Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ignoring A Problem...

...will not make it go away. Let me tell you what I did.

I had 2 credit cards that I just ignored. Completely ignored them. I did so because I forgot to pay them and was hit with late payment penalties. I called both of them and asked to have the charges removed since it was my first time and they both declined to do so. So I said "fuck it, i'm not paying them" Little did I think about the fact that they ALWAYS win. Over the course of the last 4 months, I was constantly called by the card companies and just didn't answer the calls. Even when the statements came, I just put them through the shredder. Why I did this, I do not know. I paid the other ones on time and was paying more than the minimum.

Well, as you can guess, they hit me with late and overlimit fees each month. In 4 months, my balances had double, but I still wasn't paying them. That was until I got 2 letters from collection agencies. You can best believe that my eyes popped wide open when I read both of those. I did like one of those white women reading a bad letter. I actually leaned against and slid down the wall until I was sitting on the floor. I hadn't thought about my credit report or credit score up until that point, but I did at that moment. I won't reveal my credit score, but I will tell you that it dropped from the high 600s to the very low 600s in those 4 months.

I immediately called the collection agency to set up payment plans over the next 6 months to get them paid off. I then called all of my other credit card companies and set up payment plans with them also to get them paid off over the next year.

It's going to be tough because I set all of them up to pay more than the minimum due, but it will be worth it to be out of credit card debt in a year. Luckily, I am moving into a 3 bedroom, 3 bath apartment with 2 of my friends. That will reduce my monthly housing expenses by $550. After my last roommate experience, you would think that I wouldn't ever want another one. But these 2 are people whom I have know for quite a while who have steady jobs and are doing quite well. So this time, things should be better.

In closing, a word of advice to all is to never ignore a bill no matter if you can pay it or not. Just call the company you owe and let them know your situation.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Bernie said...

That is SO TRUE!

In June 2006, I got laid off. It wasn't until August 2007 before I landed the job I have now. In the interim, I paid what bills I could but let a lot of those credit account payments fall by the wayside.

WELL...once I got employed they all came calling. Thankfully, the collection agencies are quite reasonable if you just explain your situation. We've worked out plans, I'm paying them off and the upside is, despite my current cash crunch, by the end of the year, I should be substantially debt free.

12:59 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger New2andCurious2 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:17 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Curious said...

And now the rest of the story...

So you've had room mate and apartment problems. You've had financial problems that didn't go away and your car broke down. No wonder the recent break down. You've had too much stress to handle.

I'm glad you're working on your problems though. It will clear away a lot of the stuff that have been weighing you down.

Now I have to work on following your lead for myself, LOL.

2:49 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger life said...

I don't ignore my bills, but I lose them sometime...lol. I end up getting the next month bill and realize I'm double billed. I never forget credit cards (wait, I forgot one b/c I went on vacation). I'm well aware of my credit score. Don't you hate it when simple problems multiply b/c of neglect.

5:44 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Cocoa Rican said...

Amen...amen

9:46 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger E said...

I'm the king of ignoring problems and hoping they'll go away. And you're right...they usually don't...*LOL*.

10:30 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger The Captain said...

I can't believe this! Are you seriously telling us that you just simply ignored the statements. You just completely forgot about them and didn't even look at them.

I fully understand your position, I been there before.

You were right in calling them to take the penalties away since it was your first time. However, I don't feel you negotiated this correctly. You have to leverage the request with something in return for them.

What I did long ago was asked them to reverse the fees in exchange in taking the past due balance (three months worth) and paying monthly through a bank draft set-up arrangement. They accepted my offer and removed the late fees and past due fees, which knocked some of that balance down.

So, this is a little tip everyone can use moving forward.

After all, this is NOT the economy to live on credit or making any purchases on extensive credit.

10:56 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in this exact situation right now. I had a bad living situation senior year of college that was, among other things, financially draining. I couldn't pay off my cards and had to concentrate on paying rent, car note, etc until I got a full time job.

Bad experiences with collectors. I explained my situation to one who transferred me to a supervisor that asked if I thought it was cool to not pay my bills. Now, with a full time job and mounting bills, I'm forced to get on debt collection programs blitzing my balances two at a time or face legal action.

Never thought it'd go this far, but we do what we can. So I'm with you, man.

11:46 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Mr. Jones said...

I was going to blast Randy, but then I continued reading and he's right.

As for TDRT's post, been there, done that, don't really want to do it again.

7:44 AM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger Darius T. Williams said...

Yea - Randy is right. He has great financial advice. Great revelation too Norris - you can't just sit on these types of things.

8:17 AM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger j_shanlin said...

Damn, I'm sooo convicted by your sermon! I think I owe Captial One like 4hundred and something dollars : (. Im going to call them.

10:31 AM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger Sean Stone said...

The story of everyone's life, I see. Does anyone know the accrual rate regarding credit scores? Does it consist of random increments or is a formula applied?

Never mind, I found it at:
http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/WhatsInYourScore.aspx

2:12 PM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger Chet said...

There was little or no excuse for you to ignore your billing statements from the creditors, it is so important to maintain good credit or at least a fair and decent credit rating, but ignoring bills will tear your credit score and credit rating to shreds!

Never ignore the bill just put something in the mail towards the bill if no more than the minimum payment, if you can't pay just contact the credit card company/bank most times they allow you the opportunity to make payment arrangements and will often waive the late fee or over the limit fee.

Trust and believe most of us have been there before, in fact I recently experienced that with one of the many cards I carry balances on, yes I tend to use the damn credit cards like cash sometimes and I have a host of relatives that often borrow my cards for whatever reason. I went over the limit on one of the MasterCards and the SOB charged me an over the limit fee and the sad part about it is I only went over a few dollars. I tend to pay well over the minimum due and have sent the entire balance in a couple of times, but this bank still charged a brotha an over the limit fee.

Can't imagine you having roommate problems before, but it appears you have found suitable living arrangements and you are on the road to reinstating your good credit rating and a comfortable lifestyle.

4:05 PM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger Kensilo said...

I agree my man those damn credit card companies. As the economy get worse everyone wants their money like there is no tomorrow.

8:30 PM, March 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, I am a big fan of yours and will not pass judgement on you here. 1st, the story was so funny (white woman reaction/wall/slide). 2nd, I'm sure you will never let this happen again. your credit score WILL heal. it just takes a little time. good luck!

8:31 PM, March 28, 2008  
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1:50 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger BuddahDesmond said...

I know exactly what you mean. Ignoring bills definitely is not the answer. I'm in the process of paying of my debts from school. By this time next year, I should hopefully be debt free (or something close to debt free). It seems many of us, especially with today's economy, are on the road to credit repair and financial freedom.

10:27 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger fuzzy said...

Chile, when I get outta college and land one of those bangin jobs, I will focus on my 2 credit cards i put off for 2 years... Until then, I will continue to throw every letter in the garbage!

8:44 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger yet another black guy said...

way to keep it real. when i started looking at mortgage loans years ago, i realized how important it is to keep your credit up to par.

now if i could just pay these cards off and cut them up...

12:46 AM, April 03, 2008  

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