My Mom Tried to Help Me Out of Debt. It’s Going to Hurt Her. – Cara

“Dear Steve,

I have a weird situation that I find myself in…

I had gotten myself into major debt (not weird, I KNOW!)

Anyway, my mom gave me a credit card that would allow me to combine everything into one payment, etc…

I lost my job in March 2009.

We went to the beach as a family in June 2009. I checked the card and was prepared to make a payment the week that I got home. I obviously misread, because the payment was due on the 22, while I was still at the beach. I called and begged and pleaded, tried anything I could think of to get help. The payment ended up being made on the 26th, I think. Anyway, needless to say my 0% skyrocketed and is now 26%, of course, that more than doubled my $300 payment to $660. I am working, praise the Lord, however this payment is making life very strained. I have contacted them and they will not do anything ‘ “your card is not eligible at this time for any APR offers”.

How in the world can they justify going up on their current, up-to-date customers, making it impossible for them to keep up, b/c of the other people who have HAD to default. That doesn’t seem fair…

It is an AT&T Universal Card. BUT, it is in my mother’s name. That is the problem. I can’t apply Dave Ramsey or ANYTHING, because if I default in order to get them to make arrangements, it isn’t my credit that is being screwed up…

Below is a back-and-forth secure message with them: It’s kind of long, but I thought it might help for you to read the following…

Subject APR
Date/Time 11/04/09 08:59:52 AM
You wrote:

Back in June, I made a late payment because of an honest mistake. I was on vacation and simply misread or remembered incorrectly the due date. It was obvious that I was not trying to skip a payment, as the payment was made within a week of the due date. However, at that point, my APR skyrocketed. I asked for some assistance, or even an “accident-forgiveness”. At that point, the card had always been paid on time, and has been paid on time ever since. I realize that credit card companies are in business to make as much money as possible, but an APR this high is part of what is wrong with this economy. My minimum payment is almost one two-week paycheck. I can’t ever get caught up and certainly have no hope of ever getting ahead. When my minimum payment was around $300, I had hope. Now, I just feel like I’m drowning. I do not expect the minimum payment to go down to $300 again, but if it could go to $400 or so, it would be manageable. Please help. Thank you.

Subject Re: APR
Date/Time 11/04/09 09:10:39 AM
Customer Service Wrote:

At this time, your account is not eligible for lower APR.

Our records indicate that the account is currently in default status.

We will lower the APR for all balances at the default APR if you meet the terms of all Card Agreements you have with us for twelve billing periods in a row. We may lower these

APRs sooner based on your record with us.

If you feel that this is in error, please contact us. You can also contact our Customer Care Center at 1-800-950-5114. Outside the U.S., please call collect at 1-605-335-2222.

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Subject Re: APR
Date/Time 01/04/10 03:21:23 PM
You wrote:

PLEASE explain to me how this account is in default. A late payment was made ONE time in June 2009, by 4 days, as I explained that I had simply written down the wrong date in my calendar and was out of town. It has never been over-limit and has been paid on time for the past six months. HOW is that in default??

Subject Re: APR
Date/Time 01/04/10 03:32:03 PM
Customer Service Wrote:

We would like to inform you that the account is currently not in default status.

Our records indicate your interest rate increased due to a change in your account terms. You were sent notification of the change in terms in October 2009.

Our recent actions are based on the significant changes in the financial markets. Our costs in borrowing money we lend to customers have gone up significantly and we are seeing dramatically higher loan losses and delinquencies for many of our customers. In managing to these significantly dramatic changes we must increase some of the prices we charge to customers.

As a result we are taking necessary steps to continue to provide the benefits, rewards and services that we offer with our products and manage our company in the best way through these changes in the financial markets.

The change in the credit and funding markets has raised our costs significantly. This is very similar to the changes we have seen with rising cost of energy. Increased energy costs have lead to an increase in the cost of producing and transporting goods. Accordingly the costs of basic goods have increased as well.

For further assistance, please contact us at 1-800-950-5114. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Outside the U.S., call collect at 605-335-2222.

Thank you for using our website.

Subject Re: APR
Date/Time 01/05/10 09:45:55 AM
You wrote:

I don’t see how, skyrocketing my payments, to the point that I can’t afford my MINIMUM payment is going to help your company in these TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES. Why would that possibly be your solution, when you do in fact have so many losses, why would you turn around and PUNISH the consumers who are making their payments on time, who are doing their best to keep their relationship with your company in solid standing? WHY???

Subject Re: APR
Date/Time 01/05/10 10:02:12 AM
Customer Service Wrote:

We received your request to lower the APR on your account. At this time, your account has the lowest rate available. If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

We are unable to assist you with your request through our Secure Messaging Service. You can call our Customer Assistance Unit at 1-800-926-1058 to request payment arrangements. Representatives are available Monday ? Thursday 6:30 a.m.?11 p.m. CT, Friday 6:30 a.m.?9 p.m. CT and Saturday 8 a.m.?5 p.m. CT.

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Cara”

Dear Cara,

My favorite part was when they said:

Our recent actions are based on the significant changes in the financial markets. Our costs in borrowing money we lend to customers have gone up significantly and we are seeing dramatically higher loan losses and delinquencies for many of our customers. In managing to these significantly dramatic changes we must increase some of the prices we charge to customers.

Here is the bottom line here. They got you on their card and for whatever reason (think profit) they jacked your rate. It does not have to make logical sense. It makes as much sense as saying their cost of borrowing money has gone way up, at a time when it is nearly free to borrow from the Fed.

Since your mom is on the hook for this debt I would suggest talking to her about what is going on and looking at consolidating this over on a fixed rate consolidation loan from a place like the peer-to-peer lending network LendingClub.com. I happen to be a lender there and would love to invest in your loan. Click here to find out how.

In this case i would not hesitate to encourage your mom to be the one to apply, with the better credit. She’s already on the hook for this debt now. Let’s just get it moved to where she is better protected from this crap happening, it won’t hurt her credit, the rate will be lower and you’ll actually have a reasonable payment.

Sincerly,


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.
Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

Steve Rhode

3 thoughts on “My Mom Tried to Help Me Out of Debt. It’s Going to Hurt Her. – Cara”

  1. Hey Steve.

    I read your information. Am passing it on to my mom… How do I ensure that the information gets to you when (she) applies? Also, how do (we) convey to a creditor that we will CLOSE that credit card, if that is the best thing to do to a) get the loan and b) for her credit??

    Thanks so much! I am feeling some hope – like I was led to you for this answer!!

    Reply
    • Cara,

      Your comment about being led here is not the first time I’ve heard that. God works is mysterious ways.

      Tell you mother not to close the card just yet, we’d first need to figure out of she has older open cards so that closing this one would not reduce her credit score. There is no rush to close it once it is paid off.

      To make sure I know about your loan and can help fund it, just follow these instructions. I can’t wait to be an investor in your LendingClub.com loan.

      Steve

      Reply
  2. Steve…

    My mom is on vacay for a few days from work – therefore no email – I know, they live in the Stone Ages! However, I will be forwarding this on to her ASAP… Praying it can work… would be an amazing blessing… and would feel so incredibly nice to say to AT&T “You were unwilling to work with us, after years of being a loyal customer… BUH-BYE!”

    C

    Reply

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