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Don't Allow Collectors Access to Your Money
Townhall.com ^ | December 26, 2012 | Dave Ramsey

Posted on 12/26/2012 7:57:58 AM PST by Kaslin

Dear Dave,

I’m trying to help my son and daughter-in-law by encouraging them to get out of debt and live on a budget. It hasn’t been a problem to give them money when they’ve asked in the past, but I’m afraid they’re still in a mess. How can I make sure I’m doing the right thing?

Margaret

Dear Margaret,

The first thing you need to do is sit down and have a serious, loving talk with them. If they’ve asked for money before, and it has become something of a trend, you have a right to know more about their circumstances. In addition, they need to understand that opening up and being honest about their situation and behavior is a requirement for them to receive more of your help.

I know you guys love each other, but be prepared for them to get defensive. Lots of times people are embarrassed to talk about their mistakes, no matter how nicely you approach things. They may decide not to answer any questions and that it’s none of your business. That’s fine, too. Just make sure they understand Mom won’t open her checkbook unless they open up about their finances.

This isn’t about you being nosy or controlling. It’s about making sure you’re not giving a drunk a drink and further enabling any misbehavior. Then, if they’re willing to talk, and as a result, you feel they truly need help, make sure any money you give them is a gift, not a loan.

I know it hurts to see them go through rough times, Margaret. But if they’re acting irresponsibly with money, they need to suffer the consequences of their actions. That, along with your love and advice, can help them turn the corner and win with money!

—Dave 

Dear Dave,

I have one bill left from an emergency room visit earlier this year, and I’m trying to settle with a collections agency. They’re willing to accept half of the $930 owed, but they want me to pay online or by phone, and I don’t feel safe doing that. What should I do?

Allison

Dear Allison,

If they’re willing to lower the bill by half, then you need to get that in writing. If you don’t have it in writing, you don’t have a deal. And whatever you do, don’t give them any form of electronic access to your money. I’ve seen too many collectors lie to people about “agreements,” then go in and raid their accounts.

Just tell them to send you, by email or regular letter, a statement saying that $465 will be accepted as payment in full for the debt. Also, tell them you’ll turn around the day you receive this letter and send them a cashier’s check for that amount. Until then, they can go jump in the lake!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: daveramsey; debtcollectors; personaldebts; ramsey

1 posted on 12/26/2012 7:58:01 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I got a call from a collector one evening asking if I was ‘so and so’. I said what’s this about? He said it was about an unpaid AT&T bill...

I frigging blew up! I yelled “Nuh uh! I don’t owe AT&T squat!”

[There are three people with my name in Atlanta area: they are a couple of losers, apparently] He asked me for my SS number because he might have the wrong person. I frigging blew up again” “You mean you called to hassle someone and you’re not sure if you got the right person?” “And you want my SS number? Well F@ck You!”

“Well, gimme the last four” “Do you think I’m stupid? Don’t call me again! Or I’ll report you under the FCRA.

He finally asked me if I was born in 197X....I said no. He said I have the wrong person....Sorry..... “I said, you’d better be.”


2 posted on 12/26/2012 9:04:53 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin

My father died this past August after a long battle with diabetes, emphyzema, and Alzheimers. I thought he had enough life insurance to cover end of life contingencies, as he had specific insurance for his credit card and a plan from his employer.

Turns out the credit card was sold THREE times and BofA cannot find any record of the insurance, and the employer’s life insurance was for $9,000 and not for $45,000, as was thought.

So, Dad owed $17,000 on a VISA card. I went to BofA with his death certificate and told them I had Power of Attorney and would be handling closure of his estate.

Bank of America changed the name on the credit account to my name and I’ve been hounded by collectors since October. The lawyer handling the estate has not returned my phone calls, and I suspect that what BofA did was illegal.

I’m running out of money and have been trying, unsuccessfully for two years, to get a job.

Anybody have any suggestions?


3 posted on 12/26/2012 10:04:23 AM PST by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITZEN: BORN IN THE USA OF CITIZEN PARENTS.)
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To: Gaffer

Sounds like a scammer.


4 posted on 12/26/2012 10:05:22 AM PST by bgill (We've passed the point of no return. Welcome to Al Amerika.)
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To: SatinDoll

I do not want to sound uncaring, but for the life of me, I do not understand why anyone does business with BofA


5 posted on 12/26/2012 10:09:42 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: bgill

Never, ever tell anyone over the phone “you have the right person”....never, ever tell anyone your date of birth or social security number. Never, ever admit to anything over the phone. Attack! Be beligerant if you have to. Nasty if you want to.


6 posted on 12/26/2012 10:11:08 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Gaffer

Good on you. It also helps not to answer calls from numbers that you don’t recognize


7 posted on 12/26/2012 10:13:09 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them.)
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To: SatinDoll
If you did not sign on as a responsible entity at the creation of the debt then they can't legally touch you or add anything to your credit report.

If there is a probate judge involved in the disperal of the assets then the creditor can petition the court for payment as an unsecured debt.

Secured debt, such as a car loan or mortgage is a bit different. If you inherited an asset that was used as security for a loan (car, house, boat) then you must continue to pay it off or risk re-possession.

8 posted on 12/26/2012 10:16:36 AM PST by wtc911 (Amigo - you've been had.)
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To: Kaslin

Thanks, I’m just a too-cheap of an ole bastardo to pay for the caller ID thingy, though....


9 posted on 12/26/2012 10:17:56 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin

I recently did some work for BofA in Charlotte right at headquarters where the boss walked past every day

I would not give BofA a cent of my money


10 posted on 12/26/2012 10:25:15 AM PST by Mr. K (There are lies, dammed lies, statistics, and democrap talking points.)
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To: Kaslin

The original VISA credit card was with a credit union, then they changed their name and sold the account to FIA, then FIA was bought by Bank of America.

BofA claims they have found no record for the insurance Dad purchased to cover the account’s balance in the event of his death.

In truth, I was appalled when informed BofA now had the account. They gave unsecured mortgages to illegal aliens in California — how stupid of a bank!


11 posted on 12/26/2012 10:35:36 AM PST by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITZEN: BORN IN THE USA OF CITIZEN PARENTS.)
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To: wtc911

Thank you for the information.


12 posted on 12/26/2012 10:41:34 AM PST by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITZEN: BORN IN THE USA OF CITIZEN PARENTS.)
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To: SatinDoll
Read through this...

http://suite101.com/article/family-member-responsibility-for-credit-card-debt-after-death-a319041

Good luck with everything.

13 posted on 12/26/2012 10:52:47 AM PST by wtc911 (Amigo - you've been had.)
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To: SatinDoll
My father died this past August after a long battle with diabetes, emphyzema, and Alzheimers. I thought he had enough life insurance to cover end of life contingencies, as he had specific insurance for his credit card and a plan from his employer.

Turns out the credit card was sold THREE times and BofA cannot find any record of the insurance, and the employer’s life insurance was for $9,000 and not for $45,000, as was thought.

So, Dad owed $17,000 on a VISA card. I went to BofA with his death certificate and told them I had Power of Attorney and would be handling closure of his estate.

Power of Attorney allows you to do what your father can do. Since the dead do not transact business, your power as his attorney-in-fact died with him. I am not a lawyer, but that’s what a lawyer told me (in Pennsylvania). I had reason to ask, since I also have a power of attorney and am named as executor in a will (and, thank God, the former rather than the latter is in force).

14 posted on 12/26/2012 4:24:45 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: bgill; Gaffer
Sounds like a scammer.

I agree. There's a Ukrainian cyber-supercriminal named Leo Kuvayev (wanted in Massachusetts for at least the last 15 years for spamming) who likes to do crap like this. Term of art is "fishing". Give him the last four digits of your Social and he'll zero you in and cut himself a nice, new, American Express Gold Card in your name. Enough personal info, and he can cut a new debit card on your Chase Bank account. With those two items, he'll be backing a new Bentley R off the showroom floor down in Boca Raton and have it on an air freighter to Europe by midnight.

15 posted on 12/26/2012 4:57:59 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: SatinDoll
So, Dad owed $17,000 on a VISA card. I went to BofA with his death certificate and told them I had Power of Attorney and would be handling closure of his estate.

Bank of America changed the name on the credit account to my name and I’ve been hounded by collectors since October. The lawyer handling the estate has not returned my phone calls, and I suspect that what BofA did was illegal.

I'm not a lawyer but I've been in a similar situation. Here's what the facts are:

1. You're not "responsible" for your fathers bills unless you were a co-signer on the credit account or assumed responsibility for the bill.

2. BofA may not have done anything "illegal" but what they did was damn' sure unethical.

When you went to the bank and told them you had power of attorney and that you'd be handling the closure of your father's estate, they heard you say you were taking responsibility for his outstanding balances.

Whether or not they actually changed the name on the credit account from your father's to yours is something you'll need a lawyer to help you figure out by running a credit report on yourself and your deceased father.

If a credit report on you shows that BofA did in fact "transfer" the debt from your father to you, and you've not signed anything to take accountability for his debt (surely you didn't?) then BofA's in for some trouble and you'll need a lawyer to help you straighten the mess out.

If a credit report on you shows that BofA did NOT "transfer" the debt (meaning it doesn't show up on YOUR credit report but does on your fathers) then you can and SHOULD tell BofA to go pound sand and that you'll not pay them one red cent because you are NOT obligated to do so.

Now what the bill collectors are trying to do to you is GUILT you into paying your father's bills. Again, unless you physically signed a piece of paper taking responsibility for his bills (meaning YOU are agreeing to pay them) you are under NO OBLIGATION to pay any bill collector a cent for your father's debt.

It is an unfortunate reality of the economy we live in that bill collectors are being hired to hound the families of the deceased to attempt to "guilt" or "bully" them into paying their loved one's bills in order to make the bill collectors go away. Your best bet here to make them stop would be to get names and addresses of the collection agencies, names (first and last if possible) of those calling you and then contact your local District Attorney or States Attorney General and pursue charges against them for harassment. Of course the obligatory complaint to the BBB is also in order.

Best of luck to you.

16 posted on 12/26/2012 5:30:06 PM PST by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: Kaslin

Indeed. The less often you respond to numbers you don’t know, the less often the telemarketers, salesmen, and scammers bother you.

Don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number is sage advice.


17 posted on 01/01/2013 8:54:36 PM PST by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Kaslin; CSM

Happy New Year!

Dave Ramsey Ping


18 posted on 01/01/2013 9:06:18 PM PST by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Altariel

Happy New Year to you also


19 posted on 01/02/2013 3:35:07 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Hoosier Catholic Momma; CottonBall; TenthAmendmentChampion; Chickensoup; JDoutrider; ...

Dave Ramsey Ping. (Keeping my fingers crossed that it will not be a double ping.)


20 posted on 01/02/2013 9:23:07 AM PST by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: SatinDoll

Yes, go to www.daveramsey.com and on the right hand side of his web page you will see a section called ELP’s, it stands for Endorced Local Providers. It is a screened database of different financial service providers that are in your specific area. I can tell you that Dave and his team are VERY stringent on those service providers.

OK, just under that section you will see a link to find a “financial counselor” that is actually trained by Dave’s team to help folks with debt and debt collectors. Contact the one that pops up closest to you....

I agree with you, I think that what BofA did is illegal as well. It could very well get the entire debt cancelled or forgiven...


21 posted on 01/02/2013 9:29:22 AM PST by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: SatinDoll

If you do pay off the card make sure you do it out of his account or an estate account NEVER yours. If you do it out of yours all of his creditors can claim you’ve taken responsibility for his bills.

On the other hand unless he actually said in his will to pay off his debts ignore them.


22 posted on 01/02/2013 9:38:48 AM PST by discostu (I recommend a fifth of Jack and a bottle of Prozac)
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To: SatinDoll
Under the law, Power of Attorney ends when a person dies. Your POA terminated when your dad passed. Nobody should have accepted that as legal reason to do business with you on your dad's behalf. You would need something that gives you postmortem status. Unless you're the executor of the estate, BofA can't hold you legally responsible for your dad's bills. Even then, they can only hold the assets of the estate against any outstanding debts the estate has, not you personally. They can't just attach your name to your dad's CC. That's not legal.
23 posted on 01/02/2013 10:15:24 AM PST by Hoffer Rand (There ARE two Americas: "God's children" and the tax payers)
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To: usconservative; SatinDoll

To add to what usconserative said, don’t ever pay a single cent on your dad’s Visa. If you do, they can make a legal case that by doing it you assumed responsibility for the whole debt. Then you really are screwed.


24 posted on 01/02/2013 11:51:01 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: discostu
On the other hand unless he actually said in his will to pay off his debts ignore them.

I thought that creditors by law got first crack at the estate before heirs did. Is that not the case?

25 posted on 01/02/2013 3:01:13 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Still Thinking

Depends on the laws of your state. Also depends on the size of everything. All the estates I’ve helped cleanup were small enough to get parted out before the creditors even got to find out. With everything closed they got death certificates and no cash. Of course nobody was owed more than a couple grand so they just wrote it off. Qwest was the worst, they just could not wrap their heads around “she’s dead turn the phone off” then they spent years hassling me for the money for the months they wouldn’t turn it off. Kept telling them if they’d turned the phone off the first time I told them to and sent a certificate nobody would owe them anything.


26 posted on 01/02/2013 3:09:41 PM PST by discostu (I recommend a fifth of Jack and a bottle of Prozac)
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To: SatinDoll

It was not B of A that gave unsecured mortgages to illegal aliens. It was Countrywide, run by Angelo Mozilo. B of A bought Countrywide and with it, all the problems from the fraud and abuses that Mozilo did while raking off a billion dollars into his own accounts and leaving the company in dire straits.

B of A was one of the few large banks that did NOT do subprime lending. They got out the business ahead of the housing bubble. They goofed, however, in buying Countrywide. They are still paying for that mistake.


27 posted on 01/02/2013 3:10:02 PM PST by WashingtonSource
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