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SMART MONEY, A COLUMN BY BRUCE WILLIAMS

Former employer’s lies cause problems

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 12:01 am

Q.: I was in a car accident a few years ago. The injuries I suffered limited me in what I can now do regarding work. I used to have a job that required a lot of physical labor, and I had to leave that job because of the accident. When applying for a new job, I found out that my old employer was giving out information that was not true in the least. He claimed that I was always late and called in sick a lot. As a consequence, I'm having a hard time getting a job, my bills are piling up and my credit is going downhill. I thought past employers were not allowed to give out bad information such as this. Is there anything I can do? — Sam, via email

A.: I know that in the businesses I am connected with, we verify only past employment, time on the job, etc. I would think that most businesses do the same thing. If you can demonstrate that your past employer has shared false and unflattering information with others, you may have a strong case against him.

Many attorneys offer free consultations. If they feel your case has merit, they may take it on a contingency basis. Your local or state bar association may be able to provide attorney referrals.

Q.: I am looking to refinance my auto. Unfortunately, my credit is poor. I have no one available to cosign, nor would I want to ask someone. My score is around 610, and I tried to have the bank refinance my car with no luck. My current rate is around 20 percent, and my payments are $275. I would love to refinance and get a lower rate and away from the company my car is financed with now. Do you have any suggestions for someone like me? – R.T. in Missouri

A.: Given the information you have provided, I would say your chances are slim to none for getting a refinancing. I understand you would like to get a lower rate and get away from the company that financed your car, but that company likely was either owned by or connected to the dealer from which you bought the car. I can't imagine any bank being remotely interested in a deal of this kind. All the way around, you are in a bad situation, and I sympathize. Your best bet is to get out from under the loan by paying it off early and then work on rebuilding your credit.

Send questions to bruce@brucewilliams.com or to Smart Money, PO Box 7150, Hudson, FL 34674. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.