Credit Cleaners. Have you ever used them before? **New UPDATE**
So, here is some back story. Me and my dh are looking to buy a house. We had a big financial pit fall about five years ago (medical issues) and we have worked extremely hard to get everything paid off.
Well, we saw a lender yesterday they gave us some very disappointing news. It turns out that our credit score is pretty decent, but we have two old debts hanging out on our credit report. One of them we are pretty sure we paid off, so we just need to dig up the paperwork and have them correct that. The other thing though is a little scarier to us and we are not sure what we should do.
We had a car accident in 2004, and in 2006 a judgement was put against us. I can only guess that it had something to do with that accident because it is a well known car insurance company that filed the judgement. Now here's the thing, we have not heard JACK about this thing. We haven't had a phone call, a letter in the mail, or diddly squat. We did move to another state, but our cell numbers didn't change for over a year, and we forwarded our address. Our numbers and everything were listed on the report taken by the highway patrol. One would think, they'd be able to find us right?
We NEVER get a phone call from the insurance company asking for our part of the story for the incident report. So how did we get a judgement put against us? We didn't even get a court date or anything to have a chance to fight it. There was a third vehicle involved in the wreck that DROVE OFF and left the scene. They were the ones that actually caused the accident, but because we stayed somehow the wreck was labeled as being OUR fault. Even the patrolman said that there was nothing we could have done to avoid the wreck. Yet, it is still our fault.
Anyway, now we have this stupid THING hanging out on our credit report and we can't get a home loan until it is gone. It was suggested to us to use an agency that will work to help you clear things like this up. Have any of you ever used a credit cleaner? Or do you think that this is something that we can fight on our own? I can't help but wonder if getting an agency involved would be more helpful because in hiring someone perhaps we will be taken more seriously? I don't know. We've managed to straighten out everything else, but because this is a court thing we are not sure how to approach this.
Also, I should add that we didn't have car insurance at the time of this wreck. We didn't know it had lapsed. Which by the way, is total BS since my dh somehow managed to renew his license plate just a week or two before the accident and we all know that you can't do that unless you have a VALID insurance policy. How did our insurance lapse when the state of North Carolina ALSO thought we had validinsurance? Crazy! When we called our car insurance company they said that they had tried to leave us a couple of messages to let us know that we needed to renew the policy. Well, when my dh told me that I did recall getting two messages that were cut off part of the way through them. It was an automated message that started the moment the voicemail picked up and so I never heard the beginning part of the message to know who it was that called. The caller ID came up as caller unknown. I can only assume that those two calls were the messages in question. How is anyone supposed to figure out who that heck called that way? LOL. Send a letter for goodness sake. We were your customer for six years and never missed a payment. One would think a company would try a little harder to keep your business, and that was the first accident that either of us had had in YEARS. It had been something like nine years since we had had any kind of incident. SOOOOO, we can't help but think that because we didn't have car insurance if this other car insurance company didn't just push things through because they assumed that we were dead beats or something. It would explain why we were never given a chance to plead our side of the story, and why a judgement was placed against us without being contacted. Itsn't it scary that that can even happen?
Thanks so much ladies. I'm sorry this post was so long, but I felt the need to fully explain what's happening.
Well, it turns out that after doing some research we will hire the credit cleaners after all. We found out that you can't handle a judgement like you can other debts. I will keep updating as we delve into this further.
So, I called the credit cleaner and this is what they said. Basically, we will need to pay a flat rate ($495) that everyone pays, then we would pay 15% of however much they manage to save us. So, for example, if we had a debt of $5000, and they negotiated the payment down to like $2000, then we would pay 15% of $3000 because that's how much they knocked off the debt ($450). So then we would pay the $2000 on the debt, the flat rate ($495), and the 15% ($450), that would come to approximately $3000. Now that is really only a savings of $2000, but that is still better than paying the full $5000. With that in mind, it is very possible for us to get the debt paid, pay the credit cleaners what we owe them, and still come out ahead.
I'm still a little uncertain about this though. If they refuse to budge, then it gets all legally. ( I know I just made up a word. LOL.) Then there is the fact that lawyers, are really expensive and fighting this could add up fast. Then there is the issue of trying to make payments or something, but the problem there is that this is a judgement. What if they feel like they don't have to work with us because the court already ordered us to pay and they will want the full amount? Yeah right. Like we have that just laying around.
Also, because this is a judgement, I don't think the account will eventually close like other debts. Of course, even when accounts close that non payment thing will darken your credit for a long time. I think it will STAY on our credit report until we pay it, or fight it.
Dammit! This is really stressful.
Oh! I did forget to mention that the flat rate will include any further cleaning up of our credit, not just the work they will do on this one particular debt. So, I thought that was nice. We'll see how this shakes out.