You might want a settlement on your credit card bill for a number of reasons. Job changes, the credit card company raised your interest rate, or divorce are just a few reasons.
A settlement is where you pay off your credit card for less than the total amount owed. Many people who carry a balance every month think the credit card company is happy with you as you make minimum payments, and they are.
The scam by the credit card company works because you want to protect your credit score or because the credit card company limits you to binding arbitration – you just cannot sue them.
If you call the credit card company and honestly tell them the truth – like your company is a mortgage lender and they are going out of business in 60 days – the credit card company really doesn’t care.
If you are behind on your payments the credit card company can scam you. Here is how that scam works. You get a call from a seemingly honest collector. They start by telling you how you have been a valuable customer and they understand that factors in life sometimes happen beyond our control.
The collector tells you a new amount that will bring you current, but fails to tell you that a late fee and a past due fee will be added back in. If you ask, the collector tells you the fees will be waived. That is the scam. Fees are not waived, they got your payment, and another collector calls you tomorrow. You send the account to investigation, knowing you were lied to. The credit card company has no record, and raises your rate.
Now you call the credit card company and tell them you want to payoff the account because they are lying thieves. You immediately put the customer service representative on the alert. Again, they do not care about your problems.
The next scam works because you want to pay off your credit card account and think you can do it with a settlement, paying off less than the full balance owed. The credit card company plays up to you, perhaps saying “I am authorized to accept 80 percent of the balance as a payoff if you let me do a bank draft tonight.”
You have already been lied to and scammed by the credit card company once, so you ask for something in writing. The credit card company faxes an agreement, but it is not signed by their representative.
The scam works because they should sign the agreement before faxing it to you. Then you would sign it, keep a copy, and have a valid contract. This scam works because the cardholder signs the agreement and sends it back, but the credit card company claims it was only a proposal. Then they say the proposal, not signed by them, was rejected (no wire fraud prepetrated by the scammer).
Additional scams involve charging you for the documentation, or $10 for the fax. Failing to tell you of these fees they lower your credit limit to $9 over your balance, and follow up with a $39 overlimit fee. This is a nasty scam.