Posts by Mandi Woodruff

  • Typo turns Oregon woman’s $300 loan into a $40,000 nightmare

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    An Oregon woman’s $40,000 payday loan nightmare may soon be over. After two years, hundreds of dollars in legal fees, and an ongoing court battle, the lender, Wichita, Kan.-based Rapid Cash, claims it was all a misunderstanding.

    The mix-up, they say, all came down to a rather unfortunate typo.

    Stephanie Banks, 64, took out a $300 loan from Rapid Cash in the fall of 2013. At the time, Banks had retired early from her job as a bookkeeper in order to undergo chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.

    Without any income outside her monthly Social Security benefits and with medical bills stacking up, Banks found herself short on rent money. She drove to a Portland, Ore., Rapid Cash storefront and put up her car as collateral for a $300 title loan, just enough to pay her landlord. The loan came with a 153% interest rate, the legal maximum allowed by the state of Oregon.

    “I got a letter saying I owed Rapid Cash $40,000,” Banks told Yahoo Finance. “The letter almost gave me a heart attack. How could a $300 loan turn into $40,000?” Calls from the company’s debt collection department followed. “They said they would destroy my credit if I did not pay them immediately,” she said.

    Read more:

  • The one time it's OK not to pay off a debt

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    It’s not always a good idea to pay off old debts. In fact, making even a small payment on an old debt can be the worst thing you could do for your finances.

    Here’s why:

    Debt collectors can be aggressive, despite the laws that are in place to prevent them from hounding you. When you’re being pursued by a collector, your first instinct is probably to get rid of them as fast as you possibly can. The debt might be so old you don’t even remember where it came from, but you decide to make a payment anyway — a small one — just to appease them and buy yourself some time. Next thing you know, you’re getting hit with a lawsuit for the entire debt owed.

    “Some collectors are pretty sneaky and will ask you to make or commit to making a ‘goodwill’ payment for some very modest amount of money, like $20,” says credit expert John Ulzheimer. “But their intention was to restart the clock so that it is no longer time barred.”

    Know your rights

    Read more:

    There are 5 things you should always negotiate

     

  • Walmart-brand prepaid debit cards customers report outage

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    Green Dot ( GDOT ), the largest issuer of prepaid debit cards in the US, found itself in hot water this week after a system outage left some customers without full access to their accounts for several days. The complaints centered on Walmart’s ( WMT ) Green Dot-backed MoneyCard.

    Customers said in posts on Facebook and Twitter that they logged onto their accounts only to find their balances had suddenly been zeroed out. Some users said they were unable to access their funds to make purchases or ATM withdrawals.

    The reason behind the system outage appeared to be a technical glitch that occurred when the company converted its processing software to a new system run by MasterCard, a company spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

    “It wasn't until I started leaving comments on their social media that they responded to me and had everything fixed in less than 24 hours,” she said.

     

     

    Green Dot has over 4.5 million active users in the US, according to SEC filings.

  • Why Robin Wright and Jennifer Lawrence shouldn’t be the heroines of the equal pay debate

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    Robin Wright asked for more and she got it.

    At a charity event earlier this week, the “House of Cards” actress told the story of how she negotiated a pay raise that would put her on equal footing with her co-star, Kevin Spacey. (Spacey is rumored to earn half a million dollars for each episode of the hit Netflix series.)

    Wright saw her opportunity when “statistics” she was following showed that her character on the show was becoming more popular than Spacey’s character.

    So she pounced.

    “I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did, ” Wright told the audience to rapturous applause, later adding “You do have to shame and guilt them into it.”

    And all at once, another equal pay “shero” was born. Wright joins a growing list of A-list Hollywood actresses like Jennifer Lawrence , Patricia Arquette and Emma Watson to publicly denounce the pay gap that has long plagued women in Hollywood on both sides of the camera.

    Read more:

  • 4 things workers need to know about the new overtime rules

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    Millions of workers will receive an early Christmas present this December — overtime pay. Under new rules announced by the Obama administration Wednesday, 4.2 million workers will become eligible for overtime pay in a move meant to correct a decades-long trend of declining overtime pay for American workers. Employers have until Dec. 1 to start complying.

    Since 1975, the share of workers who qualify for overtime pay has plummeted from 62% to 7%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  With the new rules, 35% of workers will be eligible.

    Here’s everything you should know about the new rules — and what it might mean for your paycheck:  

    The salary cap for overtime pay will be doubled.

    Expect many workers to get a nice raise.

    But don't be surprised if companies respond by cutting hours.

    The new regulations don’t solve all workers’ overtime problems.

    Livingston points out that the new regulations only increase the salary threshold for overtime-eligible workers. But there’s another key component that determines whether workers are overtime-eligible that has nothing to do with their salary — it’s their job duties and how their employer classifies them.

    --

    Read more:

  • Here's the real reason payday, title loans are such a massive problem

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    New research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows just how easy it is for cash-strapped borrowers to get sucked into a vehicle title loan debt trap.

    Auto title loans share many of the same nefarious qualities that have made their cousin, the payday loan, such a hot target for regulators. Both products are fueled by triple-digit interest rates (except in states where they are either banned or have specific interest rate caps) and are issued without taking into account the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. While payday lenders use a borrower’s proof of income (like a pay stub) to underwrite their loan, auto title lenders use a borrower’s car as collateral.

    Because the value of the title loan is based on the car’s value, title loans also tend to be much larger than the typical payday loan — $959 vs. $392. On average, a title loan consumes half of the average borrower’s paycheck, according to past research by Pew Charitable Trusts. If the loan isn’t repaid, the lender has the right to take ownership of the car.  

    --

    Read more:

  • Vermont college once led by Bernie Sanders’ wife collapses

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    Burlington College is the latest casualty in a growing list of private liberal arts colleges that have collapsed under financial struggles and lagging student enrollment. The school announced its closure in a statement Monday, blaming the move, in part, on the “crushing weight” of debt it incurred after a 2010 real estate purchase arranged by then-president Jane Sanders, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

    Jane Sanders served as president from 2004 to 2011 and left her post after a dispute with the college’s board over her decision to buy 30-plus acres of lakefront property from the Archdiocese of Burlington to expand the campus and attract new students. The move was unsuccessful.

    Unlike public institutions, which are heavily subsidized by federal and state funding, and elite private schools, with billion-dollar endowment funds, small private schools depend almost exclusively on tuition and room and board fees for revenue.