about to over something like this. I dragged out my last 3 statements that I could find and faxed them to the number on the court documents, as well as Alberta Health Care with a copy of the letter, etc and finally about 10 days before the court date, I received a letter saying that the bill had been rectified and I no longer needed to appear in court, and there was no balance owing. No apology - not even something to say 'we were in error'. I was fuming. I called them again and the agent on the line talked to me in the most disinterested voice possible. I thought 'my god, a single mother of two wrongly received a serious court notice and no one gives a sh(t!'. I guess it's just another day at the office for them to wrongly threaten court on people and not care??

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