This is annoying and insulting, but not necessarily damaging. And not really a "fight to the last drop of blood" thing. In the end, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we're turning our backs on these fools and taking our business elsewhere. And when the winback calls start — and they will — we'll have the even greater satisfaction of subjecting their telemarketers to the same robotic-like, scripted responses we experienced at their hands. Right down to informing them that the conversation will be recorded for "quality assurance". <br><br>I only posted this as a heads-up to anyone considering (or already engaged in) a relationship with these vultures.<br><br>
After many years of being on the AAAA credit list, in 1989 my family entered a nightmare that took us ten years to emerge from. I had just lost my job, and my wife had just been injured on the job, and had back surgery that put her in bed for 6 weeks. We had an infant child and a toddler, and my wife could not even get a drink of water for herself. Although I was unemployed at that time, I was so busy taking care of my family that I could hardly answer the telephone, much less work outside the house. <br><br>I called our credit card companies and asked them if they could give us a 6 week hiatus while we got back on our feet, drawing interest of course. They responded by sending constables to our door with judgments for us to sign. All but about two of them did this. Suddenly they wanted ALL their money, not just the next payment. The bizarre thing was that we weren't even late yet. I had merely told them our story, and said that we were going to do well to pay the rent for the next few months, much less our credit card payments. That is how they responded. <br><br>I wrote letters and made phone calls explaining that there was no way we could pay in full. Immediately the debts were sold to collection agencies. Within 3 months, our credit had gone from top-of-the-line to don't-touch-em-with-a-ten-foot-pole. For the next three years, we were hounded with telephone calls. These were not polite people asking when we could make payments. These were profane, shouting, irate people who would call me "scum" and laughingly "suggest" that I get a better job. They worked in boileroom phone banks for meager commissions on any sum they collected. One of them got my son one time, who was about 5 years old by this time, and told him that his daddy was a bad man who tried to scam the system, and asked him if his daddy was working, and so forth. That's when I got irate and started fighting back full-force. I managed to trap three of them in illegal activities--impersonating an officer, threatening children, lying, etc. I wrote very official-looking letters to stop them. They would just sell the debt to another company. <br><br>Each time another company bought the debts, they would raise the total owed by anywhere from 10% to 30%. One $6500 debt made it up above $35,000 after 18 transfers to different collection agencies. <br><br>Finally, a Houston attorney named Reicke Baumann--who had been one of the first and most aggressive at destroying our lives after my wife's surgery--found our bank account and was able somehow to freeze it. He could not get the money, but we couldn't either. Every penny we owned was there, and we could not buy food or pay the rent. Conversations with the man revealed he was a psychopathic attorney who enjoyed wrecking people's lives. I talked to an attorney about him, and he told me more than I wanted to know. He said Houston lawyers feared this guy. SRoss probably knows all about him, being from Houston and all. <br><br>At this point, attempts to get full-time jobs were rebuffed when the employers would find out about this mess. We had no credit. We had no money. If we had lost our house, we could not rent another or an apartment because of credit checks. We had avoided bankruptcy for 5 years while dealing with this mess, trying to pay off our debts, but finding that the payments never seemed to lower the balances, but nothing we did was good enough. We went on a cash-only basis from that point onward. We got another bank and used it mainly to cash checks. Our attorney had been telling us all along that we should declare bankruptcy, but we had wanted to do the "right" thing. Now with this Baumann guy freezing our bank account and hounding us as if we were his personal vendetta, we had no choice unless we wanted to go underground and remain cash-only the rest of our lives. We did it. We declared bankruptcy. But we took the "good" companies off our list of creditors and reaffirmed our debts with them. We have paid off those good companies since then, and still have an account with one of them. The irony is that we could have and would have paid off all of them if they'd been willing to work with a family that had been hit by temporary hardship. <br><br>Bankruptcy was a horrible experience, but it stopped the insanity. We continued to get letters from credit companies who had bought the loans, but a phone call with our discharge number would put a quick stop to them. All but one: Reicke Baumann continued to wreak havoc on our lives for a while. He tried all sorts of tricks to get us to continue paying him. I called the company he was collecting for (Colonial Bank) and found that they had written the debt off years ago, and that even if we wanted to pay them we could not. The bewildered service rep said "I don't have any way of finding the numbers on that account, and frankly nobody has ever tried to do this before." So, Baumann was just doing this to line his own pockets on the off chance that we would bite the bait. Not wanting to fall into one of his traps, I wrote a polite letter that thanked him for his service and declined further transactions since I was prohibited by law from doing so. He got his last stab in by reporting to every credit agency that we had a huge debt (not true) that would persist for 76 years. I still have not gotten that cleared up, but it does not matter. We do not do credit anymore. We've learned some valuable lessons. <br><br>We now have a few credit cards that have somehow ended up in our possession. I think my wife ordered one. I refuse to allow our family to use them except for rental cars and gasoline. One cannot rent a car without a real credit card (not a bank card). Therefore, the credit card becomes a class-conscious ID for membership into the car-rental club. Gas stations these days just make more sense with a credit card. <br><br>I barely touched on the nightmare in this story. It was so horrid that I have no respect for financial institutions, and even less for lawyers. As for the Baumann ass, I will never dirty my hands with him again, but I assume that one day he will get his just reward. Someone will go over the edge and off him. As antithetical as it is to my nature, I would consider that to be real justice served. I cannot believe the depths to which people will stoop in this game of credit, money, and the legal frameworks which exist to destroy people's lives in the name of these illusory fixtures of modern civilization.<br><br>My advice to anyone is to stay away from credit cards. If you have them, pay them off and drop them. Get them out of your lives. You have no idea what these people can do to you. Moreover, credit causes you to live in debt to yourself. You are stacking up work for yourself which you will have to do on TOP of what it takes to live on. It is very unhealthy, though few people will admit it to themselves in time to make any difference. Use bank cards instead, and keep an empty credit card for situations that require it. Beware, beware, beware: usurious credit is an evil like no other.<br><br>Shooshie<br><br>Shooshie's Stuff
It was really hard up until about 1998. It's all in the past now, but I still wish there was some way I could reclaim what it cost me in terms of living. The stress on my family was too much. It's all in the past now, but I seriously hope the guy who precipitated the entire mess--the one named Baumann--ends up in jail or something. He's one of the bad guys allowed to live as a "good" guy because of his profession. Even among lawyers he's recognized as a rabid dog who needs to be on a chain. <br><br>Oh, one other thing I learned from that: take out job insurance. Keep some way of paying your bills if you get injured or ill for an extended period of time. Credit card companies do not care if you are sick or unable to work. They will zoom in like vultures at the first whiff of disability. But the real lesson is simply to stay away from them to begin with.<br><br>Shooshie<br><br>Shooshie's Stuff
Yeesh! I lost my business (small ad agency) in the mid-80's economic slump, and had to file for Chapter 7. I had one or two creditors who were less than sympathetic tried a few cute tricks until I got an attorney who was able to stop their harrassment. But nothing like what you went through. And 10 years after the discharge we were able to reestablish our credit — even buy a house — without too much difficulty. <br><br>But I know how frustrating and demeaning these things can be. Did you ever consider bringing a harrassment or collusion suit against this creep?<br><br>
Sorry Shoosie, I don't know this person. I am sickened by your plight and only wish I had known you back then so that I could help you find your own "attack dog."<br>I will find out about him and send you a PM. Chances are, he doesn't enjoy that good of a reputation and may have some problems of his own.<br>It's one thing to zealously represent your client, but another to get perverse pleasure out of ruining lives.<br>Let's see....... <br><br>
Yeah, I considered a suit, but I talked to two attorneys who regularly work in Houston (i'm in Dallas), and they reacted to the idea of going against this guy in court about like most rich kids react to the idea of joining the army to fight Saddam in the desert. I decided that I'd treat this ass the way I treat cholla (CHOY-ya), the jumping cactus: stay wayyy out of its way. He looks for trouble. If I beat him and got a bullet-proof settlement, he still wouldn't learn from it. It would just be a notch on the "lost" column of his wall chart, and he'd resolve to be even meaner to the next person. Some people are just terminal cases of meanness. <br><br>Shooshie<br><br>Shooshie's Stuff
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