The Loan from "H" "E" Double Toothpicks

Lidia Korinko

Something happened to me the other day that could have impacted my finances in a highly negative way. Things ended up working out, but I want to share it with you so that it doesn't happen to you.

I am self-employed, and this was a business transaction, but it can happen with personal finances. I logged into one of my accounts, let's say it was a credit card company, but it could happen with a bank or other financial institution. The first window to pop up before I see my account information is an offer for a loan, and all I need to do is click the button, fill out a couple of things, and I'll know if approved within minutes. Business loans are excellent because you can consolidate high-interest debt and pay it off quicker. I start to fill out the form, but then I think, no, I will probably only qualify for a small about, and it won't help anyway. Has something like that ever happened to you? You get an offer in the mail, and it reads that you can borrow up to $20,000, but you apply and only qualify for $3,000? I quit the application and moved on with my original reason for logging in. Not ten minutes go by, and I get a phone call, "Hello, we noticed that you didn't complete your application, and I'm calling to help you" (of course you are). Now that I'm on the phone with them, I feel a little more comfortable, and he assures me that it's simple to finish completing the information, so I do, and in less than 20 seconds, he tells me that the loan is approved. The only caveat is that I must agree to automatic payments, which I prefer anyway. This loan has no interest, just a flat fixed fee.

Super! I get funded, and I apply the funds to high-interest credit accounts, and all is good, so I thought. These payments would be almost $500, and they took the first payment out the following week. Then, the next week they took out another, and again the week after. My thought is that there is an error, and I need to call them to fix it because it should only be coming out of my account monthly.

I call, and the person looks up my account and delivers the bad news. This loan requires WEEKLY payments! What? I've NEVER heard of such a thing! So, close to $2,000 will be coming out of my account every month. I'm starting to freak out because I do not have that in my budget, and eventually, this will deplete all of my funds. So, I checked the lovely contract that I signed without reading thoroughly (not good, I know), and sure enough, in clear black lettering, it states that the payment is due weekly.

Thoughts start spinning in my head, trying to figure out how I'm going to fix this. I consider giving back the money, but I would still be liable for the "fixed fee." But something is telling me to call back and see if someone can help me.

Now comes the fun part, you know, the part where you call and get passed around to several people, and each time you must tell your story all over again, and each person tells you something different? So here I go; I explain the "woe is me" story over and over. I get different responses, and the representative always transfers me to someone else.

Someone must know how to handle situations like this. I can't be the only person that has had this happen. Finally, I hear a pleasant voice on the other end; she seems patient and knowledgeable. After I explained my story AGAIN, she let me know that she could switch me over if I applied for a different type of loan and was approved. Thankfully I was approved, and she switched me without paying any of the loan fees from the first loan. Now I have a regular loan with interest and monthly payments. We were done and off the phone within 10 minutes.

When problems end up with a positive outcome, I feel good about the experience. I'm grateful that I'm not stuck with the first loan.

You may have already known, but if you didn't, now you know that loan payments are not always monthly. Make sure to check!

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Everybody has a story and I'm fascinated with "our" stories... you, me, just everyday people. I like stories that we can learn from, stories that send a message, hopefully a positive message, and stories that make you think. This is a new journey for me and I hope you find my stories interesting.

Flower Mound, TX

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