Don't fall for the easy way out, of only paying the 3% minimum. This is designed to entrap you into a quick-sand of debt that will suck you in, and pull you down. Never start believing the heartless corporate monsters that keep on increasing your credit line, as a reward for getting sucked into their web, by only paying the 3% minimum.
Ever try not paying your credit card minimum payment(s)? Miss them one month, and you will never be able to catch back up, due to the policies of the heartless corporate monsters that are really running our country.
There is an undeclared war going on, against the families of our nation. The sanctuary of the home, protected against unreasonable search and seizure by government officials, the stable family realities that together form the fabric of the reality that we exist within, is fair game to these heartless corporate monsters. They don't care how many marriages they break up, or how many families they leave shattered in their path. They don't care how many human beings lives they destroy.
At the same time that American corporations are downsizing, the defense industry is shutting down, foreign nationals are immigrating to our land to work for peanuts, and our inner cities have come unglued, due to the destabilizing effect of crack cocaine, our credit card creditors are running rampant on the rights of debtors, using FORCE, FEAR, and COERCION, with the intention of making it impossible for the "in too deep" debtor to ever catch up.
Why would any business treat its customers little better than dogs, using computerized telephones to constantly pester you, and disturb your rest, at a time when you are most vulnerable, especially if you are in real economic dislocation, such as when you have been laid off, or have been injured and become disabled, or have lost your husband thru divorce or death, especially when you are trying to recover from losing your husband?
Why do they keep on making irrational demands that cannot be met, except for the purpose of driving up the account balance, and then using it as a tax writeoff, to defraud the American taxpayers ?
There is a second undeclared war going on: of these corporations against the American taxpayers, thru the Treasury. These heartless corporate monsters don't care what they are doing to the deficit.
So, what is a honest citizen to do, to defend himself against these dirty tricks, and at the same time, keep these heartless corporate monsters from using his account contract to defraud the American taxpayers ?
First, go down to a local stationary store, and get a form for a homestead declaration. Go to the law library and read about it. Fill it out, get it notarized, and record it at the Recorders' Office. This form protects your home against heartless corporate monsters, and their judgments, but you do need to get it on file, before the date of the Judgments.
Contact an agency of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, and try to set up a compromise payment program. They will figure out an amount that pleases these same heartless corporate monsters, who provide their funding, but it may be too high for you to pay, especially if you are in real economic dislocation.
Make them a counter-offer. Tell them, in writing, that you can pay an amount that you can really afford, and insist that they accept partial payments, and not freak out if you are unable to pay, some months, for instance, when you taxes are due, or your car breaks down.
Of course, they will not accept your counter-offer, because they have a contract with these same heartless corporate monsters, to accept no less than 3% of the balance.
Then, write to each of these same heartless corporate monsters, rescinding your contract of adhesion, as to the interest rates, late fees and penalties, and making a reasonable offer to settle, offering a more reasonable interest rate, such as they regularly concede thru the CCCS agencies. You know the rates from the report given to you by the CCCS agency.
Be prepared to get another unlisted telephone number, and to screen all of your telephone calls to your first line, with an answering machine. The only way to remain in control of your own sanctuary, and of your own ability to struggle against these odds, by remaining mentally centered, is to refuse to answer the telephone number they have.
Now, you have gone underground, and become unreachable by phone.
The worst thing that can happen is usually that they put a negative entry about you in the credit reporting bureau computers. Why do you care, if you already have bought a home, and have a car? A good credit report is a badge of slavery. It shows how dumb you were, to have fallen that deeply into debt, and paying all that interest. Now, you have to rethink your budget, and start saving money up ahead of time, for things like that next used car, or a new roof. You are forced to do what you should have been doing all along, plan ahead.
They will try to pester you by phone, using computerized outward voice messages, even though this is illegal in California. They might not even be registered to do business in California.
You can find out if the corporation is officially able to do business in California, by writing to the Secretary of State's office in Sacramento. A corporation from another state, if it wants to use the courts in California to collect debts, has to be registered with the Secretary of State, and has to pay taxes. Many of these heartless corporate monsters are not even legal to be doing business in California. They hope that you don't know that.
Refuse to return their phone messages, asking you to call them back, and wait endlessly, on hold, for one of their scripted interrogations, when there is no point at all to these conversations. If you had the money, you would pay the bills. You obviously do not have the money, and cannot pay ever-increasing "minimums". How can you pay double the minimum the second month, or quadruple the minimum the third month?
If you try to pay partial payments for a few months, while they have time to "negotiate", you soon see their irrationality, and their real intentions to make it impossible for you to be a good citizen, and pay your debt.
So, eventually, you send them a last letter, that they will receive no further payments, unless they accept your reasonable offer to settle, by a certain date, and that on that date, the offer will expire.
Of course, they don't want to accept any reasonable offer to settle, because they have to wait to get their money back. If they make it impossible for you to ever catch up, they falsely drive up the balance with late fees and then they use this as a "tax writeoff", so this means that they "get their money back right now", by taxes they don't pay to the IRS.
The only thing that matters to them is the bottom line, on their spreadsheets. They think in numbers. Their computer brains do not understand the havoc their extortionate debt collection methods are reeking on the human families, and do not understand the havoc these policies are reeking on the American deficit.
Our political leaders don't understand what they are doing to our families, because political leaders do not stop paying their credit card minimum payments, so they never find out.
Our judges don't understand what they are doing to our families, because judges do not stop paying their credit card minimum payments, so they never find out.
Even the shareholders of these heartless corporate monsters don't understand what the credit card corporations are doing to our families, because shareholders do not stop paying their credit card minimum payments, so they never find out.
Okay, so what is next? After they get tired of trying to pester you to death with their harassing phone calls, and their machines keep on failing to achieve a human voice on your end of the wire, and they send you dozens of demands to pay the entire balance right now, after they know that you can't even pay the original 3% minimum, they eventually pass your account off to a collection agency.
Then the collection agency tries the exact same tactics to try to manipulate you with guilt, and shame. They hope to pester you into some unwise move, like refinancing your house at an unfavorable interest rate, or in getting a home equity loan, or in transferring the balance to a new credit card creditor.
By now, you are prepared. You have made your reasonable offer to settle. It has been their own choice to refuse to negotiate and to fail or refuse to accept your offer. It has been their continuing pattern to choose to use FEAR, FORCE and COERCION, to extort you into indentured servitude, and now the spell has been broken. You are not under their spell any longer. You have seen the light, and don't play the game anymore.
These heartless corporate monsters are all linked by computer to the credit reporting agencies, so they know that you are already "in too deep", before they send you the "pre-approved" offer for another new credit card. This one is hoping that you will transfer your indebtedness to their corporation, and they immediately start making interest off of you. Their seductive words, carefully crafted to lure you into their spiderweb of slavery, promise ultra-low interest rates, but if you read the fine print, you will see that the low rates only last for six months, and then they jump way up there, higher than the old one was, and higher than the reasonable offer to settle that you made.
Don't fall for the offer to let you transfer your balance from an earlier card.
Don't fall for the easy way out, of only paying the 3% minimum. This is designed to entrap you into a quick-sand of debt that will suck you in, and pull you down.
So, what do you do, if the heartless corporate monster actually sues you for the debt? First of all, they probably will not sue you where you live, but in their own state, where you have no chance to show up in court, and to defend yourself. You need to have found your local law library by now.
Research the defenses for involuntary bankrupcty, and bad faith use of it.
Research "Motion to Dismiss on Forum Non Conveniens". When you get served with the court papers for this out-of-state lawsuit, you mail back this motion. The out-of-state court will then "stay" ---stop--- that lawsuit, and the heartless corporate monsters will have to file a new lawsuit in your own county, where you can show up in court, and you can defend yourself.
If it gets as far as being filed in your own local court, you file a paper for a waiver of fees, in forma pauperis. Don't get scared and think that you lose if you don't have enough money for an attorney. This narrow niche of the law is not that hard. You can do it, with a little help.
You will need a typewriter at least. A personal computer with a word processing program is better, if you already have it. Don't go out and buy one if you don't have it already. Keep it simple.
You need to do everything that you possibly can, to cut your monthly expenses, and start putting aside a percentage of your income. Whatever it is, pay yourself first. Put at least 10% of your income into savings, so that you will have that rainy day fund ready when you have an emergency.
You need to understand what "exemptions" from "execution of judgment" means.
You need to learn what to say to yourself as you look at all the glossy colorful gadget catalogs that come in the mail: "I do not need any more gadgets."
You need to do everything you can with insulation and more efficient use of energy, because the savings in your utility bills will repeat every month for ever after!
If you have an electric storage water heater, do you have a thick enough insulation blanket on it? It should be R-12 or better. I put one on mine and my electric bill dropped significantly. I put two layers on top, as well as all around, taped together with duct tape. If all you can find is R 6.7, put on two thicknesses, and four thicknesses on top.
Do you have a timer on it? I set my timer to run once a day for 1-½ or 2 hours a day, and when I need it other times, I just flip it around until it clicks, knowing that it will turn itself off again, in a little while.
There are ways to learn to change your spending habits, no matter how hard it hurts, and to learn to live within your means. It just takes re-ordering your priorities. If you are not willing to cut your spending, how can you expect to ever be able to live within your income?
Accept reality. The economy is downsizing. It all started when the price of oil fell. The oil workers started getting laid off, or had to accept jobs at half the wages. The rest of the decade has just been the ripple effects of that change. Then stores like Wal-Mart came in and dropped the going prices for all kinds of products, running many little mom and pop stores that were overcharging us, out of business. People laid off from high-paying jobs have had to go to work at lower wages. It is happening all over.
These heartless corporate monsters are going to have to accept the reality that if they want to be paid, they will have to accept a lower interest rate, or maybe half the balance. If Uncle Sam is willing to let them write off the whole balance as a bad debt, even though this defrauds the American taxpayers, you need to write to the IRS office nearest their corporate headquarters, and send proof that you have made them the reasonable offer to settle. The IRS needs to disallow this tax writeoff, for your account, when shown this proof. This frees you from the bad karma of having been a party to the fraud against the American taxpayers.
So, what is the worst that could happen? They could get a judgment against you, but you already have the Homestead Declaration on file. Unless you have a lot of equity in your house, they can't force a sale of your house, unless the proceeds will pay off all the loans against your house, and pay you your exemption amount, and still have money left over.
If you work for a paycheck, as an employee, they can try to "garnishee" your wages, but you have a right to file a claim of exemption for at least 75% of all your take-home pay, and more, if you really need it to support your family. They have no right to take any money you really need to support your family, but you have to file your claim of exemption, within the days allotted.
If they file a petition for involuntary bankruptcy, to try and collect the debt, after you have made a reasonable offer to settle, you can countersue for damages, for bad faith.
If you live in California, and they incessantly pester you with phone calls, with some of the fancy computerized telephony systems, that never forget and never go away, you can counter-sue for damages under Civil Code, §1788.11.
Copyright 1994-1996, Shari Soza