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Creditor: Vehicles  paid off, now pay up

Left right: Steve Bernas president CEO local Better Business Bureau; Domingo Delgado Chicago; me The Fixer. Domingo Delgado wfree personal

Left to right: Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the local Better Business Bureau; Domingo Delgado of Chicago; and me, The Fixer. Domingo Delgado won a free personal shredder donated by Fellowes Inc. This was at the big annual shredding event held last Saturday, June 23, at the United Center. | Julie Kenney~For the Sun-Times

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Updated: July 30, 2012 6:01AM

D ear Fixer:

I received a letter from Ford Motor Credit dated June 11, stating that I owed money on two separate vehicle loans. This was a surprise, as both vehicles were paid off.

One is a 2008 Mercury Mariner, which they said has a balance due of $155.24. The second is a 2006 Ford F-150, which they said has a balance of $203.81.

I traded in the Mercury Mariner a while ago and no longer own it. Back on March 25, I had received a letter from Ford Motor Credit saying that account had been paid in full. I also received a letter dated April 16, saying the 2006 Ford F150 — which I still own — was paid in full. I have the title for the truck.

My question is if Ford Motor Credit made an error in the payoff amount, am I liable for paying the balance they are requesting? I feel that since I was given letters stating both accounts had been paid in full, it’s not my responsibility to send any more money for these two accounts.

Recently, they have been calling and asking when I am planning on remitting the payment. They said my accounts have been reopened. I don’t want any bad marks on my credit report, but I also feel that legally I shouldn’t have to pay the difference!

Ed Ernst, Hammond, Ind.

Dear Ed: You showed The Fixer two letters from Ford Motor Credit that began with a cheerful “Congratulations!” and continued on to say that your two vehicles were all paid up.

Since so much time has passed and you don’t even have the Mariner anymore, we figured this was a bit like when a teacher accidentally adds up the points on the test wrong and gives a “C” student an “A.”

The Fixer took this to Ford Motor Credit to see if they could figure out what happened. We have to say, they got on it faster than a Mustang Shelby GT 500. It only took about a day before you got an answer: Whatever the bookkeeping glitch may have been, they are now considering your accounts, once again, paid in full. You are officially off the hook.

A shredding good time!

The Fixer enjoyed meeting lots of consumers at the shredding event last Saturday at the United Center. If you missed it, there will be another one in the suburbs this fall (check for updates).

Cars pulled up to the shredding trucks pretty much all day, with a total of 1,215 vehicles participating and about 100,000 pounds of documents destroyed, according to the local Better Business Bureau, which hosted the event along with the City of Chicago, Chicago Police, FBI, Federal Trade Commission, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and United States Postal Inspection Service.

Several folks we spoke with said they felt a huge sense of relief watching those old documents going into the shredding trucks.

Twenty lucky participants, including Sun-Times reader Domingo Delgado of Chicago, won a free personal shredder donated by Fellowes.

And last, a big “thank you” to the shredding companies who brought trucks and staff to handle all that paper: Acme Document Destruction, Beaver Shredding, Chicago Shred Authority, Cintas Document Management and Shred-It. Also — Vintage Tech Recyclers of Romeoville, which collected enough discarded electronics items to fill a semi-trailer and another smaller truck.

Free calculators

If you want to know how long it’ll take you to pay off a debt, how much you need to retire, whether refinancing your mortgage makes sense and a host of other numbers-related questions, try the free calculators page at The Fixer loves this website. Check it out — you’ll instantly raise your financial IQ.

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