Capitol One Credit Card Offers

About 7 months ago I spoke with a friend of mine who received a Capitol One credit card offer in the mail and since he knew that credit and finance was my expertise, he asked me if he should accept the pre-approved offer with a $300 credit limit.

Having had a Capitol One card in the past, I was very suspicious and cautious in recommending that he take them up on their offer but in the end, I relented and told him that although the interest rate was a bit high, it seemed like a fairly good deal as far as poor credit card offers are concerned.

Well, to make a long story short, he ended up accepting the offer and for seven months straight he paid the entire balance in full and never paid a cent of interest. Today, my friend informed me that Capitol One had raised his credit limit from $300 to $2300! Now that’s what I call a great return on investment! 

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When Bill Collectors Call Me...

I don’t get angry or upset like most people do. In fact, I actually welcome the calls because at this point in my life I just find them to be a great source of entertainment. When bill collectors call me I listen to each and every voice-mail in its entirety... the more outrageous the call, the better!

I don't know how many times they've threatened to send a courier to my home or place of employment with a summons if I didn't call back right away. So far, it’s been going on 3 years and no one has ever shown up at my home or workplace.

So, the next time someone calls and says you're going to be served the next day, just tell them “OK, I’ll see you tomorrow!” I promise that will be the last you’ll hear of it until they sell your debt to someone else and the threats start all over again.

As for myself, when I get those calls I let them go straight to voice-mail so that I can download them to my computer using Google voice, then upload the audio to my blog so that others can hear these outrageous calls and know there's nothing to be afraid of.

So you see, while they’re making a mockery of the crap-hole industry they work in, I’m sitting back in front of my computer with a glass of wine making a mockery out of them by exposing all their dirty little secrets to the public for all the world to see. If I were a bill collector, I’d hate me too!

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First Interstate Credit Card Offers

While watching TV on my day off, I hear the loud thump of junk mail hitting the floor as the mailman jams it through the mail slot. One piece of said junk mail had a firmness to it which typically indicates a credit card offer. I open up the letter and sure enough…it was an offer from First Interstate Bank.

That is, if you want to call it an offer. The letter said that I was pre-approved for a $400 credit limit. Not bad, I thought. Then I looked for the “gotcha” and it didn’t take long to find it. The interest rate was a whopping 36%!!! If that wasn’t bad enough, it came bundled with a $99 a year fee just for the privilege of being able to carry the card around and say you have one.

They call themselves lightening the load by allowing you the ability to break the $99 up into 12 equal payments of just $8.25 per month!!! Having had previous experience with another First Interstate Visa with an interest rate hovering around 24% and a similar fee structure, I was quite familiar with the term “being raked over the coals”.

If I had any balance at all, my monthly payment along with the $8.25 monthly maintenance fee left very little cash being applied to the cards principle. I paid on that card for nearly a year and the money I poured into it each month could barely be noticed. Just imagine that same scenario at 36% APR!!!

Even with a zero balance, the maintenance fee made it nearly impossible to pay the card off for more than 30 days at a time before the next fee was due. God forbid you’re ever late because then you’d be hit with a $35 fee for making a late payment on a payment that you should never have had to pay in the first place!

Who wants to bust their rear end to pay a credit card off so they can finally reach a zero balance only to continue having to make a payment each month? It makes no sense. If this isn’t a pure case of predatory lending then I’ve never seen one. I tossed that offer right In the trash.

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Defaulted Payday Loans

If you've ever defaulted on a payday loan, then chances are you've received more than a few phone calls threatening lawsuits and arrest warrants like the ones you’ll hear on my blogs audio player. Needless to say, they're just scare tactics.

I've received over a hundred such calls over the years and I've never had a single courier serve me a summons at my home or place of employment like they are so famous for threatening people with. Furthermore, if they were going to have me served they would never give me advanced notice.

These ridiculous threats are intended to do one thing and one thing only...scare the debtor into making a payment. I have nothing against a person trying to make a living. Believe it or not, debt collectors do serve a purpose. My only issue is the way in which they go about collecting the debt. 

Having said that, defaulting on a payday loan may be an issue of morality, but it’s certainly not illegal. I’m sure we all had intentions of paying the loan back when we borrowed the money but the reality is, sometimes *hit just happens! 

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Normally I do my own dirty work but for whatever reason, call it a gut feeling, today I decided to do a little extra research and I ran across an organization called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB. They work as a middleman between you and the debt collector and work to get your issue resolved.

In my complaint I made no admission to owing the alleged debt or any promises to pay. I simply stated that I had recorded transcripts of the company’s illegal collection tactics and that if they didn’t cease and desist all communications with me immediately, that I would seek legal action against them.

This is where Google-voice really comes in handy. With Google-voice, all voice-mails are recorded and can be downloaded to your computer as an mp3 file which can be used as proof of the illegal collection practices being used against you. In the case of my CFPB complaint, I was able to upload the mp3 files that I saved to my computer directly into their online complaint form!

Don’t just think of the CFPB as an intermediary. Each complaint submitted to the CFPB is shared with several local, state and federal agencies that oversee collection tactics by unscrupulous companies that illegally harass consumers about unpaid debts, even if the debt does not belong to you.

I took a more aggressive stance in my complaint by threatening legal action because I have a “no fear” attitude, but you may want to communicate in a less aggressive tone and hammer out some type of payment arrangement with them. I’m just providing the information. How you choose to use it is completely up to you.

The more complaints that we submit as consumers to organizations such as the CFPB and Federal Trade Commission, (FTC) the greater the chance we’ll have of getting some of these low life companies shutdown or at least fined enough to make them collect unpaid debts by the letter of the law.

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Phone Number Spoofing

So tonight I get a phone call and the caller ID reads: Sheriff’s Dept. Now, to the average person, panic would set in right away but for me, my immediate thought was that it was just someone trying to collect on a debt by disguising their phone number in order to make it appear as if the call was coming from the Sheriffs Dept. Seriously...That’s just how my mind works, so I let the call go straight to voice-mail.

The caller identified himself as Officer X, calling from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. and he stated that a warrant would be issued for my arrest this evening at 9:30 PM and if I wanted to prevent the warrant from being served, I needed to call the plaintiff in this case back at the provided telephone number within the next hour or else I would be picked up and arrested!

The alleged charges were something along the lines of theft by deception, bank wire fraud and some mumbo-jumbo about fraudulent checks across state lines. At any rate, it was clearly a bunch of B.S. and that’s putting it nicely! I’ll give him credit…If I didn’t know better, I would have been scared “witless”, especially after I googled the number on my caller ID and found that it actually matched the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept., but I’m smarter than that.

Listen, I didn’t create this blog because I was stupid. If the goal is to scare me, pull the Sheriffs car up to my front door with a warrant in hand and maybe then I’ll consider taking you seriously. Maybe. But even then, I’d know that the visit was due to some kind of mistake. The thought of it being for an unpaid payday loan or other debt would NEVER have crossed my mind because I know that these are civil matters and not criminal. You might sue me for the debt but you’ll never jail me for it!

Phone Number Spoofing:

Phone number spoofing is the ability to call from one cell phone number and disguise it to appear as if the call is coming from another phone number…Including numbers that belong to legitimate entities such as local law enforcement agencies with the hope that it will scare you into complying with their demands for immediate payment. Don’t fall for it. It’s a scam!

These apps can be downloaded from any iPhone or Android store in about 2 minutes and can be stressing a person out within 15! Yes, technology has come that far! I was so amused at the creativity that went into the creation of this scam that I had to blog about it right away so that I could give my followers a heads up before they got scammed or stressed out unnecessarily.

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Share Your Debt Collector Stories!

When you’ve dealt with bill collectors for as long as I have, you eventually run across just about every collection scenario in the business. In one such scenario, I received a call from a collection agent who was very nice and surprisingly a perfect gentleman throughout the entire conversation. The conversation went something like this:

The collection agent tells me that my visa account was in collections and that it would cost me just over $1000 to settle the account. I informed him that the credit card limit was only $300 and that I would be willing to pay the $300 to settle the account, as I was trying to clean up my credit.

He then informs me that the extra $700 was due to collection fees and interest. I remained calm as to not escalate the situation and kindly informed him again that I would gladly pay the $300 past due amount but there was no way that I was going to payback an extra $700 in interest and fees…not in this life or any other for that matter.

The agent then tells me that it will go on my credit report if I refuse to pay and I informed him that it's already on my report so I would gain nothing by paying him an exuberant amount of cash on a card that I would never be able to use again and on top of that, it would still ding my credit report for years to come.

It didn’t take very long to figure out that neither of us were budging any time soon, so we both agreed to end the conversation like gentlemen without the standard voice raising and name calling. All in all I believe it just may have been my best collection call ever! Do you have any debt collector stories that you’d care to share? If so, please type them in the comments section below!

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