Shady loan company. Help!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Okay so I will try and make this as short as I can. A few years ago I was desperate for money so I contacted a loan company that I saw online and they loaned me out several hundred dollars. In return, I was supposed to give them my checking account info and they were to deduct money out of my account a little at a time. The interest rates were ridiculous. But I was desperate, so I did it. Big mistake. This company started taking out large sums of money left and right without my consent. I would go to the grocery store and find out I had no money in my account to pay for the food cause they took it all. I contacted my credit union and asked them what to do. They suggested I close my account so they could no longer take any money out. So that's what I did. Fast forward years later. Now this loan company has handed my file to a collection agency and they contacted me at work.

    They told me they were going to take me to court and press criminal charges against me for closing my account. They told me it was the same thing as writing a check under a closed account and it was a felony. They threatened to show up at my work and serve me with papers. I could go to jail for it. I was terrified so I gave them my new account information and let them deduct $150 out of my account every month. I asked them to please send me a statement to my home address and to my email stating how much I owed and the payment agreement details. They never sent me any statement. I tried looking up their company on the internet for a phone number. All three numbers I was given were disconnected. My mom ended up finding out about what I did and almost had a heart attack. She told me it was a very stupid thing to do to give them my account information all over again. While I agree with her, it was the thought of going to jail that petrified me. I have seen many prison shows and one of my biggest fears is having to go there some day. So that was my reasoning.

    My mom insisted I contact my credit union about it. My credit union's advice was to close my account again. They told me the company sounds like big con artists. My bank is now investigating the company. The investigation can take up to two months. I just closed my account last week. Today is the day the company was supposed to deduct the money. I just received a call on my voicemail at work from the company. It is from the head of operations over there. He is insisting I call him back right away. Now I am panicking. My mom is telling me to sit tight and ignore their phone calls. She said not to contact them until my bank has completed the investigation. That is a long time! I am scared. They know where I live and they know where I work. I am terrified they are going to serve me with court papers. I am getting some major anxiety about all this. So what do I do in the meantime? Are their threats real? Can they really press charges against me? Anybody have any advice? I'm finding it real hard for me to just sit back and wait and do nothing!
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sit tight. They are obviously a scam. They probably took more money than you gave them and THEY could go to jail, not you. There is no jail for not paying people...no more debtor's prison. They're full of it. Don't call them back. Don't answer their calls. Don't read their letters. Let the bank handle it and go on with your life :)
     
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    You sure they can't serve me court papers at work? That's what I'm most afraid of.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would highly doubt it. Sounds like a scare tactic to me. I know I would just ignore it. Sounds like you were the victim, not them. I don't think they want you to see who they are. I hope others jump in, but I'm fairly sure they will tell you the same thing.
     
  5. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    How many years is "years ago" ? There are limits to the amount of time you can collect a debt in Ca - which is 4 years - http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/a/soflimitations.htm

    The original company probably sold your debt to someone else who is trying to collect it - unfortunately since you panicked and gave them info and your bank account info, you reset the time on the collection.

    Marcie
     
  6. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    Absolutely sit tight. Do NOT answer them or have any contact with them. IF they are legitimate, which I HIGHLY doubt, I don't think they are allowed to contact you at work. If they call you there, document the date, time, name of the person, name of the company, phone number, and tell them to NOT contact you at work. If they do, they are in violation of federal law. Collection agencies are not allowed to call a person't place of work, especially if they have specifically been told not to.

    If you can, find the original paperwork for the loan AND get records from the bank about each and every deduction the original company took out of your old account. Then you can figure out if you even owe any more money. If not, let them serve you and take ALL your paperwork to court with you, IF they even pursue you.

    They have you right where they want you, scared and willing to do anything they say. Their scare tactics are working. I know it's scary but completely ignore them. If they are legal, there should be no problem finding their contact information. Since that is not the case, my guess is they are running a scam. Personally, I would go as far as contact the Better Business Bureau AND the federal fair debt collection agency or whatever it's called. Turn the tables on THEM.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I have no idea how many years it's been. It's at least been three years. Maybe five. I don't know. As for records, I don't have any. Stupid of me, I know, but I don't. I don't make wise decisions when it comes to finances. I don't even know where to start to prove they took more money out than they were supposed to. I guess I will just sit tight until the bank notifies me. Until then it's gonna drive me crazy.
     
  8. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Hi, don't do anything. They are scaring you and it is working!!! Thye can't send youto jail for payment of a debt, they would have to try and collect it first. Instead, ask them their information, name, address,etc. and scare them with a lawsuit. Ha-ha, they certainly don't want to be exposed. I have had past due bills, real collection agencies don't act like that. They have to give you the info. about the debt,etc. and yes, you can be served with court papers, but that would be at your home. It's not so bad and you would try and work out a settlement. They want money, that's it. This place sounds so like a fraud. Hang tight!!!!
     
  9. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    Check with your bank if it's the same bank that you used at the time of the "loan". I bet they have records of withdrawals from your account. I agree with the others - don't let them intimidate you and don't do anything rash. Debt collectors try to get people to panic. Sit tight.
     
  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Often if you google search the company with the word "complaints" after it, there will pop up a ton of horror stories. Might help ease your mind!! Next time they call, be polite. Request the full name of the collection agency, the file number on the account they are collecting, the total debt owing and the previous payments made. Request a full mailing address and write it down. After you have all of that, explain the three numbers you were given, all defunct numbers and request a proper number for the collection agency which is your right under law. Do not allow them to change the topic or turn the tables. Remain calm, if they go off track stop them cold with a firm excuse me I was speaking. When you've collected the above info, tell them thank you for the information that I require to proceed with legal action for illegal collection practices and consider this the final notice that all contact now must be only through the mail system. State that any calls to you or regarding this matter to your place of employment will result in legal action for illegal collection practices and for harrassment. Then end the call. IF they refuse, despite you returning to the questions, to provide the information, alert them that you will contact police and the better business bureau if further contact is made beyond written communication in the mail. It is important to remove their belief that they have you running scared. It is important that they know that you finally have their game figured out and are no longer falling for the scam that they are running.

    A loan of a few hundred dollars, with a history of many payments made and some as large as $150 at a time, means it was long ago paid off, even with sky high interest rates. This is all very typical of many shifty collection agencies. It isn't personal to you. It's corrupt practices that laws continually are enacted in order to try to better protect consumers because the industry is rampant with corrupt collectors and what they are doing to you is in fact text book illegal practices that are so common that attorneys who work with consumers must roll their eyes at times at the sheer number of people who wait so long to seek legal help under such abusive and illegal treatment. It is not a secretive practice. It is widely known the seriousness and huge scope of the nasty tactics that collection agencies often utilize. You've got being RIGHT on your side, this situation is every shade of wrong. If the calls do not stop despite your last request that they do, call your phone company and change your number. It is easier to do the leg work to give your new number to people who need it, than to continue to put up with this garbage from that company. Request the number be UNPUBLISHED even if it costs a dollar or two fee per month to do so. You do NOT need to live with this. The key here is that starting right now, you have got to stop thinking you're in the wrong or are obligated or headed for some mythical debtors jail. Ain't gonna happen friend. It won't stop until you are confident in your rights and stand firm and take the steps to protect yourself. Be sure to attend the bank where both accounts were that had funds auto withdrawn on the debt. All they can say is they don't have any ongoing records, but it is likely that there are records still that can be provided to you that show the payments that you made.

    Hang in there. THis is a common tale of many consumers. You will be okay. And threats of going to your work with papers etc. Just tactics of promoting fear. Common sense says that a court would laugh at the payments you have made, the treatment you were subject to, and likely FAR overpaid the loan by now and the company probably owes YOU. They are NOT going to pay legal expenses to pursue court against you. It costs them money and you nothing! For what, a few hundred bucks that you paid over and over and over?? It's just bluster to extort funds from you. Stick it back to them. They have earned it.
     
  11. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    I agree with others, contact your bank to get copies of all the withdrawals from both of your accounts. Do you have a copy of any email with them when you did the loan? I would assume you had to sign some agreement or was this all online....which is strange to me. Hopefully the bank will get some info quickly on their investigation.
     
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This wasnt a loan where it originated under a native american tribe was it? That is one way to get around the legal interest rates. They are allowed to charge almost loan shark type interest. 100% or more.
     
  13. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    The worst they can do is file a complaint with small claims court for a judgment, and those papers are usually mailed certified. And if they are a shady company - which it certainly sounds like - I doubt they will. They are trying to scare you, and it's illegal. Contact the FTC. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection
     
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well if they are trying to actually serve you for legitimate small claims court, they can have you served via sheriff at your home. I had that done to me for a small claims court case. They do have to subpoena you for that court just like they do for any other court.

    Do not give these people your bank account information again. Im glad your with a credit union who is willing to work with you so well. Lots of big banks wont do that. I found that out the hard way. My credit union did the same thing for me when a company continued to charge my account after my years membership was over. They claimed since I hadnt canceled during the 13th month I had to pay for another year. I told them I wanted to quit but couldnt prove it. Thankfully my credit union did the same as yours and simply closed my account and reopened it in another account number.

    Another BIG bank wouldnt do the same for my mother when I had to take over for my mom's finances. Time Warner was charging her for a monthly internet charge even though she didnt live in the home anymore. They claimed she didnt cancel the service when she left the house. I know I did. They said I couldnt do it. I sent them my POA. They then claimed I hadnt sent back the a cable box. I never saw a cable box but if she didnt, we had long since paid for one because I didnt catch this for over a year. They refused to stop it and it continued until I had to close her account when she went into the nursing home.
     
  15. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Here small claims court papers are served via certified mail. It must differ by state.
     
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I used to work for a bank. In several depts and I knew many who dealt with shady collection attempts. You have rights. They cannot send you to prison and closing that account to keep scammers from taking money is NOT the same as writing a fraudulent or bad check. Not even CLOSE though con artists can try to convince you fo this. Regardless of what they tell you, you are NOT going to jail. Yes, they may be able to call you at work and at home. But ONLY until you tell them to stop. tell them that you ONLY want to be contacted in writing. Once you do this, ANY phone calls or attempts to contact you in ANY way other than in writing are violations of federal law.

    Also, did you ever get the loan agreement in writing? If not, it may not even have been a legal loan. Tell this collection agency that you want the info IN WRITING and unless they send you the ORIGINAL agreement in writing, you will not have anything to do with them. Then let your bank have copies of EVERYTHING they send you. Chances are they bougth the loan and had NO idea that you didn't get copies of the agreement and the orig company doesn't even still have them and never turned them over when they sold the loan. Thus they cannot prove that you did actually borrow the money. If they DO sent a copy of the orig agreement? Then the bank has a copy of the terms, can prove how they violated them by taking so much out the first time, and can prove usury, or loaning money at an interest rate that was too high. This is a violation of federal law and means that the loan is invalid and you don't hav to pay back a penny. I had a boss who used to play with companies like this. He would set up a second bank account, borrow from some shady company at a rate that was too high, then after they took one payment out, he would confront them with the info that it was usury, illegal and if they ever tried to damage his credit, send it to collections, or do anything else then he would sue and turn them over to the Feds. When I stopped working for him he had done thsi six times already. He closed the account right after the first payment and even now has NVER heard a word from anyone about these loans. Of course he knew the state and federal lending regs very very very well and also turned stuff over to a friend who worked to close down loan operations like this, and it was his personal mission to stop these shady crooks. I do NOT advocate anyone doing this, not even him, but many of these loans are illegal, lkely yours was too.

    Listen to the bank. Go to one of the Financial Peace seminars that are given at many churches for a small fee. Seriously. You NEED some help with budgeting, this is not a crime or sin, most of us are not taught these skills as kids or as young adults. If impulsive spending is a problem, this program might be helpful. If yo have credit card debt, go to a credit counselor and get on a program to learn to live wtihin your means. You will be SHOCKED at how it improves your life. Seriously shocked. husband and I did this a few years back. He used to have credit cards and each time he got one he maxedi t out, incl one his company cosigned for. Usually I had zero clue he had the card or wasn't paying it. Credit counselling saved our marriage. now we live within our means, no matter how modest they are that month. Yes, we got foreclosed on after husband lost his job, but our new apartment is great, CHEAP, in town, and we can afford it so there is no stress over it.

    in my opinion you NEED to learn to not make such fast decisions on money. It is HARD to do. Trust me, I blew the last of my cash for the month yesterday and in the past would be upset and scrambling. Now? I stopped and thought before I checked out, and I am okay with it. So it isn't a big deal and we don't really need much to last the month so it is okay.

    ANY collection agent MUST stop calling if you tell them to only communicate in writing. This is FEDERAL LAW and the penalties are HUGE. They cannot threaten you with jail time, and if you can prove they did? HUGE penalties. We dont' do that in the US. Closing an account that a lender is abusing is NOT the same as writing a bad check, not by a LONG shot. No matter WHAT they tell you, they are not going to send you to jail. IF they are rude or they use a single swear word? The feds again fine them, as do other federal agencies, and if they have a ceratin number of reports of abusive behavior the feds will fine them out of business. NOT joking. Not common or advertised, but it is a major no-no to swear while collecting money.

    Please stop fretting. Let this go. Let them sue you. They will send a letter because to send a sheriff to your work takes a TON of time and money. They don't want to spend that much money to get a few hundred from you, esp when they must present documents in court to get that order for an officer to come to your office. Let the bank deal wtih it. You cannot be arrested for not paying this while your bank is working on it. If they do try to rush it through the courts, have the bank and an atty come to help you.

    Please please please work on not freaking out over financial demands and threats from creditors. Tell them to contact you in writing only and hang up on them. If they call you back? They are in violation of federal law. Don't EVER do anything until they send you proof in writing. EVER. Whether you remember the debt or not. I had a hospital put me in a private room because they were mostly empty and didn't have anyone to put me with. It was only private because no one was int he second area in the room. They tried to collect extra money because insurance didn't pay for private rooms. I told them to send me a copy of my signature agreeing to a private room. I never heard antoher word from them. They not only didn't have my signature, they couldn't find ANY billing records to send me. So I never paid a single penny of the copay or co insurance because they coudln't find the records. I was willing to pay what I owed, but not htat extra money because i didn't agree to the private room. I wasn't going to be there that long, Know what I mean?? Anyway, ALWAYS insist that collection agencies only communicate in writing, and if they ever call, tell them flat out that their fines will be more than your amount owed. Cause they will be.
     
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie is right but some states can send a sheriff to serve you and my state is one of them though we dont have a debtor's jail. I just have a judgement against me that I am refusing to pay because of the circumstances revolving around the debt. I have filed a complaint that I dont agree with the judgement with the credit bureaus for all the good that does.

    I do have a feeling that if you fell victim to one of the loan scams on TV then they are associated with Indian Tribes and they can charge any amount of interest and federal usury charges dont apply to them. That is a technicality that most people dont understand until you are in way over your head. Or its a title loan and that works the same way. However, those loans tend to have write offs because its hard for them to chase you down. Another one of the popular loans people get caught up in is payday loans. Those are awful. One interesting thing to know is if you do write one of those checks, they are not considered a bad check, its considered a loan. Interesting. Just a tidbit of information.
     
  18. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Contrary to what other responders recommend, were it me, I would answer their call next time and say, "Yes, I closed my account because my records show I have fulfilled my financial obligation. Last time I spoke with someone, I asked for an account statement but never got one. If you could send me my account statement and it shows I still have an unpaid balance, I am happy to begin withdrawels again." "No, I don't have a personal email, just a work one. Could you mail it please?"

    Now, that way you come across as not being confrontational, thinking everything is paid in full and, if they want more money, they have to mail you something that will show their mailing address and contact information as well as something to use if their records don't match the bank records (which the bank will provide for you - although depending on how far back you go they might charge you).

    Two things could happen, they could disappear because they know they can no longer take any more money or they send you a statement. Either way, the bank is already investigating and they can probably get a lot further than you.

    Word of advice - 2013 goal - please make yourself a filing system for important papers. To make it easier to begin - just start a pile where you put any papers you might want to keep every time you come across one for the next month. One day, sit down and divide them up into piles - warranties, insurance, school records, medial stuff, bills, taxes, receipts, etc. Then make a file folder for each and put the stuff in there. You will be surprised at how much easier the household will run when your paperwork is organized.

    Those folders will probably lead you to make more and begin to break them down into smaller catagories! I had a service tech over hear in November to do service on my gas fireplace. The unit is 17 years old and he had not worked on a wall mount unit before. He was trying to figure out how to pull the frame off and I said, "wait a minute, let me get you the instruction manual." I went to my household files, and pulled the booklet out of the warranty file (where I put warranties and instruction manuals) and gave it to him. He was shocked I still had it!

    Good luck.

    Sharon
     
  19. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well I took Littledudesmom's advice and I called them today since they called me yet again at work. They left a voicemail saying I had twenty four hours to contact them or they would start legal proceedings. When I got them on the phone, they told me they had tried to process my previous payment and it was declined. I told them that they had promised me a statement in writing showing how much I owed, etc. and they never did. He stumbled and stammered and stated that he didn't know why on earth I would be requesting something in writing. We had previously made an arrangment over the phone so that should be good enough, right? I told him no way I will break off all contact if I didn't receive a statement. I also told him to stop calling me at work as it was harrassment. He agreed to have something in writing for me by the end of the day to my email, and a statement sent to me at home. So I will sit back and wait to see if it ever happens. And if they do sent me a statement, then what is my next move?
     
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You already have them stuttering and stammering... good sign.

    That statement needs to be a proper, legal, detailed statement. I'm guessing you won't get that, they will try to send you something else instead. It needs to show the original amount of the loan, plus all payments received to date, plus all interest and other charges applied.

    You take the statement to your bank, and they can help with the next steps.

    But I'm guessing you won't get a real, legal statement.
     
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