In 1993, I took out a $75,000 loan with The Money Store. They later changed their name to HomEq Servicing Corporation. My interest rate was 11.99% and my payments were supposed to be $770.88.
I became ill, was unable to work, and fell behind in my payments. When I got back on my feet and I contacted them for payment arrangements, they demanded a "down payment" of $3,000 and monthly payments of over $1,900. I made it under these conditions for about four months, struggling with no food for myself and my family and unable to pay the rest of my bills. Each time I contacted them, I was threatened ("we will send the sheriff out there") and could basically get nowhere with them. They flat refused to work with me.
As a result of over ten years of this treatment, I now have over twelve different psychiatric diagnoses, all related to the stress and anxiety caused by this company's abuse and constant legal maneuvering to increase my payments to where a regular working person could not hope to pay them. They have added lawyer's fees, created some sort of escrow account in which they hold my money, refuse to apply payments to my account, or refuse payments altogether, sending them back to my bank, charge me for insurance through their own company at a greatly inflated rate, charge me NSF fees and late fees, and basically fees for anything they can to make the bill higher and higher, while at the same time complaining to the court that they are not being paid.
My payment is now $3,312.40 monthly, over four times my original payment, which does not include taxes and insurance, which I was paying on my own. I live in a modest two bedroom home.
My credit has been destroyed. They refuse to show the loan in repayment on my credit report. I have had to file five separate Chapter 13 bankruptcies to stop them foreclosing, all to keep my house of over twenty-five years, the only house that I will ever be able to own in my life thanks to what they have done to my credit. They originally appraised my property at $110,000 and now they have sent an appraiser who says that it is only worth $40,000. Yet they are charging me $140,000 at 11.99% interest for it. It is as if I am starting all over from the beginning on my loan, at twice what I borrowed.
They entirely consumed the $45,000 equity I had when I entered the loan by refusing payments and at the same time running up my bill at a very high interest rate. I now owe over $140,000 and they are again refusing payments. They foreclosed on me a long time ago and I have done everything I can to try to protect myself and my house, to no avail. I am suicidal. My house will be sold at Sheriff's auction in the next week.
Meanwhile, my wages are still being garnished for $416 every two weeks. I must pay their lawyer $2,500 monthly in addition to this, or face eviction. If I am even one day late on the $2,500 to their lawyer, my payment plan is thrown out.
I missed my January, 2006 payment and so will now be evicted. I had to choose between food, heat, shelter, or medication. I chose food. They did something in court that says they get to take possession of all the things in my house at the time of the sale when they send the sheriff to evict me. I have nowhere else to go. I will lose my pets, my possessions, my house, my credit, my wages, and my health because of this greedy company.
I already have a suicide plan in place. I have been hospitalized in a mental institution three times in the past year because of suicidal ideation as I cannot bear the thought of being homeless or having to start all over at my age (50), and especially the thought of all of my animals dieing.
Please, other people, if you are reading this and you are in this situation, listen:
1. File a Chapter Seven bankruptcy immediately. This dismissed all debt for me, except the secured debt on the house. A lawyer can then argue pro rem, some legal thing that means that they can't hurt you anymore. This will prevent them from sueing you further. The worst they can do is take your house, but nothing else (cars, personal property, retirement, etc.), although I am not sure with the new bankruptcy laws. Anyway, it helped me.
2. Try to refinance while you can with someone else (really anyone else would be better I think). Go online and look around, but be careful. Research the lender first, which I wish I had done with The Money Store.
3. You can try to save your house if you think you will be able to make the bankruptcy payments. If you can make it, they have to reinstate your loan. This is the only way to stop them from throwing you out. Be prepared for greatly inflated prices though. You will need to file a Chapter 13, which costs about $1,500 up front and another $2,000 to $3,000 for the lawyer over the next five years and another 10% for the chapter 13 trustee. After all that, they pay HomEq. They might garnish you too.
4. They will send people to "inspect" your property, do drive-bys on you, take pictures of the inside of your house, and serve legal papers. You do not have to put up with this. Remove all physical address designations from your property. I took my mail box and house numbers down and now they can't find me, but this is because I live in the country. This gives me time to at least lock my doors and get my animals inside. I also put up burglar bars so the police can't climb in the windows. I also have an eight foot privacy fence around one acre with razor wire on top.
5. If they come to serve papers, you do not have to accept them. They cannot hang them on the door. I finally took my mail box down completely to prevent mental breakdowns caused by going to the mailbox and receiving daily threats from the lawyers. I get no mail now of any kind, I simply cannot deal with it any longer.
6. Tell a relative what is happening. If anything happens to you, maybe your relative can sue for wrongful death caused by mental anguish intentionally inflicted by a predatory lender.
7. Above all, terminate your business relationship with this company as soon as possible by any means possible, even if it means giving up your house to them. You can always try to get another house. Trust me, they will pursue you until you are dead to take your real estate from you. They are ruthless and without morals or compassion and what they do should be illegal if this is still the United States of America.
Albuquerque, New Mexico