Posts Tagged ‘Debt’

Articles

AMEX….Refund of $85 Million…..

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture on October 15, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

American Express Owes Its Customers Big-Time: $85 Million

American Express: the self-proclaimed world’s largest credit card issuer, the gold standard, the blue chip of credit card providers– well, not anymore. At least, not since the company got caught red-handed using a wide variety of “deceptive consumer practices.” The silver lining is that if you’re one of those consumers, you can expect a refund sometime before March 15th of next year.

That’s because the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered the credit card company to refund $85 million to 250,000 duped customers, along with paying $27.5 million in civil fines. For example, many applicants for AmEx’s “Blue Sky” credit card program were promised $300 – except all signs of the bonus disappeared into thin air once they signed up. Any victims of this scam will receive a check for their long-lost $300.

Did you know that it’s a violation of the Credit CARD Act to bill late fees on credit cards based on a percentage of the debt? American Express knew that, but did it anyways. Accordingly, any affected customers will have these illegal late fees refunded, with interest.

AmEx also persuaded some customers that they could improve their credit scores by paying off their old credit card debts – except they conveniently forgot to explain that the debts were so old, they really didn’t even need to be paid off. Oh, and then AmEx conveniently forgot to report the payments to the credit bureaus. These customers will be reimbursed the old debt settlement money, with interest.

AmEx’s bamboozling doesn’t stop there, as CFPB Director Richard Cordbray made clear when he stated that the violations took place “at all stages of the game — from the moment a consumer shopped for a card to the moment the consumer got a phone call about long overdue debt.” The credit card company even used a credit scoring system that discriminated against applicants based on age.

Eligible, affected customers who are still with AmEx (after reading this, you might be switching companies soon) will have their accounts credited, while anyone who has since left will receive a refund check in the mail by the above date. The fines will hardly make a dent in AmEx’s pocket, considering its $30 billion revenue last year, but hopefully these charges will discredit the credit card giant for awhile.

On the Money, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions

Articles

Manage Your Debt (Collectors)

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Education,Taxes on July 17, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

Got debt? Don’t fret, there are ways to get through it. If you can’t make the payments, call your creditors right now –seriously – and try to set up a modified payment plan before the collectors arrive.

However, if your accounts are past the point of no return, don’t let the debt collectors be bullies. While they are allowed to contact you in-person, by mail, telephone, fax, or telegram (you probably won’t be getting a telegram anytime soon), there are some boundaries they can’t legally cross.  

Unless you need a wake-up call, collectors can’t ring you before 8 a.m. They also can’t call after 9 p.m. That means you only have to screen phone calls for thirteen (13) hours during the day.

If you do happen to pick up, and it’s a collector on the other end instead of your grandma, he can’t use any language he wouldn’t use in front of his grandma – meaning, no bad words. And collectors can’t harass any third parties they contact about you, such as your grandma.

This might sound untruthful, but your debt collector will be the most honest person you meet. Or at least, he should be. That’s because collectors can’t lie to you about anything. Accordingly, they can’t make up scary stories about what will happen to you if you don’t pay. You’re dealing with debt, not the mafia… well…. for those of you who do deal with the mafia and loan-sharks or alike, not much I can help you there… you are on your own on this one.

Anyway, hey, you can kill two debt birds with one stone by going to work. Well, there’s an idea…  Not only will you make money to pay off your bills, collectors also can’t call your workplace if your employer doesn’t allow it. However, if you really want collectors to quit calling you, you’ll have to go more old school than telegrams: you need to send them a letter saying stop calling.

You don’t need collectors to constantly remind you that you owe money – you already know that. Getting them off your back will let you focus on budgeting, saving, and spending wisely on living essentials. If you do those things, soon you’ll be calling the collectors to make payments.  Yes, make payments…. you did borrow the funds, and you used the money without anyone forcing you to do so; therefore, pay the debt that you incurred and owed, do the right thing!   Make a payment plan with your collector and slowly, but surely, you will catch up!

 

On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions