Prejudice Against The Poor

Prejudice: 1. harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement. 2. cause harm to (a state of affairs).

There is a huge problem with prejudice against the poor and lower income people of America. It is abominable when fee’s and charges are assessed to these people!  Disabled, unemployed and single parents, are the prime target of these prejudice practices.  The people who need help the most are the one’s fleeced by banks, and government bureau’s everyday. 

If a person of low income does not have money to pay a bill then how in the world are they going to pay the bill PLUS penalties?! What is going on here? I like electricity, I enjoy water coming from my spigot, I pay my bill to have this continue. What would happen if one day I couldn’t pay one or some of these bills? What happens when a disability strikes or unemployment and the money simply isn’t there? I’ll tell you what happens. Business and governments ADD more to the unpaid bill! Like that is going to fix it! When in reality what happens is people become homeless or their water is shut off. How can our society be so backwards. How can we punish people that simply don’t have the money?

This is a long article, but, it is well worth the reading if you can stick it out with me!

This is a kind of abuse that people of authority play upon the low income people. People that are given authority can, and will, abuse that authority.  It’s a proven fact.  Need I remind you of the Stanford Prison Experiment?  The students granted the position of “Guard” became sadistic and abused the “Prisoners”.  Why do so many people ignore this important insight into authority and those granted it?

We are all raised believing that certain questions are rude to ask. You know what I’m talking about: “Is that lady pregnant?” “No, she’s just over weight.”, Ouch! Or what about, “How much do you weigh?”, “How old are you?”. What about, “What is your salary?”, rude, tsk, tsk. And, “What kind of bills do you incur (or receive)?” No way, don’t ask, very rude. But that’s EXACTLY what they rely on. Who is they? The government, banks, utility companies, etc. They rely on our secretive nature about our bills to gouge, overcharge, and generally hack into our bank accounts.

I can clearly remember my mother telling me, “That’s rude. You don’t ask about other people’s finances.” As a matter of fact, growing up in my household, you didn’t ask about anyone’s finances. Why? If we don’t talk about it, then nobody will know!

If I don’t tell you about the ridiculous fee’s I am charged by the bank, or the clandestine penalties I’m charged by the DMV, how will you know? How will we be able to say, as a collective voice of society, “No, this is wrong! You will not charge us these exorbitant fee’s and get away with it.” We won’t. And that is exactly what they want! We will all sit by, oblivious, while our neighbors, friends, family and the rest of society is torn into financially. This needs to change!

There are three incidents, of people fleeced, I was witness to, that have been festering in my soul since I heard about them. They may not have happened to me personally, but they were just as upsetting for me as if they had. Then, over the weekend, I was told about yet another atrocity. I can’t take it anymore, I have to do something, I must write about it!

If you look at how our society is set-up it is not for dealing with financial issues, it is completely defective.

When people who are not financially secure are charged more fee’s than anyone else in society, there is a problem!

These scenario’s are so disheartening because they happened to the people who simply do not have the money to deal with these fee’s, penalties, and charges. These people will go without such basic necessities as food, clothing or electricity in their home. These fee’s will leave them with nothing.

These are NOT the people who should be charged when a bill cannot be paid by them. These are not the people who have the means to earn more money, or borrow it from someone. These are the people society needs to lend a hand to. These are the people that should be LAST on the list to be penalized!

They are already penalized with their knowledge that they can’t pay a bill, or they can’t buy their children clothing. These people don’t LIKE the fact they cannot pay a bill. They do not LIKE that they can’t register their car. Who in his right mind doesn’t want to be able to drive their car? Who can conduct a normal, or semi-normal life without a car? Yet, they are charged, and charged, and charged, again if they do not have the money.

Let me tell you what I know. I will keep to the facts, and I will omit no truths in the following stories:

Bank Gets Off Scott-Free With Fraud

An Entrepreneur took a shot at starting their own business. This business relied on receiving payments occasionally from unknown people.

Things were going well, when a check was presented from a new customers.

Unsure of the validity of the check, it was brought to the entrepreneurs bank. Upon depositing the check the entrepreneur made it clear, to the bank representative, that the validity of the check was unknown, “I don’t know this person, but they want to do business with me. I don’t want anything to do with the money this check is written for until it clears their bank. The entrepreneur inquired, “How long should I wait to be sure it clears their bank?” The teller responded with, “Give it 24 hrs to clear their bank.” That was no problem and the check was put in for deposit and the entrepreneur left the bank.

Three days later the entrepreneur went to the bank, the very same bank representative was working. There was an inquiry, “Has the check I deposited the other day cleared their bank yet?” The bank representative checked something on her computer then acknowledged that the check had indeed cleared their bank, “Yes, it has cleared their bank just fine.” The entrepreneur then withdrew funds to complete the transaction requested by the customer.

Two weeks later, the entrepreneur returned to the bank for another bank transactions, upon walking into the bank the very same bank representative immediately came over, “I’ve been trying to call you all day!” said the bank representative. “That check you deposited. It wasn’t good. We need you to give us the money back.” Shocked, and unbelieving, the entrepreneur responded with, “You told me it cleared their bank! I told you I didn’t want anything to do with the money until it cleared their bank! Why did you tell me it had cleared their bank if it had not?” The bank representative answered, “I’m sorry, I should have keyed it in, but I didn’t. Now we really need that money back.” The reply to that was, “I do not have the money. I completed the customers purchase and gave them their product. You told me the check cleared their bank. It’s your problem now.” That was the end of the conversation. What could be done, the bank had been reassuring that the check cleared the check writers bank when it indeed had not.

The bank initiated a bounced check accusation against the entrepreneur claiming the business had bounced a check. Nothing was said about the bank representative ensuring the check had cleared the check writers bank. There’s nothing the entrepreneur/business owner could do to alert people that the bank assisted in fraud.

The only apology from the bank was the “Sorry, I should have keyed it in.” When the accusation of a bounced check scenario provided nothing for resolution to the bank the bank placed a negative transaction on the entrepreneurs credit report stating that she owes money and isn’t paying. This negative credit report entry will stay on the credit report for eight years!

The entrepreneur/business owner was lied to by the bank representative. The business owner was trying to be conscientious and careful by waiting until the check cleared the check writers bank. The bank representative was told this and that nothing was to be done with the money until it had cleared.

The bank aided and abetted fraud!

Who do we trust if we can’t trust our own bank? How do people conduct a business when their bank won’t help them identify fraud? This was the perfect situation for the bank and the business owner to collaborate and catch a criminal with a fraudulent check, but instead the bank gave the business owner fraudulent information thus allowing the person that created the bad check to get away scott-free.

Money And The Domino Effect

Coincidently, this next scenario comes from the same bank as mentioned above. Same bank, completely different person/situation. This person is disabled. They do not receive anything from disability as of yet. They had applied nearly a year before. A meager retirement fund, and hand-outs from family was her means of supporting herself at the time. Getting by, but barely, she was slammed by her bank.

As many of us have done in our lives, intentionally, or unintentionally, she had to kite a check. Kiting a check is the act of writing a check to pay someone like PG & E, or the water bill, or to a private party, etc. when the funds are not in your account…..yet. The idea is to pay the bill so your basic necessities won’t be turned off, with the hope your deposit beats the check to your bank account to cover the check.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose when kiting checks. When a person is living on a meager income, sometimes this is the only way. My disabled friend used this method to pay the rent on her home one month. Her landlord insisted on payment or she was to vacate the premises. So, she wrote the check on Friday, knowing she would have the full amount in the bank on Monday morning. Well, you guessed it, the landlord went down and immediately cashed the check at his bank. The check got to her bank before she did Monday morning.

Come Monday morning, she deposited the funds into her account, nothing was said. The receipt reflected enough money to cover the check written on Friday. Lo-and-behold, the check had already arrived at midnight Sunday!

She was already overdrawn and didn’t know it.

The bank sent her a notice in the mail that she was overdrawn. This was received Wednesday. By the time she got to the bank Thursday morning, the account had been overdrawn for four days. The bank assessed her fee’s to the tune of $800!!

How in the world could that happen you ask? When the check for the rent overdrew her account Sunday at midnight, the bank assessed fee’s on her account of $15 for the check immediately, plus $5 per day that the check was not paid. When she made the deposit on Monday morning it was not enough to cover the ensuing checks coming through because she did not account for the $15 plus $5 a day assessment. Any check or debit on the account was bounced, or denied which caused $15 per item plus $5 a day per item.

This snowball effect went on until she received the letter from the bank on Wednesday. Within those four days she went bankrupt and didn’t even know it. If the $15 plus $5 a day had not been assessed without her knowledge, the overdraft would not have happened, but the fee’s charged caused one, after another, after another to overdraft her account. With much dismay and irritation, she made phone calls, visited the bank, and generally made an uproar about it until some of the fee’s were waved by the bank. She still had to pay the $15 per item, but just this once, and I’m sure to get her out of the bank, they removed the $5 a day for each item.

She still had those creditors to answer to why her payment was returned. There was several days of clean-up to people this disabled person had to go through. The bank took their fee’s out of her account for the next couple of months until they were all paid in full.

Non-Op Costs

This last scenario was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I am still reeling from reading the letter the bank sent him. This involves yet another disabled person.

He was given a much-needed car when a family member passed away. As things would have it, the car was in fine shape, but it needed minor repair work over time. IE: new brakes, SMOG test, new tires, etc. This was becoming all too much for him to afford.

During this time another ailment befell him and his feet became disfigured, preventing him from pressing the pedals in his car. When the registration came due, he did not have the money to pay it. The car was in working condition, but he couldn’t drive it with his feet disfigured, so he left it to sit.

In California, in order to place your vehicle as NON-OP (non operational) the registration must be paid, then a fee is charged for the NON-OP status, with taxes and other fee’s applied. He did not have the money in the first place for registration so where do they think he is going to get it for registration AND Non-Op status?! This makes no sense. It is completely backwards thinking!

The Department of Motor Vehicles was persistent in collecting their due registration fee’s. He contacted the DMV and told them his plight, to no avail. He did not drive it, he couldn’t drive it especially with his foot condition, but that didn’t matter to the DMV. They wanted their money and they wanted it now!

The car was parked in his yard. Cobwebs grew from it, dirt and weeds collected around the tires.

Fast forward two years. The car really has cobwebs now! His financial situation is improving, slowly, very slowly, but he is able to open a bank account to pay his bills. Previously he did not have enough money to open a bank account!

About two months after opening this bank account to pay bills with, he receives a notice from the bank that his account is overdrawn. He wheels himself down to the bank to find out how this could be since he just opened the account.

When he got to the bank he is notified that a legal action has been taken against his account! By who??……The DMV!!

They assessed his account, and got legal permission to remove from his account an amount of over $150 without any prior notice to him! Then, to top it off, the bank charged him another $125!

The banks reasoning for this fee……for dealing with the DMV. They assessed him a fee of $125 for dealing with the DMV! What the heck is that? Isn’t that their job, to deal with money? Now they can assess a fee for doing what they do for everyone else for free?

So, now his account is minus an unexpected $250. Guess what happened with the bills he had paid recently? You know exactly what happened, they were all denied, returned to his creditors! On top of the $35 returned check fee the bank charged him, those creditors charged him fee’s on top of that for their payment being denied!

This is all so much craziness my mind is reeling! And here is the show stopper, the DMV will continue to take this $125 out of his account each month until the registration, on the car he can’t drive, with cobwebs growing on it, until it is paid in full AND they have put a lock on his Safe Deposit Box he has at the bank! What does his Safe Deposit Box have to do with the DMV? How do they have the power to lock him out of his personal belongings held in that Box? He cannot access anything in his Safe Deposit Box until the fee’s are paid in full which are approximately $900.

How in this whole wide world does the DMV have the power to force a disabled person to pay a registration for a car he can’t even drive?!

The DMV is collecting registrations to pay for our roads, to repair street signs, and lights. They are collecting the fee’s on our behalf, the American person. As they see it everyone that uses the roads contributes to repairing them. Where are they going now with this outline of duties? They work for us! I say wave the fee! Leave him alone. Pick on someone else! Stop bullying people! Who doesn’t want to use their car? Who doesn’t want to pay the registration so they can drive their car? Nobody that I know of.

When someone CAN’T pay the registration, or registration PLUS NON-OP fee’s, don’t chase them down and FORCE it out of them!! You have no right! If they drive the vehicle they will be pulled over and cited. There’s the punishment.

We don’t need the DMV taking control of our checking accounts and safe deposit boxes over registrations! What is next? What if they just decide to forego sending out registration reminders, they are costly, waste of paper, and time, and they decide to just TAKE your money from your account for registration without notice? How does that shoe fit you? Does this sound appealing to you? I sure as heck hope not!

As I see it, these banks and DMV are flexing their muscles to see how, and what they can get away with on the American people. They have targeted people who are in need of representation, yet cannot afford such a luxury. These people can’t afford to go out and get an attorney to fight for their rights and the banks and the DMV know it!

We need to put a stop to this at the ground floor we are on. Are you going to wait until it affects you and your bank account? Are you going to wait until you receive a letter in the mail that your overdrawn because the DMV swiped the money out of your account without your knowledge, and now you owe the bank thousands of dollars? Or, are you going to do something, anything, now while we still have a voice to say, “NO, this is wrong!”

Originally posted 2019-12-14 03:02:19.