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4 Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Tax Refund When You Have Debt

Woman Whispers a Secret

by 
Paula Langguth Ryan, Mediator, Consumer Advocate and Communications Consultant Got debt? Thinking of using your tax refund check to play catch up or pay down a balance? Before you act, read this article. Most people who have debt make the wrong choices with their tax refunds. End result: you wind up even more stressed than before you got your ... Read More »

Credit Counseling Agencies Need Credit Counseling Help

stressed man

Richard Burnett of the Orlando Sentinel recently wrote an interesting piece about the realities of modern non-profit credit counseling and how they need help. With demand dropping, existing credit counseling agencies are scrambling to find new avenues of income. Credit counseling agencies are turning to trying to sell student loan assistance and one agency reports having a pilot program to ... Read More »

Mortgage Relief Scams Pay Millions to FTC

ftc

The South Florida-based defendants in an alleged mortgage relief scam will surrender their assets and be banned permanently from providing mortgage relief and debt relief services to consumers under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. This settlement represents the FTC’s largest judgment to date against a purported mortgage assistance relief provider. In 2012, as part of the Distressed Homeowner ... Read More »

Why Paying for Credit Repair is Stupid

Mature woman confused

by 
Paula Langguth Ryan, Mediator, Consumer Advocate and Communications Consultant. Every week, people contact me wanting advice on how to get their FICO or credit score up over the 700 mark. Here’s the first question I ask them: Which would you rather increase by 38% in six months– your FICO score or your net worth? The problem is, raising your ... Read More »

Why You Should Never Pay Sticker Price for College

black-hole

by Marian Wang ProPublica, Jan. 2, 2014, 9:27 a.m. You know all those seemingly great sales during the holidays? It turns out, they are often a “carefully engineered illusion.”  A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal defines what it calls “retail theater,” noting that often the discounts being offered to bargain-conscious consumers are carefully planned out by retailers from ... Read More »

American Express to Pay Millions for Illegal Credit Card Practices

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On Christmas Eve the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered American Express to refund an estimated $59.5 million to more than 335,000 consumers for illegal credit card practices. These practices included unfair billing tactics and deceptive marketing with respect to credit card “add-on products” such as payment protection and credit monitoring. American Express will pay an additional $9.6 million in ... Read More »

CFPB Gives Borrowers With Troubled Mortgages a Guide

Real Estate Concept

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a comprehensive guide to help troubled mortgage borrowers. The 104 page guide gives step-by-step directions on what you should expect from your mortgage company if you are struggling. You can read the guide here. The guide also clearly lays out the responsibilities of borrowers as well and is one of the more ... Read More »

Bankruptcy is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

bankruptcy congratulations

During my first job interview after my bankruptcy, the interviewer asked me what I was “most proud of in my life.” Without hesitating, I stated “declaring bankruptcy!” His quizzical look invited me to explain. And I’ll share what I told him, in just a minute. First though, here’s a Pop Quiz for you: Was going bankrupt the worst thing or ... Read More »

Bill Would Make Employment Credit Checks Illegal

welcome

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today introduced the Equal Employment for All Act with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). The legislation would prohibit employers from requiring potential employees to disclose their credit history as part of the job application process. It was previously ... Read More »

Auto Loans to Become Growing Problem in 2014

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TransUnion is out with their projections on the performance of auto loans for 2014. Their best guesstimate is the number of people 60 days or more behind is set to rise as more sub-prime borrowers are extended credit to buy increasingly expensive cars. “While we expect auto loan delinquencies to rise in 2014, they will remain well below levels observed ... Read More »

NC Files Suit Against CashCall and Western Sky Financial to Stop Payday Loans

Sierra Exif JPEG

Yesterday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced taking action against an online payday loan enterprise that attempted to use Indian Tribal lenders to skirt laws on these types of loans. You can read all about that here. The State of North Carolina, in an effort to try and protect its citizens, also filed suit against CashCall and Western Sky Financial. ... Read More »

CFPB Sues CashCall for Illegal Loan Servicing

punched-in-face

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau action taken today against an online lender and Indian Tribe lender may just be the first big step to eradicating these loophole loans which charge consumers more than they should pay. In some cases the loans are voided and consumers do not need to repay anything. Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took its ... Read More »

Advantage Credit Counseling Service Makes Perplexing Statement

puzzled looking little boy looking to the left

Advantage Credit Counseling Service has a “white paper” out that purports to reveal what a certified credit counseling agency can do for you. Credit counselors have good programs that are best suited to people who are behind on their bills but can afford at least the regular monthly payment plus continue to save both for retirement and emergencies. What struck ... Read More »

Get Your Blockbuster Statement Before They Close

blockbuster

If you had an open Blockbuster video account in the last few years you need to go to your local Blockbuster store right away before they close for good and ask for a printout of your account showing no money owed. In the last year or two Hollywood Video closed and tens of thousands of consumers who rented at those ... Read More »

When Lenders Sue, Quick Cash Can Turn Into a Lifetime of Debt

payday loan

by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Dec. 13, 2013, 10:47 a.m. A version of this story will be published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday. Five years ago, Naya Burks of St. Louis borrowed $1,000 from AmeriCash Loans. The money came at a steep price: She had to pay back $1,737 over six months. “I really needed the cash, and that ... Read More »

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