11/10/2004 I joined Family Credit Counseling Corporation. They promised to negotiate with credit card holders to reduce interest and remove fees so I can get caught up. I cut up my credit cards and closed all the accounts for use. It took a while but I began to see fees and interest rates go down on the accounts. I began to make real progress. I was making $299 monthly payments to FCCC. I turned over 4 card accounts to them. (2 credit cards and 2 Sears cards)
5/9/2006 One of the 2 Sears accounts is being hit with charges and fees because it has gone over the spending limit.
As recommended by Family Credit Councilors, I called and alerted them. They said there was a problem with the original proposal that they submitted to Sears. Someone used the wrong social security number. I confirmed our SS numbers and they said they were re-submitting the proposal. This improper handling of one of my sears accounts has now cost me an additional $700-$800
11/1/2006 Decided to use loan $$ to pay off all credit card accounts.
I needed to buy transportation for work, so I obtained a loan and included an amount for the FCC payoff. I spoke with a rep at FCC. Allowing them to make the payment disbursements would keep me within the rules of their program. The rep called my creditors and obtained the pay off amounts. It came to $7,938 total. I sent FCC a check for $7,938. Except for getting back my deposit, my business with FCC should be concluded.
1/23/2007 I just got a Sears statement. Account is up to $150. ?
Spoke with Lisa at Credit Councilors. I faxed a copy of the Sears bill that did not get paid off when I sent them $7,938 to pay off all accounts. She is re-opening the account and making a one time payment of $150 to pay off the account. She said there would be a $35 fee for handling it. I reluctantly agreed to pay the $35 though I feel this is FCC's mistake that caused me yet another $150 in Sears charges.
3/14/2007 - Received another Sears bill yesterday reflecting a balance of $177.68!! I called Credit Councilors. The agent told me to call Sears and find out the payoff and call back. ?? I called Sears. They had a payment of $115 posted. The payment was short by $35. FCC pulled $35 out of my payment and did not pay the whole bill. In addition, the Sears payment hit right on the day that Sears billing cycle ended. So the new pay off is $62.68 with fees tagged on. That's another $62.68 FCC has cost me.
3/14/2007 Called FCC explained what had happened. The rep hung up on me. I was very calm explaining what happened but I did explain that I felt my account was being mishandled. I don't know why she hung up. I called back.
Spoke to Mike this time and he said that he was re-opening the account(again). That they would research the payoff and call me back in a couple of days. (by the 16th) I told him that I already called Sears and knew the payoff but he insisted that the FCC had to do it this way. The $62.68 that must be paid by 4/2/2007 or I get hit AGAIN with additional Sears finance charges.
Mike said Credit Councilors would be charging me another $35 because this was another billing cycle. I told him this was unfair because it was their fault for not paying off this account in the first place. He said I could pay it off myself but would forfeit the deposit I paid on the front end. I have no choice here if I want my $280 back that I paid to get into the program. That's another $35.
3/16/2007 Friday noon, FCC never called me so I called and spoke to Leanne. She is setting up a 63.00 distribution to occur on the 21st. She said there is a 15 day turn around on these distributions which puts us on the 11th. I explained that I seemed to be on a merry-go-round with this account and wondered if there wasn't some way this could be expedited. She said she would personally monitor the account to see to it that it hits prior to the 2nd. She said I could call on the 30th to confirm that it has been dispersed. No research on the account ever occurred, no notations on my account about it. It appears that Mike's put off was just to stall me so they could get another $35. Leanne took my word for the fact that there is a 62.68 balance on the account. Go figure.
Finishing this program is going to be difficult . I'm having serious doubts I will ever see my deposit now.
Called Sears. Still no payment.
Called Family Credit Councilors, spoke with a rep.. She said that management, yesterday, had requested an expedited payment and those usually occurred the following day which would be today.
Called Sears and asked if a payment has hit the account. They said no. (Shock shock) I explained what had been happening with Family Credit Counseling Corp. The Sears rep said they hear this all the time and suggested I call my State Attorney General. I asked if they could push back the due date for my bill or something. The sears rep put me on hold and after coming back on the phone said they would remove the late fees that have been hitting and take my account down to $0. (Paid in Full) The incoming payment which will be late will be a credit on my account. I thanked him profusely. He said it would still be a good idea to contact someone about this.
I received a call from FCC leaving a message on my home phone saying that I had violated their rules by making a payment directly to Sears (which I never did) and would not be receiving my $299 deposit.
$700 (Sears charges racked up because of the FCC dropping my sears account)
$150 (Additional Sears charges when FCC did not follow through as promised on payment)
$35 (service charges for January payment made)
$70 (service charge for March payments made)
$299 (original deposit)
$1254 (FCC owes me)
In my experience, this agency is all about making money for the agency and could care less about your family. I took this step in good faith thinking I could get out of debt and help my family's financial situation. In the end, they use stall tactics and dishonesty to keep your monthly payments rolling in regardless of the consequences to your family's budget.
Little Rock, Arkansas