You get up in the morning and the house is cold. Not just cold, it’s freezing! You panic because you know there’s not enough money in the checking account to pay for a new furnace. Now what? The credit cards are maxed out, the savings account is running on empty, and you really don’t want to spend the kid’s college money on this problem. You call your local HVAC contractor and find out you can finance your new furnace with FTL Finance, the furnace financiers.
Problem Solved – Right?
You know you have good credit and the financing issue shouldn’t be a problem. That’s going to make everything go a lot smoother. The contractor shows up with a brand new furnace and an application you need to fill out to get approval for the FTL Finance company to pay for your purchase and then set you up on a payment program. Sounds easy, fast, and simple so you go for it, crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s.
You fill out the forms, fax them in to the company and voila’, you’re the proud new owner of the most efficient, cost-effective furnace available to modern man. Life is good, the house is warm, and everyone in the family thinks you’re the greatest. It’s a great feeling and you bask in the sunshine of your success.
Life is Back to Normal with FTL Finance
Time goes by and you make your payments on your brand new furnace. Every month, you send in your check or you make your payment online and you’re content. The furnace saves money on electricity and runs as quiet as a mouse. You’re pleased with yourself because the money you’re saving is helping to make the payment on the furnace. Things just seem to get better and better.
A few years go by and you’re getting ready to make the final payment on that excellent furnace you bought a while ago. You make the final payment on the FTL Finance contract and you’re happy as a clam and snug as a bug in a rug. You’re so happy because now that the furnace is paid off, those electricity bills and natural gas bills are going to keep staying low, saving more money on the monthly budget. Ahhhhh, life is good!
The Bad with FTL Finance
One day, several months later, you take a quick look at your credit report and notice there’s a delinquent payment notice on the report from FTL Finance. You scratch your head and wonder to yourself, “I paid them off. What’s this about?”. You decide to dig up your paperwork to confirm you paid them off and decide to give FTL Finance a call to clear up the misunderstanding. You dial the company’s customer service line and get an agent who informs you that your payoff was for the wrong amount and you owed an additional $99 “contract administration fee”. You state you were never informed of a contract administration fee and you would have paid it if you’d known.
The agent informs you that the fee was due at the contract initiation and that at this time, you owe a few thousand dollars since the debt has accumulated $0.25 interest every day it hasn’t been paid. You inform the agent you’re not going to pay thousands of dollars and they do a phone dance between you and their manager. They finally arrive at a settlement amount of $500 which must be paid immediately or the company will come and repossess your furnace.
Incensed, you tell the agent you’ll have to think everything over and you’ll call them back. As your face returns from crimson back to normal, you start to read the contract you signed. It doesn’t mention a $99 administration fee. The payment book you received didn’t have a $99 coupon to send in and no one ever said you were behind in your payments.
You ponder the situation for a few days and the phone rings. It’s a collection agent from FTL Finance and they want to know when you are going to pay the money you owe. You inform the agent you’re still deciding what to do and the agent tells you the debt must be paid quickly or more credit score reporting will be done.
Hanging up the phone, you shake your head and scratch your scalp. You wonder how the heck you went from happy homeowner to distressed debtor in a matter of seconds. You also wonder how this company can arbitrarily charge you additional fees and interest without you knowing about it. You’re starting to feel a little … stupid.
The Ugly on Steroids
After a few more days, the phone rings again. Once again it’s the friendly folks from FTC Finance looking for their money. You inform them you’re not going to pay them for money you don’t think you owe them and hang up the phone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. You walk out to the mailbox and there’s a letter from FTC Finance, telling you once more of your incredible debt and how you really need to get it paid or there will be consequences.
Desperate, you go online to check FTL Finance out and discover a Better Business Bureau (BBB) website that has a review of the company. You click on the link and find the BBB website states the company isn’t a member of the BBB. Then you discover there have been some complaints filed against FTL Finance by former customers. You start to read the complaints and discover you’re not the only one who has gone through what you’re going through.
Back to Normal Again
What you find in all the complaints is a clear pattern of a company that doesn’t play fair. You see other customers with the exact same problem you’re dealing with and you also see how they solved their problems. You decide you’re going to take a tough-guy approach and go after FTL Finance with a vengeance because you’ve been wronged. After sending out letters to the company, the credit bureaus, the BBB, and your brother-in-law (who happens to be a lawyer), you finally arrive at a satisfactory conclusion to the mess and you can relax and enjoy another warm winter … as long as the furnace holds out.
The Lessons are Clear
Lesson #1 – Read the contract completely before signing. It can save a lot of time, anxiety, and money.
Lesson #2 – Check out your creditor before you borrow any money. It pays to do some homework.
Lesson #3 – Shop around for credit. Taking the first offer may not be the best idea.
Life runs at high speed in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean you have do everything in a hurry. Making a purchase using credit can be done with great ease in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean it should be done at the drop of a hat. FTL Finance is a finance company in business to make money and they do all kinds of things to accomplish that goal. You need to be a savvy consumer who avoids doing business with companies which have questionable practices like FTC Finance.