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Buongiorno...Good Morning from a new board member...

Thanks so much for taking me under your wing all...I want to take a little time and explain our situation to you...

About a two years ago my husband and I were about ready to go under. The big B....I didn't know what to do and he was in agreement. We were addicted to STUFF!!! We had nice things in our home, nice clothes and the kids had the STUFF they always wanted. Every month we would pay the minimums and count ourselves lucky. Some past problems with a house and a car didn't help our finacial situation.

Well one day I sat down and said enough was enough. We were into our eyeballs. We talked about options. At this point we already had two consolidation loans and our credit was shot. He is in the military and we decided if we didn't get in control his carreer was going to go down the tubes. I had a pretty good job but we were only paying the minimums and things would get late because for the most part we would rob Peter to pay Paul to get the Extra's.

We decided on a plan. Ameridebt or consumer counseling was part of it. We went to Ameridebt and they got 4 of our main bills to either lower their interest rate or drop it all together. Of course we closed those accounts.

We were doing pretty good. Calmed the spending down. Started using just cash. Then Greg told me we were moving...UGH!!! Leave it to military to put a kink in our goals. We had some savings but didn't count on me being out of work. Thank goodness it only took 2 months for me to get a job...can you say bye bye savings...Well it is 4 months since I got my job. We are doing pretty good.

We are not behind on our payments...I am very thankful for that. So maybe I should be glad. I am paying way extra on one bill a month to get things paid off. Gateway paid off this next month.

BUT!! Every month I look at the interest rate on Sears and I say "I have been a good customer to these people for years. And still they yank my chain with this killer interest rate. What the hell is up with that." It really pisses me off just to think about it. That is why I asked about actually calling to get the limit lowered. I will have it paid off by July *crosses her fingers* But still does being a long term customer hold any value? By the way they didn't want to Ameridebt. In other words no dice.

As for Ameridebt I am doing research to see if I can keep the interest rates they negotiated for us if I pull out of their service....Has anyone had any experience in this?

I hope you are all going to have a Happy Holiday!!!

Ciao,

Alli

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If your husband is on active duty there is a law all rates are @ 6%
I think all you have to do is call the crediors and send them proof.
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If your husband is on active duty there is a law all rates are @ 6%
I think all you have to do is call the crediors and send them proof.


WHAT? Where the heck do I find the proof of that? Can you just say save my tail in interest rates? If it is true I will buy you dinner for pointing me in the right direction!!! I know many a military family that can be saved by that one....

Cheers,

Alli
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It is the Soldier's and Sailor's Relief Act.

According to the SSRA, there is a 6% interest cap applied to commercial debt, including home mortgages, credit card debts, and automobile loans. This does not apply to Government Student Loans or to non-commercial liabilities, however.

In order to get the 6% rate applied, you must send a copy of military orders with a written request to your creditor, asking them to reduce your interest to the 6% rate. You may even be able to get your interest reduced from the time your husband went on active duty, but this is often up to negotiations with the creditor.

If you get a hassle from the creditors or have other questions on the SSRA, contact your local JAG office. (You can also refer your creditor to their National Association of Veterans Affairs if they have questions.) You can get more information at:

http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/Relief_Act_Revision/

http://www.stuttgart.army.mil/Legal/relact.htm

Good luck. There are a lot of military families in your situation who don't choose the responsible route that you have. This Act is a benefit to assist people just like you, so use it!

(And have a great time in Italy!)
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My husband is standing over my shoulder right now, I quote

"WOW!!! You are a GOD!!!"

From me, YOU ROCK!!!

Thanks so much for this good news guys...There is something we have been discussing a lot around here lately and it has to do with training. A lot of our lower enlisted people don't know a lot of things that come as second nature for people that have been in the military a a while. It is because they don't know....I can honestly say, We didn't know this excisted. Do you realize how many people this could help. We have a lot of lower enlisted soldiers out there barely keeping their noses above board because they made some bad decissions when it comes to credit. This could really help out. Do you realize how much I have been paying each month in interest?

Cheers,

Alli
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I think it's really unfortunate that this information isn't screaming out at all servicemembers on every base throughout the world. I used to work for a military bank, and I know a lot of servicemembers are pretty hard up for cash; most civis don't realize how inadequate military pay can really be. Please tell everyone you know and tell them to tell everyone they know! It would be great info for training!
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Sorry to be a wet blanket but, the Act gives relief to reservist who are called to active duty.
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Sorry to be a wet blanket but, the Act gives relief to reservist who are called to active duty.

After reading I realized this...*shrugs* Oh well... There is no quick fix for this problem. I owe I owe so off to work I go....

You guys are right that a lot of people don't have a clue how little the military makes. I have made more then my husband for years now. He is an E-7 with 14 years. I am a GS-11. I feel for the lower enlisted members. They live below the poverty line, which is sad. However like every other Non Commissioned Officers wife I have gone through that phase. It taught me to budget, realize I can't have a huge family, and to get myself educated and diversified and to be humble when it comes to work, because you have to be willing to do almost anything to keep your family afloat...Plus I know 101 ways to cook Ramen Noodles and Peas!!! *grin*

Ciao,

Alli
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<<I think it's really unfortunate that this information isn't screaming out at all servicemembers on every base throughout the world. >>

I know that I'm dreaming here, but a leaflet with that information in a soldier or sailor's credit card statement would be a lot more patriotic than a card with the American flag on it. It's sad how these companies cannot see through the greed.

Fred
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Ali,

Sears is a really bad creditor to deal with. Many posters here have never made a late payment and are paying 22% interest. As you have noted yourself, this is outrageous for a department store.

My husband is using Ameridebt. If you cancel the service, your creditor will reinstate the prior interest rates on your account.

RxCPhT
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I know that I'm dreaming here, but a leaflet with that information in a soldier or sailor's credit card statement would be a lot more patriotic than a card with the American flag on it. It's sad how these companies cannot see through the greed.

Granted, they are member owned, but USAA is an exception to the rule. They, of course, abide by the 6% mandated by law for reservists called to duty. In addition, they will lower any servicemembers rate to 6% for 3 months (I believe) any time the member PCS's (moves). Furthermore, if the servicemember is deployed on a military campaign, they will rebate all interest and fees on the account for up to a year. They include this information with all the marketing material.

To Sirendpty, if you don't have a card from them yet, consider getting one, especially as your credit improves. They are somewhat conservative when it comes to lending, so you might not qualify, or if you do, you may qualify for one of their higher rate cards (like 18%). Their lowest rate card that doesn't charge an annual fee is prime plus 3.9%, with a floor of 10%. They also have an annual fee card that is prime plus 1%. It is an especially good card for balance transfers as they never charge a transfer fee.

Good luck!

-z
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Okay, I felt like a complete schmuck for not having all of the info on this, but I knew I'd seen active duty get the benefit before. So I called a nearby JAG office, and this is what they told me:

-The SSCRA applies to Active as well as Reservists and National Guards members called to Active Duty.
-The purpose of the SSCRA is to provide relief to those whose finances were negatively affected by serving their country. (In other words, they're making less money now than they did before they joined the service or were called to active duty.)
-The debt in question had to have been incurred before entering the service/being called to active duty.

Unfortunately, since you've been in for fourteen years, these probably don't apply to you, unless maybe there's a loan included in your debt. However, please DO let others know about the SSCRA. There are lots of newer enlistees who are hurting for money and don't realize this is available to them; many of them have debt that would be covered under this. (One question I forgot to ask was whether the spouse's income counted as prior enlisted income. Since so many spouses lose their jobs when PCSing, that would be important.)

In any case, I'd still speak to each of the CC companies and argue my case, just as you did in your post. If all else fails, and if you have access to military banking, check out a consolidation loan. The terms and results are a bit different than many civilian consolidation loans, but you've still got to be prepared to cut up most of your cards. Good luck to you and your family!
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If your husband is on active duty there is a law all rates are @ 6%
I think all you have to do is call the crediors and send them proof.


I thought that was only true if you were called to active duty to support specific actions?

Ishtar
(confused; was active duty with 20% + interest rates at one time)
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From one of the pages OneLostFool provided:

-- If you're one of the thousands of reserve component service members called to active duty in support of Operation Allied Force -- or any other operation -- you're protected by a law that can save you some headaches -- and possibly more than just a few dollars.. . . . . In order to qualify for the reduction, however, service members must be able to demonstrate what is called "material effect," Griese said. "Material effect" is a term that refers to how military service impacts people's lives and their ability to meet their obligations.

"Essentially, this means that service members entering active duty must be able to show their military income is less than their pre-service income and that the loss affects their ability to meet financial obligations," Griese said.



I'm not sure this applies to someone that's been active duty all along, it would be hard to demonstrate "material effect."

Ishtar
(sorry to bear bad news)
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"USAA is an exception to the rule."

Good advice, zskii. I didn't think of them, but most servicemembers are very happy with them, and USAA is a lot more understanding of the unique situations they're in.
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"I thought that was only true if you were called to active duty to support specific actions?"

According to the CPT I spoke with at JAG, it's for all active duty as long as they meet the other two requirements. It only applies to Reservists and Nat'l Guard IF they're called to active duty. They may be able to use it more readily, though, since they're usually making MUCH LESS when activated than they do in their civilian jobs. Too bad they can't just set a limit for all military.

I think it might confused sometimes with the other acts enacted during, say, Desert Storm, Operation Joint Force, Operation Enduring Freedom (right now,) etc. Those are in addition to the SSCRA.

It really does bite that the CC companies aren't upfront about it, but I suppose you can't really expect them to just send out information on how to pay them less. If you find a CC company that upfront and honest, let me know!
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"I'm not sure this applies to someone that's been active duty all along, it would be hard to demonstrate "material effect."

It does apply to all active duty, but you have to be able to show that you had a job making more money before you joined the service. And with the pay some of these guys and gals are getting, that wouldn't be too hard! The JAG CPT said that a pay stub from the old job and an LES from the military pay is proof of this.

The other condition is of course that the debt was accrued before joining the service.

If anyone out there is interested, I'd definitely say contact JAG. This could really help out a lot of the enlisted folks especially.
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Ali,

Sears is a really bad creditor to deal with. Many posters here have never made a late payment and are paying 22% interest. As you have noted yourself, this is outrageous for a department store.

My husband is using Ameridebt. If you cancel the service, your creditor will reinstate the prior interest rates on your account.

RxCPhT


Well I guess I will have to stick with it then RxCPhT....That sucks... But we aren't starving and things are getting paid off after all...

Alli
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To Sirendpty, if you don't have a card from them yet, consider getting one, especially as your credit improves. They are somewhat conservative when it comes to lending, so you might not qualify, or if you do, you may qualify for one of their higher rate cards (like 18%). Their lowest rate card that doesn't charge an annual fee is prime plus 3.9%, with a floor of 10%. They also have an annual fee card that is prime plus 1%. It is an especially good card for balance transfers as they never charge a transfer fee.

Good luck!

-z


I have sworn of credit cards for the most part. I do have one from Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union that charges me a lovely 11.9%. We are carrying a balance right now but it is good for emergencies. The limit is only 1500 but once we get all our bills paid off we will attempt to get higher rate. With our credit I don't want to push to hard. We have what we need. Now I just need time to pass to get things paid off. Thanks for the heads up though..

Cheers,

Alli
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I have been a good customer to these people for years. And still they yank my chain with this killer interest rate. What the hell is up with that.

Well, you are a very good customer to them now. Lots of interest payments. Whyever will they slay the cow that gives so much milk?

2195501y
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BUT!! Every month I look at the interest rate on Sears and I say "I have been a good customer to these people for years. And still they yank my chain with this killer interest rate. What the hell is up with that." It really pisses me off just to think about it. That is why I asked about actually calling to get the limit lowered. I will have it paid off by July *crosses her fingers* But still does being a long term customer hold any value? By the way they didn't want to Ameridebt. In other words no dice.

Short answer : Sears just doesn't care. They won't deal, they won't negotiate. They just don't care. Sorry.

Leviathan
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If you decide to try for a consolidation loan, try your credit union not the bank that is on base. Most Army banks consider customer service is the same service the bull gives to a cow. You might try for a credit increase on your credit union card & see if they would allow you do do a balance transfer from your Sears card.
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Well, you are a very good customer to them now. Lots of interest payments. Whyever will they slay the cow that gives so much milk?

2195501y


Well they better not get to close because this heffer kicks...I am going to have this payed off by July then they can kiss my @$$....

*grins*

Alli
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The 6% cap is only valid for debts incured before the period of Active Duty. If your husband has been on active duty as long as me (15 1/2 years) most debts won't qualify. The 6% SSCRA is really meant for those new military members and Reserves called up in support of a conflict.

http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/Relief_Act_Revision/

Here is the actual law: 50 U. S. Code Appendix War and National Defense Act Oct 17, 1940, CH. 888, 54 STAT. 1178


Be careful to read it entirely and contact your legal department with questions. Many civilians misinterpret the law.


Joan, a sailor with 4 years 9 months 9 days and counting
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You guys are right that a lot of people don't have a clue how little the military makes. I have made more then my husband for years now. He is an E-7 with 14 years. I am a GS-11. I feel for the lower enlisted members. They live below the poverty line, which is sad


If I can just put in my opinion as a military member not to sound mean, but military paychecks are actually more than the average blue collar worker here in central NY. Average household income is what I make a year. Combine it with my spouses income and we live quite comfortably. I guess it depends on where you are stationed and whether you have conditioned yourself to your income. Prices skyrocket around bases. We however are not near a base and do not have a commissary or exchange within a 200 mile radius. We have TRICARE Prime remote which allows us to use any civilian provider as if they were military providers.
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Sorry to resurrect a super old thread, but there's some very important information regarding the SSRA that hasn't been shared here.

* The act applies to all active duty military.
* While the law does require that the military pay you less than your previous employer creditors will almost never ask you to prove this. They'll ask only for a copy of your orders.
* The interest rate reduction applies only to debt that existed before you entered active duty. Anything you charged after joining active duty is exempt from the provisions of the act.
* The interest rate reduction is retroactive to your first day of active duty. I told a fellow servicemember about the act a year after he'd joined and he received a rebate on the interest that he shouldn't have been paying.

I had a great experience with Visa when I called to get this applied to my Chase card. They reduced the interest rate to 0% and required 0 payments for as long as I'm on active duty. 6 years later, I'm still on active duty and still have 0% and 0 payments required on that account. I've been putting the payments I would have made into an interest bearing savings account and making money on it. When I leave active duty later this year, I've got a large chunk of money ready to go to pay off the debt!
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