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