by Structured Settlement Watchdog
Mistakes people make when selling their payments, according to CBC Settlements, with my commentary:
1. Not doing your homework- Research the company before getting a quote. Check with your state’s Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau’s website to see if they’ve had complaints about their business practices.
Comments: The structured settlement watchdog adds that the Better Business Bureau is often used by settlement purchasers as a measure of credibility. Yet we have found that in certain places the BBB, which operates on a franchise system, maintains an A+ rating on certain companies despite being put on notice of overwhelming documented evidence of unethical business practices such as submission of false information in listings, including admissions made by a business.
Others may be acting as investment advisers even though they do not have the proper licenses. Beware of strategies to sell your structured settlement and place the proceeds into mutual funds or other variable investments where the risk profile is greater than the structured settlement that you are receiving
2. Not reading your paperwork – Watch for hidden fees or other costs. It is important to know what you’re paying before you sign. If you don’t understand the wording get advice from an independent third party.
Comments: Yes. When someone hurries you and just says "sign here, sign here" be afraid, be very afraid. Some companies, particularly if you have been lured to Florida under dubious circumstances, will prepare an affidavit "so you don't have to appear in court". [see #5 below] We have observed affidavits that didn't sound anything like the person that signed them.
3. Getting only one quote – Don’t rush into a transaction with the first or only offer you receive. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the most money.
Comments: Didn't your mama tell "you that you better shop around" [ like Angie Miller sang or, if you are of a certain age, maybe Smokey Robinson or Toni Tenille did too]
4 Using a broker – Why pay part of your money someone else? By calling around to different companies you can get competitive quotes without the expense of a middleman.
Comments There are brokers who can get you a better deal than a so-called direct funder and a good broker will save you time. There are also brokers, particularly those that have relevant financial credentials and patience, who will save you from doing something stupid. One "direct funder' likes to get you to sell the front end of guaranteed payments, effectively setting you up so that when you run through the amount you received as "cash now" you will go to them and cannabilize more of your financial security. Work with who you feel the most comfortable with and make sure they have credentials. Also bear in mind that many of so-called direct funders pay have affiliate marketers and may tons of commissions to these folks for generating leads.
5. Not showing up for court – It is always in your best interest to go to court to explain your situation to the judge. Don’t let others determine your fate.
Comments: Yes, Yes, Yes! One of the most important tips for those who need to sell structured settlement payments. Not going to court for your "best interest" hearing weakens your line of protection against getting hosed, particularly if you have been lured to Florida under dubious circumstances after being turned down in your home state, in what is known as forum shopping. As previously written, the worst forum shopping and churning cases that I have observed involve non appearances. Cash now pushers in such cases have preyed on your desperation and made you complicit in the fraud so they know you're less likely to snitch on them. Keep all communications for your records.
6. Bonus tip: Just because your financial situation is pressing doesn’t mean you should make hasty decisions. Do your homework and make an informed decision.