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Questions about Family Consumer Debt Problems

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Questions and Answers about Family Consumer Debt Problems

Question: I let my granddaughter use my credit card to buy some things she desperately needed. She promised to pay me back but she lost her job and is unable to meet her obligations. Now the credit card company is bothering me. What do I do?

Answer:

You should contact them immediately to let them know of your situation. They may be willing to work with you. If they are not helpful, you always have the right to put a letter of explanation in you credit file. Under Georgia law, you have the right to obtain a copy of your credit report from Equifax, Transunion and Experion two times each year without charge. (You can obtain copies by calling 1-877-322-8228 or visiting www.annualcreditreport.com) It is a good idea to get your credit report each year to see if there are problems. The company may still try and collect the debt and you will still be responsible for those debts incurred in your name and with your permission. Your letter of explanation will let others know the circumstances around the debt, however.

To place an explanation letter in your file, send a letter to each of the three agencies listed below and ask that they include it in your credit file. Date the letter and provide your full name, address, and date of birth and Social Security Number. In the letter, explain the circumstances that led to the debt problems.

For example, you might say something like:

"I allowed my relative to make charges on my card based on their promise to pay. They charged more than I gave permission to spend and now they have breached their promise and refused to pay their debt. I have always maintained good credit and I am working hard to force them to live up to their obligations. I live only on Social Security and do not have sufficient income to meet these obligations"

You can say whatever you want, based on your circumstances. Anyone checking your credit will see this letter in you file. While your credit is still blemished by the debt, at least you can explain what happened.

Credit Reporting Companies:

Equifax
P.O.Box 105252
Atlanta, GA 30348-5252
1-800-685-1111

www.equifax.com

Trans Union
P.O.Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
1-800-888-4213

www.transunion.com

Experian
P.O.Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742

www.experian.com

You should also make sure that the relative who owes your money lives up to their obligation to repay it.

For more information please contact the Atlanta Legal Aid Society or Georgia Legal Services Program office nearest you.

For Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties, call Atlanta Legal Aid Society: 404-524-5811

For all other counties, call Georgia Legal Services Program: 1-800-498-9469 (toll free)

For Seniors age 60 and older, call the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline: 1-888-257-9519 (toll free)

 

Last Review and Update: Jun 30, 2008