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Retail Financing Account

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I just found this site and I wasn't entirely sure which section to post under, so I hope this fits here ok. Here's the story:

A couple of years ago my wife and I opened an account with a local carpet company to finance the carpet for our new house. It was one of those 12 months no payments/interest things. We signed up for it a month or so before we actually made the final decisions on the carpet, just to be sure that we were qualified, etc. So anyway, we got the carpet, got it installed, everything was happy. Then we got our first bill. Instead of one big charge for $6500 (roughly speaking) we had a charge for $2000 on the day we applied, $1000 a couple weeks later, and then $3500 on the day we actually got the carpet.

We went back in and were told by our sales guy that he had to put some money through in order to open the account, but that he would talk to someone and get the stuff fixed so that it was all on the same date and we actually got 1 year financing. The next statement came and it still wasn't fixed, at which point the sales guy told us that it probably just hadn't gone through yet. By the time the next statement came and the changes STILL hadn't been made, we were worried. We went back in, and low and behold the sales person no longer worked there. In fact, the person that we talked to told us that he was fired because of some rather unscrupulous sales tactics, including charging customers for items before they purchased them in order to win sales contests.

We were of course very upset, and were again promised that they would fix it. We checked in with them a couple times and were told that they were working on it. The really unfortunate part here is that somehow we lost the paper that had the person's information on it. The next time we went in, we were told that there was no such person employed there (she was a women and we were told there were no women working in that office, and that there hadn't been in the last 6 months). We went through the entire spiel a third time with a manager who was supposed to check into it and get back to me. He didn't return my call, and when I tried calling back to talk to him, he simply had the receptionist give me the runaround.

The 12 month mark came up, and we simply didn't have the money available early to pay the first payment. We paid the entire actual balance one or two days before it was supposed to be due (the day that the $3500 was due). Of course, the financing company had charged us for the interest on the first 2 charges for the entire year, since we didn't pay that by the date that it was due. We tried talking with them about it, and in fact even tried to cite the clause in our contract that stated "if you are not satisfied with a product or service...you may not be responsible for repayment" but were told that it "didn't apply to our account." It's on the back of every statement they send, so I'm not sure how they can say it doesn't apply to us.

Anyway...to sum it up we have tried to deal with them a number of times but they have no interest in anything we have to say. Of course it is destroying our credit, and the interest has accumulated interest on top of interest and is now something like $1900. They have sent it off to numerous different collection agencies. Recently a friend of mine suggested that I could take the original creditor to small claims court and have the debt invalidated or something, but I don't really know anything about it. Hopefully someone had the time to read through this whole mess and can give me some advice. Thanks a bunch!

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First thing I would do is search and gather any and all paperwork you have. Also, sit down and write out everything you can recall, as to dates, time, names, etc. Then go to the store and demand to speak to the owner. During this meeting, you will have to relive the whole ordeal. You will be sure to remind him of the salesman's termination due to his lying, all of the false promises, the runaround, about the woman who "never" worked there. In other words, everything. You will also demand he contact the salesman and verify what went on. If they won't, try and locate him yourself. Be sure to hold your temper as you want to display total professional attitude. I think you get my drift. If you can't get any satisfaction out of the owner, then seek legal counsel. Also, if the owner won't help, be sure to tell the owner as you leave that you are filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General's Office, and any other agency that can assist you about his business. You want to definitely get their attention that you will not tolerate what has been done to you and your wife and that you will seek any and all avenues available to you in closing this matter. Why I think this is worth a try first is that some owners don't always know the whole of every day business as they rely on their managers, who are not always totally truthful. If the meeting does fall apart, then you will write a letter to the collection agency demanding a total and complete validation of this debt. You could also include a limited cease and desist whereas they can only write you and never call. Be sure to send it Certified Mail w/Return Receipt Requested. This is only my opinion. If you feel different, then go straight to an attorney. Something just doesn't sound right as to how this company operates and they need to be investigated. Be sure to keep this board informed as it goes along. We are all here to help where we can. You can also wait a couple days and see if any of the more seniors have another idea.

[Edit by retmar on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 @ 10:43 PM]

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