Final day for your credit and debt questions

January is generally not a kind month for consumers who may have spent too much during the holidays.

If you have a credit card or debt issue, please post your question below, as others have during the past few days.

Starting Thursday, experts from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta will answer some of them. Each day for about a week, answers to three or four questions will be posted on this blog.

26 comments Add your comment

sandra

January 13th, 2010
8:37 am

I have A1 credit, however I also have about $30 thousand dollars in debt, my office hours have been 35 hours a week, I also have a house payment, what should I do?

Tired of the status quo

January 13th, 2010
8:43 am

I have a good deal of credit card debt. I have always paid on time but now my credit card companies have jacked my rates up to obscene levels. I know this is partly to do with the new laws going into effect this year but how can I get them to reduce the interest rates? I’ve called and called and they refuse to do anything about it saying that they have putt freezes on all the rates and that nobody’s rates are being lowered at this time. This seems like very crooked business practices. How is the average working stiff here in the US ever going to get out of this debt if the bankers keep raising rates even to the customers who pay on time every month. Does the government plan to step in? We cant spend money in the stores if our monthly interest payments have doubled.

Elliot Garcia

January 13th, 2010
8:58 am

Tired, there are still plenty of good interest rate credit cards out there….I would suggest moving them to a different company

sandra

January 13th, 2010
9:17 am

I also just started an escort website to help advertise my “services”. It is getting tough out there.

TTPB

January 13th, 2010
9:19 am

TIRED has a very valid point; I am in a very similar situation and do not understand how this can happen, especially in this economy. I do, however, think credit card companies are shooting themselves in the foot; if I ever get out of credit card debt, I will NEVER use credit cards from the companies who have raised my interest rates, AND/OR terminated my card.
MY QUESTION: What refinancing options are available to those folks who have been negatively affected by the downturn in property values and they have NO, or NEGATIVE, equity?

Name (required)

January 13th, 2010
9:24 am

I ran up a couple credit cards due to an emergency surgery I needed last year (self-employed, insurance wouldn’t cover it). I am not in danger of defaulting and I pay more than the minimum, but not as quickly as I’d like. The two main opinions I get are 1) pay the minimum on the lower interest rate and pay off the higher interest rate first and 2) pay off the lower balance first and then chip away at the higher balance. My higher balance card has the lowest rate (11.99%) and the lower balance is only slightly higher (12.99%). What is my best course of action. Oh, and I refuse to use a “credit counseling” service because I don’t need to get ripped off or have my credit screwed up for years.

Name (required)

January 13th, 2010
9:46 am

Oh, and to clarify, my wife and I both drive paid-off cars (though they could be a little more reliable haha) and put away 15% to 401k and savings. Very reasonable rent too. We are nowhere near living above our means.

Me

January 13th, 2010
9:50 am

To “Name (required)”, I don’t know if you’re a fan of Dave Ramsey or not; however, I believe that he would say to pay of the smallest dollar debt amount first and then attack the next higher one with a vengeance. He would not factor the interest rate into determining which should be paid off first; only the debt dollar amount. I may be wrong, about this, so check out his website.

Kat

January 13th, 2010
10:06 am

Me: You are right. He encourages you to list out your debts of that nature, smallest to largest. You pay as much as you can on the smallest and the minimums on all the others. Once the first one is paid off, you go to the next one and put all that you were putting on the original first one on to that “new” first one. And so on.

Kat

January 13th, 2010
10:07 am

Me: Also go to his website – daveramsey.com because you can get a lot of good information (including the debt snowball plan for free. His books are full of great information, so I recommend them. But, you can get what you seem to need from the website.

Kinky

January 13th, 2010
10:27 am

About two years ago I consulted a doctor, not my usual primary doc, about feelings of sluggishness, etc. I was worried and wanted to find out what was going on. He agreed to see me and mentioned a lab vendor (he also claimed that there would be no charge for using it) that he was going to use. At the time, I had never heard of that vendor and could never get any reports from the doctor what the lab tests meant. I did receive a notice from BC/BS that they did not honor payment from them and notified the doctor’s office and requested that no more work be done with any medical vendor from which a pre approval was not received. Last year, I received a bill from the med. vendor that performed the lab tests that I owed them $1500. I wrote the doctor and sent the vendor a stern letter. A few months later, they sent a reduced bill of $800.00. What should I do? How can I resolve the without paying the $800.00.?
Thanks

John

January 13th, 2010
10:35 am

I had surgery and was hospitalized in 1997 in Georgia. Because of problems in my business, I did not have health insurance. I paid every bill in full except the $53,000 hospital bill. The hospital only required me to pay $100 per month. Over time, that was increased. I have reduced the debt to a little over $30,000. A debt collector wants me to increase paymenta again to a monthly amount that I don’t believe I can pay. What are my obligations with respect to that debt given that it is more than 12 years old? There has never been any kind of lawsuit filed.

Linda

January 13th, 2010
11:18 am

I have very good credit, but found an old medical bill written off in 2008 on my credit reports -otherwise NO derogatives or lates EVER on my reports. This one must have fallen through the cracks as it’s only for $52 and I have always had insurance. Honestly don’t know how it wasn’t paid either by ins. or me, but it wasn’t. How long does this have to remain on my report. I can pay it but they still will not remove it, so they told me. Gee, that’s fair! How to handle this, please? Thank you.

Linda

January 13th, 2010
11:21 am

Oops – Sorry – it was written off in 2006, not 2008 as stated above.

PW

January 13th, 2010
11:56 am

I am 50 years old and want to purchase my first house. I don’t have much money and my credit is ok. Should I go to one of these first time home buyer programs. How do I know which ones are legit?

Ann

January 13th, 2010
1:03 pm

is there a difference in credit counseling services? what about CCS – with my work hours dwindling and my cc debt high – but not in default – I’m thinking it is a good time to get some advice…..

Jon

January 13th, 2010
1:07 pm

I pulled my annual credit reports using http://www.annualcreditreport.com. I just paid off all outstanding balances and contacted all collection agencies to clear up my reports.

I have a mortgage and thats it. My debt ratio is a mere 14% of income.

How long do I have to wait until I am eligible for good credit offers? I was employed for 8 years and then laid off in 3/2009. I got a new temp – but high paying job ($2600/week) that started at the end of Sept and will continue at least through the end of 2010.

Thanks,
Jonathan

Winkasdad29

January 13th, 2010
2:18 pm

Yesterday, a blogger named Tammy asked this question:

Can a credit card company or collection agency garnish your wages for a credit card balance amount that is over 7 years old?

Tammy:
The statute of limitations has run out on that debt the collection agency is trying to collect. In Georgia, a debtor generally has 4 years to collect a debt. If the debtor is unable to collect the debt, then your obligation to pay has expired. If a collection agency calls you about the debt, do not admit you owe the debt. Say “The Statute of Limitations has expired for that alleged debt”. Then hang up the phone.
Do not admit you ever owed the money because if you do, the clock begins again and you will be fair game to pay the debt.

Here is the Statute of Limitations regarding debt in Georgia:
Georgia Statutes of Limitation
Breach of any contract for sale: 4 years, (OCGA 11-2- 725) NOTE: Parties may reduce limitation to not less than one year, but not extend it. A cause of action accrues when the breach occurs, regardless of the aggrieved party’s lack of knowledge of the breach.
Contract, including breach of warranty or indemnity: 4 years, (OCGA 11- 22A-506) NOTE: The parties may reduce the period to one year.
Written contract: 6 years from when it becomes due and payable and the six (6) year period runs from the date of last payment. (OCGA 9-3-24)
Open account; implied promise or undertaking: 4 years, (OCGA 9-3-25). NOTE: Payment, unaccompanied by a writing acknowledging the debt, does not stopped the statute. Therefore, the statutory period runs from the date of default, not the date of last payment.
Bonds or other instruments under seal, 20 years, (OCGA 9-3-23) NOTE: No instrument is considered under seal unless it’s stated in the body of the instrument.

If the collection agency persists, then request they mail you the info regarding the alleged debt (always when you talk to them, say the debt is “alleged”). Once you receive the info, check to see if the account numbers match your records. If they do not, you have another out.
Write a letter stating the statute of limitations has run out on this alleged debt. Tell the collection agency or debtor not to contact you again regarding this matter. Threaten to contact the state Attorney General if they contact you again.

REAL INFORMATION

January 13th, 2010
7:48 pm

sandra- good luck with your new JOB.

ANN

January 14th, 2010
10:58 am

MY SPOUSE AND I BOTH HAVE POOR CREDIT BUT WANT TO GET IT RIGHT BUT DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY AND TRYED TALKING TO PEOPLE THAT SAID THEY CAN HELP BUT END TALKING OUR MONEY AND NO HELP WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU TRY EVERY THING TO MAKE IT RIGHT

What Now?

January 14th, 2010
1:54 pm

I just completed my five year plan of Chapter 13. For those five years I was not able to contribute to my 401K or general savings. So, my question is What Now? I’m 55 years old and I need a plan so I don’t end up where I was 5 years ago. I have no credit cards {would like one for emergences only} car is paid for. I need a plan.

ADC

January 14th, 2010
4:59 pm

I am a recent college graduate with a variety of debt (student loans, Credit cards, medical Bills etc), which has all been closed and processed with collection agencies. I am currently only working part time and cant make the min. payments. I don’t know how to get out of debt or even where to start! Please help, any advice will be greatly appreciated.

FMD Consumer

January 14th, 2010
5:41 pm

If you want to beat the debt collectors at their own game, check out the book “Stick It To Sue Happy Debt Collectors”, it was written by a consumer that learned the hard way how to fight debt collectors and win 100% of the time, the books official website is: http://www.beatdebtcollectors.com , definitely worth a read.

what up

January 15th, 2010
6:41 pm

I have a friend in north carolina that wants to know if you don’t pay your credit card bill, will you go to jail or what will happen?

David

January 17th, 2010
7:59 pm

I have bad debt that has been on my credit report for 7 years most of which was charged off.Im considering filing Bankruptcy but before i do how long does this debt which is mostly unsecured credit card debt remain on my credit report and how do i get the credit treporting agencies to begin removing it.

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