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I just heard a piece on NPR about Experian selling your credit history to collection agencies.  They constantly monitor your credit activity and if you start to pay off your credit and are getting back on your feet, they notify the collection hounds and let them have at you.  This sounded pretty damn wrong to me so I got on Google and found out some more about this.  

Apparently this new form of invading your privacy was launched in January by Experian.   Here is there press release.

In an effort to help financial
services organizations collect on large volumes of uncollected debt,
Experian(R), a global information solutions provider, today announced the
launch of Collection Triggers(SM).  Collection Triggers is a robust and
flexible collections solution that monitors a company's portfolio of
collections accounts.  When new information on one of these accounts becomes
available, indicating the possibility of recovering the debt, the organization
is notified within 24 hours and can then resume efforts to contact the
consumer and collect the outstanding debt.

   "Our clients have been asking us to help solve the debt dilemma -- when
collection efforts go cold, the consequence is a huge burden of unpaid debt,"
said Kerry Williams, group president, Experian's Credit Services.  "Collection
Triggers offers our clients the opportunity to know within 24 hours when a
debtor has had new credit activity, enabling quick action for the highest
probability of recovery."

So companies are paying to have real time updates on your credit status.  Seems wrong to me.  But I'm not a lobbyist for the credit industry.  Now you may be thinking to yourself, "hey, i'm not in credit card debt, that isn't my problem".   Think again.  Applying for a mortgage?   Refinancing?  Well, your info is also being sold on a real time basis without your approval.  Those are sold as "mortgage triggers".

As a former mortgage broker, Adryenn Ashley thought she knew what to expect when she refinanced her house in March. Yet Ashley was unprepared for one twist she encountered: a barrage of phone calls and e-mails from rival lenders vying to sell her a better mortgage.

Some of the callers apparently knew just how much money she was borrowing. Others made such misleading come-ons such as "We need to update your information" or "We need to complete your application," Ashley recalls.

"I have privacy concerns over that," she said from her home in Petaluma. "My information should be confidential."

These days, mortgage shoppers like Ashley are supreme telemarketing targets, thanks to "trigger leads" that the credit reporting bureaus sell to lenders the instant a consumer's credit file is pulled by a loan officer. So when Ashley's lender checked her credit to prepare her loan, dozens of other mortgage companies were tipped off. These alerts can be had for a few bucks per name if bought in bulk.

So you give the lender you are working with the authority to pull your credit report.  And then Experian sells it to anyone who is willing to buy that info.   Does that sound like an invasion of privacy?  Not to the mortgage industry.  They claim that it allows you to "shop around".   Apparently as a consumer you are too stupid to shop around and thus they need to make sure you do.   What next?   "medical triggers"?.   "Hi this is Dr Hibbert.  I understand you are suffering from Genital Herpes.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my new product VaxaGen.   Side effects may include...".  

Originally posted to onemadson on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:11 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's crazy (89+ / 0-)

    and I do see it as an intrusion of privacy.

    Can credit report locks prevent this type of action from occurring? Like what you can do to prevent unauthorized accounts from being opened in your name without you calling in and specifically authorizing specific activity for a specific period of time?

    Phillybits - "...quoting a senior defense department official speaking on condition of anonymity..."

    by Stand Strong on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:16:43 AM PDT

  •  Opt out (75+ / 0-)

    Every financial institution you deal with has the authority to share your information with just about anyone using their "discretion," unless you opt out. Now, I’m in no way an expert, and I hope some experts post here, but the first thing you should know is they don’t make it easy.

    You must fill out an awkwardly worded form, for every account you have with the institution. For example, each car that is inusred, your homewoner’s policy etc with your insurance company; if you have checking, savings, a loan with a single bank you must request a form for each of them.

    When you request the forms they will give you the run-around like you’ve never seen. Some will mail you an "opt out" form for each account, if you ask. Other institutions where you carry multiple accounts will send you only one form at a time. None will tell you need to make the request for every account. Some institutions will divert your call to a call center where the person to whom you are directed barely speaks English, but assures you such a form is unnecessary, since their company doesn’t share "email information" or some such nonsense.

    It's a mess, but likely worth it.

  •  worse than that (13+ / 0-)

    If you have managed to move and change your phone number, and are happy that your creditors haven't come calling, don't be too eager. After years of quiet privacy, the creditors have again come calling after I applied for a FDIC insured money-market account.

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. -Emerson

    by fitzov rules on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:25:54 AM PDT

  •  This diary should be recommended (23+ / 0-)

    There should be an interesting, educational, conversation about consumer rights and responsibilities  about this topic.

    •  I'm a new credit card user (13+ / 0-)

      and am just starting to realize how hard they work to try and get people more in debt. I'm curious to see where all the Presidential candidates stand on reigning in on these types of abuses. I posted a diary yesterday on Edwards plans to combat some of the abuses in the mortgage/credit card/ and payday lending industries....watch out diary pimping....
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      We should all put pressure on all the candidates and our Reps and Senators to do something about these abuses. It's not a controversial wedge issue, it's one issue all Americans are having trouble with.

      •  oh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth

        the republicans will make it a wedge issue
        they make EVERYTHING a wedge issue

        nanny state
        self-responsibility
        yadda yadda yadda

        i can just hear it now

        He may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot...Groucho Marx

        by distributorcap on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:23:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Their problem is they wedge themselves out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yoduuuh do or do not

          They make everything into a wedge issue, even when it does not benefit them to do so.  The Republican party seems very arrogant and has come to the conclusion that everything they stand for has a massive "silent majority" supporting it.  This, coming from a party that, even at its recent peak, never managed to achieve more than a very slim majority in the House.  

          Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

          by Asak on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:21:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have to take both sides (11+ / 0-)

    Companies that attempt to collect are really in a bind, their information is more often then not horrifically wrong, and they hire people that are for the most part, not trained or qualified.  Having been harassed by collection agencies for a phone number and home address that was previous used by my GF's brother more than a decade ago, who totally failed to even attempt to seek him out using easily available internet resources, I can't help but think that this might actually reduce harassing incorrect calls!

    And at the same time, I think there should be a greater attempt by people to curtail their spending.  I understand emergency spending needs, due to illness or other unforeseen problems, but far too many of us spend much more than we should.  Witness the negative savings rate in the US for the last 8 quarters... When people fail to pay off their debt, that increases interest rates for the rest of us, and hurts the average person.

  •  The confidentiality laws are complex. (16+ / 0-)

    The person you give the information to is bound by law not to disclose that information without your concent, but the people/companies that you agree can have access to your information in order to further process your application are not.

    It works the same for health information.  Your doctor cannot disclose information without your concent, but you concent to allow your insurance company access so that they can process your claim.  Your insurance company is not bound by law not to further disclose your information.

    Not that long ago a man/company established a credit rating company.  That company got your social security number, your address and if you moved, your new address, the amount of money you earned, your age, the number of children you have, your driving record, and everything you put on your application to obtain credit.  The man who started that company decided he could make more money selling that information than he could running the credit reporting company so that's what he did.  

    Its out there.  Every application you and anyone you know has ever filled out is now public information.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:06:32 AM PDT

    •  that is really nuts (8+ / 0-)

      so it is "I promise not to tell anyone except a few people and they can tell anyone they want".  

      It really would be fascinating to see all the files they have on us in all the various databases.  And to see what type of categories we are filed under

    •  Are you saying HIPAA doesn't apply (0+ / 0-)

      to insurance companies? that goes against what I know. HIPAA is the federal law that requires patient health information to be safeguarded.

      •  Insurance companies DO have to honor HIPAA (5+ / 0-)

        We have to go through periodic training to ensure we don't accidentally disclose any protected health information even by accident...and I don't even work with claims or subscriber records.

        The rules are very stringent and my company at least takes them extremely seriously.  It's strictly "need-to-know" basis.

        (Insert witty quotation or pithy truism of your choice here.)

        by marjo on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:56:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  good, that's what I thought (0+ / 0-)

          for a moment there I thought spending so much of my time safeguarding our patient financial database (I work for a nonprofit hospital) was for nothing as the insurance companies would just peddle it all anyway.

          But that was the whole point of HIPAA, I believe, to make sure patient info isn't improperly used or distributed, by anybody involved in healthcare.  As I recall even when I worked in the drug industry we had similar requirements around study patients.  

      •  Sure, HIPAA applies (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pompatus, Creosote, samddobermann, JVolvo, kurt

        It just has a heck of a lot of holes, thanks to the Bush administration.  One of the biggest holes allows the government to obtain your health records anytime it thinks that might be useful for homeland security or law enforcement activities.  I have been getting disclaimers to that effect from some health providers, including a optometrist.  Now how useful do you think my eyeglass prescription would be to DHS?

        Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. ~ Cervantes

        by Deep Harm on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:15:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  not true about HIPAA (0+ / 0-)

      Your insurance company is not bound by law not to further disclose your information.

      not true.

      (Insert witty quotation or pithy truism of your choice here.)

      by marjo on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:57:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I invite you to read (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xyz, kurt

        some of the following:
        What medical information is not covered by HIPAA?
        Financial records. The federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) allows financial companies such as banks, brokerage houses, and insurance companies to operate as a single entity. GLB gives you the right to be notified about the information-sharing practices of financial institutions. And you must be given an opportunity to opt-out of third-party information sharing. But GLB does not keep information from being shared among affiliated companies.

        Your credit card account and checking transactions are likely to include information about where you go for health care. Insurance applications and medical claims also contain health-related information. So it is possible for such medical information to be shared among affiliates of financial institutions. Such information is not protected by HIPAA.

        Education records maintained by your child's school contain vaccination histories, information about physical examination for sports, counseling for behavioral problems, and records of visits to the school nurse. Privacy of education records is under the control of the US Department of Education and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These records are not covered by HIPAA. For more information about FERPA, visit the Department's web site at www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco/ferpa/index.html.


        The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

        by nupstateny on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:01:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This diary made the Rec List (12+ / 0-)

    was here at 8:10am on the bottom rung, so I added the Recommended tag.  Thanks for the diary.

  •  Privacy is gone (14+ / 0-)
    Whatever you thought you knew about privacy is probably incorrect now.  We are already living in a new world, and I don't know exactly how we are going to cope.  

    I know that we will cope, eventually, and we will find new ways to go through our daily lives.  It used to be that the sheer volume of information available made any single transaction or action relatively anonymous.  But new data mining techniques render the volume of data immaterial.

    Maybe requiring affirmative release of information instead of implied consent is the way to go.  But we must remember that powerful forces are arrayed against privacy.  There is an incredible financial interest for them to mine our data.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:37:31 AM PDT

  •  What program? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise

    Could you please tell me which NPR program was this on?  And was it on today (June 24)?

    Thanks!

  •  This happened to me (13+ / 0-)

    I bought a new car about ninety days ago and promptly went on the road with it for work. I recently got back and I've been bombarded by messages from LHR about a debt from my first marriage which ended in 1991 and was written off in 1992. They call me on my cell and it now shows up as "bozo", they call me at the office and they get through once then I add the source number to the special list of people that get a fast busy when they call here.

     I guess that is what I get for making a double payment on the vehicle the first month I had it ...

    "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." - Albus Dumbledore

    by Iowa Boy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:41:54 AM PDT

  •  I fully expect troll rating for this (6+ / 0-)

    And I'm saying this as someone who has a credit score of like, 4, and who owes about $50,000 in student loans.

    But. It is their money, and we all signed contracts saying that financial information can be shared among creditors. It's annoying as hell that once we finally start having some money these people hound on us like we're trying to get away with something, but they're really just doing what we'd fully expect them to do.

    On the other hand, that mortgage triggering stuff sounds like it should be illegal.

    •  no troll rating from me (11+ / 0-)

      I agree that debts should be repaid.  However, I also know that the credit card companies prey on people who should not be given credit.  

      I also would be less critical if large companies didn't ever get bailed out and had their debts forgiven.

      I'm sure the guys from Long Term Capital Management aren't getting calls for repayment.

    •  One thing to remember (22+ / 0-)

      is that a large percentage of people in this country have below-average IQs. Navigating financial responsibilities is hard enough when you've got the aptitude, imagine how hard it is if you just don'thave strong cognitive abilities. The lower the IQ, the more trusting a person often is.

      Combine that with medical debt, which other diaries here cover very well.

      then add the nasty life event set, including deadbeat husbands/wives that screw up your credit.

      then add the truly sophisticated scams that get even the smarter folks.

      Then add senior citizens who are suffering from the beginnings of dementia (my grandmother didn't pay her bills for six months before my mother took over her affairs).

      Oh, and immigrants who sign mortgage contracts in a language they only speak at a 6th grade level, and trust it's ok because they come from a third world country and nothing like a "balloon ARM" exists there.

      The whole "they knew what they were getting into" thing only applies to people who actually knew what they were getting into.  In my view, the profligate spenders are only part of the bad debt scenarios in this country.  

      •  ? (0+ / 0-)

        What does the sharing of information have to do with all of that though? I agree that it should be harder to get a loan in the first place and that the arrangement should be a bit friendlier once you get in that "club".

        I also think different kinds of debt should be weighed differently when calculating a credit score (though I think that's the case already - I owe a hospital some money and I don't even see it mentioned on my credit report).

        But that's not really what we're talking about here.

        And I'm sorry, I need to step in on the immigrant scenario. If someone signs something with that many zeroes attached to it and doesn't ask for a translation, then I don't know what they were expecting. Also, any type of loan with the word "balloon" in it should be avoided, by anyone, in any situation, ever.

      •  Yet An Even Larger Portion of the Debt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Asak, jbdigriz

        is held by those who go to college, incurring that debt through loans and by eagerly taking all the credit card offers that come their way.  Ego acceptance.

        Intelligence and education don't necessarily put a consumer in a "knowlegable" class that prevent stupid over-spending and poor personal financial management.

        They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

        by Limelite on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:13:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Several here, like yourself, (11+ / 0-)

      make a very valid point about the fact that there is a contract involved and repayment is an obligatory part in fulfilling the terms of that contract.  This point, however, is a red herring: the point of contention here is not the repayment part, it is the real-time release of one's credit information to "trigger" unwanted credit-related solicitations.

      -8.88, -7.77 "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" --Marx

      by wordene on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:24:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, but (0+ / 0-)

        all credit-related solicitations are unwanted, and I don't see the difference from a financial perspective between instant jerks calling you and delayed jerks calling you, other than the balance would be slightly higher in the latter scenario.

        I read this and I wonder what the alternative is.

        Should creditors not get updates on their debtors' financial status? That's probably not true, though (as someone who just got their first job after college) it would be nice. They're in a financial agreement with me and as such their income is my business.

        Superficially it feels creepy that this information is being bounced back and forth (and this definitely needs tighter regulation - I don't know how many of these people have account numbers and SSNs and exactly how many unencrypted networks this information is shooting through), but really, ask what if the alternative would be any better. I don't think it really would be.

        •  The alternative is to prevent predatory practices (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbdigriz

          Start with making illegal the payday loan sharks.  Then make it very difficult for all purveyors of credit to mass-market themselves, i.e. having to bounce their solicitations against the National "Do Not Call" list and ALL others.

          Creditors are in the business of granting credit, and there are inherent risks to being in their line of business.  One of these risks is lending to those who can not or will not repay.  That is their price of doing business and the rationale for their charging interest.

          When someone is in dire financial straits, regardless as to how they got there, the one thing that will make them feel more in control of the situation is to control the repayment process.  If said person discovers that they can start repaying one of their creditors and not the others, it takes away the sense of control out of an apparent out-of-control situation and would lead many more directly to bankruptcy.

          -8.88, -7.77 "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" --Marx

          by wordene on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:38:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

            But again. that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about owing, regardless of context. If you're predatory in soliciting loans, I can't imagine why anyone should be surprised that you're predatory in soliciting debts.

            On the other hand, if you were cute and cuddly but the loan was for $40,000, then you should be fired if you're not a pain in the ass when trying to collect on that.

            This seems to be an open thread for bitching about lending practices. That's not what this diary was about. Does anyone seriously disagree that lenders don't have the right to have accurate info regarding the ability to pay?

    •  In a perfect world, you'd be right (15+ / 0-)

      But debt collection is fraught with players who are dishonest and immoral. A recent example comes from a lawsuit that the 6th Circuit decided couldn't be pursued, except for one count of intentional infliction of emotional distress. In that case, debt collectors told a mentally ill woman that she was going to jail and that her husband would have to pay her debts, among other things. She killed herself.

      Also, most collection isn't on behalf of the original creditor. It likely sold the debt to a buyer who, instead of collecting a money owed, is looking to turn a profit. Here's a WaPo story that I was able to find that's somewhat helpful.

      Add to all of this the fact that sorts of tactics the financial services industry engages in, like universal default and usurious interest, and a societal mood that the market is the best place to weed out the wrongdoers, and you end up pretty far away from the original premise that if you borrowed money, you shouldn't complain that your creditor wants it back.

      "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders." Molly Ivins

      by VetGrl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:36:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't need to tell me these. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, jbdigriz, debedb

        I ended up paying $400 for three shirts from Sears a couple months ago because:

        • I could save 10% if I bought them with a Sears card!
        • They took my original debit card to get my name
        • They took my driver's license (to get my address, never asking if the information was current)
        • Put the charge on the new card (while still having my current card in their hands, not telling me where the charge was going)
        • Sent the bill to my dad's house, three hours away

        Where it sat in a heap somewhere until Sears sold the debt to some shack in Oklahoma.

        But as I said in an earlier response to someone else: what does that have to do with the sharing of debtor information? The debt arrived to me in a crappy way (and I really could have fought it, maybe, due to sloppiness on the clerk's part) but it's not as if I woke up and someone had sneakily put me into a financial agreement with a bank. And I'm sure that somewhere in that shitstorm of paper they gave me it explained that the charge was on my Sears card and I'd have to drive up to Sheboygan and look for the bill. But my hands were full and I threw all that crap out on my way to the Jamba Juice stand.

        Why should someone who makes mayyyybe $7 an hour be playing the role of a banker, opening lines of credit in the thousands of dollars? Of course that's bad. But it was dumb of me to play the other half of the scheme without knowing what was what. I owed the money through my stupidity and their sloppiness, and they reserved the right to know when cash started pouring out of me to other banks.

    •  And, remember also, these companies... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, mataliandy, Creosote, bablhous

      ...loan money with no threat to self.  They have limited liability as a corporation, and if in the end they go bankrupt, it doesn't harm a single one of the corporation's owners or officers personally.

      If they do something wrong, our only recourse as customers is to sue, wasting incredibly large amounts of time and money.  They, on the other hand, are free to make our lives living hells if we make a mistake.  Yes, it is their money, but they take no risk by lending it to us.  If we pay it off, they collect usurers rates on it.  If we don't, they write it off their taxes as a loss, and we get to spend a decade trying to fix our "mistake," like getting sick or some other heinous crime.

      Enslave 10% of America. Save us the shipping charges from China.

      by bwide on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:28:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it's not theirs (6+ / 0-)

      The collection agencies are NOT collecting on behalf of the creditor with whom you had a contract.

      The creditor has written off the debt.

      The collection agency has purchased your debt from the creditor. You have no contract with this agency.

      Their sole purpose is to harass the living daylights out of you to recoup more than they paid for that debt (they usually pay 30% of the $ owed, then try to collect 100% from you).

      •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

        How I feel about collection agencies. Before I had to deal with any of them, I wanted them banned. Many of their practices should be banned - apparently because they're not the original lender they're exempt from many lending laws, which to me is bullshit because if they play the role of collector they should have to play the role of lender with respect to the law.

        The reason they get such a great deal on that debt is that they have an awful success rate; they often buy debts on dead people with no next of kin, and so on.

        On the other hand, I don't know what banning them would do. It just changes the name on the "Pay to the order of:" line on the check. It's still a debt.

        An (very) unintentional benefit of them is that they stop the accrual of interest; because the debt is sold and you didn't sign a contract with the collection agency, they cannot charge interest on your debt. In my example (read my response to VetGrl) where I just plain didn't KNOW about my debt, it ended up helping.

        •  Not quite true on the interest. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy

          Your mileage will vary, based on what state you live in, but in the state of Colorado, collection agencies may charge 8% interest on debts they buy.

          Granted, that's a hell of a lot less painful than the 32% penalty rate inflicted on people by credit card companies, but it's still interest.

          Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

          by meldroc on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:49:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I won't troll rate (8+ / 0-)

      I'll just ask why you are spouting right-wing talking points that suggest that business practices are sacrosanct so long as someone signed a contract. The idea that these businesses are being dishonest or not totally open about their contracts or that they take advantage of widespread lack of knowledge doesn't seem to register for you.

      Liberals do not describe freedom of contract and then leave it at that.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If (0+ / 0-)

        The companies break the contract then I personally think the financial staff of said company should be criminally liable (and I don't mean a token lawsuit, I mean prison).

        Maybe in some states these contracts are hard to read. My state (Wisconsin) had foresight and forced companies to write contracts at a sixth-grade level, banned use of double negatives, and so forth.

        However, yet again, as I state for the tenth time, loans don't happen by surprise. And interest rates (absurdly high ones - I would support a law banning all private loans forever, and forcing the government loan rate to be just enough to cover bankruptcies) are implied in these loans.

        Put more simply, shit rolls downstream.

        If a loan happens (forget for a second how that loan occurred, but assume it happened because someone that needed money didn't have money and someone with money was willing to sell said money) then collection happens. And those who are slated to collect will, you know, wanna collect. And per the terms of the contract that my stupid ass, along with millions of others out there, signed, they can do anything that isn't fraud to collect that debt.

  •  I was given a form to sign at my closing (7+ / 0-)

    that prohibited sharing of my mortgage information. The closer from my title company strongly urged me to sign it, which I did. It took about a year before I started getting these kinds of illicit solicitations, and I wonder if that's because that form expired.  But still I haven't gotten many.

    It shouldn't be an opt-out system (you should have to ask for the garbage, not be assumed to want it), but if you are going through a closing on a house soon, make sure you ask if there's a form you can sign right then protecting your privacy.  It probably varies by state.

  •  Another twist to this predatory industry (19+ / 0-)

    My daughter just graduated from college and has some educational loans with Sallie Mae.  All of a sudden she is being inundated with offers for credit cards and other come-ons from banks.  Many of these solicitations indicate that these financial institutions know she is a recent graduate.  Clearly, someone is selling her name.  It could be the college itself, but I suspect it is Sallie Mae.

    Having three kids in their 20s, I have seen some of the most despicable behavior you can imagine related to the treatment of these young people by the vast financial industry. It's absolutely shameful.  

    •  get 'em while their young (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, jbdigriz, ladybug53, Lashe, Bronx59

      and you have 'em for life.  

      I had friends in college who use to fund spring breaks with credit cards they were able to get.  I went to an Ivy League school and there was this attitude of "we're going to make a lot of money when we graduate so why not?".   When they got out of school with school loans and $10K in credit card debt they soon found out why not.  Plenty of broke ivy league grads to be found.  They just don't include that on the brochures.

  •  SUGGESTION: opt out in a big way (19+ / 0-)

     Why not just never carry a credit card balance? I have a little ($2,500) card for travel and they won't give me any more, despite the fact that I've pushed $30,000 through it in the three years I've had it ... seems that my never carrying a balance is a problem.

     I'm liking my Paypal virtual credit card thingy more each time I use it - sign up for a magazine online? The credit card  lives long enough to do one transaction then it disappears!

     Oh, and Paypal debit cards have no fees if you happen to accidentally take it negative. Suddenly that bank on the corner doesn't look so good, eh?

     I broke down and bought a new car ... but I'm getting 30+ MPG on the highway and the Jeep got 19 at best. Given the amount of driving I was doing the savings were quite impressive. I think if gas gets to $4.50 I basically have a free car ...

     If you're above the poverty line the best opt out is to consume less and assume the worst about the future. I guess I am a child of depression babies ...

    "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." - Albus Dumbledore

    by Iowa Boy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:59:09 AM PDT

  •  yeah, hmm... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, internationaljock, Limelite

    God forbid creditors come after you for THEIR MONEY that YOU SPENT...

    And yeah, I've gotten those calls from creditors for people who don't live there who I've never heard from, but they do eventually get the hint.

    And bullshit that it's the credit industry's fault. If they give you credit and you spend it, you've signed a contract to pay it back. That makes YOU responsible.

    This in itself I find not invasive or abusive. The system for interest increases - that's another story. There are plenty of abuses by creditors, but this ain't one of them.

    The mortgage thing is obnoxious, but yeah, there's an opt out. I had that when I applied for a car loan, too.

    I choked on your post. It nearly killed me. Hitler killed people. Your post is just like Hitler. - Pope Bandar bin Turtle

    by Buffalo Girl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:13:30 AM PDT

    •  I Have No Problem w/ Credit Triggers (3+ / 0-)

      As a person without credit difficulties, my only problem is with people who rack up debt they can't pay.  Their defaults cause my interest rates to go up.

      I look at credit triggers as protection for my pocketbook in the same way I do seatbelt laws -- enforce the wearing of seatbelts to reduce the number of uninsured (and insured, too, okay?) accidents that increase my insurance premiums and medical care costs.

      Without aggressive debt collection from people who are trying to incur additional debt while still owing someone else , a cycle of credit abuse is allowed to continue.  

      And this diary's tone implies that I should be outraged because there's a more efficient method for collecting from these folks.

      Sorry, I don't think so.

      They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

      by Limelite on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:38:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm curious, do you think (8+ / 0-)

        the companies have any responsibility to not loan money to people they know will default?   Because by your way of thinking, the companies are charging you higher interest rates because they are loaning money to people who can't repay.   Perhaps if the companies only loaned money to people with the ability to pay it back your rates would be much lower.  It might put a big dent in the collection business but that isn't really something I worry about.

        •  No Business Has Any Responsibility (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity, internationaljock

          to NOT do business.  Did the loan company rope "you," hog-tie "you," and drag "you" into their place of business, hold a gun to "your" head and force "you" to take out a loan?

          Somehow I bet not.

          Goodness, "you" buy an airplane when you can't fly it yet the salesman is responible for your stupidity?  "You" buy your sleep aid prescription and take them all at once producing an overdose, and the pharmacist is at fault for filling "your" prescription?

          The shirking of personal responsibility in incurring debt one is not able to manage and retire within the contract agreement is no one's fault but the person who seeks that credit. Period.

          Reminds me of the lemming syndrome mamas warn their kids about.  "Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you have to."

          They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

          by Limelite on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:25:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you think... (8+ / 0-)

            ...that large corporations with access to vast amounts of information and huge resources somehow have less responsibility for their decision to loan the money than the borrower (with much less information and fewer resources) has for his/her decision?

            Apparently the concept of information assymetry means nothing to you.  For that matter, apparently basic human decency and common sense are alien to you as well.

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:35:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sarahnity, Buffalo Girl

              Personal attacks are alien to me, though.

              All business dealings offer each side certain advantages.  All people who engage in business deakings should make themselves as informed as possible.  If one feels that their is insufficient information vis a vis the risk their considering undertaking.  Well, what do you suggest they should do?

              Be guided by good judgment rather than "I want."

              Personal responsibility taken can prevent personal debt unmeetable.

              They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

              by Limelite on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:54:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Right wing troll (12+ / 0-)

                Whether it is your intent or not, you are essentially spouting right wing talking points.  You make that explicit with your posting that businesses are not responsible, but only individuals are.  In essence, in your world, responsibility flows downhill to the person with the least power.

                I notice that you conveniently ignored my comment about information asymmetry -- something that is very relevant to this discussion.  Markets work efficiently and effectively when both parties have equal knowledge and understanding of the transaction (information symmetry).  If such were the situation, I would be far more inclined to agree with those (like you) who side with the corporate interests over people.  What you ignore (or don't care about) is the fact that both sides do not have equal knowledge.  In fact, the credit card and banking industries go to a great deal of effort to make their terms as indecipherable as possible.  You're expecting people of average intelligence with moderate levels of education to be able to sort out something that was designed by a bunch of high paid lawyers to be indecipherable.  Not surprisingly, it ain't gonna happen...

                While you're entitled to your opinion, my opinion is that your view on this issue is contemptible and inhumane.

                Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:19:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  oh for crying out loud (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk, sarahnity, Limelite

                  he's not a troll. What the hell is wrong with being responsible for your finances and for the contracts you make with people? Give me a break. Businesses are not doing anything illegal by trying to collect on debts.

                  I choked on your post. It nearly killed me. Hitler killed people. Your post is just like Hitler. - Pope Bandar bin Turtle

                  by Buffalo Girl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:49:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Legality is fluid (0+ / 0-)

                    And, therefore, does not enter 'as is' into my, for example, ethical calculations.

                  •  Usury has been condemned (3+ / 0-)

                    throughout history, with good reason. When the US was a Nation of laws usury was illegal. It isn't the free-market we are debating, it is unbridled theft from the powerless.

                  •  It would be nice... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mlle Orignalmale, protectedmode

                    ...if you bothered to read anything other than the headline on my post before you posted your response.

                    In any event, I think it is a pretty sad day when our standard of right and wrong is "not doing anything illegal"...  Because that's really not the point -- the point is that, perhaps, some of these practices should be illegal.

                    Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                    by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:10:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Right vs. wrong (0+ / 0-)

                      I agree that legality should not define what is right and wrong.  And yet I see a lot of people on this very diary taking the position that it is not wrong to refuse to repay your old debts because they are beyond the statute of limitations and therefore they cannot legally be forced into repayment.  Sorry, but I find that wrong.  If you take money from someone, and then refuse to pay it later on, I think that's wrong.  

                      But obviously if I am preaching the virtues of personal responsibility and standing by your own word, I must be some sort of right wing troll in your book.  

                      Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                      by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 03:28:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Usury is a real moral issue. (2+ / 0-)

                        It is wrong. Even when it is legal, it is wrong.

                        The suggestion here is that there be a restoration of balance in the lending process with an end to predatory practices. It is easy to simplify the reality of victimization that many endure to survive. Clearly your circumstances allow you to avoid such stresses. Be grateful, and pray that you will never need to borrow from unscrupulous lenders to meet your most basic needs.

                      •  Responsibility and trolls (3+ / 0-)

                        My definition of a right wing troll in the context of this particular discussion is someone who fixates on personal responsibility but ignores the issue of corporate responsibility.  I take strong exception to a world view where individuals are held endlessly accountable for their every mistake while corporations are let off the hook.

                        From a legalistic viewpoint, I'd say that the balance has tilted too far against the individual and in favor of corporations.  

                        From a moral viewpoint, the morality of paying (or not paying) a debt is contextual.  If someone borrows money to purchase a luxury item and then refuses to pay it back even though they are able to, that action is morally dissimilar from someone who loses a job, lands in the hospital, and ends up with $100k of medical debt that they can't pay.  All sorts of nuances exist in between those two extremes.  

                        My problem with absolute statements such as the one that you make is that it disregards the moral implications of the differing circumstances.

                        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                        by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:12:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Re... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sarahnity, Limelite

                          My definition of a right wing troll in the context of this particular discussion is someone who fixates on personal responsibility but ignores the issue of corporate responsibility.

                          My definition of a troll is someone who calls other people trolls with a weak basis like this one.

                          I agree with you that corporate responsibility is important. However, I certainly don't think that any particular poster has any obligation to bring up YOUR TALKING POINTS.

                          Is everyone who disagrees with you, or chooses to focus on points that aren't the ones YOU want them to, a troll?

          •  Here is the thing lime... (6+ / 0-)

            I would agree with you, but the leading cause of debt is medical bankruptcy.

            How do these people fit into your line of thinking? I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume that you really just didn't know the facts on this issue, since the whole comment you chose to place in bold would be downright cold towards those who did not in any way choose their medical conditions.

            You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

            by redhaze on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:08:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  However, many people do spend beyond their means (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Asak, sarahnity, Limelite

              as well. I don't want to negate this point either. The people who fall into this category should of course be held responsible for their spending choices.

              You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

              by redhaze on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:11:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  LOTS of people fall into this category (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Asak, sarahnity, Limelite

                but lots of liberals want to pretend that they don't exist and pretend that everyone who defaults on credit is because of medical expenses. That's just baloney.

                I choked on your post. It nearly killed me. Hitler killed people. Your post is just like Hitler. - Pope Bandar bin Turtle

                by Buffalo Girl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:50:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  About half (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Canadian Reader, LIsoundview

                  What they found: These were working- class or middle-class people, and 76 percent of them had health insurance when they first got sick. (Many lost this coverage because the insurance was through their jobs, so it disappeared when they couldn't work.) Half of the bankruptcies were caused, in part, by illness and medical debt. Their median debt was about $16,500, and the major part of that debt was payments to doctors and hospitals. Families initially tried to pay the debt for several months, says Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy expert at Harvard Law School. Sixty-one percent went without needed medical care to make payments, 30 percent had a utility shut off, and 22 percent cut back on their food.

                •  SOME people fall into that category... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  protectedmode

                  ...but not the majority. "Protectedmode" just posted an article indicating that roughly half of bankruptcies have illness and medical debt as a major cause.  Many other bankruptcies result from job loss or divorce.  Yeah, that leaves a few people who go bankrupt because they were living beyond their means, but it's surely less than a quarter of bankruptcies.  And I'd be willing to bet odds that it is far less than a quarter.

                  Leaving aside the matter of what "living beyond your means" actually means.  It's a very different matter for someone making $25,000/year, where it may mean getting their car repaired and still being able to eat every day, versus someone making $100,000/year, where it may mean having the McMansion outfitted with top of the line furniture.  I feel a great deal of sympathy for the person in the first category who runs up debt, and no sympathy for the person in the latter category.  Considering that median household income in the United States is $46,000/year, there's an awful lot of people who are struggling to make ends meet.  Predatory credit companies really just kick these people when they're already down.

                  Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                  by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:18:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't have a lot of sympathy for either (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Asak

                    People need to learn to live within their means, whatever those means are.   I'm not speaking from some ivory tower here, I've done it.  I know it can be really hard, but it can be done.  Maybe you need to take in a roommate or live in a smaller place.  Maybe you need to drive a 10 year old car.  Maybe you need to use the computers at work or school or library instead of having your own internet connection, whatever it is, very few people need to live beyond their means.  I do make exceptions for those struck down with catastrophic medical bills, but if you are running up debt for day to day expenses now, what are you going to do in 20, 30, or 40 years when you want to retire or when you physically can't work?

                    Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                    by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 03:38:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Just what do you do when you (0+ / 0-)

                      are uninsured and that festering wound goes septic? Or when your ride to the McJob breaks down?

                      It is often possible to live within your means if everything goes smoothly, but there are often bumps inthe road.

                      •  Obviously... (4+ / 0-)

                        ...you're just supposed to buck up and live with the festering wound, since it would be wrong to live beyond your means by going to a hospital and accumulating a bill that you can't pay.

                        (Yes, this is sarcasm.  I'm a bit tired of the self-righteousness that comes oozing out of those defending the status quo on this issue.  I'm fortunate that while I had several years of hard financial times earlier in this decade it never did get to the point of desperation that I've seen others around me experience.  And I think that a little empathy for those who are struggling is not a bad thing)

                        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                        by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:16:37 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I see (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          redhaze

                          So nobody who incurs excessive credit card debt has any responsibility for their predicament.  It's all the fault of the evil credit card companies for making it too easy to borrow and for the advertisers who made it too attractive to buy stuff.

                          See, I can twist your position to sound ludicrous by putting words in your mouth too.  

                          How about you address the substance of what I said (which explicitly rejected those with catastrophic medical bills) rather than building up a strawman you can easily attack?

                          Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                          by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:42:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Predatory lenders (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mlle Orignalmale

                            are unworthy of legal protection, and in fact should be prosecuted. They are far more responsible for the debt than their victims. They knew what they were getting into, and took a very high risk. It is immoral for them to enjoy government enforcement where a generation ago their enforcers would have been rightfully tossed in jail.

                            Some people should not be loaned money. Yes, they are responsible, but the corporation who hopes to prey on them is more responsible by virtue of their vastly superior bank of knowledge. There is a reason that these practices have been deplored throughout history, whether you acknowledge that fact or not.

                          •  All I said was (0+ / 0-)

                            People need to learn to live within their means, whatever those means are.

                            What part of that don't you agree with?

                            Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                            by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:55:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The part where, when it becomes impossible for (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mlle Orignalmale

                            some, their circumstances are exploited by bottom feeders which society now revers as corporate icons.

                            The part where people are now longer allowed a single mistake.

                            The list is endless, but what I really don't get why those who take huge business risk aren't held responsible for their foreseeable losses.

                          •  So what are we talking about 1% of the population (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            sarahnity

                            The fact that a few people are taken advantage of, does not mean that everyone who goes into debt should be excused.  A lot of people go into debt because of their own foolish actions.  These are also the individuals least likely to accept that their problems are of their own making.  

                            A lot of people really do overspend.  The idea that all debt problems are related to catastrophes is nonsense.  The vast majority are due to overspending.  Maybe unmanageable debt and bankruptcy are usually the result of medical bills or other catastrophes, but that does not mean that all debts are a result of those things.  

                            Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

                            by Asak on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:13:53 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hardly 1% (0+ / 0-)

                            that is an easy rationalization.

                            Elsewhere, a study that half of all Bankruptcy is related to medical debt is sited, so it isn’t all, just a chunk.

                            But precisely because people do overspend, the predatory lending corporations should be regulated, and usury prohibited. People should earn the right to credit again. The unbalance between the borrower and the lender is enormous. If there were decency left in the country these sorts of abusive practices would not be legal. It is that simple.

                          •  Make that borrower and debtor ....nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  I've addressed the substance... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...in other comments within this diary.  

                            Based on every study that I've seen, the majority of folks who get into deep financial trouble (to the point of bankruptcy) for reasons other than living an extravagent life beyond their means.

                            Yes, there are people who need to "downshift" their lifestyle and fail to do so as soon as they should.  I saw this here in North Texas in the early part of the decade when all of the tech companies were doing massive layoffs.  These folks were generally in denial about their situation -- and it's unfortunate because they really ended up hurting themselves.  But it wasn't generally done out of an intent to screw their creditors, but rather just an inability to face up to the fact that their lives had abruptly changed for the worse.

                            Do I think that those people could have (and should have) made better decisions?  Of course.  But that doesn't make these folks dead beats, but just people who are imperfect and make mistakes.  The goal should be to help these folks learn to make better decisions -- and to ensure that credit and finance companies don't do their part to make the situation even nastier.

                            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                            by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:22:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah but no one disagrees with this (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            sarahnity

                            Saying that people need to learn to live within their means doesn't mean you don't make exceptions for catastrophic circumstances.  It means that you don't accept the fact that because someone is only making $25,000 a year that alone justifies them living beyond their means.  

                            Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

                            by Asak on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:15:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What about (0+ / 0-)

                            the loan sharks disguised as reputable business people, who now also enjoy government protection?

                            It is ridiculous to blame the least powerful, least knowledgeable, most vulnerable partner in the relationship while giving the corporation who will reap exorbitant rewards a free pass. The lenders take a huge risk when they let a customer borrow money who they knew is without the means to repay. Time was that loss due to stupid risk was a cost of doing business, now it deserves sympathy? Please.

                            Absolute, unmitigated, nonsense- the only G-Rated words that come to mind.

                      •  I never said it was easy (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Asak

                        I'm not trying to say that since I did it, everyone can (although I will say that I lived most of the 90's earning less than $15K a year and that included one year where my medical bills were larger than my annual income and I never went into credit card debt).  I am saying that many people who live beyond their means (and by that I mean they rack up more credit card debt every year) aren't just scraping by at a minimum wage job and limping around with festering septic wounds.  They are making life choices that are going to bite them in the butt sooner or later and it's not going to be pretty.   When that happens, rather than moaning that it wasn't their fault because no one told them they were going to have to repay that debt, I'd be more impressed if they said, "I made bad choices, how can I fix it?"

                        Yes, catastrophic medical bills can come through no fault of one's own and I said I made exceptions for those situations, but I stand by the position that most people who are living beyond their means for day to day expenses don't need to be doing so.  What are these folks going to do in 20, 30, 40 years?  

                        Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                        by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 06:37:25 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not only medical bills, (0+ / 0-)

                          but any unexpected expense. A broken tooth, an overheated radiator, and God forbid if someone on the edge is a "homeowner," a backed up pipe could do it. If one is living hand to mouth there is no margin for error.

                          It is certainly true that people of means also live stupidly, but creditors who lend to unworthy customers have assumed a business risk. It's hard to have anything but contempt for a lender who hoped to rape a consumer with 30%+ interest. They are thieves, they should be treated as such.

                          •  Living close to the edge (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Asak, Sparhawk

                            If you are living that close to the edge, and don't see any change in your foreseeable future, you better be prepared to work till the day you die.  I think if you are in that situation, you had best reassess your options and make a change.  Perhaps you need to take in a roomer for extra income.  Perhaps you need to move to a more affordable region of the country.  I don't know what the answer is (and I'm willing to concede that in some situations, there may not be an answer) but if you are one broken tooth away from financial ruin, you had best prepare yourself for the realization that that's where you're heading.  Because rain falls on everyone sooner or later.

                            Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                            by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:24:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your suggestions demonstrate (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Canadian Reader

                            an absolute absence of understanding of what it is like to truly be on the margins of society. There is no place for roomers. There is no capacity, or money, to move. And that is the very least of it.

                            What you would do with your abilities and resources is impossible to someone functionally illiterate, handicapped, schizophrenic, single with small children.....

                          •  My suggestions (0+ / 0-)

                            were based on actions either I as an adult or my parents when I was a child took when living close to the edge.  So close that literally the food on our table came from the kindness of strangers sometimes.  So don't tell me I have a complete absence of understanding of what it is to live on the margins.  And let's drop the pretense that all of those folks who are carrying excessive credit card debt are living on the margins of society, shall we.  First you were arguing that they were all there due to large medical bills, now it is due to a lack of basic resources.  Why won't you admit that some folks (I've never said all) are in this predicament due to bad choices they made that no one forced them into?

                            Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                            by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:39:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You have family, (0+ / 0-)

                            that sounds like support.

                            Truth is you haven't been poor until you have been black, southern, and poor.

                            Oh yeah, I'm waiting on pins and needles to hear your defense of usury. It seems your only interest is in its victims

                          •  PS (0+ / 0-)

                            I posted a link showing all bankruptcy is definitely not due to medical costs. It looks like this discussion has crossed passed debate, so lets accept no new point will be made between us, and give it up.

                            I'm finished either way. Good night.

                          •  bootstraps (3+ / 0-)

                            I used to think like you.  Did you ever consider you are a lot smarter than the people you are condemning?   Its easy for me to point at everyone else and say "I grew up and got made fun of for being poor...i went to a good college..took out loans..and now everyone can kiss my ass because I know how to make money".    if you are that smart you should realize that these companies prey on people and destroy their lives.  and their kids lives.   and most of the people who they prey on dont have your intelligence.  Or opportunity.  But it feels good to say that they should just suck it up and be like you.  That is called being a Republican.  

                            America has been easy for me.  I'm a white male.  I got lucky and understand how things work and standardized tests allowed me to come out on top.   Most people don't have those options.   Rain falls on everyone sooner or later?  Tell me when it falls on W. Bush.  Or as i've pointed out earlier.  Read about Long Term Capital Management.  Has rain fallen on them?  do they have dental worries?  Wake up.   Or shut up.  I believe you when you say upi "dont' know what the answer is".  But i think you've summed up the new MBNA ad campaign "If you are living that close to the edge, and don't see any change in your foreseeable future, you better be prepared to work till the day you die". Yup.  Prepared to work til the day you die.   Why?  Because you live in the richest country ever in the hsitory of the world.  But, you aren't one of the chosen few.  

                            Sweet dreams.  Thanks for warning our fellow americans about their prospects.   So do you feel lucky?

                          •  You get your wish (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk

                            You tell me to shut up, fine you get your wish.  This is my last comment on your diary.  You can have the last word.  I won't respond any more, since you obviously don't want a discussion, but rather an echo chamber.

                            I will say that if encouraging people to make the best of their situation and to guiding them to make choices that can help them avoid financial ruin makes me a Republican in your eyes, you've got a pretty skewed world view.  

                            Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                            by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:55:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So we'll never know your view on usury? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mlle Orignalmale

                            Hard to guess why that would be.

                          •  we agree (0+ / 0-)

                            I will say that if encouraging people to make the best of their situation and to guiding them to make choices that can help them avoid financial ruin makes me a Republican in your eyes, you've got a pretty skewed world view.

                            about how be fiscally responsible.  No argument there.  

                            Where we differ is that i seem to have compassion for people who are less fortunate than i am and I know that these companies are evil.  And they work to drive people into debt.  And I'm not able to just tell everyone to be smart and hardworking like me because life is not that simple.

                            However, you are correct in that I am finding that my world view is pretty skewed compared to the general population.  I care for people other than myself.  I think the less fortunate deserve help instead of disdain.  

                            Are their lazy people out there running up bills they can't pay back?  Sure.  Do they take advantage of others?  Sure.  Do they do more damage than this republican adminstration and heartless corporations?  I don't think so.   Are their single working mothers trying to raise their kids who might need a hand?   Do I sound like an asshole if I tell them they should just work harder and save more and that if credit card companies jack their rates that I don't want to listen to their complaining?    I think i do.

                            It wasn't nice of me to say "shut up" but sometimes I get fed up.  Actually a lot of times.  I yell at my newspaper and TV a lot too.  

                          •  Work till the day you die... (2+ / 0-)

                            Usually means: When the day comes that you can no longer work, you will die.

                            -And reduce the surplus population.

                            Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

                            by Canadian Reader on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:56:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And in my experience (3+ / 0-)

                            the phrase "personal responsibility" is rightwing-ese for "not my problem".

                            I have always resented that the artist should be relegated by the politician to a place with no voice in political or human affairs. -- Errol Flynn

                            by Mlle Orignalmale on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:55:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  There's a difference between bankruptcy.. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sarahnity

                    And people going into debt.  Yes, a lot of people declare bankruptcy because of medical problems, but a lot of people are in debt because they live beyond their means.  

                    Honestly, a lot of people make only $25-$30K.  Saying that is such a small amount of money, and that it may be difficult to live within ones means, does not change the fact that the people have to.  The only real difficulty is rent, so you get a roommate, and beyond that point there is really no excuse.  

                    $25,000 goes a long way if you're smart about it.  My whole family of three people lives on only about $30,000 per year.  The truth is if you're smart about how you spend your money (eat in, buy used cars, no credit card debts, etc) you can stretch money twice as far as if you act foolish.  

                    I have a friend who we estimate is making $50K between himself and his girl friend who he lives with.  They don't own a house, so they have to pay rent, but no home maintenance, no children or any other real expenses.  Yet, they are in debt.  And the reason they are in debt is because they go to Starbucks and spend $8 on overpriced coffee, they shop at convenience stores, they throw food away because "it's only $3, that's nothing".  

                    So, I'm sorry, I can't feel sympathy for your average person who is living beyond their means.  My family has more money than my friend has, and frankly more money than they ever will have, and yet we live a more frugal existence.  Believe it or not, there actually is a connection between lifestyle and whether you can save money or whether you go into debt.  

                    Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

                    by Asak on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:59:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  By the way (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sarahnity

                      I am hardest on people who are not dirt poor and who are still going into debt.  A lot of people keep bringing up exceptional circumstances, where the person is dirt poor and completely ignorant, and using that to explain away every single person who is in debt.  

                      There are a lot of "middle class", or even "wealthy" people out there who are living beyond their means too.  The fact that poor people are being taken advantage of does not explain the fact that we have a negative savings rate, nor do medical bills.  Most of that is explained by people of more than sufficient means spending too much money.  

                      You can't just come up with extreme examples and use them as an excuse for everyone who is in debt.  

                      Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

                      by Asak on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:22:02 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

                        and if you read my comments I advocate fiscal responsibility.  Living below your means.  However, where we differ is in your first line above "if you are smart".  

                        Tests say i'm much smarter than the average american.  the credit card companies have yet to take advantage of me.   I'm willing to bet you are much smarter than the average person as well.   The companies take advantage of those who don't have our intelligence.  

                        If you have no problem taking advantage of others weaknesses there is a lot of money to be made.   I have a problem with that.

          •  A big problem with your reasoning is these (3+ / 0-)

            companies ability to change the rules without even notifying you.

            Universal default was not something that was publicized or even acknowledge for a considerable length of time after it was implemented.

            I might have a contract with Sears but missing my phone payment should not change that contract.  Being able to increase my rate extemely becomes self fulfilling prophecy and starts debt downward spiral which is exactly what they want to trigger.  I might have had an unexpected medical accident like breaking my arm and the cost of fixing it is the deductible on my policy.

            I would catch up by now my whole financial credit system is a house of cards.

            What we no longer have a concept of usury?  30% interest is punishment for being poor in the first place and in the second it is a form of imposed economic slavery where the reality is never exposed up front.

        •  Apparently not... (12+ / 0-)

          They seem to have drank the corporate koolaid that says that borrowers have unlimited responsibility for their bad decisions, but lenders have no responsibility for their bad decisions.

          Or, to put it another way, individuals should be held to tight standards while corporations should be allowed to get away with anything.

          As I read some of these responses from those defending these sleezy practices, I can't help but wonder why they're not on conservative blogs where their attitudes would fit right in.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:32:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  signing contracts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, yoduuuh do or do not

        the credit card industry is the only one I can think of that can unilaterally change the terms of a contract without your consent. You can borrow money at 10%, and they can decide they now want you you pay pay 29% on that amount. How can that type of behavior be justified?

        All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.

        by jennybravo on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:00:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those who defend the banking/credit industry... (3+ / 0-)

          ...apparently believe that it is right and just that one party can unilaterally change the contract after the fact while the other party can't.  Why is it just and right?  Because the credit card company reserved the right to change it later on in the fine print of the original contract...

          Needless to say, I don't agree with their line of reasoning.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:12:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can reject the changes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sarahnity

            The problem is, if you do, then they can cancel the card and ask you to pay the money back.  They can't unilaterally do anything.  Everytime they make a change they send you something in the mail allowing you to opt out.  

            The problem people have is they put themselves in a position where they need the credit card and are in a position of extreme weakness.  Yeah, I know, medical problems, extremely poor people, blablabla.  Most of the people who are complaining here most likely do not fall into those categories.  

            Look, I think credit card companies suck, but I get back at them by making hundreds of dollars off them each year in points.  They never gain a dime from me.  Who likes credit card companies?  I don't think anyone does.  There's nothing better than sticking it to them.  

            But let's say interest rates were capped, a whole bunch of middle class people would still go into debt and still be paying interest every month and complaining about credit card companies.  In the end it comes back to the person's actions as well.  

            Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

            by Asak on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:32:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  In all honesty I do not blame them (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity

          I would not lend money to a lot of the people they do if I could not charge a massive interest rate to cover the extreme risk.  

          The problem is that there should be a cap on the interest rate that can be charged, so lenders have to choose who to lend to.  There are definitely serious problems with the current system.  But things can easily be fixed by bringing back the usury laws and limiting the max interest rate.  

          That said, you are putting the credit card company in the position of power.  If you don't need their debt, you'd be surprised how much power you get to have them reduce late fees and other things.  If you can just walk away from them if they don't please you then they change their tune pretty fast.  

          If you need their credit then it's like your crack, and they are the drug dealer.  

          Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

          by Asak on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:27:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's much worse than that (34+ / 0-)

    You can do nothing wrong and any errors that creep into your records can trigger all sorts of events.  I got screwed by the ‘big 3" a couple of years ago and it was because of their errors – not mine.  Turns out you’re responsible for what they do, even if it’s wrong – and they have no motive to fix anything – or the results of any errors they create.

    I am not the world’s most organized person (hello, ADD!), but I discovered "Paytrust" (formerly "paymybills.com") about 10 years ago and it changed my life.  Suddenly, after a lifetime of forgetting to mail things or losing bills – nothing was ever late or forgotten because their system would nag me (by email) if I forgot or notify me if something didn’t arrive when it was supposed to.  Every payment and account was easily documented online – which is a godsend in any disputes.  For the first time ever, I had an unbroken record of "on-time" payments and got complacent about watching things like Credit Reports.

    Suddenly, one of my credit cards raised its interest out of the blue.  They wouldn’t explain why, so I juggled some funds and paid it off.  (Bad idea, btw – that’s a "trigger"!).  Then another one did the same – with no explanation.  Took a little more effort (borrowing a bit), but I did the same thing again and closed that account.  (Double-bad – two "triggers"!)

    Then the balances on the remaining cards got a little higher w.r.t. their limits because I’d used my limited resources to pay off and close the other two cards.  (Ding! Ding! Ding!  Three "triggers" – here comes the big prize!)

    Then I got a big shock in the mail; one of my main credit cards was sold (again – it had happened about 5 times in the last 6 years due to bank mergers) and they "declined" me and sold me off to a 2nd tier credit provider ("No credit?  No problem!" type ads you see all the time...).  I would be allowed to keep my nice 7% interest rate if I didn’t use the card, but if I wanted to continue using it: that will be 26%, thank you.  Oh, and don’t be late paying this - because it will increase to 26% automatically.  I tried to find out what the hell was going on, but the company had no phone number, no address (a "bank of record" only in Omaha – another scam out there – and a P.O. box in New Jersey).

    After much digging and finally getting copies of my 3 credit reports, I discovered the source of the problem: numerous stupid errors in my file.  Equifax was the worst (and most widely used, it seems), Experian was a little better, and TransUnion the most accurate.  Equifax was so stupid, they had picked up the bank mergers / name changes – but not bothered to close any old duplicate accounts.  They actually maintained 5 identical reports on one card as separate accounts (with identical payments and limits).  When I paid and closed the two other accounts – that combined with the number of accounts to trigger a "fraud" alert and start the credit providers "Universal Default" process.  Think 20 cats in a room and you step on one’s tail....

    "Universal Default" is a lovely process whereby ALL your credit providers can put you into default mode (usually by drastically raising your interest rate!) because one of their member issued an alert.  Nice, huh?  Nothing you can do about it, either.  Even if you fix the errors (they had my birth date wrong and picked a clerical error at the tax office as a "tax lien"!), your creditors can say "we made the decision based on what was in your file at the time – it’s your responsibility to keep that information accurate and we can’t change our decision".

    What I realized is: Credit Reporting Companies have no incentive to keep accurate information about you – in fact, they actually have incentives to accumulate wrong information.  They are primarily paid by credit providers and they make more money off you when they can charge higher interest rates and fees.  Credit reporting agencies are required by law to correct errors, but if you’re buying a car or house and there is something negative on your report – mostly likely you won’t be able to fix it quickly enough to avoid some impact.

    Now that they’ve been able to re-write most of the laws in this area, thanks to their lobbying efforts – they have all sorts of new ways to squeeze consumers.  Pesky laws force you to keep accurate records on consumers (eventually)?  Start a new "Credit Score" that has no accountability to any one or recourse (because it’s too new to be covered by fair credit laws).  Consumers pestering you to keep things accurate all the time?  Outsource portions of your record keeping and force consumers to communicate with those contractors (not covered by responsiveness part of the fair credit laws) by mail only.  (Try fixing personal info with Equifax:  "Oh, we’re sorry – you must contract CSC – they don’t have any phone or address, but you can mail something to there here...")

    (/rant)
    Sorry I got a little long-winded here, but this is one of my "don’t get me started..." things and you got me started.  Bottom line is: until consumer credit laws are fixed – they can do anything they want at any time with no accountability.  All you can do is monitor your files (free, once a year - do it now!) and opt out of everything you can.  And we haven’t even gotten into the shadow companies, or super-agencies that maintain they aren’t "credit reporting services" but maintain records on you that they sell to providers.   Why do I think there might be some teensy link between this and our "Cheney-triggered" cascade of "total information awareness" about all of us?  Hmm....

    •  Tip re: getting your free credit reports (9+ / 0-)

      Heard this from our credit union mortgage person last year when we were applying for a loan for our first house:

      Because you can get one free report from each of the Big Three every 12 months, stagger your requests. For example Experian one month, four months later get TransUnion, and four months later get Equifax. Four months later, start over with Experian. repeat.

      That way you can keep closer tabs on what's happening with your credit, and hopefully catch their screwups before things go too far.

       
      I also had the fun you describe of trying to convince the reporting agency that my account had been sold (a couple of times), and they shouldn't be keeping the information from ALL of them on the report, as only the latest one was active/real. Also one where a credit card company upgraded my account from standard to gold and transferred the account to the new number- but both were still on my credit report. (They'd been on there for 3-4 years when I found out!)

      In both cases, the current card information was accurate - but the old ones all showed the balance at the time of the change. I looked like I had 3-4 times the amount of outstanding debt that I actually did - and it took months (with help) to get those cleaned up.

       
      This reminds me, I haven't checked mine since last fall - time to get on that!


      Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His Justice cannot sleep for ever. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Lashe on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:59:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, there was more... (7+ / 0-)

        Good idea on staggering the requests - but they don't always agree with each other on details - Experian had MANY more error, Equifax less and TransUnion almost none.  Experian had accounts I'd never opened on my report - watch those "decline offers" that come in the mail (if you don't reply, you agree to...").  I had an account with Walmart I didn't know about because they "bought" an ancient Mongomery Ward account I used to have.  I had a Neiman Marcus account apparently because I used a gift certificate (watch what's above what you sign!) - also never used.

        They even showed current payment activity on a car I'd sold five years earlier.  They also had me paying (with current "on-time" reporting!) on 4 or 5 non-existent mortgages on houses I didn't live in any more.  My correction request letter to Equifax was 35 pages long.  One tip: you can’t just say "something is wrong" – you have to request a specific action on each item or nothing happens (i.e.: "erroneous item – delete" or "not my account – delete", etc.)

        They had my name wrong, my address wrong, my job wrong and my birth date wrong.  Wait - maybe they are the same people running Homeland Security...?

        It’s all totally aggravating and completely unnecessary.  The thing the really chaps me is that they now have the nerve to want to charge you a monthly fee to keep your credit report accurate – the same one they keep screwing up!  (*sound of head hitting wall*)  And that "Credit Score" number – the one that they won’t tell you how it’s calculated or that you have no recourse to correct in any way?  There needs to be some legislative attention to that specific scam soon!

    •  On an NPR segment Friday night (12+ / 0-)

      They mentioned that overdue library books is a trigger that negatively affects your credit rating.

      For the credit card industry apologists posting here, try saying this out loud to yourself:

      It's acceptable for all of my creditors to suddenly charge me 29% interest if I return Harry Potter a week late.

      Even you must find that ridiculous. It IS ridiculous. And acceptable or not, it is also not just the law, but industry practice.

      •  Remember, there are new uses for credit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, Mlle Orignalmale

        I.E.: Are you worthy of insurance (health & car)?  Does an employer want to hire you?  Security clearances?  Apartment rentals?

        Corporations LOVE anything that removes human judgement from the equation.  Why pay a person to manage something when you can plug in a number and get an answer you don't have to account to anyone for?  ("It's not our fault - you need to check your credit report ...")

  •  Who needs triggers? (10+ / 0-)

    My mortgage is several years old, and I get at least five invitations a week from sharks trying to bait me into giving up my low fixed rate mortgage in trade for a temporarily 0% APR and instant cash!!!!!!.

    Even though I throw these things away before entering the house, I sometimes feel unclean to the point of tears that I'm on the sucker list. Why do they have such a cheap opinion of my intelligence that they think I'd respond to pitches suitable for people who believe in tabloid ads for lucky talismans?

    Far as I can tell, I've done nothing to bring about a trigger lately. These sucker hunters have just been randomly wasting trees on baiting me, like clockwork, for over five years.

    5/24 changed everything.

    by AdmiralNaismith on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:24:05 AM PDT

  •  Statute of Limitations issues (14+ / 0-)

    Even more appalling is when the aged debts that cannot be legally collected re-emerge. See Link to article:

    How consumers are abused
    Among the worst practices attorneys have seen:

       * Badgering consumers for debts they don't owe, that have already been paid or that were legally erased in bankruptcy court.

       * Suing or threatening to sue over debts even though the statute of limitations has long expired.

       * Illegally "re-aging" debts on credit reports. The collectors tell credit bureaus that an old debt is, in fact, a new one. The goal: To extend the seven-year limit on reporting negative items and put more pressure on the consumer.

       * Promising to delete a negative mark from the consumer's credit report in exchange for a token payment. Not only does the collector fail to follow through, but the payment can revive the statute of limitations and lead to a lawsuit. Even if the collector does back off, the unpaid debt could be sold to another company that might renew collection activity.

       * Bait-and-switch credit cards. Some credit card companies have offered borrowers low-rate credit cards and then tacked old, charged-off debts -- often purchased from other lenders -- onto the balance. The card issuers typically insist they disclosed that the old debts would come with the cards, Szwak said, but the borrowers say no such disclosure was made.

       * Verbally abusing and harassing consumers. My readers have reported being cursed, berated and called repeatedly despite requests to stop -- all violations of federal laws.

    •  I was called about one (7+ / 0-)

      about some money that was on my credit report because I had co-signed with a boss who spent it up and then he'd defaulted. I went through the process of separating myself from that debt, (with my old boss's help) but after the 7 years, I got a call that threatened to have my wages garnished. I actually wrote to Suze Orman, got on her show, and she told me that what they were doing was illegal in California, and I should tell them that if they called again.

      I choked on your post. It nearly killed me. Hitler killed people. Your post is just like Hitler. - Pope Bandar bin Turtle

      by Buffalo Girl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 07:43:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  did you (4+ / 0-)

        pay that debt? If you co-signed I that generally makes you responsible for the debt.

        you said:

        I was called about one  
        about some money that was on my credit report because I had co-signed with a boss who spent it up and then he'd defaulted. I went through the process of separating myself from that debt, (with my old boss's help) but after the 7 years, I got a call that threatened to have my wages garnished. I actually wrote to Suze Orman, got on her show, and she told me that what they were doing was illegal in California, and I should tell them that if they called again.

        you also said:

        • [new] oh for crying out loud (0 / 0)

        he's not a troll. What the hell is wrong with being responsible for your finances and for the contracts you make with people? Give me a break. Businesses are not doing anything illegal by trying to collect on debts

        You signed the contract and that was the reason they gave your boss credit. If he defaulted, by your logic, you should pay the debt and not "separate" yourself form it. That is what co-signing is all about.

        All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.

        by jennybravo on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:10:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  harassing phone calls (7+ / 0-)

    and how I deal with it.
    "Hello, may I speak to Mrs XXXX?"
    "No, she's dead."
    Click.

  •  It seems to me that (4+ / 0-)

    if you are being delinquent on your debt, your creditor has a right to employ any legal tools to get you to pay up.  Thus, being notified of your credit activity seems to me to be a legitimate attempt to collect money due.

    As to the mortgage triggers, it cuts both ways, doesn't it?  While using misleading phrases like "updating your information" is wrong, it seems to me that the consumer is the one who benefits if the banks compete for his business and offer him a lower rate.  Furthermore, your mortgage history has always been public.  It is recorded in a county clerk's office and available for public inspection.  It has been done for centuries.  Now the system is just more efficient and there is no need to go to each county clerk and rummage through dusty documents.  

    •  I agree in theory (9+ / 0-)

      However, being listed in Experian, like the other 2 major credit reporting agencies, is not an "OPTION" for us consumers.  WE HAVE TO BE IN THEIR FILES.  We're stuck in there...

      So any information they have should ONLY be used with a consumer's consent.

      Activity should be private.  I mean, what if  garbage collectors called "Right-To-Life" groups every time they saw a woman had not mestruated for atleast 6 weeks.... (???)

      •  Keeping the activity "private" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        floundericiousMI

        however, allows a dishonest consumer to avoid paying his debts.  So it seems to me that Experian helps the honest consumer by reducing the ranks of the dishonest ones.

        •  Here's one that was new on me (6+ / 0-)

          Ok, so this allows the creditors out there to seek payment for money that is owed to them...

          Riddle me this...

          A couple of years back, a family member defaulted on a bunch of credit cards and walked away from them....and then got notified that he was being sued.  So, he retained an attorney, filed for bankruptcy, lost a bunch of things, but took care of it.

          I started getting phone calls, around the time his bankruptcy was wrapping up, that would not stop...they called all hours of the day and left a very simple message:

          "We have an important business matter to discuss with you, please call us at 1-800-xxx-xxxx..."

          I must have had HUNDREDS of these calls in a 1 year period (of course I never called them back)... When I googled the exact phrase, it came back as a collection agency scheme to hook people and pin them down.  The ONLY thing I have in common with that relative is the last name.

          I still can't understand that..

          ....if I'd been gullible enough to call them, from what I read on some of the tech forums where this was discussed, they'd have started bombarding me with phone calls demanding payment regardless of whether I had anything to do with the debt.  Just because I share the last name, I inherit that debt...apparently? Huh..

          It is amazing how much can be accomplished when you don't care who gets the credit - Harry Truman
          PoliticalCompass Scale: -2.13, -2.97

          by floundericiousMI on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:51:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I had to log in... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mlle Orignalmale, onemadson, SeekCa

    Just to say

    "Jesus H Christ in a chicken basket!"

    Can I opt out of EXPERIAN?!?!?!?!
    (I know I cannot, but jeeeeeez....)

    I have fine credit and I HATE HATE HATE credit solicitations because I CAN FIND MY OWN DAMN best deal, thank you....

    grrrrr.......

  •  Uniersal Default and Other Abuses (21+ / 0-)

    "Universal Default"---in which any and all banks with whom you do business (through mortgages, loans, credit cards, etc) can raise your interest rate based on transactions in which you participated that had nothing to do with them, thanks to unauthorized snooping in your credit file-----is merely one of the many golden turds dropped in the consumer punchbowl oh, over the last 15 years or so.  Sadly, we cannot blame only the GOP, since bipartisan greasing of campaigns by the major banks, and other post-elective perks I will get to later, ensure that when it comes to banking and credit issues, the individual ALWAY gets screwed over.

    According to the law, the bank can change the interest rate on you at any time.  If you decline the new (always higher) rate, the bank automatically closes the account and you can pay off your old balance at the rate you had agreed to when you opened the account.

    At least that's how it is SUPPOSED to work.

    Now the banks have it fixed so that apropos of nothing, they can raise the interest rate you are paying on CLOSED Accounts---on purchases you made years ago.  This is truly a bizarre turn of events.  Nowadays, a company you never agreed to do business with can buy your account, even after it was closed, and charge you an interest rate on purchases that you are no longer making and which you never agrewed to accept, and f you refuse to pay it you are in default.

    Ralph Nader has pointed out that the banks keep track of who serves on banking committees in Congress and the Senate, and those who carry water for the banking/financial services industries while they are in office can look forward to a lifetime of lucre once Joe and Jane Taxpayer put them out pasture.  These lucky retirees, far from having to scrape by on taxpayer-supported pensions, are often offered six-figure "consulting" gigs with the major banks where they attend 1 or 2 board meetings a year for a cushy $70,000-100,000 honorarium.  Think of it as kind of a time-lapsed bribe.

    So that's why you and I hear suppressed yawns when we complain bitterly to our "representatives" that the banks are skinning us alive.

  •  I tried to deposit a large amount of cash (11+ / 0-)

    in a Chase account, and they wouldn't taqke my money.

    They ran a credit check and said I had a debt in 1991, so they wouldn't open an account.

    (Yes, that was 16 years ago and no, i wasn't asking for credit)

    Luckily Wachovia was willing to take cash.

    YOu can't get a job or even buy some thngs for cash any mor without signing a creit report authorization - they are used for much more than extending credit.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. - Sam J. Ervin, Jr.

    by tiponeill on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:30:45 AM PDT

    •  Chase is a corrupt organization (5+ / 0-)

      The bank served the Nazis, reportedly, in World War II and Chasesucks.com has a long list of Chase abuses reported, not only by customers, but employees. They've been known to help trash whistleblowers for the government, also.

      I'm not an attorney, but they probably violated the law by holding you accountable for something that went back more than 7 years.

      Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. ~ Cervantes

      by Deep Harm on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yea i thought so too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Harm

        and i asked about it - she said i would need to contact the "credit agency".

        I preferred to just deposit the money elsewhere :))

        Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. - Sam J. Ervin, Jr.

        by tiponeill on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:22:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Large Cash = Drug Dealer (4+ / 0-)

      Regardless of what they say publicly and in their marketing brochures ... banks are trained to view any consumer who comes in with a large amount of cash for deposit into a personal account as someone who is engaged in either illegal or dubious activities.

      In addition, the IRS requires banks and other financial institutions file reports for large cash deposits:
      CTR (Currency Transaction Report): $10K or more.
      SAR (Suspicious Activity Report): $5K or more
      It's not just single transactions either.  There are aggregation rules (i.e. multiple deposits) which the Feds call "structured transactions."

      I have read that many banks take a conservative approach to interpreting the aggregation rules for filing SARs (they have nothing to loose by over-reporting).  As a result, in 2006 over 17 Million of these various reports were filed.  They get logged into a massive database that can then be culled by Big Brother at will.  It's an awful abuse of privacy that gets very little attention.

  •  I have one debt. ONE. And... (5+ / 0-)

    When I got my annual credit report from Experian last year, I noted that that debt was about to cross over the statue of limitations expiration.  This is all I did, I requested no further info, I made no calls, I didn't subscribe to their services, nothing.

    Next thing I know, I'm getting letters and calls off the hook for that debt.  It took them less than a week to nail me.

  •  Gets back to Bankruptcy Bill that Biden pushed (10+ / 0-)

    Here's a chance for Democrats to redeem themselves from the VISA/MasterCard scam assistance bill that Biden (of Delaware and US banking tax dodge HQ's)helped pass.

    Just as Dems are restoring Habeous Corpus to civil rights, they should revisit the bankruptcy bill and include strict privacy protections for financial records (and put the cost of making bad loans back on the lenders)

    They can even add a national security twist and say it's to help prevent identity theft which lets terrorists impersonate law abiding citizens.

  •  On a related note, watch for "zombie debt" (6+ / 0-)

    MSNBC article here

    Also check your state laws for the statute of limitations on debt collections - Florida's is here.

    "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear." William E. Gladstone (British Statesman)

    by PatsBard on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:41:58 AM PDT

    •  Statute of limitations is useful. (5+ / 0-)

      In Colorado, for most debts, it's 6 years.  That pretty much decided my strategy for the straggling debts I have left from my job loss 5 years ago - fuck 'em.

      In a year, the statute of limitations kicks in, and they can't sue or take any legal action to collect, and the debts are too small for them to bother anyways.  And if I pay them off, that resets the clock, and I get the black marks on my credit reports for seven more years.

      So fuck'em, they ain't getting paid.  Call me cynical, call me unethical, call me a thief.  I don't care.  The bastards are far worse than me.

      Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

      by meldroc on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:09:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A tiny but satisfying way to hit back (10+ / 0-)

    at credit card companies who jam your mailbox with offers and slay forests to do it.

    I write "remove name from list" on the return form next to my name and stuff it back into the prepaid envelope and send it back to them.

    Costs them $.41 each time, plus they have to pay some employee to handle it.

    I used to get about one application a day...now we are down to one a week or so.

    And it's easier than shredding!

    No matter how far down the wrong road you've gone, turn back.

    by Joan in Seattle on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 08:42:53 AM PDT

  •  two issues here (4+ / 0-)

    one is the collection of an outstanding debt. they have a right to do that

    the second is efficient marketing, selling information directed toward a specific consumer need. advertising and especially telemarketing is the worst.

    a few  years ago the County Assesors office mistakenly listed my mothers home as behind in taxes. the phone nearly rang off the hook. i told her she should have sued them, but she's too nice, and every time the phone rings she is polite to these people. she still gets more than her share of refi and mortgage calls.

    but advertising is a subsidized industry, through the postal service, and television, and of course government agencies selling your information. i could stop stop that, and when I am head of the FCC i will....

    "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

    by agent double o soul on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:00:57 AM PDT

  •  Oh joy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Snakes on a White House

    As if trying to pay off my student loans isn't going to be bad enough... now I have to worry about this?

    Class & Labor - Tues. nights, Feminisms Wed. nights

    by tryptamine on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:04:39 AM PDT

  •  I just got burned by a trigger-like mechanism. (6+ / 0-)

    One thing the collection agencies do - they have a trigger set for when your FICO score jumps above a certain level, say 640.  When that happens, they might re-report the collection, or even illegally reage the debt so your FICO takes a sharp hit.  They expect you to call and complain, which is when they demand payment.

    They ain't getting a dime from me.

    Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

    by meldroc on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:11:43 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, we get these (11+ / 0-)

    Every morning between 7:30am and 11:45am, we get calls from faraway area codes.  And they call up, "Hey fabooj (pronounced wrong)!  I was calling to update your info on your mortgage."  And I hang up.  

    The other thing I've noticed is old debt that's come back to haunt us.  We just a bill from a creditor for $252.34  I had to really do heavy search to find this.  First of all, it's from 1998, that's almost 10 years ago.  Secondly, I paid this off in 1999.  I have the cancelled check.  But get this, they're saying that it doesn't count because my check was to PacBell and the creditor now is SBC.  PacBell changed its name to SBC in 2000 or 2001.  Ain't that some shit?

    I don't have to fake anything I feel, because we both know every word is real. - HBMS

    by fabooj on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:11:52 AM PDT

  •  tempest in a tea pot? (4+ / 0-)

    The credit industry is the tail of the dog.  

    I reccomended this diary, but I think there are much bigger issues in the consumer "consumption" industry than credit triggers.

    •  true (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, gooderservice, redhaze, Justus

      perhaps we could expand upon those in future diaries. what type of things are you thinking about?

      I just heard this today and figured I'd spread the word.   I didn't expect it to top out the recommended list.  I expected the normal 4 comments and out.

      however, I think the comments provide a wealth of insight into some of the issues.

      •  just quibbling, you are on track (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        protectedmode

        When I bought my first car on credit in the late 60s, I bought a new Volkswagen for $1650, $500 dollars down, 59 bucks a month.  At that time, because the government wanted to encourage credit, all, all, interest was deductible.  Yes, not just Home ownership.  Yes, the government, us, we the people grew this fuckin monster.

        My daughter and her boy friend have new Toyotas with payments over 500 dollars a month each for their cars.  His car, a 4 by Tacoma cost close to 40 grand?

        Wassup with that shit?  It is out of whack that they are provided this credit in the first place?

        •  as i'm sure you are aware (7+ / 0-)

          the subprime mortgage industry isn't doing so hot these days.  They loaned money to anyone who could sign their name and now many can't pay it back.  

          I heard the guy who was the head of the banking lobbying group talking the other day on NPR.  He was saying how that they shouldn't put any restrictions on the lending because these subprime mortgages were the only way that some people would ever be able to buy a house and live the American Dream.  And you don't want to stop people from living the American Dream, do you?

          When i had my first job out of college I made $40K a year.  I had student loans and no other debt (drove a used car for 10 years so no car payments).  I talked to the bank about getting a loan to buy a place and they said they'd approve me for $70K.  Since i lived in North Jersey I laughed and told them no thanks as there was nothing available for even double that amount.   A co-worker of mine told me that one of her friends (recently graduated and making $40K now, meaning he had much less buying power than i did 12 years ago) was approved to borrow $400K.   Personally I think any bank that loans that kid that much money deserves to be burned and burned badly.  

      •  Michael Moore (9+ / 0-)

        I hope that this topic and related others will be the issues that Michael Moore covers in his next documentary:  I.e., credit card companies, credit agencies, banking industry, and collection agencies.

        I just wrote six paragraphs in response to your diary, and then realized it was too long for the comment section.  Maybe I'll make my own diary later.

        Thank you for writing this.  I think many times this issue is a little embarrassing for people (not you) to write about or comment on, because if one doesn't have perfect credit, they owe money, they're paying huge interest rates, it's hard to admit that to other people.  Since more and more people are struggling to make ends meet these past few years, maybe more will speak out, even if it is embarrassing.  

        Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Tony Snow's.

        by gooderservice on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:08:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Medical Prognosis Triggers (9+ / 0-)

    "Hello, this the Portman Cancer Clinic. We understand you recently were diagnosed with late stage small cell lung cancer, and are now receiving Metaxaflub™ as a second therapeutic course. Did you know that here is now a more highly recommended chemotherapeutic course called Metastaphlub™? Recent studies indicated Metastaphlub™ to be 16% more effective in preventing metastasis of small cell carcinoma into other organs, such as liver, bone, and brain! Our doctors are standing by today, ready to schedule your free office appointment! Call 1-888-Better-Drug today!"

    George W. Bush is just like Forrest Gump. Except that Forrest Gump is honest and cares about other people.

    by easong on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:26:18 AM PDT

  •  a somewhat related story.. (6+ / 0-)

    ..I remember a while back I was cutting back on my credit card, trying to only use cash. I had gone 3 weeks without using the credit card when MBNA called me up twice in the same week to ask "How can we make your credit card easier to use? Would you like a better rate or a no-fee cash advance?" I thought that was silly.

    •  They were worried about being bought (0+ / 0-)

      by Bank of America. You were another lost customer.

      I recall cancelling an MBNA card and being shunted off to a "pleasant, caring" voice that wondered why one would ever close out a credit card because they are so helpful and easy to use.

  •  To Maintain Privacy - Pay Cash (12+ / 0-)

    Of course, most places hate to take cash for anything costing over $100 any more.  It did not used to be that way.  It was normal into the 1960's and not uncommon into the 1980's for workers to cash their paychecks, then go to the grocery store, pay the rent, phone bill, electric bill, etc. (bar tab), with cash.  Totally untraceable cash.  $500 bills were in circulation until Nixon ordered them withdrawn under the guise of fighting organized crime.  They were still in limited use into the 1970's however.

    Somehow, cash got a bad reputation (shorthand for: I don't want to go into all the details, which could fill books).  For the consumer, the obvious reasons are our increasing fear of being mugged or otherwise losing our cash.  Store signs went up telling us the establishment did not accept $100 bills.  Store clerks now routinely test 100's, 50's and even 20's with the special pen to see if they are counterfeit.  And, of course, credit cards became easier to get and now paying at the point of sale with your ATM card makes even "cash" payment traceable.

    Looking back at Nixon's rationale for withdrawing the large denomination currency, it is obviously a ploy to make it more difficult for people to make cash transactions.  And who would oppose a tool to fight organized crime?  But a price is paid when this little bit of freedom is taken away.  Part of that price is to make cash transactions (therefore anonymous transactions) harder to use.

    So if you can stand to walk around with some cash in your pocket, you can still get by without those credit cards, and maintain your privacy.  Not that I do that, but it is an option.

    But by sticking to cash, one also pays a price when credit is needed or desired.  If there is no history of using credit, it is usually hard to get a big chunk of it.

    C'est la vie.

  •  "Solve the debt dilemma" (9+ / 0-)

    "Our clients have been asking us to help solve the debt dilemma -- when
    collection efforts go cold, the consequence is a huge burden of unpaid debt,"
    said Kerry Williams, group president, Experian's Credit Services.

    Not giving credit to people who aren't qualified for it never dawned on them, apparently.

  •  MUST BE STOPPED & OUTLAWED (15+ / 0-)

    MUST BE OUTLAWED:

    • employers tying hiring to credit checks
    • car insurance based on your credit rating
    • anyone having access to your credit report (unless authorized by you)

    THIS HAS GOT TO BE STOPPED. This is extortion... i can't tell you how i hate the predatory lending and now this organized effort to box us in

    HEY money lenders, changers:::: stop enticing people to borrow money or give them cards when you know they can't pay back. mortgages conceived by the devil himself... this must be stopped. this is as IMPORTANT as HEALTH CARE...

    otherwise, they will own and control us, lock, stock, and barrel

    "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

    by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:44:09 AM PDT

    •  Re Must Be Outlawed (9+ / 0-)

      MUST BE OUTLAWED:

         * car insurance based on your credit rating

      I have never seen the connection between a driver with good driving habits and whether they have a less than stellar credit rating. I understand that if someone doesn't have credit cards, prefers to pay in cash, and maybe just have a mortgage they pay on time, that their credit rating is lower than someone with credit cards who pay their cards on time.

      I don't see how in the world those two people's credit ratings should affect their insurance premiums.

      So, in other words, if one pays cash for everything, using money that says "In God We Trust," that person is penalized and has to pay more money for car insurance.  Splain that one.

      Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Tony Snow's.

      by gooderservice on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:59:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  car insurers now base rates on credit rating (10+ / 0-)

        credit rating and car insurance

        just the first link i could find... there are others

        horrible, isn't it??? think about this and the implications... mind-fucking-blowing...

        "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

        by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:02:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  For what it's worth, I have proof that this one (4+ / 0-)

        is total bullshit.

        I have an excellent credit rating and I'm a HORRIBLE driver. To be perfectly honest, I don't know how I was ever given a license in the first place. I never had an accident, but I'm one of those people that no one wants to get in a car with, I'm just a shitty driver.

        I am living proof that a person's credit score has nothing to do with their driving proficiency. (To put everyone in Northern Michigan at ease, I no longer drive. I decided not to renew my license the last time it was up for renewal.)

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:08:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its the other way around (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yoduuuh do or do not

          If you have a bad credit score, then some auto insurers raise your premiums or you pay more to begin with. The "Big Brother" assumption is that if you aren't a responsible consumer, then you won't be a responsible driver. My auto insurance agent confirmed this.

          •  I know what they base their theory on, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            malharden

            I was just trying to point out that their theory is crap. (at least in my case.) According to them, I should be a good driver, because I'm a good consumer, which isn't at all the case.

            "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

            by MichiganGirl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:43:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  great comment MichiganGirl (0+ / 0-)

          but how bad could you possibly be? eyes checked? i'm getting this wild thing back story (the baseball movie where Charlie Sheen was the pitcher... oh can't think of name right now)

          maybe this is diary-worthy, cause now I want to know your story!!!

          warm regards... pf8

          "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

          by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:42:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have a terrible attention span (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pfiore8

            and I'm epileptic. Easily distracted and seizures are not really what you want behind the wheel.

            I was always afraid I would get in an accident because I either wasn't paying attention, or had a seizure. Even when I still had my license, I pretty much only drove back and forth to work because I was worried about accidents.

            Once I stopped working, I saw no real need for me to ever drive, and figured that the world was a safer place if I wasn't driving it it.  :-)

            "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

            by MichiganGirl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:39:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't "proof" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity

          I have an excellent credit rating and I'm a HORRIBLE driver. To be perfectly honest, I don't know how I was ever given a license in the first place. I never had an accident, but I'm one of those people that no one wants to get in a car with, I'm just a shitty driver.

          The only question here is whether a given insurance customer's (a) driving record or (b) ability to pay their insurance premiums statistically, in an actuarial sense, correlate with their credit scores. This is an empirical question that's not hard to answer and presumably auto insurance companies have done the requisite statistics.

          If they do correlate, why do you complain? Good drivers with good credit scores get lower rates! Or should I, who am not a high statistical risk, subsidize those people who ARE high risks with money out of my pocket? For what?

    •  Addition (9+ / 0-)

      Potential rental landlords.

      Why do they think they have a right to look at my credit so that I can rent their property? As long as I am able to pay my rent, why should I have to have a credit score of over 700 to RENT a lousy apartment?

      Some of them even want to see my bank account numbers. They ALL want my SSN to run a background check.

      I think they check out renters more than they do people who are buying.

      •  If I were a landlord I would do the same (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LIsoundview, sarahnity, debedb, malharden

        I would want to make sure that my apt is not being used by some drug dealer or other shady character.  I would also like to make sure that the person I am renting to does not have a habit of destroying apartments he lives in.  And yes, I would like to know that the person I am renting to will be paying on time, which means I need to know what his income vs his liabilities is.

      •  Have you been turned down to rent (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Canadian Reader, LIsoundview, debedb

        just because your credit score was "too low".  I kind of doubt it.  Most landlords I know are using the credit check in part to see if you actually pay your bills and in part to weed out obvious liars.  You may find it hard to believe, but prospective tenants will swear they have no flaws in their credit report, and then, when confronted with the lousy report will respond with, "Well, I didn't think you were really going to check."  Is that someone you would want in control of an immensely valuable asset of yours?

        Maybe because I know several landlords who are in the "mom and pop" category, not mega corporations, that I have a lot more sympathy for them than most folks seem to display around here.

        Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

        by sarahnity on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:10:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK no doubt this will earn me lots of fans (3+ / 0-)

        (snark) BUT ...

        I am a property manager and formerly was the Asst. Dir. for a non profit rental property owner's assn - I basically taught landlords how to be viable landlords (how to read a credit report, fair housing law, liability & insurance realities)  So I have a fair amt of knowledge on this.  Furthermore, the vast majority of folks I dealt with were Mom & Pops - folks who inherited a piece of property from their maiden aunt, for instance.  The larger organizations have the means to have a full time staffer to access a prospective tenant's viability,  they also have the means to pay for training vrs joining a non-profit org. to get educated. I am consistently dismayed to realize how many folks here on DKos feel landlords as a whole are money grubbing scum, just by virtue of the fact that they are are the owners of rental property.  

        First off, for the record ...
        Your privacy is gone.
        The FICO scoring system is a loaded system and not to the consumer's advantage (SHOCKER!)
        Data-mining is a HUGE issue that is complicated, subtle and insidious. It also has very big money behind it.

        But for a landlord, it's very imp to pull a credit record on any serious candidate who applies for housing with you.  
         

        a couple of things in no particular order  - 1. any collection account that is related to a medical issue shows up under collection accounts with the vendor listed as 'MEDICAL' vrs. ... SBC or Neiman Marcus.  Thus if you are a landlord with some sense and a modicum of integrity,  you don't hold 'MEDICAL' collection accounts against that individual. Assuming your head isn't buried in the sand, you are cognizant of how many Americans either don't have insurance or are under-insured.  Accidents happen - blaming someone for the ambulance trip to the emergency room to get their leg set after having been hit by a car is callousness of the first order.  

        1. A prospective tenant whose credit report records a history of ducking out of basic responsibilities like utility payments or phone company payments, is a bad risk - if they will blow off heat, or a phone, what's to say they won't blow off their rent???  NOTHING.

         
        3.Turning someone down as a consequence of their FICO score is the lazy way out - what you want to do is access their debt to income ratio.  If someone's consumer debt is ... $500 and the rent is $1500 and they are making $2000 a month,  that is very problematic for you as a landlord.  If their consumer debt is $700, the rent is $800 and they are bringing home (pretax) $4,500 - they are a better risk. They have a cushion with which to manage unexpected expenses.

        4.As a landlord, you have the right (and even the responsibility) to ensure the income of a potential tenant is coming from a legitimate source vrs .... drug dealing, for instance.  (PS here's the conundrum, a drug dealer who is actually savvy, will have a great credit report. They have the means to pay off their debt - DUH   The key is to confirm the source of their income. )

    •  I don't see why it has to be stopped (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sarahnity, 1864 House

      Your credit score shows in partyour reliability and maturity.  That may be important to an employer.  Especially if you are put in charge of money.  They may want to know that you will not have a temptation to embezzle.

      •  i hope you never have a (8+ / 0-)
        medical emergency.

        BUT, if you do, you will quickly change your tune.

        but, by then it will be too late - for you, anyway.

        That's the problem! That's the problem! The liberal groups are jumping around without knowing what the hell is in the bill! - dave obey

        by edrie on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:35:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What exactly does that have to do (0+ / 0-)

          with anything?

          •  to do with anything? (8+ / 0-)
            would you care to explain to me how having a burst L-1 and ending up in the hospital for six days (incurring $17,000+ in debt WITHOUT surgury) reflects on my "...reliability and maturity."?

            and why should an accident impact on my ability to be a responsible employee or tenant?

            i have decided if i ever apply for a job that wants approval to run my credit, i am going to ask for THEIR credit rating - because i NEED to know if they pay THEIR bills on a timely basis, do they accurately pay their tax debt, the employees ssi and withholding, do they hire "illegal aliens", have they overreached THEIR credit capability to remain solvent enough to be able to pay ME my paycheck!

            goes both ways!

            JUST because information is available does NOT mean everyong should have access to it!

            do you really want some minimum wage worker having access to your personal and private information?  that is who can see it!  this information does NOT go to the head of the company only! you are assessed, judged, sunlighted until it is coming out your... well, you get my drift.

            at this very moment on cnn, they are running a show onbank fraud, stealing of personal information, consumer ripoffs by those stealing your information.  how does this happen?  because there is no longer any privacy about our personal finances.

            the ability to do a job is NOT based on whether or not you have money in the bank, NOR does that make you any more or less honest.  the system now is set up that only the "deserving" get to work - perpetuating the downward spiral for those who have run into hard times.

            poor?  you don't qualify to work or earn money!

            sheesh! give me a break and go back and re-read what you wrote... then think about it for a bit.  you might find you want to change your tune.

            That's the problem! That's the problem! The liberal groups are jumping around without knowing what the hell is in the bill! - dave obey

            by edrie on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:57:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The fact that you incurred a large (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sarahnity

              bill won't disqualify you from getting employed. But if you failed to make any arrangements for the repayment of that debt that is a different story.  

              Nor did I ever suggest that people with large debts are less honest.  However, they may be a bigger RISK than those with little debt.  And companies are certainly allowed to evaluate risk before making an investment, be it an investment into stocks, machinery, or human resources.  

              •  god! you ARE really (10+ / 0-)
                that naive?

                large debt, self employed, out of work for almost six months -- another 6-8 months to re-establish customer base - outstanding debts that are beyond my ability to pay?

                make arrangements?  oh, right - while i'm in a clamshell not able to work, i should be calling the hospital making promises to pay that i cannot keep?

                oh, sure, i SHOULD have had insurance!  no PROBLEM paying thousands of dollars for a health care policy that would mean that i wouldn't have money for food after paying the premiums but then, dead people wouldn't NEED it since dead people don't NEED health care.

                i am glad your world is so easily defineable - but my point here is that those who live on the edge cannot afford to be prevented from working, housing, bank accounts, etc., because they ARE on the edge.

                or would your solution be to push?

                it's a long way down, my friend - and the walls built by the "monied" are like the inside of a pitcher plant - there is no way out.

                That's the problem! That's the problem! The liberal groups are jumping around without knowing what the hell is in the bill! - dave obey

                by edrie on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:23:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My solution would be to let (0+ / 0-)

                  employers evaluate risk, define what is and what is not acceptable to them, and then act acocrdingly.

                  •  metrics... where were we before fucking metrics (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lurker123, debedb

                    you are right, of course. employers are free to establish whatever guidelines they choose to hire people... it's part of a free society

                    but there is something insidious about it... controlling in an unproductive way... i think that being able to hire people under probationary terms would work as well without invading my privacy...

                    cause it has to work for me too... maybe we need worker blocs to counter these things... greed it's greed

                    "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

                    by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:47:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  but what I like about you Drgrishka1 (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Drgrishka1, debedb

                    is it seems to me you are yourself and i want to be pushed to the understand my own beliefs and rational for things

                    and i also sense you have ethics and are grounded

                    so keep up the dialogue!!!

                    it's great...

                    "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

                    by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:49:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Making "arrangements for repayment" (10+ / 0-)

                A few years ago, I was out of work for 6 months because of a degenerative nerve disease.  Even though I was fortunate enough to have health insurance, I still faced several thousand dollars in medical bills that I could not pay.  Meanwhile, I was forced to pay for food and living expenses with credit.  Fortunately, upon stabilizing I found a decent-paying job as a freelancer that I can do with my new disability.  

                All the while, I was calling the hospitals and telling them.  "I'm sorry, I can't pay you anything this month.  I'm living off of credit.  I promise I intend to honor my debt, I hope to return to work soon, etc.".  I even sent letters to this effect.  To no avail: ALL of the hospitals sent my accounts to collection agencies (one did so only 2 months after the procedure in question).  And the collection agencies in turn reported to the credit bureaus.  This in spite of the fact that I called my creditors regularly and promised to pay my debt.  Add to that my increasingly delinquent credit card bills, and my credit was ruined.  And I began to receive harassing and abusive phone calls from collectors (it still boggles the mind that someone who have so little morals that they would take a job that would require them to harass disabled people for MEDICAL BILLS).

                Fast forward a year and a half.  Thanks to a great deal of overtime and hard work on the part of both me and my wife, a loan from my parents, and a talented and compassionate neurologist, my financial situation has greatly improved.  I've paid off almost $5000 in medical bills over the past 4 months.  That's all but a few hundred dollars of what I owe (and I'll pay that off by next month).  I paid of one of my two delinquent credit cards.  I'm 40% finished paying off my other one (both now in collection agencies).

                But my credit is screwed.  I'll soon need a car and shudder to think about what that process will be like.  All because a few hospitals and credit cards couldn't content themselves with charging reasonable interest and finance charges for 6 months of illness.  

                Significantly, my student loans bank from grad school DID take my illness into consideration (and they did so very politely).  They gave me a 6 month deferment.  As a result, my payment history for my student loans remains nearly flawless.

                The standard right-wing retort to my situation is: "well, you should have had short-term disability".  And it certainly would have helped my situation.  But isn't it more reasonable to say "you should have had health insurance coverage that would have actually covered most of my expenses, as in most developed countries"?

                I suspect this is where the drgrishka's opinions may diverge from my own ideas about personal responsibility.

                •  I feel both sorry for you (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sarahnity, Ari Mistral

                  and I guess proud for you (for lack of a better word).  You certainly should not have had to put up with such behavior and of course no one deserves to be stricken with a debilitating disease.  I am proud because you persevered and put your financial house in order.  Congratulations.

                  It is unfortunate that the people you dealt with were unwilling to work on a payment plan for you.  

                  However, generally, once you work out a payment schedule, such is reported on the credit report.

                  In any event, I think it is uncontroversial to suggest that people with large debt are more of a risk than people with less debt.  They are just exposed to more temptation when it comes to money because of their debt.  And the potential employer should be allowed to weigh and assess that risk.

                  •  but... (0+ / 0-)

                    I appreciate your sentiments, even though I didn't write about my experiences for anyone to "feel sorry" for me -- I certainly don't feel sorry for myself.  I wrote it in hopes of demonstrating that not everyone with a bad credit report is/was irresponsible with credit.  And my kind of situation is very common.  I suspect that "Sicko" will highlight such medically-induced financial problems.

                    •  I agree that not everyone is responsible (0+ / 0-)

                      for their situation.  But that is not the point I was making.

                      Even if you are not at fault for having large debts, you may STILL be more tempted to make a few "shortcuts" to get rid of that debt.  That is why companies look at your credit report.  And it is a risk.  It may be a minimal risk, but it is a risk.  And companies need to evaluate their risks before they invest money.

      •  absolutely not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lurker123

        this is not about maturity.... it is about control and regulating us

        i know plenty of people who are very good at their jobs and bad at paying bills or over extended... i know, i used to be one

        they are forcing people into the fringes and into complying but they want no responsiblity acting as the devil to give them the tools to destroy themselves

        i never get that... why cigarette companies aren't labeled as terrorists... and it's the lousy powerless smoker who is always to blame

        no... this is logic turned on it's head

        and i don't accept it at all so no subverted minds here...

        "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

        by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:35:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  :) Well, 1 step at a time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buffalo Girl

          Generally speaking, you won't be denied a job if you simply don't pay your bills on time, but are not in massive debt and are generally managing your finances.

          But put yourself into the shoes of an employer.  Suppose you are a managing partner of a large law firm.  Your clients are Fortune 500 companies with many of their trade secrets, legal issues and whatever.  Would you hire someone who is massively in debt and may very well be tempted to disclose your clients' secrets for a big payout?  I know I wouldn't.  Why would I expose myself to such a potential liability?

          As an aside, I also don't accept the notion that smoker is powerless.  They made a conscious decision to start smoking and they are making a conscious decision to continue.  Seems to me that they should be responsible for their choices.

          •  have you read about strategies of cigarette (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SeaTurtle

            companies? how they advertise cigarettes and milk together at eye level

            or at gas stations::: soda & cigs...

            eye level of kids, btw

            and clothing lines, the coolest looking clothes being sold in high-end stores all promoting cigarettes...

            the devil: one who exploits weaknesses to control you... it took me five years to convince the survival part of my brain to overcome the addicted part to shut down those damned receptors for good... five years to really finally quit

            so please, we live in gray... not black or white. this life shit: it is many levels of partnerships, accommodations, and compromises.

            millions die smoking... and the cig companies understand our pyschological makeup: we can smoke because WE aren't going to succumb... it only happens to somebody else... much like the shock we felt after 9/11: this shit only happens somewhere else

            no, its wrong thinking. period. i'm not one to believe in absolutes, but this is absolute: upside wrong and made to control us...

            "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

            by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:52:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SeaTurtle

              this is exactly why Il want you to write about constitution

              i am glad that we don't think alike because i've learned from your POV

              but i also know the chess moves of the administration and corporate rulers to box us in, up, and eat us for lunch

              in a way, they want complete assurance of return on their investments, much like chapter 11 in Nafta (see Bill Moyers great piece on it)

              and nobody is allowed that: life is risky... they don't deserve a sure thing anymore than the rest of us

              besides, being so consumed with controlling the game sucks all the drive, creativity, innovation out of it, not to mention the fun...

              "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

              by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:59:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  what high end clothing stores promote cigarettes? (0+ / 0-)

              that's baloney. Trust me, I'm a shopper....

              I choked on your post. It nearly killed me. Hitler killed people. Your post is just like Hitler. - Pope Bandar bin Turtle

              by Buffalo Girl on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 12:39:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  not at all baloney (0+ / 0-)

                sorry, i should have stated in The Netherlands (just a few weeks ago sexy displays along side Polo), Belgium, and Italy

                Marlboro Classics Collection

                very cool clothes and it makes me sick

                went shopping for nephews and saw a sweatshirt: great color, fabric, and this it hit me: Marlboro

                it'll be coming to a store in US soon, guaren-fucking-tee

                "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

                by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:31:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Cigarettes behind the counter.... (0+ / 0-)

              ...because people steal them.  It was like that when I worked in a convenience store 17 years ago, and is the same now.

              By the time I was old enough to be convinced cigarettes were cool (which they weren't), I was lactose-intolerant.  A glass of milk would mean a quick trip to the bathroom an hour later.

              9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

              by varro on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:45:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Has this *ever* happened? (0+ / 0-)

            And if you're someone who has worked for law firms, you pretty much know that it's much easier, and perfectly legal, to declare bankruptcy to get rid of the debt.

            Besides, someone paranoid about their credit rating might be untrustworthy, willing to embezzle to keep from missing payments.

            Credit rating <> trustworthiness.  

            9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

            by varro on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:43:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You have not been reading this thread, Drgrishka! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        varro

        People have been discussing ways in which we can can fall off the tracks: unexpected medical expenses, errors made by cc companies, divorces etc.  Either you are too young to have experienced many of the curves that "Life" can throw your way or you are blissfully ignoring them.  Your disregard of these facts of life mentioned on this thread and your support of 'employer knows best' sounds very trollish to me, IMO.

  •  Credit reporting is the only reason I own a home (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, Drgrishka1, 1864 House

    I have a problem with the sale of person credit history for marketing purposes but to say a company you're doing business with has no need to know how you're paying other creditors shows a lack for how our system works.  

    Without credit histories that show how I paid other creditors, a mortgage company would know nothing about me and would never loan me the money necessary to purchase my house.   Without this history, I'd only get money if I knew 'somebody' and this would tend to favor white males.  

  •  Keith Ellison's Legislation (12+ / 0-)

    On the general subject of abuse by Credit Card Companies ... Keith Ellison (pride of MN) has introduced legislation that will prohibit credit card companies from jacking up your rate because your credit bureau shows that you might be late with some other creditor (otherwise known as "universal default").  It's an awful predatory practice that needs to be stopped.  Also ... did you know that credit card companies make much more money from fee income than they do from interest income?  

    A favorite quote from Keith Ellison:
    "Today's poor person was yesterday's working person," he said. "It might be predatory lending that got them there."

    Amen brother!

    Here is a Thomas Link to H.R.2146  Title: To amend the Truth in Lending Act to prohibit universal defaults on credit card accounts, and for other purposes.

    This is what a Dem Congress can do.  Provide some badly needed Social and Economic Justice.

    •  I've been good and I've been bad (4+ / 0-)

      This cuts both ways. The standardized system of credit reporting and the separation of underwriting from origination has virtually eliminated redlining. It has made access to credit more fair. That's the good side.

      The bad side is that in their blind greed, they have created a system that is, in essence, designed to kick you when you are down.

      I would like to see transparency in FICO scoring (everyone should know how it works), the outright outlawing of the use of FICO scoring for anything other than obtaining credit. It should not be usable by insurers or employers. I would make an exception for national security jobs (requiring security clearance).

    •  Speaking about Keith Ellison... (0+ / 0-)

      ...what's Glenn "Peckerwood" Beck's credit rating, especially when he was a drunk and tweaker?

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:49:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fee income - you mean, 0% but a 3% trans fee? (0+ / 0-)

      Can you direct me to some online resource where I can find a chart that shows
      (or calculates) what that fee means for various amounts?

      Or how does one use a calculator to show that the 0% (with a 3% transaction fee)
      is really equivalent to X% interest?

      Fee income must be immense --
      otherwise why would one get so many lowball interest offers?

  •  Good issue for Dem congresscritters to tackle (3+ / 0-)

    The GOP defines "reform" this way: "whatever our corporate donors demand that will make your life miserable while boosting their profit margins."

    And believe me, they have enacted a LOT of "reforms" under Bush/Cheney/Rove/DeLay's regime.

    The credit reporting industry callously and routinely violates every supposed restriction on their rapacious greed becuase the fines imposed are so small and so infrequent, that they just consider them as a minor cost of doing business.

    Al Capone would blush. Tony Soprano would be embarrassed by what these pirates do on a daily basis.

    For years now, the GOPers have used "wddge issues" to prop up their rule while their approval ratings on issue after issue, plunge into the toilet.

    But "kitchen table" issues like this are a GREAT chance for the Democratic congresscritters to really tear into the corporate GOP agenda AND actually accomplish something positive for the REAL life of Americans.

  •  That explains a lot (4+ / 0-)

    Three years ago, I defaulted on a lot of credit because I had a medical emergency. I looked at the situation, decided I had to save my sanity and my teeth and stopped paying on credit cards I'd kept good on for five years. I didn't like to do it, but I had to make a call, and like many other people, decided to take the credit hit and rebuild in seven years.

    Last Christmas, after being credit free for three years, I got an invitation to get a Target card. I was much more stable financially and decided I could try to start rebuilding. Then I started not only getting the calls again, but I got sued. I'm stable, but I couldn't make up the debt that these guys wanted, so I had a judgment levelled against me, and I'm currently jumping through the Chapter 7 hoops in order to keep any other judgments being filed. Two grand now so I don't have thirty grand later. I guess that's what did it--triggers.

    In six months or so it'll be over and I'll really start rebuilding, I suppose.

    I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    by incertus on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:11:46 AM PDT

    •  Something to try before (0+ / 0-)

      defaulting is negoitiating. Credit card companies will sometimes let you 'not pay' in full for a period of time, if you let them know up front.

      They of course, love that because they get to charge you interest [and penalties] in the meantime. Potentially you can save your credit rating by notifying them in advance.

      •  She's probably not dealing with (0+ / 0-)

        the original creditors any more.

        The debts were probably sold.

        That said, negotiation is sound advice. They'll listen to a reasonable offer backed up with documentation as to the extent of debt, means to pay it back, and assets.

      •  That sometimes works (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yoduuuh do or do not

        It depends on how slimy your particular creditors are.

        Some of them will work with you, by setting up a payment plan or deferment, and as long as you stick with the plan and make payments on time, you'll be back on their good graces, and they won't put nasty marks on your credit record.

        On the other hand, there are the slimy ones, who'll just demand payment in full right now, then sue you, because they've decided they can make more money by garnishing your wages.

        Sadly, we're seeing far more of the slimy creditors these days.  Fewer are willing to work with you.  Credit card companies in particular won't work with you - if you don't pay up, they'll charge-off the card and sell the debt to a collector, no matter how much you beg.

        Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

        by meldroc on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 01:39:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Watch out for negotiation... (0+ / 0-)

        ...because if you negotiate lump-sum payments with credit card companies or collection agencies, you will owe taxes on the remainder.

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:50:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have pelted with this crap after (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, Justus

    getting a 2nd mortgage on the house. The offers to ensnare the family deeper into debt is hung out in front of us like apples on a tree.

    It's like a freeking deluge.

  •  Medical Triggers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onemadson, Ari Mistral, prettyobvious

    What next?   "medical triggers"?.   "Hi this is Dr Hibbert.  I understand you are suffering from Genital Herpes.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my new product VaxaGen.   Side effects may include...".  

    Unfortunately, under the Bush Crime Family it won't Dr Hibbert... It will be Dr Nick Riviera

    Remember folks, it's the Project for a New American Century... not Decade

    by DoubleBarrellBunnyAnger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:22:11 AM PDT

  •  When we purchased our home... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    varro, Creosote, yoduuuh do or do not

    ...this past February, we were immediately bombarded with comeons for"Mortgage Protection Insurance."  The comeons were extremely misleading.  The envelops looked like actual mortgage information, the letters themselves read like legitimate requests from the mortgage company, with a checkbox to mark and send back.

    It took close reading to realize that by marking the box, and sending back the letter, I would be committing to buying very expensive mortgage insurance.  

    At the time, I thought my lender had sold my information within days of closing the loan.  Reading this makes me think there was a credit trigger involved.

    •  I would think that the recording of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec

      a lien against a property is a public record available through a county's deed records.

      It's possible they buy lists of new mortgages.

    •  Shredder-fodder. (0+ / 0-)

      Anything with both our names on it went into the shredder unread.

      Homestreet Bank (our mortgage lender) also was in with the life insurance scam as well, promoting its own life insurance company.  Their envelopes got opened, as if we believed something important might be inside it, then it went to meet its compatriots in the shredder.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:53:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  can I trademark/copyright my name and SSN (3+ / 0-)

    so that these creeps can't pass them around and use them to track me and harass me?

  •  Experian (5+ / 0-)

    Those are the geniuses that think that every Chris Waltz that exists is ME. I just got through explaining to them that there are NO variations of my SSN and specifically the two other "variations" they have of my social security number are not mine and I'd appreciate it if they'd quit being lazy and placing every Chris Waltz on MY credit. I have had to pull a tax lien that isn't mine off my credit twice now. How much you wanna bet it ends up back on there again. There ought to be a requirement that anything placed on your credit report has to belong to YOUR SSN, not just your name.

  •  My credit history should be my property (4+ / 0-)

    What bugs me about this situation is that other people are making money buying and selling information about me.  It seems to me that it's my information, my personal history.  At the very least, I should be getting a dividend every time a transaction is made involving my information.  At best, I would like to be treated as the owner of this property, and be the one with whom these agencies do business when they purchase my information.

    "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." H. L. Mencken

    by David R on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:14:44 PM PDT

    •  If ONLY I had a nickel (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David R, yoduuuh do or do not

      for every time I've raged at the entire concept of an industry which hijacks, harvests and maintains my personal information for their economic enrichment while purporting to offer me a "service"!

      I have always resented that the artist should be relegated by the politician to a place with no voice in political or human affairs. -- Errol Flynn

      by Mlle Orignalmale on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:24:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senate Bill (9+ / 0-)

    The "

    Stop Unfair Practices In Credit Cards Act" was introduced on May 15 by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

    The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act would take the following actions:

    (1) No Interest on Debt Paid on Time. Prohibit interest charges on any portion of a credit card debt which the card holder paid on time during a grace period.

    (2) No Trailing Interest. Prohibit added interest charges on credit card debt which the card holder paid on time and in full.

    (3) Limits on Penalty Interest. Prohibit interest rate hikes on a credit card account unless the card holder agrees to them at the time, and, in any event, limit penalty interest rate hikes to no more than a 7% increase.

    (4) Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt. Require increased interest rates to apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt incurred prior to the increase.

    (5) No Interest on Fees. Prohibit the charging of interest on credit card transaction fees, such as late fees and over-the-limit fees.

    (6) Restrictions on Over-Limit Fees. Prohibit the charging of repeated over-limit fees for a single instance of exceeding a credit card limit, and allow such fees to be charged only when a card holder’s action, rather than a penalty, causes the limit to be exceeded.

    (7) Fixed Credit Limits. Require that card issuers must offer consumers the option of operating under a fixed credit limit that cannot be exceeded.

    (8) No Pay-to-Pay Fees. Prohibit charging a fee to allow a credit card holder to make a payment on a credit card debt, whether payment is by mail, telephone, electronic transfer, or otherwise.

    <a</p>

    All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.

    by jennybravo on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 02:31:55 PM PDT

  •  Everyone knows everything. (4+ / 0-)

    When my wife and I refinanced our house, we got hit with tons of life insurance come-ons.  When my clients file for bankruptcy, they get tons of car loan offers.  When my clients get a foreclosure, they get tons of refinancing offers and sleazy flippers trying to buy the house before foreclosure.

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 03:07:58 PM PDT

  •  Is nothing sacred? Thanks Biden n/t (5+ / 0-)

    Truthiness is stranger than fiction

    by PanzerMensch on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 03:38:48 PM PDT

  •  I've been paying off credit cards lately.... (8+ / 0-)

    ...and out of the blue a collection letter arrived for a Verizon phone account I had in Sarasota, that I closed over two years ago!

    I wrote them back and told them I made final payment already, and that I needed proof from Verizon themselves I was in arrears before I sent any money.

    I'm wondering if I set off anything, now that I've read your diary.

    Yessirree Bob, in today's Yew-nited States, no good deed goes unpunished!

    Andy
    Alton IL

  •  We just bought a used car (4+ / 0-)

    You would not believe how the damn phone rang off the hook for two days after I talked to my bank about a loan.

    conservatives are the kind of people who immediately start contemplating cannibalism when their boat breaks down five feet from shore.--TBogg

    by soonergrunt on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 04:18:21 PM PDT

  •  There's something else to watch out for (5+ / 0-)

    A friend of mine just told me this story yesterday.

    She'd had to default on her credit cards because she was out of work for two years.  She started working again a few months ago, is financially healthy again, and last week deposited a big check in her checking account to pay bills.

    A credit card collector took $5,000 out of her account, without her consent or knowledge, and it seems that this is legal now.

    Since it was the first time in months she'd had that much money in the account, it's obvious the bank is giving/selling that knowledge to collectors.  Otherwise, how would the collector have known it was there?

    Not only that, she spoke to a lawyer, and they can come and take your car, your furniture, whatever assets you have.  

    Unfrickinbelievable.

  •  Part of me is a little glad EVERYONE is now... (3+ / 0-)

    ...being affected.

    When the credit bureaus were only imposing themselves on those who were in deep financial trouble, or poor, or too uninformed to ward them off...people who couldn't fight against the vultures.

    Maybe now that the bureaus are screwing those with the resources to buy homes, this will get a little attention.

    Would anyone care to guess where Senator Joe Biden stands on these new credit bureau policies?

    John McCain is a MINO: Maverick In Name Only

    by malharden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:00:44 PM PDT

  •  the solution to this is obvious to me (0+ / 0-)

    Don't use credit and if you do make sure it turns out bad. Snark unintended.

    Yes, I am psychic...or was that psycho? I always forget which.

    by Farradin on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 05:12:37 PM PDT

  •  Ever heard of Allied Interstate? (5+ / 0-)

    I hadn't, until a year and a half ago.  They started calling three or four times a day.  I have Caller ID, and not knowing who they were, I just let the phone ring.

    Finally I got curious enough to look them up on the internet.  It turns out that it's one of those debt agencies that buys bad debts.  Apparently it's a real piece of work, too, with multiple investigations and judgments against them by state attorney generals.

    Now, I didn't have any debts.  I'm one of those people who's been lucky enough to be able to pay off my credit cards every month and never have a late fee on anything.  I checked my credit reports (all squeeky clean), so I think they're after someone else (I moved here two years ago).

    So, one day, I call back the number and ask for an address.  The person on the phone hands it to a supervisor.  The supervisor asks, "Do you need an address to send in a payment?"  I said, "No.  I need an address to send in a cease-and-desist order."

    After a pregnant pause, I got the address (never did send in a letter), and sure enough, within a couple of days the calls stopped.

    Now, about six months later, the calls started again, but I ignored them (there is absolutely no way I am going to answer a call from them or give them any information about me).  The calls eventually stopped again.

    What I've learned: 1) Caller ID is your friend.  2) You should ignore these bastards if you know they have no reason to be calling you (though if they are calling you, check your credit reports).  3) If you're sick of them, they're easily intimidated by a little legal mumbo-jumbo (but don't ever tell them who you are).

  •  I don't see this as a privacy issue (0+ / 0-)

    Yet Ashley was unprepared for one twist she encountered: a barrage of phone calls and e-mails from rival lenders vying to sell her a better mortgage.

    She needed to put herself on the national telemarketing "do not call" list.  I signed onto that right when it was established, and it has cut down on the annoying phone calls by 90% at least.  If she was on it, those rival lenders would be breaking the law if they called her.

    As far as the credit triggers, it looks to me like it's just a way for the collection agents to get the information faster-- they aren't getting access to additional information that they wouldn't have otherwise.  When you take on credit, you cede a certain amount of privacy, because basic information will be available on your credit report, which will be available to all your other creditors.

    •  You are off the mark there. Exceptions "if we do (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, skymutt

      business with xyz corps, in the normal course of business serving your needs".

      IOW, if we can create a real or fake business relationship, vertically, horizontally, or tiptoeing through the tulips, with any other corp out there, we have a legal right to share your info with them.

      It is a HUGE problem, and I think one many people are unaware of.

      I'm on the do-not-call list, have been since day one, put every number of every relative I have on it at the time, most of them were off-line, and didn't know about it.

      But jackals like my banks have the "legal" right to give my info to other businesses I do NOT want to hear from.

      Be good to each other. It matters.

      by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:14:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't extend my claim (0+ / 0-)

        ...that all business information sharing does not present privacy issues-- they do.  I'm just talking abotu the credit bureau triggers described in the diary.  Credit bureaus are in the business of information sharing-- that's what they do by definition.  The modicum of lost privacy presented by the credit bureaus is a small price to pay compared to the benefits to a responsible consumer of being able to obtain credit at reasonable rates for a home mortgage, a car, etc.  

        If you wish for credit bureaus not to share your information, by the way, you can severely restrict the credit bureaus by opting out at this website.  It will be less convenient when you wish to obtain credit, but if you value the privacy above the convenience, you may want to look into this-- it's kind of like a "do not share" list that covers all four credit bureaus.

  •  Vultures: sick one and all. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unclejohn, Tuba Les

    I did a no-doc re-fi a few years back. Wanted not so much lower interest, as a chance to have a lower principal payment, and pay like crazy on that, accelerating months off the back end.

    At any rate, when I was about to close, they asked for all this info, on a no-doc loan. I said, "I'll simply walk." Well, I did walk out of the first signing.

    If I'm going to pay more interest (a given with a no-doc), you're not getting the info along with it.

    I'm in the home, I didn't need money from a re-fi, wasn't doing it for cash to rescue myself... Boy you shoulda heard all the lies they told me about how I HAD to fork over the info.

    I kept repeating, I simply don't care. Give it to me or not, but on the terms we started out on.

    Vultures.  (Yeah, I got it on my terms.)

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:07:59 PM PDT

  •  First the Trigger, then the Bullet. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    Sigh.  What a disgusting practice.  It's another sign of who runs this country...those who control all of the massive, ever-increasing American debt!  

    I think there will be an economic downturn before Bush is out of office.  Then, when the Dems take back power in '08, we shall see how much progress is made; how much the Dems too could give in to these powers is a discouraging thought.

  •  Debt = Slavery... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectedmode

    I owe my soul to the company store...

    -6.5, -7.59. I want to know who the men in the shadows are... ~Jackson Browne

    by DrWolfy on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 04:54:39 AM PDT

  •  There's that goddam NPR again (0+ / 0-)

    ...broadcasting stuff that's useful and designed to spur people to act to protect their freedoms and privacy.  Bastards.  Cancel all your subscriptions.

  •  Then they can pay me to borrow from them (0+ / 0-)

    Or give me a discount rate.

    If not, sorry. See ya.

    This sort of thing dies when sunshine is set to it.

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