How to buy a Cell Phone on eBay and Avoiding Common Online Purchasing Mistakes

There was a time when having a cell phone was simply a luxury. Things are not like that anymore. Let’s face it, getting by in today’s world without a phone is like trying to travel on an interstate highway without a car. However, purchasing a new phone off of the shelves of a retail store, or from the mobile phone coverage provider of your choice can be downright expensive. There are more affordable methods of getting your hands on a phone – even some of the latest/greatest models – is a little easier than you might think. In fact, it is possible to use one of the most popular websites in the world to do just that.cellphone

Unless you haven’t been paying attention or have never been online before, you probably know all about eBay. This online auction site has been doing business for years, and allows individuals and retailers to sell their stuff to people from all over the world. Some items are sold via a true auction – people bid on the items, and the highest bidder wins – others are available via a “Buy it Now” button that allows you to make an instant purchase. You can find about anything you might imagine on eBay, and can often get great deals. Smart phones are some of the most popular selling items on eBay, but you have to use the right approach to get the phone you really want at a good price.

Smart Tactics to Buy a Cell Phone on eBay

Here are some tips that should help you to find the right phone at a price that can’t be beat:

  • Invest some time in reading the seller’s feedback. People rate the folks that they do business with on eBay. Read through reviews and look for any negative comments. Some people just post negative stuff for minor issues, but look for any signs that indicate that the phone you are considering purchasing is coming from a less than reliable resource.
  • Do your homework on the phone you want. Go online and look up the specs and features of the phone you plan to buy. Copy and paste some of that information into a text file, and then send the seller a message asking specific questions you have about the phone they are selling. If you don’t get a quick, thorough and correct answer, or the seller tells you they simply don’t know the answer, it’s time to move onto another listing from a different seller and repeat the process.
  • Once you are satisfied with the feedback the seller has, and you get solid answers to your questions, you can begin to bid on the phone you want. You will have to be the highest bidder to win, unless they are willing to let it go via “Buy it Now.”
  • Check the phone out once you get it. If there is a problem, contact the seller. Most people want to avoid negative feedback, so they will work with you to smooth things out. If the seller doesn’t want to work with you, or the phone you get is broken or not as described, you can always start a dispute, and eBay will work with both sides to get the issue resolved amicably.

The Real Reason to buy on eBay

There are lots of great phones in eBay auctions right now. The biggest reasons to do so are to save money on the phone and to get a better plan from your preferred coverage provider. It is so much more affordable to get a pay as you go plan for a phone you own than it is to roll the price of a new phone into the actual voice/data plan from the top providers. If you’re serious about finding the best method of how to buy a cell phone on eBay, these tips should get you moving in the right direction.

How to get a Quick $500 for a Casino Trip with your Buddies

Every once in a while you just have to get out with the buddies. And if you are serious about having a good time, you know there is nothing like heading out for a road trip to the casino. Whether you head out to Vegas or keep your trip more on the local side of things, you know that great times await when you and some of your best friends have a night/weekend of gambling and fun. The bad thing is, though, that you cannot head out the door for one of these trips without a little bit of cash in your pocket. Many guys find that they are flat broke when these types of trips are scheduled to take place, and often don’t know what to do.

Fear not! You don’t have to miss out on all the good times that are sure to happen when the next casino trip rolls around. We’ve put together some tips that will help you to get $500 or so for a great time with your crew…Casino

One option is to use a website or local reseller to sell off some of your seldom used belongings. Find that you don’t get to play golf all that much these days, and willing to part with that old set of clubs? You may find that a local sporting goods reseller in your area is willing to give you a bit of cash to take them off your hands. Have electronics or other stuff to sell? You might want to use eBay or even Craigslist to create a quick, 2 day sale.

The downside with these methods is that you will often only get pennies on the dollar from your initial purchase price. A reseller might only give you $20 or $30 for a set of clubs that you paid hundreds for, and online auctions can often not pan out as you might expect. Still, though, if you have a bunch of stuff you don’t mind getting rid of, and don’t mind taking less for them than they are worth, this is a valid way for those of you who need a quick $500 for a trip to the casino with your buddies. But you may have to sell of quite a bit of stuff in order to make that much money.

Another Method for a Quick $500 for a Casino Trip

If you don’t feel like conducting a fire sale on all of your best stuff in order to make the casino trip, you might want to consider getting a payday advance loan. There are a lot of people who deride these types of loans, but the fact of the matter is that these loans are often the best way to get quick cash for emergencies. And getting out there with your buddies for some gambling qualifies as an emergency in this case.

Payday lenders usually charge about $15 for every $100 you borrow. They get paid back two weeks after you get the loan. So if you’re short on cash because you’re between paydays at work, you get to pay the loan back once that next check is in the bank. So, you could potentially borrow $500 and pay back $575 in two weeks. These types of loans give you cash with a time buffer, so you can not worry about paying them back until you have your next check from work. For those seriously looking for how to get a quick $500 for a casino trip with buddies, the simple payday loan may be the easiest way to get it done.

Think about these options, and the next time you need cash in order to have a bit of fun with your friends, you at least now have a couple of options that may work out quite well for you.

Opposing Views Clash over the Legitimacy of Payday Loans

To say that viewpoints are polarized these days would be an understatement. On just about every subject imaginable – from pop music to politics – people have opinions. And often, the opinion that someone has on a topic puts them in direct opposition of the folks who don’t share that opinion. One only has to look at how Democrats and Republicans usually face off on various topics in order to understand how all of this works. Keeping in mind how people tend to cling to their opinion, and write off people who are on the opposite side of the fence makes it easy to understand why payday lending is such a hotly debated topic.

On one side you have consumer advocates and others who are opposed to payday lending. They believe that payday lenders charge too much for their services and that the lending companies play a part in trapping their customers in cycles of debt. On the other side, there are payday lenders, their customers and those who support this industry. The lenders are business owners that believe they offer valuable services to consumers that are underserved by traditional banks. The customers are people who need access to fast money, and who have turned to payday lenders for these services. And the supporters of this industry come from a wide range of backgrounds, with most of them sharing a strong belief in offering choice to consumers and the American entrepreneurial spirit.unsecured-loans-can-be-easily-obtained-through-payday-lenders-direct-6516

The Biggest Threat to Payday Lending

You can choose to be on either side; that’s one of the great things about this country. But there is one group that is the biggest advocate of eliminating payday lending completely – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (aka the CFPB.) This government group is in charge of protecting consumers from financial misdeeds and shady business practices. And while they certainly do that, the CFPB has been on a serious quest to rid the country of payday lending and other forms of short term loans that operate outside the realm of traditional banking. The CFPB is currently poised to unleash new, stricter regulations that many believe will ring the death knoll for the payday loans industry.

Surprising Support for the Payday Lending Industry

For a while, it seemed like only a handful of elected Republican officials had an interest in protecting the payday lending industry. However, in recent months key Democrat leaders have stepped up and joined in bipartisan steps to help delay/prevent the new CFPB regulations from taking effect. Many people believed that the payday lending industry was as good as done for until officials from both sides of the aisle began to talk common sense about the issue and started working together to formulate legislation that would work to stop the CFPB from enacting its new regulations. This is still a work in progress, but it demonstrates that even those who tend to lean toward liberal political affiliations can have a change of heart. As to where these bipartisan efforts will ultimately lead is something that everyone will have to keep an eye on in upcoming months.

The debate about payday loans will likely continue regardless of whether or not the CFPB is successful in implementing its new regulations. However, for those that ardently support a free market, choices for American consumers in the financial market and the ability for low income consumers to get access to short term, small dollar lines of credit, the hope is that bipartisan efforts to quell the CFPB turn out to be successful.

Some Democrats Divided over Payday Lending Regulation Issues

For weeks now, Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz has faced searing criticism for her stance on legislation that could help to change the way payday loans are regulated in this country – some via TV spots. Why is everyone up in arms about Wasserman Shultz’s stance? Well, the left has a long history of holding a grudge against short term lending operations. And since Wasserman Shultz is a very influential, powerful leader of the Democratic Party, it is easy to see why some Dems are not exactly happy with her. This has all been big news lately, and this article certainly is not the first – or last – time Wasserman Shultz and the payday lending industry will be mentioned.Democrat-Donkey

What is somewhat quietly sneaking under the radar, though, is the fact that there are other elected officials from the Democrat’s side of the fence that are also starkly in support of new measures to delay/eliminate proposed regulations that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been threatening to enact for some time now. For example, the U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy has also thrown his support behind new legislation that seeks to postpone/radically change the plans that the CFPB has had in mind for quite some time.

Of course, taking a stand for something in this country means that you will without doubt face opposition. Murphy’s support of the new legislation has garnered the ire of his rival in the Senate race, Representative Alan Grayson. It seems that Grayson and other leaders in the Democratic Party, along with the CFPB, are intent on cracking down on the payday lending industry. And Grayson will likely use this difference of opinions on the matter as a key talking point as the race continues to heat up.

Murphy was not late to the game by any stretch of the imagination. He was one of the original co-sponsors of the bill, and was joined by other lawmakers from the state of Florida. These Florida leaders believe that the proposed CFPB regulations will do damage to regulations that were passed by the state Legislature a few years back. Representative Dennis Ross introduced the bill and it has gained plenty of support from members of the Florida delegation.

Sean Bartlett is Debbie Wasserman Shultz’s communication director. Bartlett recently stated, “Florida lawmakers know that before 2001, the payday lending industry was running roughshod over consumers in the Sunshine State. The State House and Senate voted unanimously at the time to make reforms that fifteen years later, better protect consumers while still preserving access to credit for working families who need it. The cosponsors of H.R. 4018 believe Florida’s model and experience can be instructive to CFPB as it considers its national rulemaking.”

Some consumer advocate groups, however, believe that the payday lending industry did what it could to influence the Florida payday lending laws. According to the Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection: “In exchange for minimal regulatory requirements, the industry was permitted to issue predatory loans, extracting millions in exorbitant fees each year from the Floridians that can least afford it.”

This battle is just beginning to heat up. And while Wasserman Shultz may continue to be the face of Democratic leaders supporting the new bill to the general media, it is clear that other party members have the same core beliefs about the strength of Florida payday regulations and the ability of states to do this type of regulation on their own. The alternative seems to be for states to simply roll over and allow the federal government, by way of the CFPB, to continue to hand down laws that could potentially destroy already effective regulation measures.

How Complaints Make Their Way to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

As a taxpayer, you have the right to know about services that are available to you. And even though the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is in a bit of hot water with elected officials, business owners and private citizens right now, you should know a bit about how this government “consumer protection” group actually works. One of the most well-known things that the CFPB does is keeping track of consumer complaints about financial services and products. Here’s the thing – even if you never plan on submitting a complaint to this organization, you should be familiar with how the process works. After all, the CFPB is operating on a nearly limitless budget, and that is in no small way thanks to the tax dollars you fork out every year.

The WebsiteYury_Pen-Divorce

To start a complaint that will get filed in the CFPB’s consumer complaint database, you visit consumerfinance.gov. There is a link on the main page to file a complaint. Once you click on the link, you’ll be on a site that collects basic information. There are two main categories used to get a complaint into the database: Loans or Products and Services. The Loans category includes mortgage, student loan, vehicle loans, payday loans or other loans that you can choose from. The Products and Services category includes Bank Accounts, Credit/Prepaid Cards, Credit Reporting, Debt Collection, Money Transfer/Virtual Currency or Other Financial Service. Getting a registered complaint started is easy enough, you just choose from one of the category links that we just told you about.

Diving Deeper into Consumer Complaints to the CFPB

When you choose the topic that best suits your needs, you are taken to a new web page. You get basic information about how the process works, and a button to get started. Once you start, you have to fill in a text box with a description of your issue. You can also opt in or out of having the CFPB publish your description on their website. You also get the option to choose from different descriptors related to your issue. Website visitors can choose the proper descriptors and then continue. This takes people to the page where they fill in text about the resolution they’d like to see. After that page is submitted, you get to a page where it asks for basic contact information. Some fields are optional, but you must put in your name and an email address to continue the process. Depending upon what your complaint is about, you will be taken to yet another page that asks for specific information, like account numbers, company names and even a place to attach related documents.

When you have everything filled out, you get a chance to review all the information prior to official submission. Once that is done, the CFPB can – presumably – begin looking into the incident and taking action. Whether or not that happens immediately, a couple of days later or even months later is not so easy to figure out. However you do get a tracking number, so you can come back to the site to see where your complaint stands.

All in all, it is easy enough to log a consumer complaint to the CFPB. We have seen that the bureau does take action on some complaints. It also uses the data it collects to produce reports, so the government and taxpayers know what the organization has been up to. If you have a consumer complaint and have not been able to get it taken care of on your own, it may be worth a shot to log an online complaint. But even if you never use this government website, you at least understand how the process works.

Lending Company Challenges Constitutionality of CFPB Authority

Even though government organizations and groups are formed with a mission to serve the American people, there are times when those groups overstep their boundaries. Of course, the folks in charge of these organizations and those who support said government groups usually don’t like it when individuals or businesses challenge the authority of governmental organizations. But in order to keep the powers that be honest, in check and accountable, there are times when the powers have to be challenged.Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Such is the case with a lawsuit that sees a business challenging the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s power. This trial is the official case of PHH Corp. versus the CFPB. It is just getting underway, and will be heard in the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia. This case will likely drag on for a while, but legal experts expect to get a ruling on this case before the year ends.

PHH Corp is a lending company based in New Jersey. This company is working to get a $109 million penalty that the CFPB issued overturned. The penalty was issued back in June of 2015 with regard to PHH’s alleged violations of RESPA (the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.) This case is going to be one to watch, and will likely set a huge precedent due to the fact that it is the first time since the CFPB began – which was about 5 years ago – in which a company has issued a direct judicial challenge against a CFPB mandated penalty.

The CFPB first announced that it was taking action against PHH in the first quarter of 2015. The bureau sought a civil fine, victim restitution and an injunction to prevent PHH from violating in the future. In November of 2014, a judge said that PHH received kickback payments via reinsurance premiums that were paid to a company that is a subsidiary of PHH. The payments were given by mortgage insurers and the entire set up was found to be a RESPA violation. The judge ordered that PHH pay a $6.4 million penalty for their part in these things.

PHH did what any company would do, and appealed this ruling. This prompted the Director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray to both deny the appeal and to up the penalty to a whopping $109 million. Cordray said the original ruling was not correct because it did not account for the payment methods on mortgage premiums. The CFPB even went on record with allegations that PHH had been receiving kickbacks for these types of deals as far back as the 1990s.

The lawyers for PHH Corp. stated, “Never before has so much authority been consolidated in the hands of one individual shielded from the president’s control and Congress’s power of the purse.” These lawyers immediately filed a petition with the court of appeals, and claimed that the CFPB was abusing its considerable power. As a result, we are now witness to a case where a company has boldly gone where no other business has, and is actually making a legal case that challenges not only the power that the CFPB has, but also the constitutionality of the organization as a whole.

Cordray and the CFPB have made their fair share of enemies over the years. Currently, there are even Republican and Democrat leaders working hand-in-hand to prevent the bureau from enabling new short term lending restrictions in the near future. As such, this case will likely go down in the history books as a case of lending companies getting fed up with the CFPB and finally exercising their rights to do something about it.

The Great Payday Lending Battle Understanding Florida Payday Loan Regulations

There are currently elected officials – both Democrats and Republicans – who have joined forces to push back against the CFPB’s new payday loan regulations. Many of the opponents of the CFPB’s proposed regulations have mentioned that Florida does a great job regulating this industry at the state level. As such, these people believe that states should have the right to regulate short term loans without interference from the CFPB or any organization that represents the federal government. To help you get more insight into this issue, it is wise to understand the Florida payday regulations for yourself. Here are some things you need to know about payday lending regulations in Florida

Number of Loans are Restricted as are Loan Amounts

A borrower can only have a single outstanding payday loan at any given time. There is a centralized database that is used to track every payday loan processed in the Sunshine State. When a borrower pays back their loan, an extra 24 hour cooling off period is tacked on prior to that person being able to take out another loan. The maximum amount that someone can borrow from a payday lender is $500.

payday21Terms of Florida Payday Loans

A payday loan cannot be given for less than 7 days or more than 31. These loans cannot be rolled over. For example, if someone takes out a two week payday loan, the lender is not allowed to rollover (renew) the loan, tacking on extra fees and running the life of the loan for another two weeks. Note that in this scenario the total loan time would be under 31 days. Terms are set when a borrower takes out a loan. However, if they are not able to pay, loans can be extended without any additional fees being charged.

Payday Loan Fees

The laws in Florida put limits on fees that can be charged on payday loans. The fee cap is set at 10 percent of the loan amount. Additionally, any loan costs, like verification fees, are strictly limited to just five dollars per loan. It should also be noted that the fee cap is not one that accrues over the course of time. If someone were to take a year to pay off a payday loan, for example, the 10 percent would not snowball into a huge fee. If it were for a $200 loan, the fee would never be more than the 10 percent, or $20, plus costs that top out at $5.

Payday Loan Grace Periods

In Florida the law states that borrowers are given a 60 day grace period if they are not able to pay back loans on the original due date. In order to get the grace period, though, borrowers must set up an appointment with a credit counseling agency within a week of the loan due date and complete a credit counseling course within the 60 days of grace that are given. The credit counseling company may recommend a repayment plan, and the borrower must pay their debt according to this plan without incurring any extra fees or loan costs.

Collection Policies

If someone gives a lender a check and the check bounces, there are limits on what lenders can do. The lender cannot pursue criminal actions against the borrower. The lender is allowed to demand payment, but costs are capped at the 10 percent fee and a $5 fee for bad checks that the lender might get charged for from their own bank. Payday lenders can only get additional money if they file a lawsuit and the court sees fit to side with the lending company on this matter.

These are just some of the main points of Florida payday lending regulation. Some are pushing for Florida to be the model for the entire nation, while others simply want the CFPB to back off and allow states to decide on their own how to best regulate the short term lending industry. Which solution do you think is the best for your state?

Vets and Military Families Forced to Deal with Debt Collectors and Mortgage Issues

Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in charge of protecting consumers from financial misdeeds, it should come as no surprise that this group collects and tracks consumer complaints. When all the complaints from consumers are considered for calculations debt collection continues to be the type of issue most often reported to the CFPB. The organization recently released a couple of reports that show which consumers are the most at-risk for these types of issues and the businesses that are involved in debt collections actions.

Going back to March 1st, the CFPB revealed that California, Florida, New York, Texas and Illinois are the states that combine to account for in excess of 40 percent of all the complaints logged since summer of 2011. In Florida almost 60 percent of the complaints from state residents can be traced to three major metro areas – Tampa, Orlando and Miami.

Here is something that is really troubling to a lot of people – military veterans and their families continue to be the most at-risk for debt collection issues. And that is even when compared to the rest of the population. When tabulating the complaints that have been logged by folks in the military community, debt collection issues come in at about 46 percent of all complaints filed by military personnel and/or their immediate family members. If you want to compare this stat with the overall numbers, the CFPB states that these types of complaints account for 26 percent of total complaints collected thus far.

It seems that debt collection issues are not the only concerns that military families have. Mortgage complaints come in second place for complaints logged by this group, at about 15 percent. Many service members find themselves coming home from deployment and have also reported complaints about fraudulent credit report activity and identity theft instances.

So, what kind of companies are responsible for the steady amount of debt collection actions in the United States? The CFPB complaints have indicated that Encore Capital Group, based out of San Diego and Portfolio Recovery Associates, based out of Virginia are two of the biggest debt collection companies in the United States, and they have been mentioned most frequently in complaints logged to the CFPB. Each of these companies were mentioned in more than 100 complaints each month, from October to December of 2015.

Is the CFPB doing anything about all of the complaints it receives? The bureau says that it took enforcement measures against the firms mentioned for actions that include deceptive debt collection practices and debt purchasing. In fact, Portfolio Recovery Associates was fined $8 million and ordered to repay about $19 million to consumers. The company also had to cease collection actions on about $3 million worth of debts. Encore Capital, meanwhile, was ordered to stop their collection efforts on nearly $125 million in debts, to repay consumers $19 million and they also had to pay a hefty $10 million fine.

Since so many people have a vested interest in taking care of military members and their families, it will be interesting to see if the CFPB actually takes any direction action to focus on the unique financial challenges that many military families seem to be dealing with. If there are debt collection agencies out there that are continually targeting military personnel for harassment, for example, then the CFPB needs to step in and use its considerable power to provide a bit of relief for those who have taken it upon themselves to defend this country as a way of life. It really is the right thing to do.