I got scammed by a real estate investing “training/mentoring” program and now I have a debt of $30,000 (price of the 1 year package).
I have tried to dispute the charges with the various credit card companies.
However, I am encountering resistance and even denials because I did not file the dispute in a “timely manner” (60 days) and the merchant claims the charges are “valid”, even after I sent court documents showing the FTC and the Utah Consumer Protection Division is investigating them as a scam and has prohibited from making further sales.
I still want to appeal these disputes but I have considered consolidating the debt because the high debt has become a burden and the interests are high.
If I consolidate the debt, will that stop the dispute process or ruin my chances of getting refunded because the card is technically “paid off”?
An experienced scammer knows to string out the disappointment to get past the dispute period. So I think the dispute process is not a guarantee even if the company is under investigation.
Just today the FTC announced yet another coaching scam settlement with Position Gurus, Top Shelf Ecommerce, Aaron Poysky, Stacy Griego and Samuel Cohen Brow.
If the FTC settles the highest probability is that even if money is recovered from the scam company, victims will only get partial refunds. I can’t think of any case in the last few decades where people got all their money back.
I don’t think to consolidate the debt will change things much since the chance of a successful dispute is probably not good. If you do consolidate and pay the debt off I can’t any dispute moving forward.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, after receiving notice of a dispute, the credit issuer must acknowledge the dispute within thirty days, investigate the claim and, within ninety days, either make appropriate corrections to the account or send a letter to the consumer explaining why the creditor believes there was no error. If the creditor responds that they believe there was no error, the consumer can request copies of documentation supporting the validity of the disputed items.
If you’ve already run that course then the dispute process is effectively dead.
The FTC says, “Disputes about the quality of goods and services are not “billing errors,” so the dispute procedure doesn’t apply. However, if you have a problem with goods or services you paid for with a credit or charge card, you can take the same legal actions against the card issuer as you can take under state law against the seller.
To take advantage of this protection, you must have made the purchase (it must be for more than $50) in your home state or within 100 miles of your current billing address, and make a good faith effort to resolve the dispute with the seller first.” – Source
If you wanted to get out from under the scam debt for less than you owe then your choices are logically debt settlement or bankruptcy.
Otherwise, consolidating your debt to a lower interest rate but for a longer repayment term might actually cost you more money in the long run. You see, a lower interest rate paid back over a longer period of time can result in more overall interest but with a lower monthly payment.
So what I’d love to hear back from you in the comments below is what you really want to achieve. Do you want to move forward with your life or just find a way to make the monthly payments more manageable?