I plan on sending two letters on Monday, one a validation letter which I have a sample copy of and one a cease and desist letter which I also have a sample copy of. The sad part is that by the time that validate the debt I should have enough for their settlement amount as my husband is back to work and making very good money right now. I am calling a lawyer on Monday also because she mad me so mad when she suggested I shouldn’t be feeding my kids first and told me she wasn’t waiting for “tax time” just because I had gone and had all those dependents (we have 4 including my stepson). That right there to me is discrimination on top of abuse. The lawyer offers a 20 minute free consultation so I’m taking it. Thanks for all of the information.
I’ve been going through the same thing with some really awful debt collectors and it’s been a nightmare.
Whatever you do, don’t send them any money right now. They are trying to intimidate you into paying them before you take care of your “four walls.” They will say anything to make you mad and upset you. They want you to get to the point where you will pay them to get them off your back. I don’t think sending them a pro-rata letter is a good idea either. If they see you have money to pay anyone else, they will continue to try to intimidate you until they get to the top of your list.
If you do want to work out a settlement with them, you should send them a validation letter first. It can be a simple one-line letter saying, “I dispute this debt in it’s entirety and request validation.” Make sure you send it certified mail return receipt requested. Once they receive the letter from you (you will get the green postcard with a signature as proof), they cannot contact you until they have sent you proof that you owe them the money. You should never pay any debt collector anything without proof that they are collecting for a credit card you owe or that they have legitimately purchased a debt that you owe. They also have to account for the amount they say you owe them, original debt, interest, etc. If they can’t prove those things, you don’t owe them a dime.
Now about the phone calls – what they are telling you on the phone sounds like a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
They cannot threaten to take any property, garnish your wages, or anything like that unless they are lawyers, and they are not lawyers, they are a collection agency. A real lawyer wouldn’t threaten you like that on the phone. And they definitely can’t take your car! By violating the FDCPA, the collection agency is liable to pay you $1000 per violation plus legal fees. That would probably cover a big part of the debt you owe. You may choose to fight them and try to collect that.
If you have a way to record the phone calls and the threats they’re making, then do it. If it isn’t legal in your state to record phone calls, then take detailed notes of the calls including the date and time. Check this website to see if it’s legal in your state to record phone calls: http://www.rcfp.org/taping/ It’s only illegal to record if you’re in a 2-party state. If you’re not in a 2-party state it’s OK to record because you are one of the parties consenting to record the call.
Once you have written or recorded documentation of the harrassing phone calls, find a lawyer who will take your case without you first paying a retainer fee – my experience has been that most lawyers will try to talk you into bankruptcy, but don’t go there. Maybe you know a lawyer or have a friend of a friend who can recommend a lawyer for you. If you’re in Oklahoma, I can recommend someone.
I know it’s scary to get a lawyer involved, but if you don’t settle with them (only after they have validated the debt) or if you choose to ignore the debt collector, they will either sell your debt to another debt collector who will start the collection process all over again or they can retain a lawyer who will initiate legal proceedings to sue you (some states require they get a lawyer in your state, I know Oklahoma is that way). If you get sued they can put a lien on your property or garnish your wages and it will cost you a lot more money than if you had just settled with them. Please don’t let it get to that point (I learned the hard way and have been sued and am in the process of being sued again).
Whatever you do, don’t make decisions out of fear. That’s what they want you to do. Also, don’t believe anything they’re telling you (like they don’t have to validate the debt). Part of their tactic is to lie to you and they will say anything to get your money.
1) They’ve contacted you three times, each time with a completely different amount.
2) They don’t get to determine where the money comes from. You list your assets. If this is the only asset you have the court is far more likely to garnish wages than to take the vehicle your husband uses to get to and from work.
3) You need to tell them the next time they call that you are formally requesting proof of the debt pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Act.
Some of these collectors are legit and you really will have to settle with them. Others aren’t and it’s a scam. The higher the pressure and the more inconsistent their requests the more I smell a scam. The first ones will respond to your mention of the Fair Debt Collection Act, the second may not–but they’re not in a position to sue either.
Now I don’t have until Monday to pay this debt. I now have to pay them $1981 immediately or they will take me to court to take my husband’s vehicle. What should I do at this point since I don’t have that much money and have no way of getting it. She told me I shouldn’t be feeding my baby or putting a roof over my family’s head if I couldn’t pay them. She said dh’s car is worth over $5000 and she would get it from us. Actually, with the body damage to it, it’s not worth $1500, but she won’t believe that. She also said they could make dh miss time from work to go to court over this. How much of this should I believe?
I have 2 months worth of the water bill pre-paid and since I use balance billing for the electric (and hardly ever use the central heat), I’m ahead there a smidge, almost a month ahead with the gas bill. I need to get in a good supply of Kerosene though, since I think this winter will be a chilly one.
I was telling Jan that I’m damned if I know how it happened, but the water bill dropped dramatically when the ex left. Maybe he was selling it in gallon jugs on the side of the road?! And I’m talking to the tune of $50 a month! So within 3 months I was $200 ahead of the bill, so much so that the water company called and told me not to make a payment the next month. Talk about a shocker (pleasant!).
My understanding is that we are striving to ultimately get to 3 – 6 months ahead on bills or better?
We were leaning towards doing it, but wanted to make sure I’m not being totally stupid. My husband isn’t able to do any additional weekend work because of a disability, and I am already to the max with my job and some part-time consulting I pick up on weekends. We’re hoping my husband continues to move up the ladder where he is now to help us dig out. Even if we made an extra one or two hundred on the side, with the interest rates we have on our current mortgage, it will take so much longer to dig out from this horrible loan. Hoping to stay accountable here to not spend the freed up money on paying stupid taxes in other areas (like out major downfall of the past…going out to eat!!!)
Is there not a way to earn that much extra? Is there a way either one or both of y’all could take a 2nd job? It would be temporary of course, till you get on your feet again. I am just thinking out loud … you say you don’t want to do the loan mod. and if a 2nd job could keep that from happening why not put a hold on the mod for now? Retail stores are now (or will be) hiring seasonal help.
If earing extra $$ is not going to happen, what about getting a deferment on the student loans or hardship case?
I think (but am not positive) that DR says if you can recoup the “refinance” fees (or whatever they happen to be called) in 5 years or less you should do it.
Over 15 years, that $200 a month becomes $36,000. That’s likely enough to pay off the 20% in its entirety and then some.
I was nodding, and nearly reciting — word-for-word — all the Ambot answers and brainwash bull$#1t. It was, for me, an uncanny, sickening, infuriating (and cathartic) read. I’ve gone so far as to take up Mr. Schreibler on his request to contact him with personal stories of this nature. I have to tell you, the “detox” period of abject fear, hopelessness, distrust, emptiness, aloofness, emotionally distance, etc. that he describes so well is something I went through on my own — without a clue as to what was going on. Upon reading his book, I recognized and identified with all the symptoms he details — I actually started weeping like a baby (but don’t tell anyone that!) I simply can’t say enough about it. Well worth the read.
I plan on getting the Hassan book, too, as well as Ruth Carter’s book. I can’t express enough spiteful hatred for the EVIL that scum like Yager, Coniguliaro, Harteis, Britt, Wright, Sutton — continue to drip out of their purulent mouths, twisting and screwing everyone they can. I hope to be a force to help stop them forever.
I know I had to go through that experience as part of my life’s journey, but MAN! I’ll take a rain check next time. With a little luck, James, maybe your mom/family will come out the fog. It will be a tough walk, but please, whatever you do, steer and stay clear of it. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing.
So…we’re trying to make a decision that’s a big one. When we got married almost 10 years ago, we were relatively young. As 24 years olds, we were stupid. Majorly stupid. We had plenty of credit card debt that we just kept racking up, but we thought we deserved a house, so we went out to try to see what we could get. So we applied for a mortgage for a small house, and went looking. We found our current home, which was originally listed at $190K, had been reduced, and we were so proud of ourselves for getting it for $135K. We were so proud that we figured any mortgage we could get would be fine, and so much better than “throwing our money away” renting, right? So, my husband signed on the dotted line for cash advance online with instant approval and I had a temp job, so they didn’t want to use my income as consideration, we had a home. Common story, housing values tanked, and at its lowest it was worth around 80K. It’s come back up a bit and is now at around $100K. Problem is..our mortgage. We signed for an 80/20 loan, with the 80% mortgage being at over 7% and the 20% being at over 10%! STUPID!!!! So, we owe way more than our house is worth, have a horrible, awful loan, and it’s not even government backed, so have no ability to re-finance, etc., even though we have never missed or been late on a single payment. We might have been late on everything else, but we never missed that payment.
Husband checked out our options and for the last year, we’ve been seeing what our bank can do for us as a mortgage modification. We have cut our budget like crazy, paid off credit cards years ago, but are having a really hard time making the spreadsheet balance on this monster mortgage payment on a 800 square foot house.
We finally heard back on a mortgage modification on the 80% loan (they’ll only do one at a time, and want the trial period and modification on one loan done before they’ll do the other 20%) We’re just having such a heavy heart over whether to do this. We’re not walking away – we were the stupid, young ones who made the decision (stupid the bank let us, but ultimately, we are responsible for our financial decisions) I have this feeling like the modification is shirking some responsibility in some way — although it also could just be seen like a re-finance — and I’m not even positive whether this is the right financial decision, but there is no way that we’re ever going to get out from this loan the way we’re going — with the amount of interest we pay, we never may any headway to try to get any equity in this house.
The modification could tank my husband’s credit (but not mine — my name is on the title only, not the mortgage) – during the trial period, it would be listed as paid as agreed, and after, would be listed as a modified mortgage. But, since we’re not planning on applying for more credit anytime soon, the only thing that would affect is our house/auto insurance.
I should mention we are nowhere near out of baby step 2 yet — my husband has astronomical student loan bills — which is a majority of the reason we can’t get on our feet. We need to have more money available for the snowball, especially after I didn’t receive my normal yearly bonus (I was hoping that would get things rolling again!)
So, thanks for reading — the mortgage modification would reduce our monthly payment on the 7% loan down by $200. That $200 would “go back into” the loan during the trial period, but the loan interest rate in the long term would be reduced to 5%. Even if it technically would reduce the length of our loan, we could probably afford to put $100 back into the principal monthly if needed (or more likely, use for our snowball). We’re about $100 short on our other bills each month, so this would do that. We have our baby step 1, but it seems like every time we get it back up, murphy hits.
Yeah, I’ve been to a few of them now (on the local, regional, and international levels) and they are running together because there is so little substance being imparted. I’ve attended real business meetings and trainings before and some of the stuff they do in those “trainings” just wouldn’t fly.
About a year and a half ago in college, I took a series of 4 timeshare classes which dissected every caveat of a scripted presentation (if not for that class I may have taken the Kool-ade and need windex for my eyes LOL). Additionally, it’s also where their “top salesperson” came into the class and proudly stated that he outright makes up stories that he uses to sell the product. Ever since then I don’t trust anything at face value that someone is telling me that I can’t independently verify with multiple sources.
I’m someone who doesn’t like to “Buy into” things anyway and unfortunately it sometimes comes off as callousness or humorlessness;
and that’s part of the issue. She sees my lack of faith in the system as being negative, while I on the other hand see both sides of the issue and know what it truly is. I don’t want to have to shut away my instincts and credibility to only be rewarded with money (if that is even the reward), it’s plain not worth it.
Speaking about research though, I’ve done plenty into brainwashing and cults so some of the methods were familiar to me.
I’ve been shielding myself as much as I can ever since she started, mainly concentrating on school and the running of my own store. I have a silver tongue sometimes (though it’s usually under maximum security and completely out of character for me *sometimes*) and there have been only been 3 incidents since September that I’ve let my frustration slip. Unfortunately at the moment I’m completely financially dependent on the family which makes it complicated.
If it comes down to having to change my perspective, then so be it, there will be no other way at that point.
about how it changes families. I know that at this point she is grasping for straws and positive messages as business is slowing down.
I personally hate the idea of “buying in” to idealism because it shuts off your instincts and I don’t like not having that sense active (the vary rare exception I embrace is the “E-myth” philosophy by Micheal Gerber, but that is grounded in logic). Unfortunately, not taking things on faith (like she is at the moment) is portraying me in a “negative” light, but again it is understood that she is being fed the rhetoric and she wants so much to believe it is legitimate. The only thing I can do at the moment is ride it out, and I’m good at that LOL.
and you’re right in the fact that it is set up as a recruiting scheme. I’ve been keeping her mostly at bay with the excuse of schoolwork and my store’s obligations and it has helped out a bit.
I mentioned my uncle in my original post, he is usually my confidant away from the house, but now that he’s “buying into” the philosophies that are being touted is part of what has driven me to this board.
Again mentioned in my original post, I’ve forgone any semblance of a paycheck to help with the finances of the store (as of now I just have it paying for my gas which is the minimum I “need” out of it) so she bought my distributorship and I currently have no way to pay it back.
I’ll have to see what happens after this week because that’s when I get out of school.
one of the first things to stand out about it was the scripted presentation and the lack of information about the product (that’s what really set the alarm bells off).
About a year and a half ago I took a set of electives and ended up taking 4 timeshare sales courses. Consequently, through those classes I was given a complete dissection of how a scripted presentation is set up and all it’s elements are put together (not that I didn’t know already, as I’ve attended several with my family over the years).
Thankfully it gave me the ability to see through the rah rah aspect of the “trainings” and “business opportunities.”
As of now I’m just steering clear of everyone I can afford to miss and concentrating on finishing these last 2 classes before the bachelors degree at the end of the week.
It splinters families, destroys relationships and renders most in its path completely and utterly broke.
As others have mentioned, your mom is being told daily that anyone with anything negative to say about her business (her hopes & dreams) should not be in her life. So you definitely want to be careful in how you deal with her now.
Lol…I can recall my own father asking me hypothetically if I would take $2,000/week salary right now in exchange for my MLM business. My answer? Not a chance because I just KNEW how far this was going to go.
I’m glad I can laugh at it now! I so respected my father and KNEW he didn’t buy the MLM thing but he never said anything against my business. Just that he hoped I was right and was happy that I was happy, etc.
One thing I would be clear on though and that is to not enable her via financial support.
Now you must educate yourself on how not to become a “negative person” inyour mom’s eyes. She’s being slowly indoctrinated to break ties with all things “negative,” up to and including her immediate family. Arm yourself with knowledge, of which there is plenty in the archives of this group alone. In fact, you’ll find your story played out over and over again.
Learn from it. There is a wealth of information and advice in the archives.
There are survivors and there are affected family members here, even a relative of someone who helped start Amway (definitely one to whom to listen). There are many excellent, insightful posts; so much so, you’ll feel a wave of relief just to have this resource.
In short, the best approach is not to come off as “negative” (easier said than done). Innocently ask her questions she can’t answer, making her consult her upline; questions that make her really think. You can show her the logic, prove your case, but she is being indoctrinated to simply dismiss you as a dream stealer. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND YOU CANNOT SWAY HER WITH REASON. She must come to the conclusion on her own. You can only guide her with carefully presented questions.
They are using her dreams against her (and you) to keep her hooked. She is being conditioned to think emotionally, to sacrifice for her family. This is a powerful, well refined technique developed over decades, so it’s not really her fault for being victim to it. Proceed caringly and with caution.
It’s FREE. I was never actually in an Amway Motivational Org, but I was being recruited (by my boss, even) into LTD (Larry Winters) when I found this group and subsequently the book. I saw first-hand Winters’ “quality leads” technique. The weekly meeting I attended was described perfectly in the book, and my boss was a textbook example of the rhetoric espoused by virtually all MLMs. I once told him certain aspects of his “LTD business” made me uncomfortable. Without missing a beat, he said “Which aspects?
Making money? Helping people? Retiring early to spend time with your family?” His upline would have been damn proud of him. I shook my head and left his office. That was over two years ago and I am so fascinated by this dodged bullet I still lurk and follow most threads.
Judging from your well composed message, you’ll be able to handle this in stride if you just do the research. Most, if not all, of what you need to know is right here. Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!
It has been about 10 years since I last went to a meeting, so I am not sure what has changed since that time. I do know that the company has gone international.
My perception of the company, based on my own experience is that it’s mostly a recruiting scheme. The customer acquisition bonus that’s paid out to up-line when a new recruit gets the minimum number of customers far outweighs the actual residual income checks. The percentage is so small that even after I hit the third level, my monthly checks never even broke $100.
Every week there were weekly meetings that we were expected to attend and pay for. Then the monthly regional’s and the quarterly nationals. All paid for out my pocket. At every regional or national there was a new training tool that would revolutionize your business. A must have. It would be unveiled just before lunch break so every one would rush to the exhibition hall and buy up dozens of the things.
I worked the business for about 3 and a half years and earned maybe $5000 to $6000 in that time. I spent about three times that much on all the training events and tools.
The worst part of this and opportunities like them is that they are presented in a very deceptive way. You’re told that it’s an easy, almost effortless way to make money and that you’ll be living a life of ease and comfort in no time.
The reality is that only those handful of people who have the stamina to work 24/7 year in and year out ever make it to the promised land. And they do it on the backs of a lot of people with no talent for selling which is the other requirement. At one of the trainings I heard a top money maker brag that he knew ACN would work for him because years earlier he had made a killing selling ineffective, over priced water filters to people. You have to be able to sell the dream even when you know that the person your taking $500 from doesn’t have the fortitude to work the business.
There also is a cult like aspect to most MLMs. In ACN we were told to avoid anyone who might be negative to the sales pitch. They were classified at the time as “rotten apples.”
Having said all this, there are people who make money at this game. The shark-like amoral people who will sell anything, regardless of it’s value, to any one. Also the companies whose products ACN markets make out fairly well.
I know this for a fact because some of the people I signed up for long distance service all those years ago are still using the service.
I would suggest that you try and set some ground rules for you and your mom.
No business discussion at all. You don’t have to buy into ACN to be supportive. If she has paid for your distributorship out of her own pocket(not uncommon) offer to reimburse her if you’re not interested in working the business.
We were also told to get out prospects lists as soon as possible so that we could mine them before the person got cold feet and decided to drop out. You can say no to this. It might be awkward at first but in the long run it will be okay. If ACN is the can’t fail opportunity that they promote it as, your mom will do just as well without pestering your friends.
(and I don’t really have one) but I wanted to comment, nonetheless.
One of the most valuable resources we humans have — if we’re tuned into it — is our instincts. If this whole scenario goes against ‘that voice inside your head’ then my advice is: “Listen to yourself!”
I ache for you. I hear how much you want to support you mom. How much, frankly, support she ‘needs’ — and it’s put you in a tough position.
Don’t let anything or anyone interfere with school, pal. Keep that as your own, sacred shrine. College isn’t everything, no doubt, but don’t allow family or friends to sway you from your goal. Life is long. If ACN (or another ‘opportunity’) is in your future, it can wait until AFTER you graduate.
Sounds like mom is in that ‘desperation’ mindset, something with which I’m intimately familiar. (That was *me*!) There’s just so much ‘reasoning’ with her to be done. Back in the day, you probably couldn’t have talked much sense into me about Amway (unless you pointed me to this site and I actually READ the posts with an open mind). I WANTED to believe so much that you, ANYone who was “negative” toward the “opportunity” was considered a “dream stealer.”
It’s all so clear NOW. But back THEN? My head was as hard as a walnut (with reasoning capabilities proportional to the size of the ‘brain’ inside).
I wish you and your family the best. Take care of *yourself.* And by that, I mean: if this feels wrong or uncomfortable, friends AND family will just have to respect that. And if they don’t, that isn’t YOUR issue, it’s theirs.
My mother has gotten swept up in the ACN frenzy and it has me concerned; backstory (warning: long):
My mother has owned her primary business for over 27 years and I’ve literally grown up in it since she opened it 3 years before I was born.
She has always had an entrepreneurial and hardworking spirit about her that I admire, and it is part of the reason that I’ve made countless sacrifices to help her and support her in any and all of her endeavors to the best of my ability (forgoing a paycheck, living at home while in college, working in the business full time, cutting down on wants, and much more). I’m also just about out of college with a bachelors degree in Entrepreneurial Business Management which was heavily influenced by her example.
Dad is a teacher in our city’s school district and approaching his 34th year; he is staying on the sidelines and is a silent supporter.
He makes the primary income for the household because the business has taken hits over the years to become unprofitable. Also, for the past 15 years we have all taken care of both of my mother’s and father’s parents in our household and now only my grandmother on my mother’s side is left.
Over the years we have become involved in several different side businesses such as vending machines, real estate, and other business opportunities that crop up to earn a bit of extra money on the side.
Some of them have made back the money that was invested, so we take a fresh eye to everything. Recently though she has been soul searching and became a strong follower of “Science of Getting Rich” and “The Secret”; repeatedly tried to get me to subscribe to the beliefs as well.
When she first saw ACN in September, the local reps were going around to small businesses and showing off the video phone and she couldn’t wait to sign up. September is also one of our peak months within the business (and even a time when I sacrifice schoolwork to make sure everything goes correctly). She took us (Dad, one of her friends and me) to an opportunity meeting and was so excited that she signed herself up that day. I saw the pyramid setup right away and even though I didn’t know much about it, the setup clashed severely against my learning and business instincts.
A week or so later there was a Saturday regional “training” that the up-line strongly suggested she attend; by this time she has registered herself, me, dad, my brother and his friend to be her down-line and has signed us up for several services. She has since had me attend several ACN presentations and “trainings” on local, regional and as of last weekend national levels in a fashion that cut severely into scheduled study time this semester. She has also dedicated portions of the store to weekly presentations and sales of products.
Outwardly, I present a supportive facade because when I broach the topics of cult type behavior or scamming she gets hurt and defends that she’s doing it for the business and the family (which I know is the truth). However, I don’t want to see her enthusiasm and spirit for ACN dismantle the business she’s worked so hard to build or drive the family apart. She has since recruited my uncle who is falling on to hard times with his business as well.
It has created a noticeable rift between us because most of what she wants to talk about relates to ACN. I am currently shielding my social circle from this, and I’m trying as hard as I can to protect my longstanding friendships.
I apologize about the length and just felt it necessary to let my true feelings out somewhere.