SEYMOUR (WATE) - A woman in Seymour has been hounded by a collection agency for months, despite never missing a loan payment for almost two and a half years. She contacted 6 On Your Side, who got in touch with the loan company.
For seniors living on fixed incomes, paying for dental care often comes out of their own pockets. If they don't have the means to pay for something like false teeth, they have to borrow the money.
At some dentist offices, Care Credit is offered. It's a health care credit card which provides a variety of payment options from six to 60 months.
Seniors dependent on Social Security receive their checks in the beginning of the month and sometimes at the end of the month, they're short of money.
Every morning when Therese Yarema starts her day, she has to tighten her loose fitting false teeth. She bought the new set of dentures in May 2011.
Living on a fixed income, she borrowed $2,826 from Care Credit for her teeth. The annual interest rate is 27 percent, according to the loan papers.
"They approved the loan and they told me the payment would be $68 a month," said Yarema.
Mrs. Yarema maintained a record of every payment.
"I have been paying every month," she said. "I haven't missed a month."
Her monthly $68 bill to Care Credit is due on the 27th of the month, but her $1,123 monthly Social Security check doesn't arrive until the beginning of the month.
"So I called them and asked, 'Can I change the date from the end of the month to the beginning? Then, I wouldn't be late all the time with the payments.' They said, 'No problem,'" she said.
However, it was not taken care of. A collection agency has gone after her and warned in a letter that she was severely delinquent in her payments and needed to pay $95 a month for three months.
In May, her first payment to collection was $95.
"They called me up a couple of times saying 'If you pay this it would be all cleared.' So, I'd pay it," Yarema said.
Reluctantly, she sent nearly $300 to the collection agency and continued to pay her $68 a month.
In her personal notebook, she wrote recently that the debt collector started calling again. Apparently, since no one at Care Credit could help, she called 6 On Your Side.
"I want my account to be paid after the fifth of the month, because I get my check on the third. Then I'll just continue to pay the $68 until the loan is paid," said Yarema.
A week ago, 6 On Your Side wrote an email to Care Credit's media center, outlining the problems Mrs. Yarema has come up against since last spring. Their response was quick.
"They say they had heard from you," Yarema told 6 On Your Side.
She heard from a corporate officer who said he would attempt to resolve the payments she made to the debt collector.
"It was a mistake. He would try to correct it. He was sorry and apologized," Yarema said. She said she will now be able to make her payment after the beginning of the month and not have to worry about going to collection again.
Sometimes dealing with customer service with a big company can be frustrating. Yarema says it was often difficult for her to clearly understand what the customer service representatives were saying.
That's when you have to ask to speak to a supervisor, if you can get through. Often they can be of assistance.
Another way of getting their attention is writing to the company. Sending a note directly to the company president, if it is written properly, will often get results.
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