Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Have debt problems? Collection agencies harrassing you? Don't fret anymore! Here's are several helpful articles on how to beat the collection agencies and debt collectors at their own game - read them - they really do work! As always, your comments and tips are much appreciated. Just like wikipedia, we only improve with your input.:

Get Out of Debt Free Article

By David Maillie

This is the age of debt - more people are in debt than ever. Living paycheck to paycheck is now seen as a fact of life. Society teaches us debt is good - every time you go through the cashier at Target stores you are asked if you would like a 10% discount to get their store card. Most major department stores do this as they know you will buy more and then make minimum monthly payments so their 20-40% profit margin gets another 15-20% or more of interest per year. Rarely does one buy a car with cash nowadays. Its amazing how everyone wants to be seen in a nice new Mercedes or similar and we think they are rich, but are they really? 99% of car buyers don't own their vehicle, the bank does. Some even finance the wheels on their cars. The message to spend is quite obvious. Now, more than ever, with the potential for gas prices to multiply, energy costs to continue rising, an unstable economy, no job guarantees regardless of your profession, etc... we need to reconsider our spending habits and stop spending money that isn't ours (let the government do this - just look at our ever increasing national debt). We can stop this downward spiral into more and more debt.
Debt can add unneeded stress and even ruin a marriage. First thing to do is to gain control of the situation. Become determined that we will stop living beyond our means. Many of us do this to impress others. Why? They don't care. People that are impressed solely by material things are shallow and don't make good dependable or trustworthy friends. Become committed to paying off all your debt. Stop incurring debt. Don't buy anything you can't afford. Debt should only be for emergencies (acceptable debt - a mortgage. Home ownership is good debt because it increases in value. A mercedes is bad debt as it decreases in value greatly the moment you drive it off the dealers lot. Contrary to what a salesperson says, a new car is a horrible investment. Buy a used car and shop around. The best deals can actually be found on Ebay - I bought 2 cars through Ebay and both were cream puffs and way below what a dealer could get them for. Plus no bogus processing fees (aka additional dealer profit).
Take your credit and store cards. Cut up all store cards. They are completely unnecessary. Then cut up all credit cards but 1 - keep the one with the lowest rate, fee, etc... (best deal). This one will be for emergencies. Make out a payment plan to pay off the others. If you are in over your head (over 25% of income goes to paying credit cards or other unnecessary extravagances) then contact a not-for-profit debt counseling service. Make sure they are not-for-profit or you will get ripped off as the for-profits can't do anything different and charge you for the same. The best services can be found by contacting your local Better Business Bureau and asking for a referral to a not-for-profit debt counseling service. They will negotiate your debt, interest, payments, etc... with your creditors solely in your favor and make a debt free plan for you. Stick to this plan and then you will soon realize the wonderful relief and feeling brought by debt freedom.
As your debt goes away, your credit score will rise, new debt will become less expensive - so don't get sucked back in - refuse the temptation of 0 down and 0 interest on a new car or similar. Only buy a car if you must and buy what you need, not what would impress your neighbors. Case in point - wouldn't you rather have the comfort of knowing you could live comfortably for 4-6 years without having to scramble to find a job if you should, unfortunately, find yourself unemployed? Or would you rather have a new Mercedes or BMW every 2-3 years through leasing and have zero safety cushion? Next time you hear the salesman tell you their car is an investment ask him if he will make your payments if you lose your job. Not such a great investment after all. For the same price of that Mercedes you can buy a $100-$150K home, fix it up a little (repaint and such for around $2000), rent it out and make $50,000 back on your investment in the first year. Hint, hint - get into real estate. It is the single best investment you can ever, ever make.
There you have it. How to get out of debt free. I would also highly recommend these 2 books: The Armchair Millionaire, and The Millionaire Next Door. Good luck and I hope you take the path of zero debt and a better quality of life. Being debt free is one of the best feelings you can have. Please pass this article on to everyone you know as you will help more people than any donation could - take a moment to help someone as I have done for you. Its the right thing to do.
David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in biochemical synthesis for public, private, and governmental interests. He holds numerous patents including his recently awarded patent for headlight cleaner and restorer. He can be reached at M.D. Wholesale: http://www.mdwholesale.com or by visiting http://www.bestskinpeel.com

How To Get Debt Collectors Off Your Back Permanently

By David Maillie

Debt collectors are liars, cheaters, etc... They take advantage of every loophole possible and even break the law. They have been featured on almost every news program from CNN to 60 Minutes. There are laws in place to contain their harassment and collection efforts and to make this process more civil, but most figure the risk of getting caught is minimal and that the rewards of endlessly harassing and fleecing victims is far greater. We now have the power to take back our lives, stop them in their tracks and sue them for more than they are trying to collect.
First, lets start with what is actually owed and how most collection agencies work. Usually a unpaid debt is either sold or turned over to a collection agency. 95% or more of these debts are credit cards, store cards, gas cards, etc... These debts are then tiered according to age of debt, amount, credit, job history, etc... Generally most debts are bought for pennies on the dollar. Recent debt may go for $.15 to $.25 on the dollar whereas old debt that has had numerous collection attempts goes for $.05 or less and debt that is beyond the statues of limitations for the state the debtor resides in goes for less than $.01. So, for instance if you owed $10000.00 on a credit card, the debt collection agency paid at most $2500.00, but probably paid less than $1500 for it. Now, what's interesting is that they will call and write you stating that you now owe $14000.00 or so stating that it has accrued interest and various questionable fees. This is all profit if you were dumb enough to pay that. A fair settlement would be $1700.00 or less. So, the point here is that you don't ever owe what they are trying to collect from you - it is always far, far less.
Secondly, lets give you some more ammunition - The 1977 FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) gives you rights the debt collectors won't tell you about. If you don't want to hear from them again, its easy. Just write them a letter stating that you wish they cease all contact with you (make sure you put in the letter that - P.S. This letter is in no way an acknowledgement of the above listed debt(s) - that way they cannot even attempt to try and re-age your debt (add another 7years of collection and reporting to further harass). Send the letter registered return receipt requested mail and keep your proof of receipt. If they contact you after this for any reason other than to tell you they are either dropping the issue or taking it to court (99.99% won't go to court as it costs them more money and their odds of getting anything are almost zero - even with a judgement) then you can sue them for each occurrence for $1,000. People win these suits every day - most settle out of court for a lot more than the original debt (just look this up on the internet under small claims court). You also have the right to question the debt and have the debt collector provide proof. Many debt collection agencies are being sued by many debtors for their failure to provide proof. Just look up Asset Acceptance on the internet - they are one of the biggest abusers of this federal law with thousands of outstanding lawsuits for harassing debt collection practices.
So, now you know how to stop debt collection agencies in their tracks. You know how to get relief - sue them! If enough people sue them things will change. Also use your state and local resources. State Attorney generals go after debt collection agencies that routinely break the law, Consumer protection agencies (the Better Business Bureau, etc...), the Federal Trade Commission goes after the worst abusers, and, of course, your state department of insurance and finance (whom actually licenses these agencies rto operate in your state). You state department of finance and insurance, or similar, has the power to fine, punish and even banish the debt collection agency from your state. Every state requires a debt collection agency to be licensed and put up a large financial bond (around $50,000) to operate in your state. Call these folks if you are having problems with a debt collection agency - they will get immediate results in your favor. Don't threaten the collection agency that you have these rights - use them. Bring the collection agency to its knees if they are violating your rights.
The other problem is are these bills, debts even correct? Many hospitals, doctors, etc... have no ethics and will purposely double or even triple bill patients without insurance because they know they can get away with it. If you have a question about your bill demand a itemized bill and have this professionally examined. This will reveal things like overcharging ($100 tissue boxes, 1000 percent markup on medicines, etc...) We entrust these hospitals and doctors with our lives and then they screw us by double billing or worse. Right now there is no government policing on hospitals. Many times a debt collector will actually make up a debt or illegally pass one on to you from someone else (Asset Acceptance has been sued for this many times). Do not assume that you owe any debt and take them to task. If you do owe it, pay it, but pay the least amount possible, and pay it on your terms. If they break the law - make them pay!
If you have a problem with a bill make it known to your state politicians. If enough people do this things will change. Write to your local newspaper, tell a friend, do a press release. Tell others of their rights. Cigarette boxes come with warnings - shouldn't debt collectors and debt collection agencies with their high propensity to skirt the law also come with mandatory warnings? The more the word gets out, the better the odds something will be done about it.
David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in biochemical synthesis for public, private, and governmental interests. He holds numerous patents and specializes in products that save the consumer money. He can be reached at M.D. Wholesale: http://www.mdwholesale.com or by visiting http://www.bestskinpeel.com

Hospitals and Doctors - a License to Steal?

By David Maillie

I recently watched a special on TV about hospitals and their aggressive debt collection tactics. It was unbelievable - hospitals were trying to collect on 20 - 30 year old debts for dead people by obtaining leans and using corrupt lawyers, politicians, and lobbyists to make it so they can basically get away with theft from our uninsured and under-insured - which is now over 50% of americans.
Hospitals were aggressively using body attachments where they basically have someone arrested for an overdue bill. This is the most aggressive form of collection tactics and harassment. Most collection agencies refuse to resort to these tactics. It is debtors prison revisited - debtors prison was made illegal in the U.S. in the 19th century. It is basically a method of extreme harassment to coerce payment from the debtor. Typically it results in lost wages for the debtor, extreme hardship as many have children, etc...
Many of these hospitals have also resorted to zombie debt collecting - trying to collect on debts that are un-collectable (debtor passed away, over 10-30 years old and non-enforcable, etc...) Several hospitals have been using these tactics to threaten and coerce surviving spouses into taking on old debt. Some have even been caught trying to collect on debts expunged in bankruptcy.
The worst part is how these hospitals and doctors determine what the actual amount of the debt is. Medicare and insurance have set prices that they must agree to. But the uninsured are charged a lot more - a whole lot more. At Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte NC the uninsured are charged many times over what the insured are assessed - 300 - 400% more and even more. With a little research it was found that this hospital, like many others, was undoubtedly taking advantage of the uninsured. If a patient tries to see how the bill came to be - itemized - it is almost in foreign code. They don't want you to see the $100 toilet paper, 1000% markup on medicines and supplies, etc... It is a license to literally steal from the uninsured - they can make up whatever numbers they want for charges and collect very aggressively on them. This needs to be changed - these hospitals and doctors need to be policed. It used to be that the oath a doctor had to take to become a doctor was to basically help people - it has even been changed to favor the doctor and his earnings.
The hospitals say that they are having a hard time covering costs and such - right, thats why the CEO and other board members make millions of dollars for little work. The problem we have here is far greater than we can see. The healthcare industry is very unstable, prices are soaring, medicare and insurance are also increasing at rates that are causing coverages to be lowered or even dropped all together. What the U.S. needs is for the government to take back control. Limit doctor pay, hospital charges, billing practices, etc... Increase taxes on the wealthy - stop giving them so many tax breaks and shelters. The average american (low to middle class) pays around 30 - 35% in taxes, while the affluent pay only 1% or less on average. Hospitals and doctors are playing a game of legalized theft - enough is enough. Let's take back our health care system and return it to what it once was and should be - to provide low cost, fair healthcare regardless of race, financial background, etc...
David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in biochemical synthesis for public, private, and governmental interests. He holds numerous patents and specializes in products that save the consumer money. He can be reached at M.D. Wholesale: http://www.mdwholesale.com or by visiting http://www.bestskinpeel.com

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