My wife and I signed up for an "one year interest free" loan while making a purchase at Whitehall Jewelers in Mesa,AZ. The funding creditor was GE Capital. Supposedly, if you make (at least)the minimum payment ontime, no interest charges are to be assessed. From the very first billing, the bill arrived in the mail one day before the due date. Of course, when we called the billing dept they claimed ignorance but would be happy to take a payment over the phone for a $10.00 fee. After an hour of talking to the rep, then his/her supervisor, then their supervisor, supposedly the payment would be taken without fee. The next months bill arrived at the same time: one day before due date, and reflected a late fee and an interest charge on the late fee amount. Same story: an hour on the phone with several people and supposed waiving of all fees/charges. This went on for several months, each time, supposedly given accurate numbers as to what is exactly owed, payed at that time, with additional charges continuing to mount with each billling. In my last communication with a supervisor, I was told that "well, whoever you have been talking to were not authorized to to remove any fees/interest charges and those moneys always have been and are still owed."
We were in the process of refinancing our home mortgage, so we wrapped in the stated full balanced owed to GE Capital as reflected on our last billing and with three credit bureaus. The mortgage company cut a check for the balance made out directly to GE Capital, which was cashed in a timely manner by GE.
My wife and I purchased a new car sometime later. We were shocked to discover that GE Capital had placed a claim of non-collected debt in the amount of over $400.xx We dug up the last bill, called GE and were told that our deliquent acct had since been sold to Arrow Financial and that GE had no legal way to talk to us about it-we'd have to call Arrow, and was given the number. We tried to discuss with Arrow Financial the situation, faxed several documents supporting our claims. Arrow stated that unless we had a bill reflecting a "0" balance, we owed them the amount claim, which up to almost $500.00 by this time. Another call back to GE gleaned the same statement: "they couldn't talk to us because the acct had been sold. We needed to take it up with 'Arrow."
We have since discovered that our experience with late arrival of bills has happened to many people, including Whitehall Jewelers employees who used GE for their own purchases. In discussions with GE, they claimed that it was impossible that they were the problem, as our bill was being sent out in large groups and no on else was getting them late-it must be the Post Offices fault. I discussed this possibility with the US Postal Service. The post office sent a tracking notice to GE and magically, the bills began to arrive in a timely manner.
Additonally, I have established contact with a former employee of GE, who has personally witnessed coworkers purposefully leaving stacks of bills on their desks, waiting till just before due dates to mail out, so the bills arrive too late to pay ontime, thus fees are charged.
All along, I have documented my conversations, statements to/by whom and what dates/times and dollars amounts discussed. It is my intention to seek assistance with my state attorney generals office, among other entities, and make my experience known. I also will contest the credit report data in writing. Too, I intend on seeking a lawyer to sue for damages: with the credit report claim, I had to pay a much higher interest rate, translating into a higher monthly payment, on my vehicle loan due to the damage to my credit rating. Additionally,this will affect my credit rating in all subsequent financial transactions I attempt until this is resolved. (Not to mention the mental and emotional anguish we've suffered in dealing with GE and Arrow Financial over this situation.) I feel certain that my experience to not an infrequent occurance. Perhaps a class action suit regarding billing practices is possible. I will seek this out.
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