Jump to content

Settlement offer but I can't afford it so they turned NASTY!


Recommended Posts

I'm so mad! Tell me what I should do. Here's what happened.

I got a letter in the mail today from a collection agency demanding payment in full for a little over $2,300 for an account with Citi. With all of the identity theft out there, I thought I'd better call them because I didn't recognize this account number or amount, and also I didn't recall doing business with Citi.

So the guy was all polite at first and looked it up and said it was my account with Helzbert Diamonds. I had bought a diamond bracelet there a few years ago with 6-months no payments. Big mistake. The bracelet has since fallen apart, but that's another story.

So he starts trying to get the payment from me right now, in full. I told him I don't have that kind of money. Then he said something that totally didn't make sense. I think he was confused about his script or something. He said he could accept 20 or 30 percent of my total as payment in full. So I asked how much that would be and the amounts he gave me weren't 20 or 30 percent of my total. He was giving me the amounts that were 20 and 30 percent OFF of my total. Not the same thing at all. I told him again that I don't have the money. If I had that kind of money, I wouldn't be in the pinch I'm in with late payments!

He said, "I see you're several months behind on your payments. If you're able to set up payment arrangements, I can see if my client will work with you."

I said, "I'm willing to work out a payment schedule, but only if the interest amount and late fees will stop accruing on this account. The interest payment each month was higher than the monthly payment which, to tell you the truth, is predatory lending practices."

He said that he could fix it where interest and late fees would stop accumulating, but he would need to ask me some questions to go back to Helzberg and see if they would approve an arrangement.

When he started asking questions, I didn't give him all of the answers, partially because I was in a hurry and already late to a school even for my son and also because I thought it just wasn't any of his business. Like he asked if I own or rent, if I work, how much my other bills are.

So he puts me on hold and comes back and says that his client is willing to work with me. I jotted down the exact amounts but left it in the car, but he said he could accept $500-something right now and then 5 equal payments of $200-something and that would clear it all up.

I said, "You're kidding, right? There's no way I can pay that."

He said, "OK, the best I can do is a hardship plan which would be 10 equal payments of $200-something."

I said, "I can't do it."

He said, "This is the best I can do. What did you have in mind?"

I said, "I can do $40 a month. That's it."

He said that wasn't acceptable.

I said, "Hmmm. Well, I don't know what to tell you. I don't have it. I guess I'll have to think about this or just let it slide as is because I simply don't have it. If I call back, should I ask for you or can anyone help me?"

Then he starts yelling at me. His whole little phone personality changed in an instant. He was absolutely rude.

He said, "Ma'am, I don't know what your problem is. I'm trying to help you out and you're not willing to work with me."

I said, "I'm perfectly willing to work with you. It all boils down to this. Do you want to get paid or not?"

He said, "You've got plenty of money coming in (although he has no idea about my finances because I didn't tell him). Just pay this. Let some of your other bills slide for a while. I don't care about your situation. Just pay this now. I'm going to hold this account open for 48 hours and I'm going to flag it and say that you are unwilling to work with us and refuse to pay. If we don't get your payment within 48 hours, we will be proceeding with legal action..."

I said, "Oh, OK. I get it. You're one of those bill collectors that likes to harass people. Groovy. I've read so much about your types. Let me jot down your name and your phone number because I certainly want to talk to you again. You've been so helpful."

Then he gave me a name (who knows if it's really his name), phone number and extension. I said, "OK. Thanks." It took me a few seconds to finish writing down his info and pushing the button on the phone so I heard him yammering away, still yelling at me.

What a dick.

So now I need advice on what to do next.

Should I contact his supervisor and complain? As if that would do any good.

Should I ignore his threats about 48 hours?

Can't get blood out of a turnip, as they say.

I'm a single mom, graduate student and I did recently go back to work full-time but I've got so many bills and bad credit (thanks to an ex-husband) that it's quite a bit to come out from under.

I don't have equity in my house so I can't get a home equity loan to consolidate debt. My parents own this house and let my son and me live here. I help with the house payment when I can, but right now my ex is several months late paying child support.

In January, I'll get another refund from my student loan. Once it pays for my tuition and expenses, I'll have about $4,000 left. Since student loans are low-interest, would it be wise to take that money and pay down my credit cards?

I've got about $25,000 in student loans at about 3% interest, but these are deferred because I'm in grad school. Won't have to pay on them for about 2.5 years.

Credit card debt is about $10,000 total.

Vehicle is paid off, but has enough age on it that I'm getting nervous and should really be setting aside a little each month to get ready for another downpayment. Although I doubt if I can get another vehicle loan with the shape I'm in.

This debt is the biggest deal right now. Interest on it is 24%.

What a mess!

Any advice?

Thanks a bunch!

JH in Missouri

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in a very similar situation. You can read my post


I plan on using student loans to pay off my debts. The interest on student loans are tax deductable once you are out of deferment! The advice I got is to get everything in WRITING!!!! I would send then a DV with a limited CD letter (they are all over this forum) CMRR. This willl buy you some time to get a settlement letter out.

Im off to class too. :wink:

Good Luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ex had a similar experience. Here is what I would do.

Open an account at www.tel-biz.com. Call the CA back. Do not admit you owe the money abd ask for validation of the debt. Let them rant and rave, give them your good faith offer to settle, even though you do not think you owe this much. Remind them that the bracelet fell apart and that will be your defense should they sue you. Ask them if they have started to sue you. If the person starts to ge rude, let them. If they threaten again, let them. Hold your tongue. Ask them if they tape phone calls. If you feel bold, ask to speak to a supervisor. They will probably be just as rude. Ask for names and an address you can send a complaint to.

The point is, you will have them on tape. tel-biz allows you to dodwnload the conversation as a .wav file. You will have them on an FDCPA violation with proof, and you can use this to your advantage. They have already, in my opinion, made a mistake. You will surely catch them again, but this time it will be with cold eveidence, not merely a he said-she said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Will they even care that the bracelet fell apart? I have never said, "Well, the bracelet fell apart so it was crappy merchandise and I shouldn't have to pay for this."

Also, you stated "even though you do not think you owe this much." I *do* owe this much when you consider the actual cost of the bracelet and then add on the late fees and outrageous interest rate. I don't understand how it can even be legal for a place to charge 24% interest. That's ridiculous.


And what do you mean exactly by "good faith" offer to settle? I thought I was making an effort to settle by talking to this guy and taking 15 minutes of my time to try to work something out. But then their amounts were ridiculously high. If I had $500-something sitting around, I wouldn't be in this pickle.

Also, what should my next steps be as far as actually getting this paid off? If I wait until I get the rest of my student loan money in January to pay it off, can I call them and ask for a reduced amount to pay it off rather than the full amount? Is that wise or will it look bad on my credit report? And what can I do as far as getting this to look better than it is on my credit report?

Thanks for your help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First you have to pull your dredit report and see if it shows up. You can get a trial at privacyguard that will show you all three.

Second, deal with what's on the report, if it does show up. You can dispute it with the CRA.

Third, take the bracelet to two jewelry repair shops in your area. Get an estimate to fix it. In writing if you can, or write down the date, name, quote you get. I say two, becasue in some lower courts, like NYS Small Claims court, two estimates are accepted as competent evidence of damages.

Fourth, with the estimates in hand, you tell the CA you didn't pay the bill because Helzberg sat on its burgundy box and wouldn't help you, so you had not recourse but not to pay. Then you tell them the average estimate to fix the bracelet is $-------, so you should get a discount of that amount plus interest from the DOLA. This will be your defense if they sue you,and don't let them tell you it is too late for that. If they took paper from Helzberg, they are subject to the same defenses you would have asserted against Helzberg. This is your wedge to get a decent settlement offer.

If it's not on the CR, use this strategy to hold them off to January, then do what you think is best. If it is on the CR, you will want to play hardball with them and say you want it removed from your CR along with your discounted payment. The alternative, for them, is to sue you in a lengthy action where they could get less.

Go see if it is on your CR, and get some estimates to fix the bracelet. Don't talk to these guys unless you call them, and then do it with your tel-biz.com account, so it is on record. Bad merchandise + FDCPA violations will see you through this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.