I was listening to KKLA, a Christian radio here in Southern California when I heard a company called Real Talk Network say theyd show me how to pay my mortgage without interest. I called up the toll-free number which scheduled me to attend a 3-hour presentation at the Doubletree Hotel near the Ontario Airport in San Bernardino County, California on Monday, 2/22/2010, from 7PM to 10PM. Erik Sale (the first speaker) started the presentation by highlighting how daily compound interest permeates the lives of all American debts, and how this could cause a $200K mortgage to bloat up to $800K over 30 years. The presentation was sprinkled with verbiage on how they can show us how to pay 0% interest and 100% principal payments, but were followed by We will get to that later or Ill show how thats done later on.
It is important to emphasize that these two terms were interchangeably reiterated (sometimes even yelled out, and the speakers had microphones) throughout the presentation. About an hour into the presentation, a second speaker named David Burke continued where Erik Sale left off. This man introduces himself as so blessed a man that what he really wants to do now is to give back to society. Then his presentation ensues with repetitive references to 0% interest and 100% principal payments. I remember badly longing to know HOW to do this already. It wasnt until almost halfway through the 3rd hour when David Burke made the revelation. He demonstrated by listing three categories of credit tools on the board. First was the typical 30-year fixed mortgage loan. The second was the Revolving Credit typical of credit cards.
Then he introduced the Line of Credit. He said they have been working out deals with banks who had altruistic goals to help Americans get rid of their debts, and that these line-of-credit float accounts had 0% interest. David also said that this was something the banks were more apt to offer only to Real Talk Network customers (implying that the banks somehow assessed them with greater credibility). David Burke demonstrated how all credit card debts and other types of debts could be paid off using this credit line while simultaneously increasing ones cash flow (i.e., by transferring interest-incurring balances to this account), effectively making payments against this account 100% principal. (It is noteworthy to mention that David Burke, at one point during the presentation, asked every member of the audience their net income per month, and when it got to my turn, I said I was unemployed.
I said this to the entire room, and I reinforced that premise to all subsequent counselors I spoke to like Erik Sale and Damien to make sure they knew that). After the presentation, I still had a burning question at the back of my mind. I sought the assistance of Erik Sale about this 0%-interest float account, but he didn't really enlighten me. As a result, I found myself walking out of the hotel towards my car, ready to go home. Thats when I saw David Burke walking back to the hotel. Seeing that I was leaving, he asked me, So David, youre choosing to just pay all that interest? I told him I couldnt sign up because I didnt understand certain things, especially that 0%-interest float account. I asked him, Is this for real? You can get us a line of credit with 0% interest? He unequivocally and tersely said Yes. Then I told him, This sounds like its too good to be true!
He responded, Yes, I guess it does. For the first time, my burning question had finally been unequivocally answered. So I walked back into the hotel with David Burke, and he referred me to another consultant named Damien who accommodated my residual questions and processed my payment that night for $2997 through my Wells Fargo credit card. I left that night feeling excited about the thought of having access to a 0%-interest "float" line of credit where I could gradually transfer my mortgage balance over time. On 02/26/2010, I was called by my coach (Larry). I told him that I had a high FICO score (789 for Equifax, 785 for Trans-Union), that I had no consumer debt other than my mortgage, and that I was unemployed. I told him all I was interested in was getting access to that 0%-interest line of credit account that was explained during the presentation.
To my amazement, Larry responded, Im not sure I know what youre talking about with this float account. A brief discourse with Larry reveals to me the reality Ive been accustomed to all along that aside from 0% credit cards (for balance transfers), all other credit tools entailed an interest one way or the other. Larry eventually called Erik Sale to talk with me, but it was a waste of time because all he did was persistently attempt to cloud the issue and to sway the discussion to irrelevancies that led nowhere. All of a sudden, new phrases were coming up where the 0% interest highlight became effect of a 0%-interest. Erik was also denying that the float account they talked about was 0%-interest. So what then was the point of all this repetitive highlighting of 100% principal/0%-interest payments that crescendo to this panacean float account when it was an account that charged interest?
Also, it turns out that this line of credit required a regular two-or-more-paycheck deposits per period to spread the amortization table sideways. But they knew I was unemployed, so why still sell me a tool I am not eligible to use? I came to the presentation because I wanted to know how I could pay my mortgage without interest. I did not get that. Are they recommending me to transfer my mortgage balance to these 0%-interest credit cards? Who would do such a thing? These 0% credit card balance transfers are not only transitory but would also lead me into a maze of incessant balance transfers from one card to another where I would incur cash advance fees each step of the way. Besides, this is clearly not what they were advertising because credit cards are revolving credit lines, something they made distinct from the third kind of tool they called Line of Credit.
I decided to dispute this credit card charge with Wells Fargo, but I was told that depending on the contract I signed, this may not fare out favorably for me. It seems now that Real Talk Network may get away with my money over technicalities. They knew I was unemployed, and that I would not be eligible for this float account they were talking about, but they still took my payment anyway. And worse, this float account wasnt even a 0%-interest line of credit. They have no line of credit tool that is 0%-interest. It would truly be a tragedy if more consumers fell for this type of unscrupulous, unethical, and unconscionable business practice. Are they supposed to get my money anyway due to a technicality that their contract says they do not issue refunds and which I had signed? They falsely (or ambiguously) advertised, and now I am still unemployed, and my savings will be shorter by $2997; if I am to lose my home, it will now be much sooner.
If the law allows a business establishment to exploit citizens by snaring and misleading them and then bank on circumvention of the law via contractual technicalities as their safe haven, what would that say of our legal system? I have already filed a complaint to the FTC against Real Talk Network, and I have opened up a dispute with the BBB of Colorado. Given my personal experience with David Burke along with what I am reading here, it is hard to think anything of him other than a crook.