Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Know Your Rights when an Account is Sent to Collections

Debt collectors perform a thankless job attempting to collect the money owed to other companies. Anyone who has had an account sent to a collection agency can attest to the imposing tactics that are sometimes used to try to get you to make good on a legitimate debt. From the perspective of banks and lenders, what they do is an important aspect of managing resources and protecting an institution’s bottom line. We really can’t fault companies that are only looking to get what’s owed to them.

Loans from a bank or financial institution that require collateral, such as an automobile loan or mortgage, rarely send to a collection agency – instead, the item put up as security is repossessed, if the account goes into default. For unsecured credit like credit card balances, the only recourse when an account goes into default is to send the account to a collection agency.

In 2012, Americans owed more than $11 trillion in overall debt, with $852 billion of it on credit card accounts. There’s no way to calculate the effect that the amount of debt has on our economy, but there’s no denying that it has an effect on interest rates and the availability of credit. While there are credit options for individuals with poor credit, credit cards for bad credit will not provide lower interest and perks a good credit score will land.

Debt collectors work on commission and earn a percentage of whatever they successfully collect. A debt collector will work with debtors to get them back on the road to repayment. They are authorized to put in place a new repayment agreement with reasonable conditions and generally look for a percentage of the debt to be paid upfront as a good faith gesture.

Like an IRS tax agent, debt collectors have a bad reputation with anyone who finds themselves on the receiving end of a phone call. Though what is often not realized is that the dread consumers feel is a result of stories told by unscrupulous collectors rather than the process itself.

Bad collection agents may resort to unlawful tactics that put undue pressure on debtors at a time when stress levels are already high. Here are the facts you need to know and things an unscrupulous debt collector may leave out to confuse you into an unfair agreement.
• Settlements are Negotiable - Don’t fall for a one-size-fits-all offer. Unscrupulous agents will claim to be offering the only settlement you’ll get an attempt to convince you that it’s your last resort. Collection agencies buy unpaid debt for pennies on the dollar making it possible for a settlement to be negotiated within reason to better work for you.
• Question the Total Debt – If you have multiple accounts being handled by one collection agency, don’t take the total at face value; it may include debt you do not owe. The statute of limitations may have expired, the period after which creditors cannot sue you to collect the debt. The debt may have been paid off or you’ve already settled with the debtor.

• Cease and Desist – Collection calls must stop once you send a letter asking them to cease. Debt collectors that fail to comply with the law should be reported immediately to the attorney general of your state and the office of the FTC. If a caller makes a threat of possible arrest or reveals details about your debt to people you know; friends, family, neighbors, or fails to comply the set legal restrictions, file a complaint with the attorney general of your state.

• Report Harassment – The law protects you from threats or harassment. Obscene language, threats of any kind intended to intimidate should be reported. Callers are only allowed to contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. You can’t be threatened with legal action unless they actually intend to follow through with a lawsuit. One tactic that borders on intimidation but is allowed is to bring a third party into the conversation. Don’t be rushed into an agreement before you are sure you can handle the terms.

Within five days of having started a dialog with a collection agency, you will receive a validation letter confirming the situation. It will show you who you owe, how much and what you need to do, including what to do if you do not believe you owe the money.
Know Your Rights

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted in part to help consumers deal with aggressive debt collectors. This law covers unsecured and secured loans including credit cards, car loans and mortgages that are sent to collection agencies. You have the right to demand through writing that all contact cease immediately. You can expect them to make a final call to acknowledge the request you have made and that they give you notice of legal action, if they are planning to proceed with a legal lawsuit.

If your rights have been violated in any way, write a detailed letter to the creditor to work toward a resolution. If a substantial amount of money is involved or you wish to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, you may want to consider seeking advice from an attorney. Never settle anything before you are sure it’s in your best interest and you are sure you can honor the agreement decided on.

Vanessa May is a blogger and content writer for wowcreditcardsdotcom who enjoys writing on finance related topics. Her writing is primarily on credit and debt issue, but also enjoys sharing helpful tips on living a financially balanced lifestyle and saving money. She uses educational and other reputable sources to provide helpful information to assist consumers with their financial management decisions.

Related Posts

Six ways to invest without going into debt

Consider lump sum payments while clearing your debts

How to pay off all your debt

Know Your Rights when an Account is Sent to Collections


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Are Mobile Phone becoming too expensive?

Over the past few years, mobile phones have undergone tremendous change, both in function and design. They are getting faster, bigger and more powerful at very fast rate. Nowadays, the phones are designed to support applications that were impossible in the past five years ago. The demand of the Smartphone is increasing each day. Therefore, the prices of the latest Smartphone's have increased significantly.

Three years ago, $199 with two-year agreement would get you to the best phones in the market. The more advanced $299 iPhone with a two year contract was the most expensive phone in the market. For instance, the HTC DROID, Motorola DROID 3, and LG revolution are all priced at $199. They are not bad but they are not the best. Therefore, you have to part with $250 and $300 with two year agreement so as to get the best phone.

One may be tempted to believe that the increase in the phone prices is due to more powerful features. In fact, most of the phones are cheaper than they were last year. In addition, it is important to note that all phones selling at over $200 are 4G enabled devices. The 4G enabled phones are more expensive since carriers do not charge extra for the 4G access. Therefore, they have decided to make extra money on the initial price of the phone.

On the other hand, customers without 4G enabled phones may pay up to $20 each month for 4G access. This makes 4G phones more expensive than ordinary phones because of the monthly payments. It is important to note that carriers may slow down their 4G expansion due to insufficient funds. Therefore, the price of the phone is expected to remain high since the 4G network carriers may charge extra costs for upgrading their network. Due to premium and faster 4G network, all mobiles are expected to adopt 4G enabled phones in the future hence higher price of buying a phone.

This hike in price has left a lot of people searching for mobile phones for bad credit as most people credit limits are stretched to afford the deals on offer.

Related Posts

Free Mobile Connection for BSNL Customers

Health Insuraance portability followed by Mobile Portability

EPF Information through internet and Mobile


Friday, 18 October 2013

Premature withdrawal of EPF allowed in certain conditions

The employee’s Provident fund is a compulsory saving of an employee. A part of his or her salary will be deducted by the employer and deposit with any recognized Provident Fund Scheme or EPFO with management contribution. This fund is meant for the retirement financial needs of the employee. When retire the employee is supposed to survive with the fund money also. So normally no withdrawal is allowed from the fund. However, the employee is allowed to make any premature withdrawal of EPF under certain conditions and circumstances. Just know the circumstances one can make a premature withdrawal of EPF and the required documents thereof.

Marriage of self, siblings or Children

An employee can withdraw money from his EPF Account for his or her marriage, Marriage of their siblings or the marriage or their children. This withdrawal is allowed only after completing 7 years membership in EPF account.  The maximum amount of withdrawal is 50% of the total balance in PF account and this premature withdrawal of EPF is allowed only three times in the entire service period.  You should produce a marriage invitation card as the proof of marriage while applying the withdrawal.

Education of self or children

An EPF Member can withdraw money for the education of self or the children of the member. The same conditions of withdrawal for the marriage are applying for the premature withdrawal of EPF for the education also. But you must produce a valid copy of or a bonafide certificate of fees payable.

Medical Treatment

An employee can make a premature withdrawal of EPF account when there is a requirement of medical treatment of self, spouse, parents or children for a disease which require hospitalization for more than one month. There is no service length or frequency of withdrawal for this type or premature withdrawal. One can withdraw whenever he satisfies all these conditions. The maximum withdrawal amount is 6 times monthly salary or the total fund balances whichever is less. You should produce hospitalization certificate along with leave sanction from the employer and also should produce a certificate from ESI (Employees State Insurance) or employer which states that you are not getting ESI benefit. A certificate from the hospital which states the illness in specified format also should be submitted along with the application.

Purchase a plot

If you have completed 5 years of service with EPF membership you can withdraw EPF for purchasing a residential plot. The plot must be registered in the name of the employee or spouse or in the name of the joint family. The title of the plot must be clear and free from any legal issues and should be registered under the Indian Registration Act. Documents should be submitted to prove the same. The EPF member can make a premature withdrawal of EPF for purchasing a plot only once in his entire service period and the maximum amount allowed for withdrawal is 24 times monthly salary.

Acquisition or Construction of a flat or house

Premature withdrawal of EPF is allowed for the construction or purchase of a flat or house. In this case also the employee must complete 5 years of service. The property must be registered in the name of the employee, spouse or joint family. The maximum amount of withdrawal is 36 times salary and can make such a withdrawal only once in the service period.

Repayment of home loan

An employee can withdraw premature withdrawal of EPF to repay the housing loan once in the service period. The employee must complete 10 years service period and the house must be in the name of the employee or spouse of the employee or joint ownership of both. The maximum withdrawal of EPF is allowed is 36 times monthly salary.

Alteration or renovation of house

One can withdraw EPF prematurely to renew or make any alteration of the house once during his or her service period. The house must be in the name of the employee or spouse or with joint ownership. The employee must have completed 5 years of service and maximum 12 months’ salary can be withdrawn for this purpose.

Pre retirement withdrawal

An employee can withdraw 90% of his or her Total corpus after completing 54 years of age once during his or her service tenure.

An EPF member can withdraw a part of his or her EPF balance in any of the above mentioned circumstances. All the above cases relevant documents must be submitted for granting such withdrawal. But remember that the EPF amount is for the post retirement life, but in some emergencies one can utilise this money. Please also remember that the monthly salary in all the above cases means the salary which is used to deduct PF. Some cases it is limited to Rs. 6500 and in some other cases it is the sum total of basic and Dearness allowance.

Related Posts

EPF Things you must know

Know your PF Balance online

View your EPF A/c Passbook and monthly deposit

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Top tips to help college students draw up education budget

Top tips to help college students draw up their education budget

You may have chosen the perfect college for yourself and may also have arranged for the payment of the tuition fees. However, you need to realize that studying at your favorite college is not just about managing the fees every semester. Needless to say, there will be several other expenses along with avenues of income. All the same, you need to ensure that you do not fall into a financial black hole due to poor planning. That you need to take your classes seriously and work hard to be eligible to be part of the graduate schemes is a known fact. These schemes will help open up new avenues for you as a graduate student as you get the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the intensive work pattern and work accordingly to shape yourself to get acclimated to that environment. However, while you strive to achieve perfection over time, you cannot ignore the importance of drawing up a budget so that you do not go overboard. Given below are some tips that will ensure that you take into consideration a plethora of factors when coming up with a budget for your college education.

1.) Understand the timeline of the college course and decide the amount accordingly:
When it comes to attending college, there are several factors that can decide the format of your budget. There can be a minimum of three ways that can help you decide the budget for that particular time period. You could do it on a monthly basis or on the basis of each semester that your curriculum would be divided into. However, you can even take the entire academic year into consideration as well. In any case, you must ensure that the timeline that you choose must remain static for the rest of the college year.

2.) Knowing your potential sources of income:
As a college student you should list down the potential sources from which you are entitled to earn suitable income. There is a possibility that you may have earned yourself a scholarship to fund your education. Therefore, this will fall under the income category. You may also consider taking up part time jobs to pay off student loans. Besides, there is every possibility that you may have started saving for your college education much earlier while still in high school. Besides, your parents or a family member may have gifted you a size-able amount of money for your college education and all of these can form part of your income. Besides, you may also be eligible to be a part of the graduate schemes. This can be an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your talents to well known organizations as they select you to be a part of their dedicated training programs as a graduate.

As a rule of thumb, it is wise to assume that your income levels will be relatively low in order to curtail unwarranted expenses.

3.) Listing out possible expenses:
The first and the most crucial step in ensuring that you understand your expenses is by writing down every product or service that you spend on. Generally, a student will have to look after college supplies and stationery items along with clothing and housing facilities, which are most important. Once that is taken care of, you need to consider transportation and mobile phone expenses. Besides, expenses for entertainment purposes are indispensable.

College tours and visits like spring breaks and other such trips with college friends can also amount to a good chunk of money and you need to consider these factors when drawing up a budget.

Author’s bio:
Marian Cosby is a student counsellor working with a career counselling firm. She is also a freelance writer and loves to use forums as a discussion medium. She strongly recommends graduate schemes as a means for overall student development.

Related posts

How to save for higher educaiton

Invest for education needs

Children Education Allowance

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Why Consider Lump Sum Payments While Clearing Your Debts?

These days a lot of consumers can be seen struggling with their credit card payments. The problem arises when the credit amount on their card goes beyond the minimum balance and hence they find themselves in huge debts. It is at this particular time that a large number of consumers facing this problem seek to different debt settlement schemes. Yes, debt settlement is the latest trend in the financial industry. However, in awe of clearing their debts at a much lower value than the actual amount, many consumers today fail to realize that debt settlement is not really a solution but merely an alternative for a trap as hideous as bankruptcy.

Most of the debt settlement programs talk about clearing all your debts at a lower amount or through ways which does not involve borrowing more money. Some even boast about methods that will not only make you debt free in merely some months but will also do not impact your otherwise monthly income or cash flow. However, very few of these services and companies offering debt settlement schemes focus on the idea of employing lump sum payments for increasing the probably of your financial success.

According to the rule of thumb, a dent settlement company will provide you with a program that focuses on saving some fraction of your monthly income or leftover money and maintain it in a settlement account. Then the company will consult your creditors and negotiate with them so as to bring the debt amount to a value lower than the original. Basically, the debt settlement company acts as a mediator between you and your creditors to frame a negotiated settlement value which you can easily pay. The entire process generally takes a time anywhere between thirty six months to sixty months. Though this may sound as an easy way out from all your debt problems, however, it comes with many drawbacks. The major one being that you will be also paying fee to debt Settlement Company as well which is generally not a less amount.

Another better and more effective alternative for debt settlement scheme is to go for making lump sum payments. The idea behind this concept is to shorten the time period for which the payment is supposed to pay. This can be easily achieved by making larger sums of money from time to time. Therefore, the probability of you clearing all your debts without irritating the creditors is highly considered.

For making lump sum payments, you need cash. Therefore, you must begin by hunting for different opportunities of generating cash. For instance, one of the easy ways will be to tap all the access to the loans or the assets you possess in order to clear your complete debts. You can even consider selling anything you have which is worth a huge amount such as your motorcycle, boat or even your car. Another helpful possibility will be to try and borrow money either from your friends and family. You can even borrow some amount from your retirement account. However, in such a case you must be prepared to face the consequences in case you fail to pay back this entire borrowed amount. Before you take on any such step, it is always a good idea to consult either your financial advisor or tax planner with your retirement account as they will not only help you in weighing the pros and cons of the situation but will also aid in making you understand the long term consequences you may face or impacts your financial condition may face in times to come.

Author bio:

Stella Benson is a credit advisor and a financial researcher at Her recent research paper focused on the different ways of debt settlement. She is currently based in Vancouver.

Related Posts

Credit Card Traps

Credit Card is a boon or bane

Missing credit card payments

Clearing your debts

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

CCL for Fathers is a demand for 7th Pay Commission

The introduction of the CCL or Child Care Leave was very much acceptable and the government of India showed that how much it considered the upcoming new generation. The mother of the child gets left for looking after their child when he or she is suffering from any illness or facing examination etc. But the sanction of CCL is as per the decision of the leave sanctioning authority.  So it is not compulsory to sanction CCL to an employee and the private institutions can barely refuse CCL. In such a CCL for fathersscenario there is a demand for CCL for fathers (male employees) also. If the father is a government employee he can avail CCL for such emergencies.

In the present social and economic conditions both husband and wife should work for the financial wellbeing of the family. So if wife is working in a private firm and husband is a government employee, they won’t get leave for such emergencies. If CCL is available for husband (CCL for fathers) he can take leave in such emergencies.

So  Child Care leave or CCL for fathers (Male employees) is a demand and we hope that the 7th Central pay commission will consider this seriously.

Related Posts

What is CCL or Child Care Leave?

Conditions for CCL or Child Care Leave

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Expected DA & AICPIN (IW) for August 2013

All India Consumer Price Index Number for the month of August 2013 is 237. This shows two point increase from the AICPIN for July 2013. On July 2013 the AICPIN (IW) wasExpected DA & AICPIN (IW) for August 2013235 points. This time increasing price of food materials contributed to the major hike. Really it makes financial burden to all level of people. The price of almost all food materials is increased and the life of common people becomes more expensive.

The highest increasing trend of 8 points recorded in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. As a result of this 2 points increase of AICPIN (IW) the DA (Dearness allowance) will show an increase of 3.93%. Then the calculation of total DA is 93.93%. But the Dearness allowance will be increased only twice a year with effect from January & July every year.

AICPIN for August 2103 is 237

AICPIN for July 2013 was 235

Difference in AICPIN for two months is 2

Increasing DA is 93.93

There will be an increasing trend of AICPIN every month.  We have to control our expenses by consuming seasonal food items and vegetables. Then only one can lead a financially balanced life. Let us wait for the next AICPIN (IW) which will be declared on 3ast October, 2013.

Expected DA & AICPIN (IW) for August 2013