My nightmare began on December 17th, 2014, when I was served a summons to appear in court in February of 2015. It was a lawsuit, filed by Capital One, for the sum of $1877. A paltry sum for most, but for me it was two paychecks, with over time. And I only get two paychecks a month. I went into panic mode, not knowing what to do or what would happen but I knew I had to do something. Just a week prior, I had managed to pay down four creditors, whom I had not been able to pay in several months. I usually paid each one around $50 a month, but I paid HSBC $50 twice a month before they were taken over by Capital One. I had it taken out of my bank account automatically, so I wouldn’t forget. When they were taken over, I had the hardest time trying to pay online and when that was unsuccessful I called them to try and make a payment over the phone. Many minutes on hold, and when I finally got through to a human, I was told to go online and set up a new account. Tried that, and although I didn’t use my old account number it recognized my email and told me to log into my account. By now my break was over, and I had to head back to work for the second half of my split shift. For weeks, then months I tried creating an account, calling tech support for help, rarely talking to a human, and then finally giving up around May of 2014.
I applied for a home modification mortgage loan (HAMP) in 2009, and by some miracle, I was accepted into the program. After three higher payments ( to see if I would be able to afford a lower payment, go figure), they decreased my monthly mortgage payment by about $300, a HUGE win for me as I was eking out an existence and picking which utilities to pay each month, and how little I could pay each creditor. As long as the mortgage was paid, who needs hot water or Internet, right? Macaroni and cheese is a delicious dinner, as are scrambled eggs on stale toast. So when I got an unexpected financial bonus, I delightedly took out my checkbook, and split my windfall four ways, giving each creditor $200. Woo hoo! I felt so good about paying down my credit, after never paying each creditor more than $100 per month and usually only $50 per creditor. A week later my delight changed to fear when I saw the summons on my door.
To be continued