Prepare for a rant! Run now if you don’t want to read a long post

Dh and I are seriously looking at leaving our bank of 36 years. I’ve posted various small rants about them over the last year, but the situation is getting worse. In November I posted about how we had to get “permission” to use our debit card to pay for repairs to our truck because they were over a certain limit. Plus dh had to do it between a specific time frame. I understand this is due to all the problems with identity theft, security and so forth. So that one incident wouldn’t be a game changer.
Then there was the inability to shop with amazon with the card during December. Again security.
Not being able to use the card in AZ was a hassle, security.
Once every two weeks I have to verify my email address or it won’t let me view the account online. Not a big problem, but annoying.
No check images on our statements—THIS is a problem as far as I am concerned. Oh they’ll call up an image for you, for a fee, and it’s so much per hour plus a per item fee.
$6 a month fee for this account.
NO places anywhere but an hour from me that will now take deposits, previously there was a wide range of places I could deposit, but those are now all gone. No mobile deposit, bank by mail is now at my expense when it was previously free.
I can’t order checks online without paying for them, but if I drive the hour to the bank and order them they are free.
I can no longer download into quicken—they cancelled that feature with no warning. When I called about it they said it was because Intuit charges too much.
Ds left them when he ordered meds from a company he’d paid numerous times before with the online feature and they did not tell him they no longer would accept debits from that company. He was in major withdrawal before we got that worked out and his meds delivered overnight—at our expense for the overnight fee.
NO atms other than an hour from me that I can withdraw from without a fee.
The list goes on and on. But their stunt this last week REALLY pisses me off. It was the proverbial straw. I get that they won’t let online payments go through on certain states, but a week ago Friday I paid my OKLAHOMA AAA with an electronic check through this bank. YESTERDAY I get a letter from AAA that our insurance is being canceled because the bank rejected our electronic check! I guarantee you there was more than sufficient money in the account. I paid it the day after payday and besides that I had put over $600 extra in the bank that week as well. The bill was only $183. I’ve checked my account balance and verified this.
They waited a week before rejecting it!!! I am angry. So I’m new bank hunting.
We, at all times, have three different banks, up until now they’ve all been small banks. We use one for our main account –the one I’m pissed at, that I pay all my bills out of, but they do not have free online bill pay or remote deposit.
2) Dh uses for his gas “envelope” and it is the one account we have that we can do online shopping in. I only put the fuel money and any online purchase money in it—for security reasons.
3) the travel account, it’s pretty obvious what that one is for. Only we ran into some troubles using the debit card out of state, so we are wondering about that account too. It is only used for when dh travels for business, or we go on vacation (what’s that?).
So if we get rid of #1 where do we go? If we choose another local bank or credit union we could have much the same problems. But to deal with a national bank like chase or boa really concerns us too. We’ve all read the way those banks are screwing the little guy. There are all their debit card fees and such.
HOWEVER, IF, all goes right, dh will retire within the next two years and we’ll start to travel, which means we need a debit card that will work in ALL states. I also need online bill pay, mobile deposit, free withdrawals, paperless statements, and fraud protection.
Dh is online now checking out Perk Street. The one thing I see possibly being a problem there is when reading their insurance coverage it says that pin transactions and atm withdrawals are not 100% covered under their Master Card coverage….that could be a biggie.
Sharon, have you read anything on this? I know you just signed up with Perk Street. Why did you choose them? Did you find any negatives to them while doing your research?
Has anyone had trouble using a debit card from one of the national banks while traveling?

Dh is in NJ today

So I am transferring the blogs I follow off google reader to my side bar since google reader is belly up as of July 1… AND I made an apple crisp for my dinner… JUST apple crisp… so another bowl full with a cupa hot tea and a good book and I might be able to forget about Euros, dollars, Yen, plague, cosmic storms, tornados, locusts…. zombies…

I was about to ask what the “wallowing in self pity” comment was a little while ago

This would appear to be the issue? I’m sorry you’re having these issues, but you’re right. At least you’ve got several things in your favor that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Hang in there, do the best you can, let your customers know that you were trying to be proactive yet you still got caught by surprise, and do the best you can. I know you’ll find a way to hang in there and make it work.

SO..

When we joined two and a half years ago we were just starting our own business after dh became unemployed… We have really buckled down and our business grew and despite some small ups and downs, we are comfortable and able to replace funds in a reasonable amount of time if Murphey calls… A month ago we decided to try and open another shoppe in our own town without having to travel the half hour to the old shoppe… and slowly bring customers to the new place…. the other reason for this was that we had heard that the place where our shoppe is was on the market…. the manager of the shoppes we rent from said they had signed a 3 year lease with the “new owners” and all was well…. but.. all was not well… all vendors have 30 days now to evacuate per the bank…. we were lied to….

This place advertised as a great place for new business start ups, it was a good traffic area…it had been in business for 4 years when we came on board… the other vendors are wonderful, we pay our rent on time, have potlucks etc….

I am very thankful we have the 2nd shoppe in the works… but getting the word out will take some cash flow… its like starting all over again….

….at least this time around we have an EF, and no debt…. at 55 years old… I am getting a bit old for all this excitement 🙂

Ok, you did GREAT in demanding a copy of your SIGNED contract

Until the provide it they have ZERO claim, Zero power. Make sure you stop the auto draft if you haven’t already. Simply tell the bank you are disputing their service. That is all you need to do with the bank. If the bank says they can’t do it or they want you to pay for stop payments, close the account and open a new one, plain and simple. If they can’t draft you they can’t get your money without your permission.
Once they come up with the actual contract, Look for ways they have broke contract with you. I have never heard of a pest control service that can just show up without an appointment. What if you had house guests? What if, like my family, you have family members SERIOUSLY allergic to the chemicals they are using. Ds and I both have to evacuate for a minimum of 2 days any time there is spraying done around our home. What about pets? Those chemicals could be harmful to them and you wouldn’t be prepared to take care of them. They can’t just show up and put your family, neighbors, friends and pets in peril.
What pests are they suppose to take care of? Are you still plagued by those pests? If so for how many months have they been spraying where there spray is obviously NOT working?
As for showing up on your doorstep and refusing to leave. That is legally called intimidation and it’s against the law. They try it again, tell them to wait right there. Lock your screen door, pick up your cell phone and say. “ I’m calling the police. You are trespassing, you are here without my authorization and I WILL have you arrested.” See how brave they are then.
If you don’t get a copy of the contract within a reasonable number of days send a certified letter that you are requesting proof of the contract, Give them something like 4-10 business days to get it to you. They are not to come near your home until you see proof of the contract.
Then once you get it and find all the ways they’ve broken contract send them a second certified letter notifying them of such and that because THEY have broken contract with you, their services are no longer required and you will NOT be paying them for the poor service they have performed to date.
OR better yet only send them one certified letter they have to sign for. If you do not get a copy of the contract by this time next week write them a letter stating that do to their refusal to provide you with a copy of the contract, their poor service and the fact they sent thugs to intimidate you their services are no longer needed NOR will you pay a cancelation fee on a contract that they obviously don’t feel obligated to produce. That since they have NOT been spraying properly you feel all the money you have already paid more than covers any chemical they MAY have used. That you did NOT request their people to “just drop by” at their leisure, thus putting you and yours at a health risk and therefore you are not responsible for their travel or time since they did NOT have an appointment. If you have a family member with asthma or allergies throw that in there too. Keep a copy of the letter and the receipt they signed for in your files forever and ever.
I mean what are they going to do? Take you to small claims? That would cost them more than it’s worth. Turn you over to a collection agency? Seriously are you truly worried about that with all the other drama you have going on in your life. Even if they do either one, you will have your copy of the letter and the receipt they signed for it as evidence that you had reason to cancel the service.
I’d also turn them in to the BBB locally.
I will admit this situation hits a nerve with me. A good friend went through this very same thing with a local company once and her bugs got WORSE instead of better. She finally told them to take a hike or she’d call the cops on them and that was the end of that.

They sound like back room mafia to me

Like pay up now or really pay up later type threats. LOL How do you know they will not do more damage if they come on to or into your property? I am thinking something that is not easily identified at first but causes problems later? Like watered down pesticide or just plain water/no pesticide? So that way you end up with no protection but don’t know it till down the road?

I suggest calling the state licensing board for your state and/or your state’s consumer protection board and let them know what is going on. They made be able to intercede and get you some relief. I would also start taking down names of everyone I talk to in person/phone and anyone who steps on my property. Their paper work should have some sort of state license number. Do they even have a current license?

Did you contact any Consumer Affairs folks

or reporters who profile companies that create problems like this? I still think there are ways to stop paying that contract entirely. If nothing else, gather info and make your recordings and then take them to small claims court. They’re not providing the service they agreed to provide, period. If they’ve broken that contract, you shouldn’t have to pay them, and/or you should be able to get your money back. Forcing you to continue to pay them when everyone knows they’re not providing their agreed-upon service merely enables them to continue. It’s fraud.

NEED TO COOL OFF, take a breath, and come up with creative solutions

SO….that pain in the #### pest control company just sent people to my door, without an appointment, to perform services, and then refused to leave until I spoke with their home office.

That in and of itself pissed me off so much I can barely see straight.

They are standing firm on the “either we perform services ($99 every 3 months) or you pay the cancellation fee ($170).” I asked them to send me a copy of the contract (I have lost mine, not good I know.)

I just cannot believe they are being such jerks. Ok, that’s the end of my venting. Now I am looking for payback.

Like most pest control contracts, they are obligated to come out as many times in between normal servicing, until I am happy. I am thinking I will make them come out every two weeks. Given the exceptionally poor service they have provided to date, I am also thinking of filming them the entire time they are here to document what they do, and how much chemical they use, how they do/not handle nests, etc.

Their sole offer in response was for “me to pay $33 every month until the contract is fulfilled” (about 10 months from now.)

I was just checking the couch program

The money goes to our local pregnancy care center. They have a super grief program that I attended when our daughter died. The woman there are great and they really helped me through. They are doing a program to help you prepare too. I am excited! Kelly from Dave’s office left me a message to reschedule. They are not going to be open that weekend. Bummer there!

Please don’t leave..

This was the plea I heard from my little bank during my one hour conversation with the bank today. I was informed that they have heard so many complaints from customers about the inability to use their debit cards, much similar to the ones I had, they are currently changing their policies.
I was guaranteed I could now use my card in all 50 states anywhere but at Wal-Marts, that my card will now be good for online purchases and they are working with intuit to get the quicken problem fixed.
As for the AAA problem, they claimed the charge never hit my bank, AAA says yes it did, both deny it was their fault, either way the bill is now paid—via debit card, not echeck (AAA wouldn’t take another echeck).

Refinancing won’t solve this, at least not permanently

Typically, the originating mortgage company services their own loans for the first year, and some up to five years. Then, 90% of them sell to investors. That’s what happened here. The mortgagee (ie the homeowner) does not have any control over that process or who the loan is sold to. So one to five years after refi, that new loan could end up anywhere, including with Greentree. Refi if it makes sense to do so for rate improvement, etc. But not for this reason.

As an aside, when folks see in the news that China owns a lot of the paper on American homes, this is how that happens. Those mortgages are sold to whomever wants them. Kind of a scary thought.

Several years ago our mortgage was sold to Everhome

We had never heard of them before either. I wish I could say it was a good thing, but it hasn’t been. They are heartless. We’ve have issues with them saying they didn’t get our payments ontime. At first it was through their website that I was making the payment and I had to prove to them that is was deducted by them from my bank account BEFORE the due date. Then I stated to pay with my bill pay to them and again they tried to do it again. I had to go to my bank who proved to them that the payment was accepted by THEIR electronic system 7 days before the payment was due. They have been horrible.

As for GreenTree, I’ve never heard of them before but I wonder what the 1049 complaints were for. Some people complain about nothing while others have very valid reasons. I wonder if the complaints were part of a class action suit?

Good luck. If you have issues, it might be time to refinance if you are in a position to do so.

My mortgage has been sold to GreenTree

I’ve never heard of them. I found 1049 complaints on Consumer Affair’s website. Anyone had dealings with them? Sounds like bad news to me. 5 years ago, I set my ING direct bill pay to pay Bank of America. Never skipped a beat. Ever. Now Capital One is sending payments to GreenTree. This can’t go well!

I have several bills that are

old and I am not even sure what they are and we have moved several times. Do you go by what is on the credit reports? Do you take accounts from all three? Is there another way? I am a little surprised because when I added everything up except for Student Loans I am only have about 15K in debt. I was thinking it was so much more.

I believe KL says to “wake the dragon, one bill at a time”

In other words, don’t disturb those dormant old debts until you’re in a position to pay for them right then and there. By the time you’re ready to deal with them, they are equally as ready to settle at a percentage of the original debt and you should get in writing that settlement agreement, and mail off payment to them in exchange.
I would start looking for them on your credit report, and once you wake up one, the others will soon follow in locating you, but by that time you should be ready to deal with them quickly.

Gathering ALL the bills

I have several bills that are old and I am not even sure what they are and we have moved several times. Do you go by what is on the credit reports? Do you take accounts from all three? Is there another way? I am a little surprised because when I added everything up except for Student Loans I am only have about 15K in debt. I was thinking it was so much more.

Last week was a busy one with dh and ds working a minor amount of overtime

while I worked on chasing the family tree. The yDNA break thru the family member had has let us shoot back so many generations it’s amazing and so I’ve been using the free ancestry.com to flesh the tree out as much as possible while I can. Documenting as much as I can. It’s on my calendar to be canceled this coming weekend before they hit my paypal account for it. After that I’ll try using some discs I have for 6 free months of genealogy library that I’ve had forever and not cashed in on.
Ds got his taxes filed and back before the sequester, so he’s a pretty happy camper (now that he has cleansed his mouth of the goose “mud.” LOL!)
Three hickory trees that were threatening to fall and do major damage are now cut up and ready to stack for using either in our smoker this summer or in the fireplace next winter.
We’re still working on the bank issue—they are getting a hot call today. Their “security” is getting too far out of hand. Dh and I agree we need a bank we can securely use all over the US and online and if the hometown bank can’t do that then it’s time to move on. We’ll miss the friendly service that 36 years of being a loyal customer has gotten us, but if you can’t even pay your bills with a bank what good is it?
Yesterday I did another blog book review update. This was a nonfiction with some fictional scenarios thrown in on prepping beyond the basics of buckets of grains and bales of toilet paper. It was a fairly interesting read.
Today the sun is shining and the temps are suppose to be back up in the mid 60’s. I plan on making four different batches of Friendship bread muffins today to send with the 15 bags of starter I’ll have by the end of the day to dh/ds office tomorrow. I’ll send recipes and a web link too.
More and more dh and I are talking about retirement. If you think I’m anxious to get back to traveling you should see him. He makes me look like a lightweight. He spent a good part of this weekend talking about how once the debts are gone and the FFEF is created that we are out of here for an undetermined amount of time, just drifting with the seasons. I told him I could be packed in 1 day or less if he has the money to pay for bad credit loans guaranteed approval. LOL! Realistically it will be at least another 2 years if nothing changes financially.
However, we are doing our working on figuring out exactly how much we will need for the FFEF once the debts are gone now. Medical insurance, taxes, auto insurance, home insurance, food, utilities, camping fees, burial savings, the list is long.
So here’s a thread of thought for this week. What do you think of when you are thinking of your needs for your fully funded emergency fund? What items do you list? How many months do you personally feel you need to put back for?

The time on statute of limitations starts when the bill has gone into collections

If you paid on time for 4 years, and it went into collections 2 years ago, they have 4 to 6 years more to attempt collection. They try to get around it by selling the u collected debt to other collectors who falsely try to restart to 6 to 8 year statute time limit. They cannot call, or sue after the original time has expired.

We are in good shape, and I am grateful

I have to QUIT FREAKING OUT. When DH came home with his severance, my head went, ok, there’s 3 1/2 months of living expenses. I have to remember that we are not far from month 2, so we’re about (ok, a little under) where I had tracked we’d be (although I thought UI would have kicked in way earlier…but that ship has sailed.)

Car note: $8900 give or take.

Phones: yeah, we had to go back on contract to get that rate. Just going to two pay as you go phone plans and everyone shared (1 for DH and 1 for the family) was going to cost us $80/month. I could have done one phone and a home phone from Walmart for $15, but it required internet service…which currently costs us more. In hind sight (always 20.20) I should have just gone down to 1 phone for DH, but it just wasn’t worth the battle at the time with him.

Heating & Electic: it’s also our hot water, but you are right, it will drop to about $40 a month, and electric will as well, not huge, but maybe I can get that one down to $60. Wish I had more solar stuff I will do laundry only with cold water this month and see how much of an impact that makes (seriously, just because I am actually curious.) We are south facing and live 4 miles from the beach and get gale force winds starting about 330pm daily, so we don’t have (or need) air conditioning.

Internet: yeah, I told DH an hour ago he’s going to have to look at cheaper options. That alone might motivate him more, lol. I don’t want to get into a contract with internet (right now we are month to month), although if I could find one like Malynda was talking about and pay like $70 worth up front (the same cost as I’m paying for 1 month but basically 6-7 months worth) I might do it.

Water & trash: It is: $20-30 for water depending on usage, $20 for trash, $40 for the privilege of living in Huntington Beach. I’m actually not kidding. I forget what it’s really called but it’s something I don’t use on a monthly basis (I think it’s actually for like emergency services or something like that.)

Car Insurance: yep. I’m going to have to call around. Remember that FIX IT TICKET I got a while back and forgot to go to court on which then cost me $993? Yeah, it jacked up my insurance rates, like close to double.

IRS: It’s ironic that they are the ONE GROUP which is actually willing to work with me. They already have noted that we are going to owe for 2012 as well, so I’ll never pay it off, but hey, 2013 we may qualify for EIC and that’ll pay it off in one fell swoop, lol.

Groceries: 0 because we have food storage and food stamps. I am grateful that we have both, and I already told DH we are using part of the FS allotment to build our FS back up (buying vegetables in bulk to can, meat to can etc.)

Garden: have some of it planted already, what is planted is doing pretty well (welcome to sunny CA). I hesitated really tearing up the yard until I knew for sure we would get UI to cover rent (because what was the point of planting a garden if we had to move end of June?) so I will get that done in earnest now.

Income: We had a reality check with the kids when DH got let go. (I told you HE wanted to tell the kids he was “on vacation” rather than tell them the truth? No kidding.) We decided then we would use his severance to pay for “1 fun thing” through the end of March, not costing more than $100 ea because I knew come April 1, we’d be in a world of hurt and they would have to give up a lot. DS17 did grad night ticket (he’s the only one in PS), DD16 chose ballet through March, DS13 chose Archery which ends this week.

DS17 has a part time job during baseball season which is paying for any and all of his Senior stuff. Only DH is going to DD22’s college graduation & AirForce commissioning, unless he gets a job before the first of May. That was kind of a hard one, but that’s just the way it is. I don’t even want to discuss it (but thank you for your warm thoughts.) DD16 has a pretty flexible college schedule so she is looking too.

The reality is I just have to kick up our income somehow. I appreciate the income generating ideas. I was thinking about starting up a homeschooling/tutoring thing (like, if you’ve always wanted to leave PS but have to work outside the home and you’re already paying for childcare….), but it’s unlikely anyone would start this close to the end of the school year.

Just hearing the pragmatic ideas helps 🙂

Or and this idea just hit me, you might want to do the reverse

Its a tad “old fashioned” but we all survived. Turn off the cell phones and turn on one home phone…
Seems almost archaic now, but having a home phone would still allow interviewers to call and when you get back on your feet you can go to a prepaid cell phone for a while. The phones that you would be disconnecting will still call 911 if you have a true emergency on the road (or at least I’ve always been led to believe that a charged phone with no service will still contact 911).
Thinking out of the box, for this out of the box situation.

I would continue with the money orders as you have outlined them, for the rent

That is priority number 1 and I would pay that first and foremost.

I would raise my deductible on the car insurance as high as possible which should reduce the premium to something more manageable.

What about talking to your neighbor about sharing the cost of Internet? Radical I know but if you have a close enough neighbor, it might be a possibility which will save you both money. It wouldn’t be a permanent solution, something until you get back on stable ground.

Cancelling phones might put you into contract violation but you have to do the math to see if the cancellation fee might be cheaper than the bill.

I don’t know what to say about the water and trash and the city’s (municipality) policies. Surely they must have some hardship program.

When we homeschooled and I needed money

I would list a basket weaving class to the local homeschool forum….another time dh taught an online homeschool class on the 5 paragraph paper.. he sent out weekly lessons building on the paper and they submitted the papers to him for grading…one mom had an italian festivcacl at her home for 10.00 a kid with a craft, a bit of history and geography with a traditional meal to follow ( including how to twirl spaghetti with a fork and spoon) I gladly paid and the boys had a blast…

We homeschool types are always up for adventures… have a traditional middle ages meal complete with trenchers/ make shields with coat of arms… I utilize the local parks for these events….

One time my son even got in on it… 5.00 would get you a game of dodge ball and brownie and a drink…. he asked permission to use the locl gym and they said yes… very fun activity…
…just tossing ideas….

……..oh, and one year… we dug up iris rhisomes that were years old from the homestead… divided them… and got 3.00 each from them since the original flowers were well over 100 years old….
..think outside the box!

OK, I have a question and a confession

I am lax about rotating food in my freezer and I think I’ve come to a point where I’ll have to discard some things. I admit I don’t cook a lot for me – I bake cakes for others and those supplies aren’t around for enough time to be rotated but I took a look at both my chest freezer and the freezer portion of my fridge and have become disheartened.

I have chicken(s) in my freezer since 2015. Are they any good to thaw/eat? I should say I have other meat from 2015 too, none of it freezer burned but I have meat from 2015. What do you think?