Hi, Suze. I'm Debbie. Growing up I was spoiled; I would spend about 300 to 400 [dollars] each week just on shopping. I had, like 200, pairs of jeans. When the real estate business crashed, my parents pretty much lost all their money, and if I needed help with my bills, they couldn't help me pay for them. Next thing you know I was over all the limit fees and eventually I just kind of stopped paying. I have at least a hundred debt collectors calling me. I didn't know that having bad credit ruined my life. I need your help, Suze. What can I do to get out of this mess?
—Debbie in San Diego, California
: On these 19 credit cards here, Debbie has charged approximately $56,000. Dr. Oz, please do me the pleasure, sir. As you roll out Debbie's credit reports, okay, and her FICO scores. All right? If we look at the very first page of this, it will show you her FICO score of 491. Okay, now what did I say? Anything under 500, you're FICO'd.
Now, here is the problem: When we ran this on Debbie, the $56,000 that she owes on these 19 credit cards have all been charged off. Which means, if you don't know, that the credit card companies and the collection agencies have given up on trying to get their money from Debbie, so they've just written it as a loss and they've charged it off. What's so very sad about that is there is no difference between doing that, my dear Debbie, and walking into a department store and shoplifting and taking out $56,000 worth of items that you've never paid for. What is the difference? If you put it on a credit card and you never pay for it, there is no difference because the people in this audience, on some level, are paying for it, the banks are paying for it, everybody is paying for it but you. And I'm sure this great outfit that you have on, why do I think that you just went out and bought it for today's show? Did you?
So, this is a very, very serious problem. And Dr. Phil has said it better than anybody can say it: You don't solve a financial problem by throwing money at it. It does me absolutely no good to tell you how to get out of credit card debt because you've already gotten out of it, so to speak. They can come after you, they can sue you, but so many things are going on in your life. Besides this $56,000 that's been charged off, you have a $20,000 car loan that you got your brother to co-sign for you.
You have $12,000 of student loan debt that you're never going to be able to discharge in bankruptcy 'cause you can't. You've been working for three years as a manicurist, living for free in your sister's house and making $800 a month. Girlfriend, your life is being wasted and you are too beautiful and too vital to let this... drag you down. So, with that said, there is one person who can turn this around for you, really, in my opinion, 'cause it's not a financial problem. Dr. Phil, I invite you to meet Debbie.
Next: Suze's experiment on what we will sign when we're not paying attention