Of course, you can go pro se

Of course, you can go pro se. You want peace of mind.

Try legal clinics at local law schools. You deal with law students but they are supervised by very competent seasoned practitioners. I have the same problem and I get special courtesy treatment. People need legal services.

I worked for a large Wall St. law firm. The clients think nothing of retaining a lawyer at the drop of a hat. I understand what the lawyers are saying. This is the chief problem with the legal system. It should not be available only to the wealthy. I could not afford myself! It is a long shot but try legal services for the poor.

Also, try FindLaw and do it yourself. I would be wary of anyone with a stake in the outcome.

I really feel for you. Afterthought–try a lawyer who has just graduated from a mediocre law school. They are still bright. They may actually have more expertise than someone from a national law school. I will ponder your problem. Let me know what happens.

Not to get off the subject, but I suggest finding someone who “passed the bar.” Law school education from any accredited school has a core of information that is the same nationwide and distinguished mostly by the state in which the school is located. Thus, the “mediocre” v “national” comment isn’t, in my opinion, the best distinguishing characteristic (if valid at all). I say this only to keep you from wasting time trying to distinguish what makes a “national” law school.

I agree, legal clinics are a possible option, but legal clinics vary and specialize in only certain types of claims. Don’t expect that any one school’s clinic with take your claim.

Let me also suggest that you consider contacting your state Attorney General’s Office. Knowing who you can validly sue or defend yourself from is half the battle. You never know; you may not be the only one experiencing this from this company.

You may also try a mid-size personal injury firm. Often, you can get a free consultation and pay a percentage of your recovery (a contingency fee) after the case is settled. Very rarely do these or most cases ever make it to trial.

My heart goes out to you. Just don’t take it laying down. Be willing to let them know you’ll fight the battle to the end. Remember, the resources they would spend trying to fight you (one person) may not be worth their time or money in the end. Again, only 3% of all cases make it to trial, so settlement is a good expectation to have.

You definitely need a lawyer!

Your local bar association can refer you to one. I practice law. I don’t know the level of expertise you need. A general lawyer who will be less expensive can probably handle it. If it is more complex, however, you would probably do better seeing someone with expertise in this particular field. Discuss it with your local bar association. Be prepared when you see the lawyer. Write down the salient points. While some lawyers provide free or low-cost consultations, you are on the meter after that. Don’t have long personal conversations about the weather–you are paying for the time. It is very important to control costs. Ask for an estimate for the entire job. Keep track of the hours you spend with your lawyer. Ask friends in the area how much they paid for similar legal services.

Also, pay attention to the retainer agreement. I had problems with a lawyer billing me. The charges were outrageous. I wrote a detailed letter stating my objections and proof that I was being billed for things that were not in the retainer agreement. He was furious but cancelled the bill. You do need a lawyer. It does not sound complex but there may be issues in your case that you are not aware of yet. I find that a client says something crucial as a side thought and the omission is crucial.

Yet finding a good lawyer one can afford is almost impossible in these parts. I had two free consultations, and in both cases after it was determined that I wasn’t worth millions, they both told me that it wasn’t worth their time open a file on me and my best bet was to negotiate on my own. This is because due to the real estate bubble, the current equity in my home is enough to pay off my debt. Unfortunately, this leaves me at age 59 with no place to live, a daughter in college and with no job since it’s my business that is going under.

Surely there must be some better advice out there. O. J. gets to play golf with millionaires in Florida while being bankrupt in California and I’m going to become a street musician in the New York subways if I’m lucky. After finding no decent legal advice, I think getting illegal advice is the next logical step. Where can I find some of that?

Need advice… quick!

I wrote a month or so ago about a company that was harassing me about a debt I had with Chase. My balance was approx. 9,000. I tried to set up a monthly pay plan and they would have none of that. So,a few weeks ago,I was out of state and one of the collectors called me to say he had a settlement agreement for me and faxed it to me that day.

When i received it, it said “0 balance. This letter serves as receipt for the matter noted above as agreed andis evidence of payment in full for above account”. That was that. Now, they are calling to say that the letter was an error and that because the amount “stated above” in the letter was not an agreed upon amount if it goes to court i would not have a leg to stand on.

I know this may not make sense as i am writing this but since i am in a state i am not familiar with any attorneys, can anyone tell me what i should do? I feel i need someone to look over the letter. However, they are saying they will start judgment proceedings 10/21/16 and of course they have scared me to death once again. I just dont understand..it clearly states “paid in full”.

Caroline that sounds pretty fishy. I don’t know if there are high pressure collection agencies in the US but actually that sounds just like how the loan sharks and scammers collect money in Japan. Check up on that company before any payment. Check with Chase and make sure that they’re farming out their collection work.

I think this goes for anyone out there. I know it’s standard procedure for a bank or corporation to farm out their debt collections to other companies but at the same time make sure they’re legitimate. It’s not that hard for someone to get data that you owe some company money. With that information anybody can come up with a bill and try to charge you for it.

Collection agencies are trained to be bullies. They believe they can scare people into paying their debt instead of trying to work with people.

My story to date. Two years ago I received a letter in the mail from a collection agency that a judgment was being filed on my house. Since I had other credit card debts I filed a chapter 13. This year my house was going to be foreclosed. So I put my house on the market to sell it before it gets foreclosed. Three weeks before the foreclosure date I got an offer on the house that the mortgage company would accept. But there was a problem. There was a judgment on my house which I had no knowledge of since I had filed bankruptcy 2 years ago. Sherman Acquisitions had the judgment on my house which shouldn’t have happened.

They are in my chapter 13 plan. I searched everywhere to find their phone number but couldn’t. So I contacted Sears credit center to get the phone number for Sherman Acquisitions. When I contacted Sherman Acquisitions they gave me their attorney’s phone number. I ended up having my attorney contact Sherman Acquisitions attorney to get the judgment lifted. Sherman Acquisitions attorney then filed the wrong paperwork. My attorney had to refile for the judgment to be lifted. The judgment was lifted just 2 days before my house went to auction. I got an extension on the foreclosure just minutes before the auction.

As you can see collection agencies are not just bullies but they are stupid. Being so focused on getting the money they don’t see anything else that happens.

Now about your story. I looked up online. The BBB has no complaints on the company you are dealing with. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to make a complaint to the BBB about them.

Thanks for advice about making attempts to start to get out of debt!

Hello!

Thanks for advice about steps to take to get out of debt.

I’ll try but I feel like into this debt thing like a drug addict is into drugs! And I do not do drugs or have a drinking problem. That is the thing about I am a responsible adult but got into this mess. Like you said try to come up with a plan to get out of debt!

At least some good news today found out I don’t owe the IRS as much as I thought I did well sounded good at time till come back to the indebtness we are in! I can really get negative on this one but must be strong! Later and thanks!

This stuff new info you guys shared has to sink in till actually make effort to do what read!

Ramsey Makeover service online

I know how much everyone like s Dave Ramsey and I do, too. I’m about halfway through Financial Peace and signed up last night for the 7 day trial on his makeover site. I’m curious if any of you use his service monthly? Has it been helpful? I really like the budgeting feature but don’t know if that alone if worth the price. Just looking for some insight. Thanks!

I have checked into a few mystery shopping sites and even called one on the phone. Has anyone tried this? How can I tell what’s legit and what’s a scam? Is there a way to check them out to see if they are giving me correct info? Thanks again for your help.

The way I see it is that anytime some company asks for money up front for information you should be wary. I would. If you look hard enough you will find the information about how to become a mystery shopper on the internet for free.

My advice for anything is learn the principles of persuasion and some basic psychology. This will alert you to any kind of scam-ish techniques out there. And who better to trust than your own gut.

The first and best place to go is the Mystery Shoppers Provider’s Association website – http://www.mspa-na.org/. Here are all legitimate sources of shopping. I have been doing this for 4 years. Just this year I have gotten serious about it. You cannot make a full-time financial go in shopping alone, but within the mystery shopping field there are sub-fields.

I have done product demonstrations (like the people who pass out samples of food at stores), audits (where you tell the manager who you are and take some photos), as well as true mystery shops where nobody knows who you are or what you are doing. You must apply to each company individually. You must have knowledge of excel, word, and check e-mail regularly as all assignments come thru e-mail. Time commitment is a must as the clients you serve are on a tight timeline. If you say I will do a job for you on Monday, you need to do it.

I do not know how much extra income you are looking for, but you can get free meals, free auto service, and many other free things via reimbursement.

If you do a Google search on Mystery Shopping, you will get a hit of the top 100 companies. These are all legitimate. Apply to each one as you feel you like based on the industry served, do a good job, and more come along. Word of mouth from those who hire you really works to your advantage.

I see that you’ve asked about several ways of making an income at home. As you look into several possibilities, make sure that you have ‘tightened down’ all of your budget. Look through your Credit cards for any services you might have signed up for a ‘free trial’, and then been charged for after the ‘free trial’ period was over.

Some of those will even issue credit months into their ‘service’,or at least will stop charging in future. I got credit from Allstate Travel (they were the quickest & most complete with no arguing about issuing credit) and Video Professor (which argued but did give me full credit with return). Some companies will even let you keep the products you purchased, with a 90% credit issued. It’s worth a phone call.

Also look into yahoo group, smartspending , which is very active and helps me save ~ $35 per week on groceries. Yahoo manages all your groups on one page-very convenient for switching back & forth to check messages. Keep track of savings per month & send as extra debt payment.

Take a hard look at ALL of your budget

Write it ALL out.

Use the free forms on daveramsey.com or on davidbach.com or on moneyclubs. I’ve gotten incredible info from those sites for free-you don’t have to buy their books to gain from their sites. Also, listen to the radio show archives of dave ramsey on his site (also for free). Write out how much you owe & to who. Trust me-the grocery bill is not your only problem. None of us got here just because we spent too much on food!

Cut back your budget to the bone, sell things you don’t need, including your cars if you’re spending too much for them. And do eat ‘beans & rice’ until you get this under control.

About the grocery bill itself, on the one hand I agree with that:

use house brands, buy real food-the less processed the less it costs. On the other hand, the smartspending yahoo groups have worked out ways to increase your savings by using a combination of sales and coupons to make some of your purchases nearly free. Faye also advises using a list, not be hungry, etc. But if Perdue chicken breasts are on sale at your grocery for $2.59/lb. and you have a coupon for $1.50 off on any Perdue chicken, well I believe anyone would say that is a good buy! Admittedly, you can pass up on the ‘junk food’ coupons.

Start reducing your debt TODAY! Keep track of every penny you save & send to pay more off your debts-speaking of pennies, even roll your change you find around the house, & use that!

We’re walking this road with you!

I appreciate your advice. I will have to go to those websites you talked about.

Thank you, I am a vegetarian so I end up spending more money on food it seems.

I am really trying to start collecting coupons again! Ebay sells coupons…example of 100 coupons for around 1.50. Have you ever used Ebay?

thanks again

I wouldn’t buy coupons-just look in your local newspaper, and go on the websites of your favorite food companies and sign up for mailing list, coupons, etc. If a favorite of yours is Earthbound Farm Organic, look/ask in your produce dept. for a flyer there with a $1 off coupon combined with a sale this week. As a vegetarian (which I also was for 6 years), let your meal plan cneter around combos of beans, brown rice, dairy if you eat it, etc. These are CHEAP protein sources. Avoid the processed ‘tourkey’ type of products except when you combine coupon plus sale. Organize your menu for minimal loss due to spoilage, etc.

Have a great day-it will get brighter as you go!

i agree.. don’t buy coupons 🙂 For us…. the Houston paper is only $1 and has the most coupons where as the local paper has few… and it’s also $1… I get a list ahead of time so i know what coupons are expected out so i know if i should be 2 or 3 papers or whatnot…

You can also print coupons if the stores you shop at take them.

Try http://www.cafemom.com/ – they send me a lot of coupons in my email right from the manufacturer. I am not even a mom but I like to save money.

Another tip is to keep an eye out for test drives and do surveys online…

I’ve earned extra money from surveys.. some send cash, some send it in form of gift cards… this month so far i have made $39. It’s nota lot and its $5 here and $10 there but it helps. Also i did 2 test drives this month….

one was for a $25 starbucks gift card (for hubby when he wants his coffee fixes ) and $50 eddie bauer gift card and i didn’t have to do an actual test drive either LOL And mail in rebates help too if you find them for items you normally buy….. AND this month i just finished a 3 week product test on 3 pairs of undies…. i got 3 free pairs of underwear and i’ll get paid $15 for giving my opinions on them.

Hope this helps some. if anyone wants a list of survey sites that are free let me know and i’ll get a list ready…

I am in serious debt

I am in serious debt and need help! Too many credit cards…I seem to be spending way too much money on food. I am trying to look for ways to reduce my grocery bill.. thank you

Do you use coupons? that helps me alot … i save about $20 in coupons on a normal shopping trip and we dont do double coupons here. I only use coupons on what i need…

I have become really organized with my coupons and that helps… there are certain coupons out there that you can get free items with… like the $1 off edge or skintimate shave gel- as long as it does not say not good on trial- you can use it on the travel size and free shave gel….stuff like that:)

Good Luck Michele! and send me an email if i can help you anymore..

Here’s a list from this site – http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/grocery.htm

  1. Shop alone. If you bring your spouse or children, count on your bill being higher!
  2. Do not shop when you are hungry.
  3. Join a warehouse like Costco or Price Club. There can be significant discounts buying in bulk.
  4. Keep your eyes on the items on the bottom shelf where the prices are lower!
  5. If you are not good doing math in your head, bring a calculator so you can determine the better value of the same item in different sizes.
  6. Use coupons and send for rebates. Get organized. Keep those coupons where you can easily find them, and keep all the parts of a product you think you might need for the rebate. Don’t create a fire hazard, but organize!
  7. Buy only items you know you will eat. Don’t buy things because you know you should eat them. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t buy it hoping you’ll eat better this week. Be realistic. It’s kind of like a person who is dieting buying a dress too small for them, hoping that it will motivate them to lose the weight to wear it. It doesn’t usually work! Buy the foods you will eat!
  8. Buy store brands when the quality is the same.
  9. Eat less!

The best way is to inventory what foods you have on hand. Peruse the meats on sale and then make a menu and then a shopping list. Send the one family member with a full tummy that is least likely to deviate from the list to do the shopping (no kids). Don’t walk into the store for any reason without doing the first two things. Plan and stick to your plan. Save your menus and shopping list. Once you have done this for a couple of month it is a 20 minute task and you can stretch it to twice a month. Cook twice as much as you need for a meal and freeze half for a meal the second week.

That way you only need to cook a few days a week. You can cut you food bill by 75% by just using a menu and a shopping list, cutting out all snack foods other then fresh fruit and veggies, cutting beverages to milk and water and making everything from scratch. Buy the store brand of your staples ignore sales items beyond meat unless it is a staple in your household. Buy no more then you need for that shopping period. The longer the period and the less you shop the less you will spend. Don’t buy anything but food.

Forget coupon they are usually for over priced not nutritious snack preprocess food like things. Take way more effort then you get out. Your menus and shopping list should be driven by you not the marketing people who put together the sales and coupons. Don’t let them control what you buy.

Question about Balance Transfer Option

Hi all, just wanted to run something by you that will probably seem like an obvious no-brainer but would like to get some feedback anyway. A little history, I was recently able to get a 5.9% interest rate for the life of the loan on about 17k of my debt…hooray!! I still have about 8k that is at varying interest rates, none over 9.9%. So here’s my dilemna, I just got offered a 4.9% for the life on my other card (recently cleared in the earlier lower interest consolidation).

Seems like a great deal, no balance transfer fees, etc. But a couple of things to think about (1) it’s with Citibank who checks your credit and if you’re late to anyone, the interest rate skyrockets (I am proud to say I’m on the straight and narrow though…no late payments!) (2) I have been a victim of this rate hike by Citibank in the past, so I’m a little hesitant, but it’s a great deal and I’m finally seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. My one concern is I do have a Corp credit card and sometimes my company does not reimbursement before the due date…I’m not sure how this ties into my personal credit though. Thoughts anyone?

Also, if I call up Citibank and tell them how much I plan to transfer, will they tell me my estimated monthly payment first? I believe they’re one of the companies that recently spiked their minimum payments.

Figure up your payments on the other cards. Is this monthly payment close to the new one you will get? If your rate did go up , would the payment still be close to what you have now? Also, you should consider annual fees,ect on all of your other cards combined. Take the time to call citibank regarding your payment amt. , they should be able to tell you what your new payment will be. Take all of your other card statements and figure up the interest portion of your bill. Compare it to what citibank tells you. If you do the transfer, cut up the other cards!!!:)