• Report: #66405
Complaint Review:

HRS, Household Retail Services

  • Submitted: Mon, September 01, 2003
  • Updated: Sun, September 07, 2003

  • Reported By:Bonners Ferry Idaho
HRS, Household Retail Services
City Of Commerce, CA, California U.S.A.

HRS Household Retail Services fraudulent billing practices, egregious and phone late fees, interest rates, finance charges, no customer service dept, no one answers phone number..automated City Of Commerce California

*Consumer Suggestion: It sounds like you already paid this bill off--cut these clowns loose.

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In May of 2000 I purchased a Gateway Computer from Gateway by phone. They set up my billing with HRS Household Retail Services. The interest was outrageous at 26.9%. My payments were $52 monthly, and I requested a payment date after the 15th of the month, which was agreed upon by Gateway.

My payment due date was usually before the 15th of the month, and the date changed monthly. My payments were made faithfully. $52 each and every month, paid from 7-21 days early every month. The company continually claimed my payments were "late" and charged me most of the payment as late charges. I constantly wrote to complain, to no avail. I called their 800 number, but it is automated only and no number is given where you can reach a person to speak to. The automated computer would say my payment was received days before the due date, yet I was still charged "late" payments, which was almost the entire payment most of the time.

In June of 2003 they raised my minimum payment from $52 to $72 with no explaination. I thought it was an error, so paid my usual $52 payment. They took the payment as a "late fee", and the following month they raised my minimum payment to $92. In an attempt to straighten out my account, even though I knew I did not owe it, I sent in a payment of $144. $92 they claimed I owed as my monthly payment, and a $52 advance payment toward the next month so I would be one month ahead all the time.

Last week I received a notice that I now owed a $164 payment to get my account current, and was told I should contact their collections department "in light of my financial problems" to get the number of a debt management agency from them in order to avoid them turning my account over to a collections agency.

To date, I have made payments of $2068 towards a computer that cost $1942. I have paid $576 in interest and "late" charges, even though I was never late with my payments. They now state my balance is $849, which if I paid it, would mean I paid $1492 for the computer and $1425 in interest. That is not 26.9% interest, it's almost 100% interest!

This has to be legal, but I can't get a person to speak to me and straighten this out. I feel I am being ripped off and have little or no recourse. I need a champion who knows how to fight these sleeze bags and stop them from ripping people off.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/01/2003 09:43 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/hrs-household-retail-services/city-of-commerce-ca-california-91716-0148/hrs-household-retail-services-fraudulent-billing-practices-egregious-and-phone-late-fees-66405. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

It sounds like you already paid this bill off--cut these clowns loose.

AUTHOR: Jacqueline - (U.S.A.)

Staying with them to handle your payments needed to be stopped. This all depends on your "Terms of Aggreement or Conditions" with them and Gateway. If you have a remaining balance with them, go through another institution/coporation to handle your billing or better yet; don't give them any more money. Maybe you don't even own them anymore.

If you have a credit card, charge it to your card. If you can get a loan from someone, like family, friends or a bank, this is another option, just to pay it off. There are still more options, but none with quick fixes.

You did a really fine job with those numbers, and I want to make sure I understand correctly. Is the actual total of the cost, the amount you agreed to pay, interest included? This is the total for $1,942. If you have long since paid that amount, cut these clowns loose. Blow off the unproven late fees.

You might consider accessing the ftc website: www.ftc.gov or call them at 1-877-382-4357. Irregardless of the outcome you might consider contacting them anyway. This situation you're describing is potentially an alleged "FLEECING", and illegal collection of profitmaking through overdrafts/late fees. This happens when a business adds fees on to a payment, which is already due for unjust cause. From one State to the next, and in more recent times there are other terms. In addition, legistically the term "fleecing" might mean something different in other States. It does not matter. This is still just a possibility.

The payment scedule sounds perfect, and would really be even better, if you have saved your billing statements. Maybe not each and everyone, but enough for proof in Court, if necessary.

Really unless there is a higher total in your Terms of Agreements, this bill is paid. If the 26% is calculated into the $1,942 total, you're done. There should be no overdraft fees. You paid your bills on time.

Now we have to collect and itemized the details of your proof of payment. Your bank can help you with this one. Some will provide archived account information for free, or sometimes a very small processing fee. They can also provide photocopies of cleared checks. There are key dates stamped on the back of those checks, which serve as evidence you paid them early. If they are just that deviant, and intentionally held your checks, there are still other options.

Make them give you an explanation about their "holding time", and why you were not informed of this practice. If they want your money, they owe you that much. This explantion has to occur in print for evidence, and credit history security. They have to show where in their terms of aggreement or conditions does it state, there is a "check freeze". Check freezes commonly occur when people cash checks from out of State banks. If they work in Illinois, and reside in Indiana. The Indiana bank might put their pay check on a 5 day freeze. That doesn't really happen as much anymore, but I'm just trying to give an example.

They have to validate delaying on-time payments, and intentionaly making them late. This means their records have to show when the check was received, and a specific detail of what happens when this check arrives. When this detail is given, then they will need to explain, why you were not informed of this unique processing and handling. Now I know with computer special effects, they have the potential to fabricate unauthenticated documents. If so, your bank would have to be in on it.

You would need to determine whether or not these statements are falsified through and "Expert Witness". This person could be a banker, accountant, a lawyer or even in some cases the law. I don't think they will stoop that low.

It is important to carefully reveiw your terms of aggreement with them, because some of these options may not be possible. Con Artists and Corrupt Companies know the law, in more cases, better than the rest of us.

All of this is entirely up to you. Here is something else to consider. Place a lawsuit against them. From the evident total, you have actually paid $126 over. Sue them for that amount. If they want to talk about late fees, you know what? Calculate the entire total of ALL the falsified late fees, and tack that on to the $126 for the extra processing you did, because of their inadequete book keeping.

If they threaten to hurt your credit, you can dispute the charges. It would qualify you for a free credit report. There is an article you can access to learn more about this through: http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cgi-bin/pf.cgi The title of the article is Fair Credit Reporting authored by the Federal Trade Commission. Let us know if you have problems accessing that article, because you will need it.

If an item on your report is changed or removed, the credit reporting agency is not allowed to show this dispute in your record. This is key---they have to prove you paid the bills late. If they cannot provide information with accuracy and completeness, their information cannot be posted. Now you have your bank and credit reporting agencies as Expert Witnesses.

This is why you need to mail them a certified signature required letter detailing your accomplishment in paying your bill or specifying the exact total which you will actually pay. The total obviously less than what they are asking for has to appear in a detailed organized outline. What you have here in your report is good, just break it down,into more detail or payment progression month to month. This would include possibly 59 monthly totals dating back to the year 2000.

Calculate the overdraft fees as a separate total from interest, the actual cost of the product, and any processing fee they might have, with coommisions, etc. Add the total and compare it to what you have paid up to this point. I know you already have in this report, but it would need to follow a scedule. This would appear on your banking statements.

Your bank might have something to offer as well, in regard to your payment records. There may be other files the consumer does not commonly view, which can be submitted for proof of payment scedules. If they are a good bank, see them as team players or consultants in finding resolution.

While you send the certified letter snail mail, you can still phone tag them, with a verbal confirmation included with your arriving letter. You phone call should parallel your correspondance.

The certified letter should include, at the bottom, a list of "cc"s--correspondance copies. These are copies of other professionals whom will recieve a copy of that specific letter sent to them. Your list should start out with 1-Your State Attorney General Mr. Lawrence Wasden*, 2-a lawyer friend, 3-the Federal Trade Commision-Consumer Responce Center for the Fair Credit Reporting Act*, 3-your bank (looks good to have their support), the Rip Off Report.com, 4-the California and Idaho BBB's, 5-eyeoncredit.com, 6-phonebusters.com Feel free to add more, if you can think of them.

They also have a website. I don't know if it matters, but I didn't see it posted, in your Report. I have contact information here. The post office box is still just as effective, in collecting a signature. The Post Master will place a note in their box. They'll have to go to the front to get the letter. The Post Master will not allow them to receive the correspondance, without a signature. Here is your third Expert Witness who can also confirm the mailing time for timely payments are not delayed because of the Post Office.

Household Retail Services
PO Box 7001
Anaheim, CA, 92850

Some extra phone numbers:
They claim to provide 24 hour service

Now for your credit report, at a certain time:

Trans Union
PO Box 1000
Chester, PA
1-800-916-8800 This is to call and check for any changes, after you have concluded all negotiations.

Idaho Attorney State General
Mr. Lawrence Wasden
Boise, ID, 83720-1000

For unlawful credit reporting:
Consumer Responce Center-FCRA
Federal Trade Commision
Washington, D.C., 20580

Well I hope this helps. Get back to us if those terms of aggreements are different, or you ran into another road block.

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