Jump to content

Beyond bad credit-struck by lightening twice

Ok-I really need to know how this not affects not only getting a job, but my being able to get a license! It is long!

I have ALWAYS been careful with my credit. Credit is too picky. Not having any is bad, too much is bad, maxed out cards are bad, paying minimums is bad...we all get it. So anytime that I have had a credit line, I have been careful, used it wisely and paid it off in a timely fashion.

So why have I been struck by lightening twice? Here goes-

STRIKE ONE

In 1999-I bought a computer. Was paying on it and the company I worked for closed. Literally, I walked into work one day and was told we are no more as of the night before. Wham! No job, no income.

So what to do with this computer? My father's wife needed one terribly. Took it and was making the payments. No big deal. Trusted her completely, no reason not too.

Fast forward to last week-call from collection agency. Bank has not received a payment since 2003, I had been in collections since 2004 & if I don't clear this up, they are taking legal action.

STRIKE TWO

In January of this year-I had a college bill due in February. I had the money, was getting ready to pay it and husband asks if he can use for some bills his check couldn't cover and he will pay with next weeks check.

Fast forward to tonight. I am going through the pile of bills and way in the back are not one, not two-but five letters from this college because it was never paid! The last one was never even opened! So I open it and it is dated for September and says that on November 9th they are turning it in to the State Attorney General for legal action! I AM FURIOUS!!!!!!

I cannot believe this happened twice and it hurts that people, within my own family, has let this happened without talking to me when they were in trouble!

Both companies want to sue me not only for the amounts, but for the court fees and their attorney fees plus interest! I am in school- I have no job, no money and no assests! My husband has been out of work due to re-aggrivating an injury from when he was in the NAVY. There is no money right now! And now, my credit is gone!!!!

So it goes beyond bad credit. Two different companies have turned me in for legal action. What in the world does this do for my chance at a license and/or a job? At this point, I am more worried about the legal action being taken showing on my record then I am the actual credit. Help!

Please help-I think I am going to be sick!

Lisa CCU RN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Cardiac, ICU.

Well for one thing you have to look at a few factors. One, do a google and try to find your states statute of limitations on collecting debts. If this time has passed then if the company sues you you go to court and state that the statute of limitations has passed---case closed. Do not make any promises to pay or any payments or the time starts over. Two, if you have no job, no assets, and neither does your husband you may be judgement proof meaning you cannot be sued. Of course, they could go on future earnings because you are in school. Like I said a lawyer couldl better answer these questions. I don't think you will be kept form obtainig a job with bad credit unless you are going to be handling a large amount of money. you can probably get more detailed answers from a lawyer or try watching SUZE ORMAN. go to her website at http://www.suzeorman.com. I hope some of this points you in the right direction.

Well for one thing you have to look at a few factors. One, do a google and try to find your states statute of limitations on collecting debts. If this time has passed then if the company sues you you go to court and state that the statute of limitations has passed---case closed. Do not make any promises to pay or any payments or the time starts over. Two, if you have no job, no assets, and neither does your husband you may be judgement proof meaning you cannot be sued. Of course, they could go on future earnings because you are in school. Like I said a lawyer couldl better answer these questions. I don't think you will be kept form obtainig a job with bad credit unless you are going to be handling a large amount of money. you can probably get more detailed answers from a lawyer or try watching SUZE ORMAN. go to her website at www.suzeorman.com. I hope some of this points you in the right direction.

THANK YOU! I never thought about statue of limitations! I am going to check that out along with the other stuff you have mentioned.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and offer some advice!

Bad credit will not effect getting a job or going to college unless you try to get a loan to pay for school. My ex-husband had to have everything we owned when we got divorced in 2004. He took the new home, the new truck, everything. I signed all of it over to him with the understanding that he would refinance and take my name off. He did not. What he did was file bankruptcy and not tell me. I was left with all of his debts and no way to pay them as I had been laid off. I know I will have to fight this when I get out of school, but until then, as my old Grandpa used to say, "They can't eat ya!!!" I used to work at a bank and I know that regardless of what the divorce papers say, I am still responsible as I was a co-signer. I will probably end up paying the debt when I am out of school, ($17,000) and suing my ex to pay me back. The lawyer says that is my only recourse. Anyway, I checked and it will not effect getting a job in the future. Hope this helps. Good luck and remember, it will get better.

Emmy

CseMgr1, ASN, RN

Specializes in Case Management, Home Health, UM.

I'm going through a similar scenario: two bankruptcies in ten years (you would THINK I had learned my lesson from the first one! :rolleyes:). Anyway, I've never had any problem getting a job due to my bad credit. When I applied for my present position, I was told by my employer that they don't do a credit check, unless you are being considered for a position which involves the handling of money (e.g., finance).

I'm trying to hang onto my house, but it is going to be difficult, with my present job ending in three days, and with no prospects for a new one after that...unless God shines His light down on me just ONE more time....:o

Credit can sometimes, although certainly not always, affect your ability to get a job. About half the hospitals in my area check credit. It is becoming a trend with employers. Although even if they check your credit, that still may not prevent you from getting the job.

But ... it's not the end of the world. It's just important to start working on this now so in the event that credit does come up in the future, you've done something about it. There are a lot of things you can do if you're willing to work at it.

Although the most important thing is not to trust other people with your credit again. It's sad, but when it comes to money, you have to be in control and not even let family members handle things.

While the statute of limitations is a good point as far as the creditors being able to sue you ... they can still put the unpaid debts on your credit report. You need to check your credit report to see what's on there.

If the items aren't on your report, and there's no expired statute of limitations to contest it in court, try to work out a deal with the creditors. A lot of times, they will accept even small payments as a token of good faith and work out a payment plan without reporting you to the credit bureaus or suing you. It's important to make sure they won't put the items on your credit report or sue you as part of the deal. Get that in writing.

If the items are on the report, you should contest it with the credit agencies. Removing collection agency items is difficult but, it's somewhat easier to remove those items then, let's say, missed mortgage payments. Be persistant. If you can't remove the items the first time, try, try again. A lot of times the collection agencies are too lazy to respond to the credit reporting bureaus when the debt is contested, and the items can be removed for that reason alone.

If it does end up going to court, definitely show up and try to get the judge to set up a payment plan. The reason most people have judgements against them is because they don't even bother to show up. And the judgements will sometimes show up on your credit report as well. Judges will frequently work out payment plans if they think you're going to pay. Assuming, again, that the statute of limitations hasn't expired.

But, if you do get a judgement against you, appeal it. It's pretty easy to do if the debt is in small claims court. It's just a matter of filing the paperwork and showing up in court. You might find a more sympathetic judge at the appealate level.

If all else fails, pay them when you can. This will probably be necessary with the college anyway because they won't provide transcripts and such when you need them unless you've paid the bill.

Besides, it always looks better on the credit report if you've paid at least some of the debt, even years after the fact, than not paying anything at all. And, of course, with a judgement, you don't want that on the books either.

And definitely keep the rest of your credit squeaky clean. As time passes, and you show a record of paying most of your bills, these items won't look so bad if you're paying the rest of your bills on time.

This is will be important not only for jobs but whenever you need to borrow money to buy a house, etc. because these items will stay on your report for seven years. So it's important to keep working on it, even if it takes years.

:coollook:

Two, if you have no job, no assets, and neither does your husband you may be judgement proof meaning you cannot be sued. Of course, they could go on future earnings because you are in school.

There's no such thing as being judgement proof. Even if you can't pay, the judgement stays on the books. And that often means ... if you own a house, for example, they can put a lien on it and collect their money when the house is sold. Or, they can garnish your wages when you are employed. They can also put a lien on your bank account and get the money that way. It may take years but they can always catch up with you. So it's always better to avoid judgements and work out a deal whenever possible.

:coollook:

August Snow - there's a website you need to visit www.bendover.com Ben gives wonderful advice when people are in trouble financially. I'm pretty sure you can download letters of cease and decist. I listened to his show sometimes while in the car. Sometimes I'd get upset feeling that he'd get people out of paying just debts. But it's good he can be a guide for people like you who have done the right thing. Just go to the website and look around.

First of all, do not let bill collectors be successful in scaring you with their tactics (often which are not legal). Bill collectors are scum. This isn't saying you should be excused from owing the money, but a bill collector's job is to get you emotional so you feel you must take action right away, even before putting food in your mouth or keeping your lights on.

They will get nasty with you. They will threaten you, but keep in mind you are talking to an idiot in a cubicle probably 500 miles away who has NO authority whatsoever.

THEY ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION. Don't let them bully you.

Second, if bad credit kept people from getting a license or a job there would be about half as many licensed and employed people as there are. The only thing you might be concerned about is your loan from school, as the school does have the authority to garnish your wages until the bill is paid. But so what? When the bill is paid it is paid and will be off your credit.

I personally do not believe in credit. So my fica score (or whatever it is) means nothing to me. Contrary to what some people will try to make you believe you can exist in a world without credit and do it well. But whatever you decide to do don't let those bill collectors put fear into you. They are full of hot air, that is all.

THEY ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION. Don't let them bully you.

Second, if bad credit kept people from getting a license or a job there would be about half as many licensed and employed people as there are. The only thing you might be concerned about is your loan from school, as the school does have the authority to garnish your wages until the bill is paid. But so what? When the bill is paid it is paid and will be off your credit.

I wouldn't assume they won't take legal action. Some creditors won't, others will. A lot of it depends on the amounts owed. If the bill is a small amount they probably won't sue. If it's fairly large they often will go to court. Although you have to receive notice if they do sue so, you'll know for sure by then.

As far as the school having authority to garnish wages, they have to go to court like everybody else to do that. You can't garnish wages without a judgement. The way schools mostly collect their debts, however, is withholding transcripts or, not allowing you to graduate if you're still enrolled.

BTW ... the unpaid bill does stay on your credit report, even when you pay it, for seven years. There's no way around it if it's a valid debt. But, of course, it looks better when it's paid than not paid.

:coollook:

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

OK, well, I know this isn't going to go over real good, but you might just consider filing for bankruptcy. I went through one almost 25 years ago when an ex-husband left me with all kind of debt and a huge IRS bill to pay off. The IRS bill couldn't be discharged in bankruptcy court, but everything else was. My neice's fiance was recently facing huge credit card debt (a college student that overcharged things and wasn't thinking straight) and when he went to a couple of consumer credit places to make an honest attempt to pay them off, it all ended up falling through because of one or two credit card companies who wouldn't cooperate. He went to a bankruptcy lawyer who told him that this is typical, that the new bankruptcy laws which are about to take effect were brought about because of these handful of credit card companies who won't cooperate with the consumer credit agencies (they don't tell you about that on all the ads they have on TV). When he filed bankruptcy (and when I did it 25 years ago), all the agravation stops and it's all over from the day you file. Even the IRS backed off of me for almost 2 years. You have to attend one meeting with the bankruptcy court at which any of your creditors who want special consideration can show up. However, I went to this meeting with my neice and her fiance recently and must have listened to over 100 cases before his was called. No credit card companies showed up. The only creditors I saw (and they actually gave these meetings some life) were people like relatives and ex-spouses who wanted a share of any sale that might be forced of more expensive assets (like a second house). That was it. You get to keep your car and usually your house, even if they're not paid off yet. You shouldn't use any of your good credit cards (those with a -0- balance) you have until the bankruptcy is discharged (final decision made), but I'll tell you that this kid started getting all kinds of solitation letters to apply for new credit cards and to finance new cars right after he filed for Chapter 7. Companies get lists of the people filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and try to establish new credit with you--go figure! Anyway, the new laws where the bankruptcy court is going to force creditors to accept lowered monthly payments is due to start in 2006. I'd jump on the bandwagon and go bankrupt now. Run a credit report and include every single bill on the credit report in the bankruptcy filing. It stays on your credit reports for 8 years, possible 10. Then good thing about credit reports is that the rating on them changes over time. For a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy you can have a paralegal prepare the paperwork for a much, much lower fee than a lawyer (in fact most of the people at the creditor's meeting in the bankruptcy court had filed this way). I think the filing fee with the court is $200 or $250. If your credit is already gone, you have nothing else to lose.

Thank you all so much! I am starting to feel so much better! I have been trying to find a job while in school so that I can have the gas money to get to school, so I am going to call both of them tomorrow and see if they can't just help me set up payment plans. Even if it is small, it will be something until I am out of school with a real job and then I will take my first couple checks and just pay it all off!

Thanks also for sharing your stories with me, I am so glad to know that I am not alone on this. I was so scared that my whole nursing career was going down the toilet! You guys are the best!!!

nurse4theplanet, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Pediatrics, Geriatrics.

My best advice is to call the credit agencies and dispute the bills. There are three: TransUnion, Experian, and another that I can't think of at the moment. This will make the charges sort of "disappear" for approximately 60 days. The purpose is to give you time to work something out with the collection agency(s). Usually they will threaten legal action to get your attention but it is still under collection. You can work out a payment plan and advoid expensive court costs. It is best to avoid filing bankruptcy at any cost, especially with the new bankruptcy laws.

Second, I would talk to my husband and suggest if he cannot pay the bills appropriately, to allow me to take over some of the responsibility. My DH is awful, so I took on full responsibility and have pulled us completely out of debt and improved his credit rating. He fought with me about it at first, but it has turned out for the best.

And last, have you talked to your father and his wife about the bill they did not pay. Let them know what a financial strain it has become for you and ask them to help you out...after all, they still have the computer correct? I hate to see families in court against one another...but if you are not on good terms already then perhaps you should take them to small claims to recover either your money or get the computer back. (as a last resort you know)

Good luck to you! And don't fret! If you take care of it promptly, then you will avoid legal repercussion and there are so many ways around bad credit when you are getting loans/buying house/car...you just have to find the right lenders.

gauge14iv

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP.

Paid vs unpaid - on an old debt does not change how it looks. The only thing that matters in terms of how it "looks" is how many days behind the payments got (60/30/90/120 etc)

If you have a debt in collections and it has been there 2 years or longer - be careful about paying it!!!! The day you pay it, starts that "7 years on your credit report" clock ticking all over again. What you CAN do it this - bargain with them to pay it in exchange for a letter saying the whole mess was a mistake and should be removed from your credit record. Dont hand them any money though until you have the letter in hand. That may have to be done in person.

The day you make new payment arrangements starts the 7 year clock ticking again too...

If it's more than 2 years old, the best thing is to just let it go in most cases, depending on your state, in some cases they can't put a lien on your house. In Texas your home is protected by the homestead law. Basically - they get a judgement, but they have to find a way to collect it. The judgements stay there for 7 years too.

Do NOT BELIEVE A WORD A COLLECTOR SAYS!!!! THEY LIE! I had a very similar situation such as your first one and ended up filing a complaint with the FTC about the collector.

If you have a debt in collections and it has been there 2 years or longer - be careful about paying it!!!! The day you pay it, starts that "7 years on your credit report" clock ticking all over again.

The day you make new payment arrangements starts the 7 year clock ticking again too...

Not sure where you get this info. Maybe people should call the credit bureaus to find out for sure but, that has not been my experience.

I wouldn't let the bad debts stand either if you can pay them later. When you go to apply for a mortgage, for example, a lot of times they want you to pay those items because it makes the application look better.

Any effort to pay, no matter how small, always looks better than no payments at all.

:coollook:

It is best to avoid filing bankruptcy at any cost, especially with the new bankruptcy laws.

I agree with this. I've never had to file but my husband did before we were married. No matter how clean our credit is for years now, it still comes up all the time. I have to keep my credit separate from his because of it. Don't let anybody tell you there aren't consequences with bankruptcy or, actually, bad debts in general. There are ... plenty.

And the bankruptcy stays on your record for ten years, not seven years like other debts. So ... it's a real pain. While you may get out of paying certain debts with bankruptcy, you do pay the piper down road.

:coollook:

there are so many ways around bad credit when you are getting loans/buying house/car...you just have to find the right lenders.

True ... but at what rates and fees? Usually you have to pay through the nose on those deals when you have bad credit. It's very expensive. One way or the other, you end up paying the debt ... really. Might as well pay the bills on time and save your credit.

:coollook:

gauge14iv

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP.

My husband is a mortgage loan officer - thats where I get my info :)

They may want you to pay off certain debts when you apply for a mortgage - that is true - byt THEY will stipulate which ones. It is generally current debt - not past due old debt. If they are over 2 years old, it is unlikely you will be asked to even communicate with them

Another tip - avoid those so called credit repair places like the plague - they are mostly scams.

Well ... all I can say is that there is one hospital, which is the best hospital to work for in my particular area, which does routine credit checks as part of their employment applications. If you don't sign the credit authorization, they don't consider your application.

Whether that's fair or not ... and whether it influences job prospects or not ... that's what they want. I'd rather have that credit report show that I paid all my bills which, thankfully, it does.

You never know when an employer is going to ask for your credit report so, it's probably best to clean it up as much as possible, even if the debts are old.

There are other hospitals in the area that don't require credit checks but, I don't want to work for those facilities. So ... these are the kinds of situations you can run into if you don't take care of your credit.

Bad credit may not prevent you from getting a job, but it might prevent you from getting the job that you want.

:coollook:

gauge14iv

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP.

Im not saying its RIGHT not to pay an old debt - but you do need to be aware of what the effect is on your credit report. What people *think* will make their report look better usually messes it up worse.

For instance - a popular piece of advice given to people erroneaously is that if they want to clean up their credit report, they should just dispute the negative items. So they do - then 30 days later all the negative items come back verified AND they are now dated as the last date of activity being the date the dispute was received by the company!!!! So NOW you still have the negative items AND they appear more RECENT!

DON'T dispute old items (OLD - not recent Im talking about here) OR make arrangemets with them - this updates the "most recent activity" date on the account which is what creditors look at when considering you for a loan or credit. If the item truly is in error and you can prove it - then by all means dispute it.

If you are going for a mortgage or other loan, you should get a copy of your report and talk to a mortgage person well in advance of putting any money down on a house. On couple called DH a year ahead of buying, he spent some time talking with them and they wanted to wait until they found a house, even though he advised them otherwise. A year later, they find a house and call him on a Saturday afternoon - "We just put a contract on a house so we need a mortgage now!" They fill out the app, he pulls credit and they guys brother had stolen his identity unbeknownst to him and run up tens of thousands of dollars of bad debt. They lost their earnest money and the house because it took MONTHS to clean up that mess.

It pays to keep an eye on your credit report on at least an annual basis.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×

By using the site you agree to our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies.

OK