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Dear Consumer Ed: I receive monthly Social Security benefits that are deposited directly into my bank account. I just received notice that my bank account was garnished by a creditor and that my funds have been frozen and will soon be turned over to the court. I thought that Social Security benefits were exempt from garnishments of creditors. What can I do to stop the garnishment and get access to my money?
Dear Consumer Ed: A debt collection agency has been harassing me about a retail debt that was incurred many years ago. They are calling relatives and my employer and going into details about the debt, providing home addresses and vehicles my children own. They are threatening to send legal documents to my employer even though there has been no filing with the courts. When I asked the caller to provide the spelling of the company name and the address, the woman would not provide the information and proceeded to yell, curse and insult me. Aren’t these actions illegal? I just want to get them to stop calling me and others about this. What can I do?
Dear Consumer Ed: I see stores charging exorbitant prices for groceries, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. One store I went to is charging $11 for six rolls of toilet paper and $6 a pound for ground beef. Isn’t this price gouging?
Dear Consumer Ed: A year ago I overpaid an ambulance service and am having a hard time getting the overpayment returned. I have called several times, but nothing has happened. What can I do?
Dear Consumer Ed: I just found out that there is a judgment lien against my house. How does this affect my house? How long will the lien be there? What can I do to get rid of the lien?
Dear Consumer Ed: How long does medical debt stay on your credit report?
Dear Consumer Ed: I have frozen my credit with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to help reduce my risk of identity theft. I just heard that I could be at risk of cell phone fraud because there is another credit reporting agency that keeps data on telecommunications and utilities accounts.
Dear Consumer Ed: I make loan payments, which are reflected on my credit report. I pay every month, but sometimes the loan company skips a month and does not report to the credit bureau. Isn’t that hurting my credit, and don’t they have to fix that?
Dear Consumer Ed: This supposed lending club is offering to loan me $5,000, but they say that since my credit isn’t great, they need to verify my intention to pay by a means I find suspicious.
Dear Consumer Ed: I keep receiving 0% balance transfer offers in the mail from credit card companies. I’m carrying a little extra debt right now. How can I determine if it’s a good idea to transfer my existing credit card debt to the 0% card?