ED Magedson – Founder
Beneficial - HSBC - Household Financewww.beneficial.com Buffalo, New York United States of America
In 2002, I had just gone through a divorce and received one of those pre-approved checks in the mail that make it all too easy to sign, deposit, and have easy money. I was then telephoned by a HFC representative and told to come into their office to fill out the loan paperwork. This was a five-year, fixed loan at an astronomical interest rate. However, I needed the money, and I had deposited the check, so, I figured, at least I'll have it paid off in five years.
Well, three years into the loan, I was re-married and my husband was hurt at work. This put us in a temporary financial bind. At this point, I had wonderful credit and had never missed a payment. I called my branch office to speak to them about potentially skipping one payment and tacking it on to the end of my loan. The woman I spoke with asked that I stop by the office because they would do "one better" than that. Because my payment history was so good with them, they were able to "re-finance" my loan, which would not only eliminate my next payment, but give me some extra cash. Unfortunately, at the time, it seemed like a good idea. I get to the office, and she had my check ready and sat down with me to sign the new paperwork. She explained that my payment would stay the same; however, this loan gives me extra perks in that I can pay it off early and, because this would be a revolving line of credit, I can use that credit as I pay my balance down, if I need to. So, I sign and go off with my check. Later, I realized that my same "payment" is basically interest calculated at 21% and that if I only make these payments, I'll never be able to pay this balance off. In four years, I have paid $14,000 on a loan that I still carry a $14,000 balance on.
This past year, I lost my job. I have been unemployed for over six months and have exhausted all of my retirement, my savings, everything to try to keep bills current. Eventually, I realized that bankruptcy was my only option. When I filed, all lenders received notification and effectively discontinued billing and I didn't even receive any uncomfortable calls. Almost a month after filing, I received only one call..from Beneficial/HFC. I find it very hard to believe, first of all, that they did not receive the same timely notification from my attorney that all of my other creditors did. So, I informed the gentleman (barely English-speaking) that I had filed and gave him my case number and attorney's information. Now, and here's the good part, I received a letter from them addressed to my attorney the other day. The letter is from HSBC Mortgage Services!! It was in a handwritten envelope, so I almost didn't open it, as I thought it was probably a solicitation. The letter states that my "Home Equity Line of Credit" has been cancelled for future advances and that they retain a full security interest in my home!
Needless to say, I am livid! My attorney, at this point, has not received this letter, and is initially taking the stance that this is a "mistake" on their part. I think "mistake" is a kind interpretation. First of all, I am not a financial mastermind or I never would have gotten involved with these people. However, I do understand the difference between a personal, revolving line of credit and a home equity loan. I never offered my home as collateral, had an appraisal, signed any paperwork in front of an attorney, notary, at a title company, etc. My account has always been listed as a "revolving line of credit". I have never even heard of or received any previous paperwork from this Mortgage division in Florida! I truly have to believe that this is a blatant attempt to intimidate those filing bankruptcy into re-affirming loans that they otherwise wouldn't by making them think that their home will be compromised. If they get the money, great. If they don't, or if questions are raised, they can chalk it up as a "mistake" on their end. I thought the way that both of these loans were handled were "shady" to begin with, but I took blame and responsibility for taking out the loans in the first place. This latest stunt/practice on their part is just uncomprehensible to me.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/25/2009 05:45 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/beneficial-hsbc-household-finance/buffalo-new-york-/beneficial-hsbc-household-finance-hfc-hsbc-group-unscrupulous-doesnt-begin-to-de-485021. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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