difficult child given credit...we are baffled

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nomad, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Several months ago difficult child lost her phone yet again. I can't recall the details. She loses her phone alot. She works out deals with us. She'll do bookkeeping for my husband and get another one eventually.

    As is often the case with these things (I'm preoccupied lately), I'm fuzzy on some of the details. I think there was a delay in her getting a new phone...

    So, apparently she bought a "go phone" at a store and then went to a phone service place and signed up and didn't tell us. She presented (get this) her drivers license and bus pass as credit to sign up for the service and they accepted this. difficult child has a driver's license but doesn't use it.

    She was given credit. She lost the phone. We never knew any of this took place. She worked for husband...got her phone ( a different one) through us...plus sign up...she's been using that one successfully ever since.

    Now, creditors are after difficult child. She said the last call they made to her was nasty. She called today upset. Tells us the story about the phone we never knew about that she bought on her own on credit and forgot about. She is in a panic and when we get a chance we make some calls.

    The store said that difficult child applied for phone service, they did an Equifax credit report, she passed and they gave her the service on credit.

    She has one cent in her account and that is for the most part her balance. She was given credit based on "good credit." What in the world? She has no job, no credit card, no home, no references, no balance and is on disability. The report is not believable.

    So, we are baffled. We are trying to get the balance eliminated or reduced...so far no luck. difficult child says she is willing to pay off the balance and work for husband for as long as it takes. She'll have to work a loooong time. If it were reduced...more do-able. Otherwise...might have to just let it go...difficult child will have to live with any consequences.

    However, husband is thinking of contacting an attorney. He is concerned about fraud.

    We are concerned primarily about the following...
    Could difficult child have credit? Could that Equifax report be "real?"
    :confused: That would be shocking and SCARY!!!!!!!!!!
    Impulsivity still rears its ugly head now and again and if difficult child figures out that she has "credit" then she might be buying cars soon!

    Also, can we get Equifax to stop this bogus reporting? Is that likely what happened here? If not, is it going to take an attorney to make sure it doesn't happen again?

    What is the consequence of difficult child not paying this type of bill? Its ashame.

    Interesting news: husband just got back from the store. Words from the manager "We'll sell phones to anyone who can breathe with- a ss #. husband pointed to bum laying in street out the window...would you sell a phone to him...and he said "yes.""
    Lasted edited by : Mar 5, 2009
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Sigh. difficult children with credit. The mind boggles.

    The thing with the credit bureaus is, your difficult child has a social security number, so as far as they are concerned, she exists.

    If she's never had any credit before, then her credit score will be neutral. It won't show any bad credit, such as missed payments, unpaid debts, defaulted loans or whatever.

    So...a business such as this phone store that obviously has a very low threshold for eligibility, would sell her a phone on credit. That would start to establish your difficult child's credit history. Equifax hasn't issued a bogus report, they've just provided whatever information they have on file.

    With this unpaid debt hanging over her head, difficult child is in danger now of starting to accumulate bad credit. While she's so young, and still showing impulsivity, there are advantages, in that banks, car companies, major credit cards etc. are unlikely to issue her any credit. However, she would need to clear the debt and accumulate a good credit history to wipe her slate clean, so to speak.

    Hope this helps a little. Let me know if you need more info.

  3. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    She should be able to pull up a free credit report (US Gov't requires credit bureaus to allow 1 free report per year) to see what is currently on file. That will give her some idea what's been reported.

    Most creditors are willing to settle for a portion of the debt - and if this outfit will grant credit to anyone with a SS# and a pulse, they're like to settle. Get EVERYTHING in writing. Keep it all. She will likely have to explain this mess one day (job interview, car loan, opening a bank account). Do NOT allow creditor to debit from checking/savings account. Send all remittances by check,maybe even certified mail, so that you have a paper trail.

    Warn difficult child credit scores will follow her for the rest of her life.
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    CJ and Trinity...very interesting stuff
    Thank you.
    This stuff is alarming!


    husband spoke with credit agency.

    They were not pleased that the franchise is selling phones to anyone with a pulse....do think they are concerned about a lawsuit and simply that there is no hope of getting their money anyway.
    They are writing it up as a "dispute," no longer pursuing it and sending it back to the phone company for them to decide on what to do next.

    We are putting everything in writing.

    We'll tell difficult child to check her credit rating or we'll do it...not sure we want difficult child to know she has credit...or that this stuff is going on. I think she thinks this was just a fluke.
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Nomad, resolve what you can then wait until the dust settles and check her credit again. If it shows as a negative or "dispute" she should be able to put a comment into her credit report about it. You can help her write it.

    Yes, our kids with credit makes the mind boggle.

  6. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia


    Give me a day and I will get you some more information. I put my daughter (before she turned 18) on an opt out list for 5 years (maybe it was 3). It is supposed to keep any solicitations from being sent to her. So far so good. And she has a credit card that she does not know about just to build her credit. I use it for flights and things in her name and I pay it. But I also have it in my possession in hopes that one day she will turn her brain back on.

    You absolutely should be able to get her out of a contract that she applied for (maybe a fee). They will threaten you and claim everything. But in reality you need to reach the right person. Do not pay them anything at all until you reach a settlement. I have done quite a bit with this type of agency and I would be happy to coach you through it if you want to pm me. Also, if they have her bank account number, go in the morning and close that account and open another for her. Even if it only has 1 cent in it. They will draw money out and have her overdrawn (more problems then). If she/you tell them not to call again to collect then legally they can not. You must be clear and tell them that you know it is illegal and you will prosecute if they "harrass" you again (or her).

    Once it reaches a certain time limit it goes to collections. Then I can certainly tell you that they will make an offer. But, realistically you should be able to handle this before then. Worst case: It is never paid it and it goes on her credit report. It will come off in 5-7 years. And any bank or other agency that she needs credit from will ask about it and she will be able to tell them what happened or better yet is she applies she should tell them up front. A bank or loan company can easily choose to look over a telephone contract problem.

    Hope that helps.. Let me know which phone company it is with and the length of contract and I will try to get you more info.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cell phone companies will give credit to people who make low incomes especially if they have neutral or semi-good credit. How else would they get a phone? Your daughter did go in and buy this thing. I cant tell you how many times people have attempted to extend credit to Cory. One real reputable car dealer here actually let him sign and drive off in a car without making a down payment. He had that car for a month before they figured out he had no income. They came and took it back. Dummies. He was 18. I couldnt even do that!

    Now of course, he has failed to pay things so he has bad credit so he cant do those things anymore...lol.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is why I keep telling Travis he has bad credit. ;) Yes, I'm lying.......but as long as it keeps him from accepting credit card offers and the like.....I'll lie myself blue in the face. LOL

    Meanwhile......he uses a pre-paid credit card that he puts money on himself....and Mom throws away any offers that come in the mail with anything to do with credit.
  9. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    My difficult child had a $800 dollar balance outstanding with one wirelesss company a $1600 balance outstanding at a jewlers and a $900 overdraft at the bank and still was able to get a phone contract with another company which he also defalted on. He now carries another cell phone but tells me it is a pay as you go plan. I don't know if I believe that or not. I no longer help him with his "credit problems". He knows not to even ask. I recently helped him pay off one of the Telephone bills that had been bought by a collection agency. I got it down to less than half then had difficult child do a big paint scraping job on my out building. He hasn't quite finished but he is still working on it when the weather is good and he isn't in program. Maybe if/when he does finish I might possibly consider another Job for him that I would have to hire out anyway and then pay off another of his debts. That will depend on whether or not he stays away from credit entirely lives within his budget for a good while and avoids legal trouble of any sort. -RM
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Thank you everyone...I had to read your posts quickly...I have a test very soon.

    A little update...the collection agency is basically out of the picture. They will not contact difficult child any longer. They suggested we write the phone co. They gave us the info to do that. They said they will also contact the phone co. They want the phone co. to make a final decision as to what to do next. They are writing it up in their files as a dispute...which I gather means it is unresolved. There is a certain dispute-like element to it...difficult child said the phone only worked for two days. In fact, records showed she used it for two days...made two calls. She said she then put it in a drawer and forgot about it. Now, she can't find it. (Of course...the main problem is that difficult child should not have been given credit. The manager at the store...interesting fella).

    We are going to write the letter over the weekend and give it more thought if we want to pursue it any further...
    will re read these posts later...will consider what has been said.

    We have not told difficult child much...have told her that this is likely to hurt her credit. We obviously don't wish her to know that she can credit so easily. This is a catch 22 situation. It is so sad that credit is given so easily in this country...companies knowing full well what they are doing...it is noteworthy...considering the recent housing situation and the economic fiasco we are currently in. Not a political statement...but husband mentioned it...it seemed to have been thrown in my face with- this situation (note what store manager said about giving credit to bums in street...)

    Side note: I too throw away any offers like this that come to difficult child in the mail. She changes apts. so frequently, I doubt that much of anything comes to her there. However, I see now that there are other easy opportunities for her to get credit AND there is a certain "bad intent" element to the entire thing. What happened to the reasoning that credit was only given to folks who at least had a reasonable chance to pay it back? What is wrong with this picture?
    She seems more than a little "afraid" of credit...but you know how this stuff can go with difficult children.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 6, 2009
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have a slightly differing viewpoint, and I do NOT mean to offend.

    The issue here is that difficult child should not have gone in to apply for credit.

    The store mgr and the phone co have no way of knowing if difficult child has mental health problems or doesn't understand credit, etc....They have NO way of learning about this. difficult child went in and got the phone and signed the contract. She KNEW she easily loses phones. She had to know there would be a bill attached with this. They explain this clearly in the contracts. You have to specifically agree to the amt of $ they charge every month (excluding fees and taxes).

    OFTEN phone companies extend credit to young people with no credit as a way to help them establish credit. It is very common. If companies did not do this, how would a young adult ever establish credit? how would any of us.

    I think difficult child needs to take some responsibility here. She signed the contract. She took the phone. She USED the phone. If she had never used the phone at all, then the contract maybe could have been voided. But she USED the phone. She knows it is a service you pay for. Every phone advertisement talks about X minutes for $Y per month. They say free phone, but they don't say free minutes.

    If you REALLY and TRULY want to help difficult child you will help her establish a payment plan that is doable and then supervise her making the payments. Ideally she should work for the $$.

    If she makes payment it should help her credit improve. It shows that she CAN and WILL make regular payments. If you do a lump sum payment it will settle the issue but not help her credit. This won't help her future.

    It also won't teach her anything about responsibility.

    Why should the phone company take a hit because your adult difficult child decided to walk in and sign up for a contract and then ignore it? Your difficult child did this willingly.

    I do realize that some of the credit offers that young adults can get are crazy. And the phone co may bear some responsibility for not checking things out properly (or having a mgr more concerned with quotas than using reasonable guidelines) but it is not ALL the phone company's fault.

    I am sorry your difficult child laid this in your lap. It is her responsiblity to cope with this, and maybe learn from it. I think guidance for her, and maybe work she can do for you or her dad to earn the $$ for payments is a good idea, but the responsibility for this contract should rest firmly with HER.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Since our difficult child has multiple diagnosis's and there is some confusion about her abilities...we like her to meet us halfway on things. In addition, she does not do drugs, takes her medication and is respectful to us.

    For now, this is how we have decided to handle things...

    We have helped her to a certain extent...but we tend to not be willing to help beyond a certain point.

    In addition (and this is very important), we always ask difficult child to help us help her, to meet us half way, to make a contribution to her own well being....or else we aren't budging....

    So, in this case, we might ask the phone company to drop the bill or to re-negotiate the bill. difficult child said she would work for husband and pay for the bill back. The truth is...if the bill is not reduced and remains loarge...I don't truly see it happening. If the debt is reduced...it is more doable.

    difficult child applies for jobs all the time...doesn't get them. My one complaint is that she only half heartedly worked with SSI to get a pt job. She does try on her own to get them and is always turned down.

    difficult child wants to pay back the phone bill and this is a good thing (I just know in my heart that the larger/full bill is not really realistic. It needs to be reduced). We might be able to work out something here and I'm open to her suggestions. This is what she is hoping...she doesn't want debt. Personally, I think if the bill is not renegotiated (reduced) she'll have a hard time working it off. If we do pay for a reduced bill, we will insist on her paying us back by working for husband. Otherwise, we wont pay for it...she might very well end up with bad credit.

    in my humble opinion, the phone company is at least partially responsibility and should reduce the bill. Why? Because they probably did not really check out her credit. Why? Because the manager would sign up an obviously homeless person. He would sign up an obviously mentally ill person. He would sign up an obviously retarded person. Anyone with a pulse and a SS Number. The mentally ill persons in this country are sometimes used. This entire thing is ashame. I will protect myself, try to use it for a lesson for my difficult child...since she has responsibility here. IF I spend any money, difficult child will need to work to pay me back. But I also see that there was malice involved on the part of the franchise.

    The entire bill is a little large and I'm not sure if I will want to pursue it any further. Sure, she can try to get a job and pay for this on her own...it is highly unlikely to happen. I know from experience, that there are many problems here.

    difficult child has bipolar diagnosis, had brain surgery from a major anuerysm, had a brain bleed, ended up with some LDs, and is ADHD. She also has emotional baggage from her adoption.

    All of this does not give her a pass. We expect her to do the best she can. We are wiling to give her an "assist" here and there. We hesitate to let her go hungry and we will not let her go with-o medical care. However, we will also not let ourselves personally suffer and we will continue to expect her to do whatever she can whenver she can to help herself. difficult child understands that we have our limits and she does she try to stay within boundaries...just messes up at times. When she does...the process starts and she will meet us half way at the very least or she will feel the pain of her mess full force. She understands her limits...the times that things have fallen apart majorly...she has been hsopitalized...has not happened too often.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 7, 2009
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I did not realize the full extent of your daughter's disabilities. It sounds as if she may truly not have realized what the contract was about.

    I don't have any experience with the kind of mgr you experienced. Given that he would give a homeless person a phone (one with clearly no income), and given that your daughter has very clear signs of her challenges, I can completely see why the phone co should reduce the amt they are asking for.

    If the phone co will not help you, one of the credit counselling companies SHOULD be able to get them to reduce the bill.

    I was mistaken in my first post on this thread. I am sorry. I did not realize the full situation.

    I think it is an EXCELLENT sign that your daughter WANTS to pay this bill off. So many of our difficult children do NOT intend to pay off bills that they sign up for - and I am talking about people who are capable of understanding that they owe the $$, just decide not to pay it.

    It sounds like you are truly on the best path for your daughter and the situation. (NOT to mention name of the phone co, but my nephew manages several stores for one of the major cell phone providers. If you PM me the name of the company, AND it is the one he works for, I can ask him what the best route to take might be. I mean the best route to get the company to work with you.)

    Gentle hugs, I know this is stressful and worrisome to you.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My son works selling for two of the major carriers. There is no way they just pass out credit to just "any person with a pulse and a social security number." He has to call in to each carrier and get approval for that person based on their credit score and most times, unless you have pretty good credit, you will have some sort of deposit. Now it is possible that somehow difficult child's credit has been stolen in the past and it has come up good instead of bad.

    Now because he does work on commission...he would sell a phone to every homeless bum that could walk in off the street and pay the deposit. LOL.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I suppose difficult child could have a neutral credit score. Perhaps almost all young people have neutral credit.
    It's up in the air whether or not her credit score was checked.
    The manager told husband he would would give anyone with a ss credit number who could breathe "credit." husband pointed through the window to a homeless person in the street and asked if he would give him credit and the manager replied "yes." Obviously, a homeless person would have great difficulty paying back something purchased on credit. Sure, I suppose homeless people and difficult children shouldln't be buying cell phones. (And in our case, we are scrambling to teach difficult child a lesson, setting up to pay it back, and preparing for the possible consequences of it all). However, there is just something a little "off" about the attitude about this store manager. by the way, difficult child did not put down a deposit. She used her drivers license and bus pass as ID, filled out the application (which was a rotten/unfair one) in writing that looked like a third grader wrote it, and after they did a "credit check" with difficult child having no job and no savings and on disability, she was deemed to have "good credit" and given the phone. She was encouraged to apply for the credit and told she had "good credit." Say what? Especially after hearing what that manager said...it concerns me that this store and /or store manager are almost setting people up. Doesn't change alot...we hope to get the debt reduced and difficult child will work toward paying it back.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 8, 2009
  16. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I'm a bit confused. I thought in your first post you wrote that it was a "go phone" which is a pay-as-you-go as to avoid this very thing.

    Please take this in the gentle spirit in which it is intended, but I think the store simply can't be expected to not extend credit to people that they think are mentally ill or not capable of the responsibility. It has to be about credit reports and scores as to not be discriminatory.

    I do hope that you are able to negotiate the bill down to a more managable level for difficult child to repay.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm a little confused on the type of phone it is. I don't think it is go phone. I think she purchased a phone and brought it in to a service provider.

    Dazed and Confused...For the most part, I agree with you.
    It's only a small point I'm making that I do think that people can and do take advantage of those they see are less fortunate. It is the way of the world. It is what it is. And our difficult children are sitting ducks. It doesn't change much, if anything.

    difficult child should not have bought something when she doesn't have the ability to pay. That is the main thing...it is understood. We are talking with her about this and a plan has been put in place for her to work off debt.
    A letter has been written to have the debt reduced.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I bought a car with no job, no savings to speak of, and disability as my only income! Brand new car too. My credit is not too good either. And I bought it at a regular dealership, not a buy here, pay here place. So you can get credit if you dont have a job and you are on disability.
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    difficult child has told us that she sees where getting things on credit, especially when one is not gainfully employed and has no savings, is not a good idea. The contract they had her sign was awful. She knows she was in the wrong...there is no question about this. Sadly, there were built in penalties for everything and a freakishly high sign up charge and another high cancellation charge. She didn't owe them a phone...since she had purchased it from some other place (Best Buy???) Perhaps she had the sim (?) card changed. Some sort of convertion of sorts. She used the phone twice (locally) and the bill was very large. Hopefully, two lessons learned (for difficult child) 1) don't sign a contract with-o advice and 2) don't even consider credit with-o having a job.
    With her...it's hard to say if she will learn the lesson.

    Oh...and it doesn't matter much, if at all, that in the business world especially the less fortunate are preyed upon.
    It is concerning for me as a mother and as a citizen to see some of this going on. This lack of concern for others...the desire to take advtange of those less fortunate. However, we are each personally accountable...we each have choices to make. My choice is that I can see this unfortunate part of humanity, make a mental note of it...but I don't have to agree with it. I can also CHOOSE not to really let it bother me. It's just there. There are plenty of examples of peoples goodness anyway.

    Making matters more complicated...we are unsure of what goes on difficult children head. She knows now for sure. She should not be making this choice again. Believe me...I'll be thinking about this. We will be using this as an educational tool. She needs to listen.

    We are hoping the lesson is sinking in for difficult child. You create debt...you pay it back. You take out a loan...and don't pay it back...you might get nasty creditors calling. You impulsively sign a contract...it might be a real stuipid/rip you off one. These things...many people have difficulty with-...not just difficult children.

    Arrangements have been made for difficult child to work off the debt and we hope to hear back if the debt will be reduced. She has been remoreseful and respecful. husband and I certainly don't want to get stuck with any of this...and honestly, we don't intend to. Due to difficult children diagnosis's, including the brain aneurysm and some confusion about her abilities, we are willing to step in and help out as we are able...giving her more time to develop. However, she has to do everything in her power to help herself. If she is not doing everything in her power to help herself or if what we do is not good enough (any combination) it is likely to spell problems and I can't overly concern myself with this. Bottom line: she might end up with debt/back credit report if that debt is not reduced. Again, I'm not overly concerned.
    It starts with difficult child doing the best she can with what she's been handed.

    We have taken a different approach than some here for now. This might be because our situation is a little different than many here. No drugs, little disrespect, the added problem of the brain surgery/brain bleed/adoption emotional baggage. difficult child might need a little more developmental time. Doesn't give her a pass...but there are extentuating circumstances. She has to make good choices, and we push to teach her those lessons with-o being inappropriate due to her limitations. As she gets older...we push her more and more. And by the way, these "lessons" are actually good tools for her and also might influence whether or not husband and I help her in the future (knowing she's already been through the experience and fully understood it).

    NOt sure how it will work out in the end...just processing all that happened, trying to learn and moving forward.

    I don't plan on discussing it any further.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 9, 2009
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sadly, because phone contracts ARE sold on a commission basis, there ARE people like this "manager" who go around the rules so that they can get the $$$ for the sale. I know my nephew had an issue with a store employee who was doing this. They ended up with a substantial # of contracts that were un-enforceable because this person lied and skipped things that were required. Often a manager can override certain things.

    So I can totally believe that a manager would give a phone to almost anyone. I am sad that some people in business are unscrupulous, but it does happen.

    I was at a mall with Jessie and a guy in one of the kiosks selling phones tried to get my 13yo daughter to sign up for phone service of her own, telling her it was perfectly legal, she could sign and get a free blackberry. He KNEW she was 13yo because sh TOLD him. I was a little ways away looking at a nearby kiosk and they caught my attention. I overheard EVERYTHING, including him pretending to check her credit. When he brought out the paperwork I stepped in and stopped it. All along Jess was saying she didn't need or want a new phone, though it was a nice one. She said she had no job and no income because she was not old enough to get a job. The man told her it was no problem, she could just get her "Daddy" to pay for it.

    The salesman was VERY pushy. At NO time did Jess say she wanted a phone. She was approached by HIM as she stood about 3 feet away from me. She did say the phones were nice. She ALSO said NO every time he asked her a question.

    So I can believe that Nomad's difficult child was mislead or buffaloed into this contract. And I can see asking the company to void or reduce the contract.

    If the phone co won't adjust things, difficult child and Nomad should go to a credit counsellor and have THEM negotiate with the phone co. Often this can help.