Newbie Here--Warning, Long

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by LeenieWeen, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. LeenieWeen

    LeenieWeen New Member

    Hi, I'm new here. I'm so happy I've found this site! I decided a month or two ago to stop hiding my head in the sand about my debt and my 600ish credit rating and I'm so glad I did. I've got an urgent credit problem as of last week but I'm feeling more prepared to deal with it than I would have even a few weeks ago. I did talk to CCCS or whatever they are called now. They had some good advice, but couldn't really help me.

    Here's my situation. No consumer debt, except a small balance on PayPal Pay Later and a secured credit card--both on time. No car payments, no mortgage, and own nothing of value. :) A couple utility bills that are behind but those aren't being reported. My landlord loves me and he's a lawyer--he refunds me money at Christmastime because I pay on time each month. Bank account a little iffy but no NSF's for a year until yesterday (paid something with wrong PayPal account--argh!)

    Oh and I'm in a teensy little payday loan hell, but I've got a plan to wean myself off of those. Oh, and then there's two state tax payments I need to make... Meanwhile I canceled several memberships, magazines, donations, etc. and am finding other ways to save money. I'm going to save up to move to a cheaper apartment and am looking for a second job.

    But I have massive student loan debt and an income not reflective of my *ahem* educated status. Most have been consolidated into one loan that has been sold numerous times but is in hardship deferment. I have another loan with Sallie Mae, and right now everything is fine with them and the balance is relatively low compared to the other loans. The problem is with the private loans I took out from Citibank.

    4 or 5 years ago, I was behind to the point of defaulting. Someone told me on the phone "send in this amount of money and it will save it from defaulting". That person was incorrect. I felt helpless when the loan was turned over to collection because it was mostly my fault and shut up and paid the collection agency what I could each month, or what they demanded more like.

    Meanwhile, my mother, who is...uh...she has an interesting personality, co-signed my loans because she has even poorer financial planning skills than I do. At the time she owned a paid-for house, but long story, her house was condemned and basically she is old and doesn't have any money. She also flips out every time the collection agency sends out letters regarding my account. Because the two loans, for which I make one payment, consist of 6 quarters of student loan disbursements, they send out six demand letters every time something happens. Once it was an actual computer glitch. Mom thinks they are going to garnish her pension and she will end up on the street. Naturally, I make my payments mostly because the last thing I need is my mother flipping out.

    Now the collection agency says, more or less, that "I should have paid this off by now" that I "took out the loan in 2001" so that means I should have paid it off by now, etc., etc. And that they need me to show "more intent" to pay. 47 months of payments, which are currently about 20% of my take home (I'm not living high on the hog here folks), and I'm not "showing intent". *sigh* I also don't have any rich relatives or friends who can bail me out. Already tried to get a personal loan from my CU, and tried to get my brother to co-sign but his ex-wife...long story.

    I realize that the agency plays me--they threaten me and get me upset and ranting then turn me over to someone nice and friendly. I still fall for it. I don't know what they've told me that is the truth and what is just them saying whatever they can to get more money out of me. Now they are saying if I don't pony up a $1500 down payment by Friday, they will sue me. And my mother. I'd sooner die than deal with my mother. She sent a senior legal aid lawyer after me (not that they could really do anything) because I got behind with Sallie Mae (yes, she co-signed that one too) and if you know them, they call 20 times a day until you deal with them. My mother thinks I'm evil, you see...

    But just reading the bit that I have here tonight, I think I don't have to panic. I'm going to talk to a lawyer tomorrow. It looks like Chapter 13 bankruptcy might help me and protect my mother, but I still can't tell if a private student loan is eligible. The agency said that it wasn't. I figure if it's in collection it isn't really a student loan anymore anyway, does anyone know?

    So by way of that lengthy introduction :) any advice for an ASAP fix for my collection problem? I have one source of money of last resort (i.e. hit up my dad though I've done that far too often in the past), but I'm really trying to be a grown up and deal with this on my own.

    Can I get my credit file from Citibank? Will they have telephone contact notes or memos about what I was told by whom? (I work in a field related to mortgages and we track all those sorts of customer conversations in order to protect ourselves.) Anyone know their records retention schedule? Is it too late to call BS on Citibank?

    Also some easier questions! On Equifax especially they have some of my student loans on there 4 times (twice on the good side, twice on the bad) and they've since been consolidated anyway. Is it easy to get the reporting agencies to straighten this out? Should I bother? Should I try to get very old addresses (1997) and very very old workplaces (1988) taken off?

    If you made it this far, congratulations!

    Oh and one more newbie question--what service do y'all use to get the credit scores for your nifty tracking lists in your sigs? I got one from a quick sign up and cancel with but I know that's not the best thing. Feel free to tell me to RTFM. :)
  2. LeenieWeen

    LeenieWeen New Member

    OK, as I suspected, Chapter 13 won't work for me. I'm thinking of offering the CA a monthly payment that will be 30% of my take home. The lawyer said if they sue me they can't garnish more than 25% of my wages, so they would be insane not to take my offer. He also warned me that if they do sue, I should stop doing direct deposit and deal mostly in cash so they don't take my entire check. He said they can't come after my mother's pension or social security. She did sell a house (well, effectively the empty lot) last year--I don't know what she did with that money... They could take that, I guess, depending on how long she has had it. I was unclear on that part.

    Any comments would be very helpful. You can read my first post in stages--I did try to leave lots of white space! :)
  3. cathyG

    cathyG Well-Known Member

    my experience with banks/creditors is when you really need them to have record of who you talked to and when, they don't have it! but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    when i was tracking my credit score religiously, i signed up for credit score monitoring at myfico (i found a myfico discount code on this site under the credit reports and scores section). it cost money, but it was a good investment for me since i needed to see when my score changed. now, i don't need daily monitoring, so i just do what you did and sign up for free trials and then make sure to cancel before the trial is up. not sure what everyone else does, but that was how i worked the system! also, you should be able to "clean up" your equifax online, too.

    sorry i'm not able to help more. maybe someone else can comment about dealing with CA?
  4. LeenieWeen

    LeenieWeen New Member

    Thank you! I didn't know you could do Equifax online. Very cool.

    I talked to the CA today. Told them I didn't have the down payment and made a offer of a monthly payment that is higher than my previous one but lower than the amount I am (grudgingly) willing to pay. She said I could certainly still send in the money to pay down my balance but that they would still probably send my account to their legal department. So I gave the higher figure, told them it made sense for them to take it and mentioned the garnishment thing. She said she would talk to her supervisor. I consider that a minor victory. I didn't get angry or snarky or feel powerless! This is a big step for me. Crossing fingers and warned my brother about what might happen as he's the one who will have to deal with Mom.
  5. Tai

    Tai Member

    What type of student loans are they, "Guaranteed Student Loans" or "Private Student Loan?"
  6. LeenieWeen

    LeenieWeen New Member

    Sorry my first post was so long. In it I said "The problem is with the private loans I took out from Citibank. "

    I've already consolidated all my federal loans--they are owned by Chase. I have one other private loan with Sallie Mae.

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