The Blog Of TL Wall Accounting

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Archive for February, 2014

Why You Need To Always Make Collection Agencies Prove Your Debt

Last year we wrote a post titled 5 Rights You Have With Collection Agencies. The beginning of our second right was this sentence: “You have the right to ask them to prove you owe what they say you owe”. Turns out this is important advice and we’re going to tell you why.

Over the last year there have been some collection agencies that were fined for trying to collect on debts that didn’t exist. One of those companies, Expert Global Solutions, was hit with a $3.2 million fine for that and other illegal practices. In September, National Attorney Collection Services Inc was fined $1 million for the same, as well as representing themselves as a law firm and violating the confidentiality of those it was trying to get money from.

There’s two things most people don’t know about credit.

First, since most large companies get their money from insurance claims if they’re not paid, they’re getting paid a second time when they give these accounts to collection agencies, and they’ll do almost anything, including lie and harassment, when they’re able to earn anywhere from 80-92% or sometimes even more of their initial investment.

Second, it’s true that if you have something hit your credit report that if you don’t pay it in 7 years it falls off your credit report (well, not medical bills or anything owed to the government, but everything else). However, if a collection agency gets its hands on this stuff they can legally keep chasing you for the money.

One other thing collection agencies are counting on is your not having any record of an outstanding claim, thus feeling pressured and anxious when you get that sudden phone call. These days they’ll even call you on your cellphone, although if you tell them they’re violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and that you’re going to report them to the federal government they’ll probably hang up and leave you alone for a while because the fine they’ll get is sometimes higher than any money they get from you.

In any case, what happens sometimes is they’ve laid their hands on some paperwork and falsified a number, but you’ll never be able to investigate it for yourself if you don’t request anything from them. And sometimes when you request information, they’ll never call you again because they don’t really have anything to send you, since they have to send you not only proof of the outstanding debt but proof that the original company billed you for it.

It’s always wise to ask for proof whenever someone wants your money, but when it comes to collection agencies, who can hurt your credit, it’s critical to do.
 

4 Things You Need To Save Money On

One of the problems we all face is that we never know when an emergency will pop up that needs extra dollars to throw at it. A stove, a dryer, maybe your furnace… almost anything can happen, and these days nothing is cheap, especially if you have to have someone install whatever you need.

With this type of thing in mind, it never hurts to have a few dollars tucked away in case of an emergency. Most people say that every one of the dollars they earn goes towards paying bills but we all know that’s not true. We all need food and we crave entertainment, clothing, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when we look at things like this, we can recognize that there are ways to save money on them.

Here are 4 things to think about and how to do it.

1. Food. Nothing says you have to start eating lots of foods you don’t like to start saving money. There are smart ways of saving money here and there. Become a coupon shopper; people like Lauren Greutman of I Am That Lady can teach you how you can feed a family of 6 very well for as little as $100 a week; if you have a smaller family or are an individual think of how far your food dollars can go.

2. Clothes. I understand the craving for buying name brand products, but most of the time you can get something that looks really good and is pretty good for hundreds of dollars less. There are many stores that sell items that look expensive but aren’t, and some carry products with the names of models and famous designers that no one will know you paid less money for.

3. Entertainment. If you’re urge is to see a first run movie during the first two weeks it’s out there’s no way to save on it, but if you’re willing to wait a few weeks you’ll start seeing those movies at matinees or smaller movie houses that aren’t affiliated with large movie chains at rates sometimes half of what the original price was. Sporting events are the same, but often there are deals that can be made for certain games and for certain seats. If that’s still too much you can sign up for something like Netflix or Hulu Plus and enjoy many movies for a very small monthly price.

4. Technology. Who says you need the latest iWhatever the day it comes out? What you’ll find these days is that the previous model is very good and that often you can get some kind of deal if you can stand to wait. In 2013 many carriers offered the previous model of top models for as low as $1 if you signed up for a new plan; that’s much better than spending $299 for a new phone and a new expensive plan any day. The same goes for video games, music, and other technologies. Shop online first to find out who’s selling what you want for less, and then go shopping.

By the way, take some of the money you’ll save and put it away for a rainy day. There are always rainy days, even if you live in southern California. 🙂