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Holy Crap. Chase Minimum Credit Card Payment Goes to 5% of Balance for Mary.

“Dear Steve,

My husband and I have credit card debt of $ 87,000 and medical bills of about $ 2,000. The credit card int. rates vary from 2.99 to 9.99%. We have 2 teenage children. We own a mobile home and a couple acres but don’t have much equity in it.

We both have fairly good jobs and have paid our bills on time up to this point. For years I did some part time work in addition to my regular job but 6 months ago I lost that income of about $400 month. Since then we have used the credit cards on quite a few occasions to pay utility bills, phones, dr bills, medicine or whatever on months that we couldn’t pay everything.

We just developed a budget and have cut about $150 month in expenses for things we really didnt need and are working on trying to cut more. We are also trying to sell some small personal belongings but that will only bring in about $2,000 at the most, assuming we can even sell them.

We wanted to put this money in savings. I am looking for addl work to replace the $400 mo I lost. Right now we are just able to pay our regular bills (house, cars, utilities, ins, groceries, gas, etc) and the minimum payment (or a little more) on credit cards. We are not able to put any money away for savings for things that come up so I dont know how we will pay those things other than using a credit card.

Two days ago I received a letter from Chase on one credit card saying the min pymt is going to 5% in August – this will make the pymt on that card go from $250 mo to $625 mo. We are considering selling my husbands truck to save us $300 month to pay this difference. However, we have 3 different cards with Chase so if they all go up we will be looking at owing an additional $850 month. If all our credit cards go to 5% minimums we will owe $2,500 mo in additional pymts on credit cards.

There is no possible way we could ever come up with a way to pay that. My husband is able to retire at end of this year and was planning on retiring then (assuming he is able to get another full time job). We were planning on using his lump sum distribution (about $40,000 after taxes) and the monthly checks (about $800 after tax) to pay off our cars and our mortgage to get to a point where we could breathe.

At this point however we really dont know what to do. If our card min payments all go to 5% I guess we will have no choice other than to file bankruptcy because there is no way we can make those payments. This is causing extreme stress on our lives. I dont even sleep anymore unless a take sleeping pills. I am constantly worried sick about what we are going to do.

I have a medical condition, Multiple Sclerosis (a big part of the credit card debt) and all this stress just aggravates that. We have got to come to some resolution and proceed with whatever we are going to do. We just dont know what the best solution for us is. We really dont want to file bankruptcy but if that is what we end up having to do I guess that is just the way it is and we will have to live with it. I would appreciate your opinion on where we go from here.

Should we just file bankruptcy or will anything else work for us?

Mary”

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The Answer

 

Dear Mary,

Selling things to fund yet another month without it resolving the situation is not a solution. It helps you to avoid making the hard choices but it does not resolve the underlying problem.

With Chase Bank raising your monthly minimum payments to 5% of the outstanding balance it leaves you in a position where you can’t recover. You’ve been using credit to make ends meet and that strategy will fail.

Sadly, I think the best course of action is for you to immediately find a local bankruptcy attorney and go in and talk to them about bankruptcy for you in your situation.

If you go bankrupt now you can protect the retirement funds, can discharge the debt, can eliminate the underlying stress and that should begin to slowly improve your medical state.

Based on the likely prognosis for your situation, after meeting with the bankruptcy attorney you should probably stop making any additional payments on the credit cards and save that money to go bankrupt.

Unless you take the action of intervening in your situation with bankruptcy it won’t be long when you will be without anything to sell, not in good physical shape to work, won’t be able to afford to make ends meet, and in need of your full retirement funds to take care of yourselves.

While it might not feel like it at the moment, in the face of an almost certain disastrous outcome, bankruptcy is the logical and responsible action to take.

Big Hug!

Holy Crap. Chase Minimum Credit Card Payment Goes to 5% of Balance for Mary.
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Lew

    There are several options for the almost 1 million customers that Chase has screwed. First, contact Chase just so you can hear the “thats too bad” speech. Then file a complaint here

    http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/complaints/index.html

    It will get Chase attention! Also file a complaint with your states Attorney General and Federal Attorney General. Chase can put some on hardship payments by closing your CC account and putting you on a type of loan that is low interest and low payment for 5 yrs. Not all will qualify.

    This is what you get with a government controlled by corporate money. Like FDR said, a government by organized money is just as dangerous as a government by organized mob.

  • OutLaw Blondie

    Well I am one of those that just got nailed by Chase and I had no idea that Chase planned on or could have even done this so abruptly. My $173.00 monthly min. payment that I have always PAID ON TIME and always MORE than the min. payment required, went up to $430.00 because it was a balance transfer offer for a fixed rate of 3.99 on a 8,600.00 balance that they would like to get rid of so they can lend that money out at a higher interest to others. I will struggle to make it but I really feel for others who might have to suffer a default interest rate of 30% because they ended up missing a payment due to the fact that they can’t afford the difference in payment so abruptly. Wamu was always good it seemed, but since Chase took over, it turned into as much of a Loan Shark as any Banking Institution can get. But I am not taking this lightly. Next week I will take out all the money in my 2 Chase checking accounts leaving only $12 in each and open new accounts at another bank. I will then write myself a monthly check (since I have all these leftover checks) to my new Banks for $1.00 out of the Chase accounts as a constant reminder to Chase that I am using a different bank for my business now and still keep Chase’s administrative staff busy with my FREE checking accounts. My Sons will do the same with their accounts at Chase. Then I will balance transfer my other 2 Chase credit card accounts that are lower balances with higher interests to another bank. I read where banks said they are doing this so people can get out from under their debt. BS…. My other 2 Chase card accounts with a higher interest, their minimum payments didn’t change. If anyone has suggestions on ways to protest these disgusting tactics of Chase to fatten their bonuses when people are desperately struggling to just survive in this economy, Please share!!!

  • F U Chase

    Here are my suggestions, they fall under two categories:

    #1:

    You have been paying and are forced to bankruptcy due to the increase. I recommend this only if you have otherwise perfect credit and have no means to make payment. This will prevent your accounts going to collection agencies and stop the credit issuers (CHASE/BANKS) from taking any action except the LOSS they deserve.

    #2:

    You have been unemployed, already have damaged/destroyed credit. First, DO NOT PAY the bills, ignore them. After 7.5 years from date of last payment, they will roll off the credit reporting records and the statute of limitations will prevent them from any recovery. This is better than a bankruptcy where it remains on your record for 10 years.

    Notes: Within six months after your last payment, they will start using collection companies to start calling you. Here is how your eliminate their calls. You need to make up a name, which you will use consistently and should not be your name or anyone you know. When they call with a “personal matter” for (your name), you will state “There is no one here by that name”, if they press for more information, you can share with them your new made-up first name and further pressing, the new made-up last name, and you drop “I just received this number, I have no idea who this person you are looking for is, the number is supposed to be unlisted/unpublished and I pay extra for it”.

    Ok, details — when you have an unlisted/unpublished number, it is not uncommon for it to remain listed to the last PUBLISHED owner. Therefore, it is quite possible you are not the person they want. If they call the phone company, they will not receive anything useful either. It is also wise to change your directory entry to your first initial, last name, city only, NO STREET ADDRESS, you can do all of this for FREE with most phone companies. This blocks skip-trace departments from being able to locate you by traditional methods and claim “we know you are (name they are looking for)” because they have no means to verify their data. Published information without full first name and street address makes it impossible to verify it.

    You will receive notices in the mail. Here is how you determine they are from collections. They frequently have only a PO Box, City, State, Zip for a RETURN ADDRESS and often have a small barcode under this in the return address section of the envelope. They do not disclose a company or person’s name in the return address field. They almost always state “Address Service Requested”.

    You can either write on it “moved-no address known” and put it in a regular post office box for mailing it back, include an arrow to return PO Box address and note “return to sender”.

    Or you can do a better job and make a sheet of computer labels which state “RETURN TO SENDER – UNDELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED. FORWARDING EXPIRED.” and you place one of these over your address when you receive the collection notice and put it back in a general postal mail box for pickup.

    In both cases, it returns to sender, sender has to pay USPS for the return costs, so the return mail does cost them postage and they have reason to believe you are not at the address they have. As many in the current economy are out of work and live with friends and family, this is not unusual and it is not unusual for your last address on your credit records to be inaccurate.

    After a period of time, this will stop the mail delivery of collection notices, I have also covered the phone calls.

    Next, place a FREEZE on your credit record. Why? Because it blocks ALL access to it, except for yours. If you have a bankruptcy going through or are ignoring creditors, do you want the information accessible? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    There is another reason … when your mail is returned as undeliverable and forwarding expired, they will want to hunt for a new address for you and this blocks all efforts to do so. When you manage to get a job, do you really want them to call your new employer? NO!! Guess what, the freeze keeps them from knowing later who you work for.

    Ok, we have covered telephone and mail and collection company attempts. Next, they will try the legal solution, to file a lawsuit against you. If you have followed the above carefully, they will have a problem with a good, known valid “last address” for delivery of service, i.e. the summons to appear to be delivered. Except in foreclosure or eviction, they must deliver this in most cases to the person listed, at the address listed, in order to have good, valid service rendered. No service. No case.

    Check the civil court docket listing every week, or even once a day would not be a bad idea. It should be for the civil court for the county YOU are located in. When you see your name (and sooner or later, at least one will try this), you know they could appear any time in the next 60 days knocking at your door.

    The person may be from the sheriff’s office, but as a civil process server, you are permitted to LIE to this person. Remember, this person can NOT verify your car tag # or any other details and the presence of a vehicle does not mean you are home. It is easiest and best to ignore the door when you see this person come. REMOVE YOUR NAME from any visible place on the property.

    If you should happen to answer the door, or are just leaving, and he says “are you john doe?” or whatever, you say “no, but I see mail for him all the time, I think he moved”. Process server notes “no such name at address” and treturns the summons with non-delivered status, no service was rendered and the plaintiff has no case to see judgement on. The plaintiff (credit issuer) may try an alias summons later to the same address, do the same and it ends up failed as well. DO NOT ADMIT YOU ARE THE PERSON THEY ARE SEEKING FOR ANY REASON. You can LIE if you need to, the civil service process delivery person is NOT law enforcement, CAN NOT REQUIRE YOU TO SHOW ID and can not arrest you. As soon as the process server determines not the person, they hit the road and are gone. After 60 days it is unlikely you will hear from anyone, they may have been while you were out sometime.

    If you receive a business card in the door — likely is the process server – DO NOT RETURN THE CALL.

    Lastly, telephone calls. Any time you place a call to a toll free #, you risk your # you are calling from being made known to them with what is called ANI, auto number identification. Legal right to this is they are paying the bill for your phone call. If you need to contact someone about your debts, do it from a PAYPHONE, not your work # or your friend’s #. Other option includes Skype for $2.95 a month for unlimited call to Canada and U.S., these calls do not provide a valid phone number as you do not have one, they are for making calls only. Nice untraceable means.

    LASTLY, DO NOT MAKE ANY CONTACT OR PAYMENT WITH THE CREDITORS AND IGNORE ALL OF THEIR EFFORTS TO CONTACT YOU. Any contact with them MAY restart the 7.5 year clock to clearing that debt from your credit record and statute of limitations.

    You can usually obtain a debit card from your bank. It may be a good idea to make a second bank account and have the debit card with that account. You place funds in the account and use the debit card like a credit card, ONLY for items which REQUIRE A DEBIT/CREDIT card for payment. I recommend VISA over Mastercard if you have a choice with your bank. Normally, you should qualify for a DEBIT card no matter what your credit is, as long as your account has been in good standing for most or all of it’s life, especially the past year as a debit card only can access the funds you have in the account. You never have to pay a statement as it was already removed from your account.

    Now, DO NOT USE ANY CREDIT CARD WHICH YOU HAVE STOPPED PAYING ON. You also should not open new credit card accounts. You should wait for a while. It does not hurt to keep SOME credit cards with DIFFERENT banks to those you stopped paying and keep them paid, over time it will help your credit. Those good payments will remain on your account when the 7.5 years rolls around and the bad accounts roll off.

    This is the NON-BANKRUPTCY solution. If you have poor credit already, use this method and save 2.5 years of bad credit report data (BK stays on for 10 years, this method is 7.5 years).

    As illustrated, you have eliminated collection phone calls, eliminated mail attempts, elimininated lawsuit efforts, and cleaned up your record in under eight years. Use the eight years to get used to doing things within your means on a cash basis. No bankruptcy needed, and no charge for the help I have offered. Good luck to your FREE recovery.

    • Deb

      Dead on good advice and I copy/pasted it to my documents for future use!

      I can also add that even if they go after you in court and get a judgment (which they will, no matter what you or your lawyer have to add to the case) the world does not come to an end, really.

      If you are employed they can get an order for garnishment (25% of 1 monthly payday), one creditor per month is all they can get. So if you have 3 creditors with judgment for garnishment, they aren’t really getting all that much (unless you make big money, which you probably don’t) and they have to file every month in court just to get that. Then you can go for ch 7 or 13 BK or not (if you can stand to lose the 25% net of one paycheck).

      They can seize your bank account money over $400 unless it’s income from unemployment insurance, disability, social security (conditions vary by state). Big deal. Just don’t have any money in the account for them to seize. Their window of opportunity is time limited, so eventually the court will issue you an “all clear” order on your account. They aren’t coming to your house to take your stuff or whatever. Get over it. It’s all scare tactics.

      It IS possible to live on cash/debit card transactions alone after all this. It IS possible to get free of the stress and the feeling of being stalked day and night. Doing as the poster suggests is one way. Changing how you think about this is another way.

      Not paying credit card issuers can hurt your credit. So can judgments. So can BK. But after you go through the years of stress and lose your “credit rating” anyway, it’s a moot point. I had 4 credit card offers after Ch 7 BK 5 years ago.

      Dummie me, I should have ignored them because later after unemployment I was forced to use them to survive and now unemployed again they have been pursuing me for payment they will never get. Eventually, if I ever get a paying job again I will file for BK with no second thought at all.

      I would rather live free from constant debt and harrassment with judgments and BKs on my credit history than continue to live in the hell of THEIR making. They will always win in court. They will lie about establishing payment plans. They will screw you any way they can. BK screws them where it hurts. Judgments trying to get “blood from a turnip” hurts them too.

      Take on a new mindset and start to prioritize how you use your money on hand to feed your families, pay your rent or mortgage, and keep the lights on. These are desperate times that call for desperate measures.

      Quit worrying about the psychological weapon of “credit scores” and learn to live outside it’s influence. Life can be good paying cash and growing your own vegetables!

  • Lisi

    Would it do any good for me to rewrite Chase’s customer service and COO and say that I reverse wanting an arbitration hearing?
    God! What havoc would happen if all of us being affected by Chase filed a massive, like class-action bankruptcy suit? Yes! that’s me being onrey!

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Lisi,

      I would not worry about it. Instead, just pick up the phone right now and call Chase customer service and ask for the Proactive Solution Team. Once you speak to them you will know where you stand with Chase. If the Proactive Solution Team is not willing to freeze your rates you know what is coming next, higher rates or higher payments.

      Here is how Chase describes the Proactive Service Team in a job posting:

      As a Proactive Solutions Advisor, you will be responsible for receiving inbound and outbound calls from customers who are identified as a potential risk based on several criteria, including:

      • Economically devastated geographic areas (high unemployment, high foreclosure rates, tc)
      • Customers near credit-limit
      • Customers whose payment history is preventing reduction in balance

      Advisor’s have the ability to restructure the loan based on mandated guidelines and the cardmember’s ability to make and sustain their payments. The cardmember can be placed on a payment program – lower payments, lower interest and/or stop fees. The advisor will negotiate the right solution and obtain a commitment for automatic payments.

      Steve

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Lisi,

      I just posted information about the National Arbitration Forum lawsuit recently filed that I think you might find interesting in trying to educate yourself about arbitration. Click here.

      Steve

  • Lisi

    Steve,
    Thank-you for answering me so quickly. Please start dating your articles. It’s really throwing me for a loop, them not being dated.
    I’m not completely understanding your comments tho.
    An arbitrator is suppose to be neutral. How can an arbitrator who works for the credit card I’m in despute with be considered neutral?
    And I guess I blew it? I got the advice of an arbitrator from a website from people disgusted with Chase. I wrote both Chase credit card customer services and Jamie Dimon; Chase’s COO, stated my case, asked them not to change my terms, and if they wouldn’t, then I demanded an arbitration hearing? Was I duped and fell for it hook, line and sinker?
    Can I say who I want for an arbitrator? Like my state’s attorney general or someone?
    Will you please give me more details about making a “case for hardship.”
    Also, were you cracking a joke when you compared our credit card debts to a “raise?” Really, Sir, I’m in over my head because of Chase and am stressed out to the max. So jokes are not going over well with me these days.
    Am I to understand that Chase is betting on the fact that we excellent customers won’t file for bankruptcy, cuz’ we are so conscious(spelling)? Because we are reliable and responsible, they don’t have to worry about us all filing for bankruptcy – and if we all did, then what they did backfired on them, and they would indeed lose (lots) of money?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Lisi,

      I just wrote about the arbitration scam today. See this link. It’s a losing game for consumers. You absolutely don’t get to pick the arbitrator. Check your Chase card terms, you already agreed who will serve as the arbitrator there and if you check the links in that article you will see how pathetic your chances are of beating the creditors at their own game.

      Only you can make a case for hardship. If your financial situation won’t let you absorb the increase, tell them and show them. Otherwise, in an Oprahesque moment, you get an increase, you get an increase, you get an increase.

      Here is the link to another recent article I wrote about the Chase increase.

      I’m not sure I understood the raise reference. Skipped over my head as well. Where was it?

      You understand the calculation exactly. If you read many posts on this site you will find people complaining that I mention bankruptcy too often and they want to avoid it at all costs. In many cases, that is an utter mistake that people make every single day for all the wrong reasons. They are afraid what people or their creditors will think of them. I can guarantee you this, your creditors don’t care. You are only a number on a hard drive. Creditors have no time to make judgements about you unless they want to use it to manipulate you in collections.

      Steve

  • Lisi

    Would Chase make money if all of us who are getting our minimum payments raised to 5% filed for bankruptcy?
    Would you please date your articles.
    Will demanding an “arbitration” hearing for/with Chase help any?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Lisi,

      Chase would not make money if everyone getting a raise filed for bankruptcy. But Chase has already estimated that enough people are scared about bankruptcy that they won’t file.

      Arbitration, that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. Here is how arbitration works. The arbitrators work for the credit card companies. You lose. You have just successfully completed a mandatory arbitration procedure.

      Your best bet is calling Chase and asking to speak to the Proactive Solution Team. If you can make a cash for hardship, they may leave your terms alone.

      Steve

  • Cindy

    Steve Is so right. I too have been hit with the 5% increase starting in August and mine went from $400 to $1,000. I can not pay this. I have always paid on time. I am going to a lawyer today and will probabley have to file bankruptcy. This is robbery. Now my credit will be ruined. I would like to counter sue them for their deceptive practice and put them in bankruptcy but I bet they would get more bailout money. I hope someone comes to our rescue and puts a stop to this.

  • Steve Jones

    Many Customers, including myself, have been told by JP Morgan Chase that they can be spared from the extremely high 5% of the balance payment, and have their monthly payment returned to their current level, IF they agree to give up their low fixed interest rate for a higher rate.
    It is this posters opinion that JP Morgan Chase has tried to create an unreasonable payback structure in order to make customers fearful of the consequences of defaulting – and to try to coerce them to relinquish their low fixed rate of interest.
    It is this posters opinion, that with Malice aforethought, the board of directors of JP Morgan Chase, have conspired to extort money from hardworking citizens by forcing them into a situation of fearfulness that their credit rating, availability to credit, financial stability and reputation in their community will be harmed if they do not bend to the will of the credit card company.
    JP Morgan Chase argues that it retains the “right” to raise the minimum payment under the service agreement of the loan.
    I believe that “right,” if it does exist, has been illegally used as a smoke screen to extort money from nearly one million American families by trying to skirt the Truth in Lending laws.
    This posters opinion is that JP Morgan Chase, with malice aforethought, used the threat of unreasonable monthly payments, the fear of default, damage to the customer’s credit rating and reputation, as a scheme for raising the interest rate on loans that have a fixed rate of interest and are protected by the Truth and Lending laws.
    It is my opinion that JP Morgan Chase and Co. is currently using tactics to extort money from approximately 850,000 families who have loans with low, fixed interest rates and have never been late with a payment.
    It is time the authorities see this unscrupulous tactic for what it is – EXTORTIONARY LENDING.
    Please print this post and take it to your local district attorney or contact the FBI in your area.
    And by all means send this post to your representative in Washington.

  • Chuck

    Please post the date of your articles and the comments. Things change so fast, its hard to determine the relevancy of what is being said.

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