Minnesota AG sues Bradstreet & Associates

This past week, Lori Swanson sued a local debt buyer for tacking on illegal interest to old checking accounts purchased from Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank. The suit alleges that Bradstreet & Associates added 21.75% interest to the charged-0ff amounts of the debts they purchased. Here is an article describing the suit in greater detail. Read more about Minnesota AG sues Bradstreet & Associates[…]

Contact Information for Credit Disputes

Disputes Generally

The chart below contains the contact information for each credit reporting agency. Online dispute forms generally contain requests for all information that the company will need to investigate your dispute. Items that should be included in any mailed dispute letter include:

• Your credit file number for the respective bureaus (Only if you have it).
• Your Social Security Number
• Your Date of birth
• Your Current address
• The Company name of the disputed item (from your credit report)
• The Account number of the disputed item (from your credit report)
• The Reason for your dispute (such as, it is not your account; you have paid the account; etc.)
• Any corrections to your personal information (address, phone number, etc.) […]

Disputing Debts with Creditors

It is very important you contact us if you are contacted by a collector regarding a disputed debt.  Collection agencies are by definition third parties that have little to no knowledge of the agreement between you and the original creditor.  None-the-less these agencies are allowed by law to report that you owe money.  Worst of all, federal law protects these agencies even if they misreport information such as false or fraudulent debts. Moreover, this misreporting can have a huge impact on your personal finances and your ability to obtain credit.

For example, on April 1, 2012 borrowers in ongoing disputes with creditors over debts of $1,000 or more may no longer qualify for FHA-insured loans.  Even borrowers with perfect credit scores can be denied home mortgages over a single $1,000 problem charge! See http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/30/real_estate/FHA-loans/index.htm for more information.

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What is a Wraparound Mortgage?

The wraparound mortgage is a tool used for expidited low-cost real estate sales. The traditional, “garden-variety” house sale works like this:  Susan Seller owns a house. She’d like to sell it for $200,000. She owes $110,000 onher first mortgage to Bank 1. Susan puts her house on the market, either with a realtor or FSBO (For Sale By Owner). Bill Buyer comes along and wants to buy Susan’s house, and they agree on a purchase price of $200,000. Bill puts down some earnest money, they sign a contract, and then Bill applies for a new mortgage from Bank 2.  Bank 2 checks Bill’s credit, asks for his tax returns, pay stubs, and a pint of blood, and makes Bill pay for a new appraisal, a new survey, loan fees, underwriting fees, fee fees, etc. At closing, Bill pays Susan a down payment and Bank 2 pays off Bank 1’s mortgage, Susan’s realtor, the title company, etc., before giving Susan whatever is left over. Bank 1’s mortgage is paid off completely and goes away when Bank  1 files a ‘release of lien’ in the county records. Bill now owns the house and Bank 2 has a first position lien on the house with the new mortgage.

The wraparound mortgage works a little differently. […]

Important considerations when buying a used vehicle from a private party

Given recent economic considerations, in addition to the the many flexible methods of selling and searching vehicles online, more and more cars, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and snowmobiles are being bought and sold among private parties. Assuming that you have done your research, chosen your vehicle, and negotiated a price, it is time to consider the legal process of title transfer. I cannot overemphasize the importance of receiving a title at the time of transfer in Minnesota. Beyond simply serving as proof of legal ownership, the title reflects any lien that may be recorded on the vehicle.

Checking for liens on the vehicle is critical because if a lien exists and enters default due to nonpayment, the vehicle may be repossessed from you. […]

Debt Collectors: Sorry, but the market just isn’t where it used to be…

The dynamic nature of the American economy means that things are rarely all bad. When the economy tanks, luxury goods retailers may suffer; however, discount stores may see a rise in profits with an influx of higher income customers and cheaper goods from overstocked inventories.

Today, as people are laid off and businesses close, business is booming in the realm of debt collection. Unfortunately, the debt collection gold rush means that collection agencies, frantic to hit pay dirt, have either forgotten or simply don’t care that the condition of the economy has made some debts simply unpayable. It’s okay to admit it!  Calling 10 to 15 time a day is not going to force the builder to sell the house he can’t sell, it is not going to help sell the inventories for which the merchant has no buyers, and it is not going to speed along the accounts payable to the manufacturer who can’t collect from the merchants to whom they sold. […]

Is a credit report a reflection of financial planning & responsibility or a report of luck & genetic fortitude?

As employers increasingly rely upon credit reports for low skill and entry-level office positions, we must assess what information these reports provide. Are credit reports indeed accurate reflections of financial planning skills? A recent study by the Federal Reserve Board suggests otherwise. Their report found that nearly half of all collection actions appearing on consumer credit reports are for unpaid medical bills. (Seewww.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2003/0203lead.pdf.)

While paying medical bills is an important responsibility, I believe that we can all accept that this responsibility is not as evenly borne as the decision to purchase clothes and other consumer goods. Accordingly, credit scores and reports may have become, at least partially, a reflection of personal health than a reflection of one’s financial management skills.   […]

Student Loans – Suggested Economic Reform

How does a 8.5% T-bill sound? Well that’s essentially the deal the banks holding your student loans are getting from the federal government. As interest rates on T-bills hover around 0% (you read that right), the government is offering banks who loan money to students up to 8.5% interest and a government promise of full Read more about Student Loans – Suggested Economic Reform[…]

Suggested legal reforms for the Occupy movement’s platform…

Members of the Occupy movement,

Our firm has been aggressively pursuing banks and collection companies in the courtroom for years. We have returned millions to hard working individuals exploited by corrupt banks and a broken credit system. We have repeatedly proven banks and collectors have knowingly and willfully broken laws after calculating the cost of compliance to be higher than the cost of noncompliance. In doing so, we have forced huge settlements and won massive judgments. Still we face an uphill battle. We highlight several areas that current law fails consumers. Such areas require addressing with the political process:

1) Arbitration agreements – Almost every interaction with a bank or large company is contractual. Banks and large companies will slip an arbitration clause into almost all contracts. An arbitration clause waives an individual’s right to sue for damages resulting from the individual’s interactions with the bank or company. The same clause will often state that bank or company retains all rights to sue the individual. This means that when individual has a problem with a good or service purchased from a bank or large company the individual must arbitrate their claim, when the bank or company has a problem with the individual the bank or company can sue the individual. They can sue you, but you can’t sue them! Worst of all courts have held that these clauses are fully enforceable. […]