How to Get Errors Removed From Your Credit Report

Some estimate that more than 70% of us have errors on our credit reports!

These can range from incorrect personal information such as:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Current Address
  • Accounts that you have paid off still showing a balance due!


Since your credit report is so important, you owe it to yourself to not only check it for accuracy, but also learn how to correct mistakes.

First, if you have not looked at your credit report, you can request a FREE Credit Report from

There are also numerous sites you can sign up for and pay a fee as well.

Once you download the report, save it for future use.


  • Print a copy of the page that has the error you want to dispute.  No need to copy the entire report.
  • Circle the error.
  • Write a brief, legible explanation of why you are disputing this entry.
  • Prepare your "evidence" such as:
  • copies of cancelled checks
  • copy of Drivers License or something showing correct DoB, etc.


It is much easier and you will get results much quicker if you go online to open a DISPUTE with each of the 3 major credit bureaus.

Here are the links:




Each bureau has a little different way they want you to open the dispute.

Just follow the instructions and you'll find it's really simple.



You are supposed to receive a reply from each of the bureaus in about 45 days or so.

They are also supposed to send you a CORRECT COPY of your credit report.

As with anything else, you will most likely have to follow up, so make sure to SAVE ALL OF YOUR DOCUMENTS, ETC.



There should be information in your credit report that will tell you who to call or contact about your account.

If your account has been delinquent for a long time, you should be able to negotiate a settlement rather than having to repay the entire balance!

This can be a lot of work and frustrating, but worth the effort.

If you could use some help or advice, click below:

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary


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Tags: dispute errors on your credit report, debt settlement in oregon, how to eliminate credit card debt, Equifax

Summons...Do I Have to Go to Court?

If you have ever received a summons, you know how stressful it can be!

The summons states that you have 30 days (more or less in certain states) to APPEAR and give an ANSWER...

Does that mean you have to go to court?

This will help...

You know that when we apply for a credit card, store card, or an unsecured loan, we are agreeing to repay whatever we charge at certain interest rate and minimum payment.

So what happens if I cannot keep up with the minimum payments?

You will start to get CALLS and LETTERS 

We know that  the credit card industry makes it's billions and billions from interest rates, annual charges, and late or over-the-limit fees

Miss a payment and they go into "over-drive" to try and get you making payments again.

You may get several calls a day (mostly from computer dialers) from the original creditor or from a debt collector who has been assigned your debt or purchased your debt/account.

As long as your account is with the original creditor, they have a right to call.

But, when the account is transferred, sold or assigned to a collection agency, you can put a stop to the calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But remember...

Just because the account has been outsourced for collection and you have successfully stopped the persistent and annoying calls, YOU STILL OWE THE DEBT!

There a several options for dealing with this:

  • Debt Management (used to be referred to as Credit Counseling)
  • Debt Settlement
  • Bankruptcy

For more information on each option, click on the link above.


You either were not aware of your options or just could not take advantage of either of them due to your financial circumstance.

After the creditor fails to get you to start paying again, they may assign your account to a Law Firm that specializes in Debt Collection.

This firm will make the calls and send the letters as before.

You might have to send them the same "Stop the Calls" letter.

If they are unsuccessful in getting you to start making payments again, they may file a COMPLAINT or CLAIM in the county courthouse where you live.

This will result in a SUMMONS being delivered to you.

The SUMMONS states that you have 30 days (average) to APPEAR  and give an ANSWER.

Sounds like you have 30 days to show up in court and explain why you have not been able to pay this debt.

But, that's NOT what it means!

If you'll look closely at the SUMMONS, the words "APPEAR" and give an "ANSWER" are highlighted or in italics.

It means that if you have absolute, documented proof that you do not owe the debt, you have 30 days to file the proper documentation and proof with the court.

If not done within the 30 days, the PLAINTIFF (creditor or collector) may petition the court to be awarded a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

This may take 2-3 months depending on several factors.

But, after being awarded the JUDGMENT, they can now apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT or BANK LEVY.

WAGE GARNISHMENT in most states is 25% of your NET (after-tax) income!

Hard to make ends meet on 100% of your net, after-tax income?

Try it with 25% less!

Let's say you are bringing home $4,500 each month.

If a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT is sent to your employer, the employer has not choice but to comply with the COURT ORDER and send $1,125 to the creditor/collector per the ORDER!

Yep, that leaves you with only $3,375 to live on!  

WAGE GARNISHMENT IS TERRIBLE and if an alternative payment arrangement cannot be negotiated, you may be forced to seek BANKRUPTCY protection!


You received the SUMMONS and you know you owe the debt.

Now you understand that you do not have to file any documentation with the court and you DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO COURT.


Many times a SETTLEMENT can be negotiated with the law firm/collector.

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

If a SETTLEMENT cannot be negotiated, a repayment agreement called a STIPULATED AGREEMENT can be set up.

This STIP is usually filed with the court and it basically says that as long as you make the agreed upon payments on the agreed upon date, they will not move forward with legal options such as WAGE GARNISHMENT or BANK LEVIES.

Once the STIP has been completed, a LETTER OF SATISFACTION is sent to the court.

The JUDGEMENT is removed.

This is supposed to happen, but you have to follow up as many collectors do not do this!

OK...I hope you understand a little more about this process now.

The most important thing you need to take away from this is:

Even though you do not have to go to court (or necessarily file any documents),


You must be "PRO-ACTIVE" to prevent garnishments, levies or liens.

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Tags: how to prevent wage garnishment, debt collector, receive a summons, stopping debt collection calls, summons, judgments, wage garnishment

What Can a Debt Collector Do and Not Do to Me?

If your are having a hard time keeping up with your credit card debt, you may start getting calls from a debt collector.  This can be very stressful!  You need to know what a debt collector can do and cannotg do.  This will help!

cartoon_about_stressThere are many reasons you may be falling behind in making at least your minimum payments:

  • Laid off or reduced hours due to Covid-19
  • Divorce
  • Loss of loved one
  • Too little fixed income in retirement
  • Illness or disability
  • Just bad decisions


So if you don't have enough stress right now, the phone rings and the caller says something like,

" This is Bob from XYZ collections.  We have your Visa Card account with a balance of $8,500.  You must make a payment today or we may decide to turn your account over to an attorney for collection!"

You try to explain your situation, but it doesn't do any good. 

He starts back in saying there are several options they have for collection, including:

  • Lawsuits
  • Garhishments
  • Bank Levy
  • Lien against your home

You hang up and start thinking:

Can they start taking money from my paycheck?  I can barely make ends meet now!

If they take money out of my bank account, I can't pay the rent or mortgage!  

Will I have to sell my house if they put a lien on it?

And your mind just keeps going....

OK, calm down.  

There are several laws to protect consumers from illegal debt collection efforts found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Can debt collectors contact me any time or any place?

They cannot call before 8am or after 9pm.

They can call you at work, but you can stop them by telling them you cannot receive calls at work.

Once your account is transferred or sold to a collection agency, you can put a stop to the calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Can a Debt Collector take money from my paycheck or bank account?

A debt collector cannot touch your money (paycheck or bank account) without first obtaining a judgment and writ of levy from the court.

Having said that, there are certain types of debts that don't require a court order for garnishments, such as:

  • Failure to pay alimony or child support
  • Taxes
  • Federal Student Loans (each state has different laws)

There are several sources of income that are exempt from garnishments or levies:

  • Social Security
  • Pension and/or retirement funds
  • Alimony or Child support
  • Disablitiy income 

But, as far as your unsecured debts (credit cards, personal loan, medical bills, etc.) are concerned, there is a whole process that must take place BEFORE a creditor can garnish or levy.

After the original creditor or the debt collector attempts to get you to start making payments by making numerous calls and sending letters, they may dedice to seek legal options.

First, they must FILE A COMPLAINT in the county court where you live.

This will result is a SUMMONS that must be delivered to you.

The summons will state that the PLAINTIFF (creditor) is CLAIMING that you owe a certain amount for this specific debt.

It will also say that you have 30 days (varies by state or court) to APPEAR AND GIVE AN ANSWER.

Although this sounds like you have to go to court, that's not what it means!

If you will read carefully, the words "APPEAR" and give an "ANSWER" are in italics!

This basically means that if you CAN PROVE (with written, clear documentation) that you do not own this debt, you have 30 days (or whatever you state or court says) to file an ANSWER with the court.

This ANSWER must be in the proper, legal form and therefore may require an attorney to prepare and there is a filing fee as well.  But, these costs may be worth it if you can PROVE (not just say) that you do not owe the debt.

But if you owe the debt they are CLAIMING you owe, what now?

Now you have to take action!

You need to contact the attorney for the plaintiff (collector) and see if you can work out a repayment plan or settlement to keep them from moving forward with their lawsuit!

Please....DO NOT IGNORE THE SUMMONS!  It will not just "go away"!


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Tags: how to prevent wage garnishment, debt collector, stop the collection calls, receive a summons, lien

I Don't Understand Why I Received a Summons?

A know on the door and someone hands you some papers and says...

  • "You've been served" how did this happen?
  • Why did this happen?
  • What can I do about it now?



If you have ever received a summons before, it can be a very stressful experience!

The Summons will say something like...

"You have 30 days to APPEAR and give an ANSWER..."

Sure sounds like you are going to have to go to court!



Before I get into the "why did i receive this...", let me tell you that about 99% of the time you will NOT HAVE TO GO TO COURT.

If you look at the summons carefully, you will see that the words APPEAR and ANSWER are italicized.

This is a legal term/phrase that basically means that if you can PROVE with WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION that you don't owe or have paid this debt (THE CLAIM), you have 30 days to file the proper forms with the court.

Since most of the time the CLAIM is correct, there is no need to do that.


The biggest mistake many people make is to IGNORE the summons!

If you do, then most likely the attorney for the PLAINTIFF (owner of the debt) will seek a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

Now that a JUDGMENT has been awarded, the attorney can petition the court for a writ of GARNISHMENT (wages, bank or both).

In most states, this is about 25% of your NET TAKE HOME pay.

Your employer must comply with the WRIT OF GARNISHMENT or face severe penalties!

Think it was hard to pay the bills on you current take home check?

Now you have 25 %  less...


Contact the attorney for the plaintife and see if you can work out some kind of repayment agreement to stop the garnishment options.

This could be a:

  • Full settlement for less than the current claim
  • Monthly payments on the full balance
  • Or even a settlement for less than the balance paid in monthly payments

Once a wage garnishment starts, it is very difficult to get the attorney to accept a settlement!


After dealing with clients for almost 20 years, it still amazes me when one of them says that they never received any summons or had no idea they owed the debt.

I guess that is possible, but ....

Anyway, most likely, here's what happened.

Due to circumstances beyond you control, you just couldn't keep up witht the minimum payments due on your credit cards or other unsecured accounts.

And yes, you may have even used a cash advance on one to help pay the minimum due on the other!

I know, you fully intended to pay all this back, but your circumstances just haven't changed.

The Creditor sent letters and made phone calls, but they were not successful.

So, in some cases, they sell or assign your account to a Law Firm that specializes in debt collection.

Even so, if you had contacted the collector or attorney/collector, you should have been able to negotiate some sort of settlement that would not only save you some money, but stop any legal options!

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Each creditor/collector is different and so there are no set amount of settlements.

A SUMMONS doesn't just happen by accident.

The good news is that regardless of the circumstances, there is most likely an alternative to wage or bank garnishment.

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Tags: how to prevent wage garnishment, debt collector, making just the minimum payments, unsecured debt

What Can Debt Collectors Do to Me?

A debt collector has the right to collect for unpaid bills.  That makes sense, but misunderstanding about what a collector can and cannot do causes stress and fear. 


Fear-1If you find yourself unable to keep up with at least the minimum payments due on your credit accounts, before long, those accounts may be turned over to a DEBT COLLECTOR!

This may cause FEAR or STRESS, which is natural, but often unfounded!

Someone has called F.E.A.R. :

  •         False
  •         Evidence, that
  •         Appears
  •         Real


You may be in this situation as a result of...

  • Unemployment
  • Divorce
  • Serious illness or Disability
  • Trying to make ends meet on a limited, FIXED INCOME of retirement
  • or other reasons beyond your control



What happens when you start missing the minimum payments due?

The original creditor will start trying to get you to start making payments again.

Each creditor (Visa, Master Card, Discover, Capital One, etc.) has slightly different processes for recovering past due debts, but all take pretty much the same approach:

They send out letters encouraging you or kind of demanding you to start making payments or even warning you that unless you do "such-n-such", they will escalate their collection efforts to the next level.

And then the calls start.  Lots of calls!

If you somehow have the funds available to catch up, then you may want to contact them and see what can be done, but.......


"Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" just results in more and more problems!

However, if you don't have the money to pay your debts (and you probably are in this situation because you just can't keep up), then it is usually best not to bother contacting them and trying to explain your situation.


Credit card companies are in business for one reason and one reason only, and that is to make HUGE PROFITS!

These profits come from:


...and about anything else they can tack on to get more money from us!


OK, then what happens next?

After about 3-4 months, if the calls and letters don't work to get you to start sending them money, they will usually:

  • Charge the account off as a loss
  • Assign it to a collection agency
  • Sell the account to a DEBT BUYER   (Yes there are hundreds of companies that BUY Millions if not Billions of dollars of debt!), or...
  • Retain a LAW FIRM that specializes in debt collection


Now these other agencies begin to contact you by mail and phone.

While your account is still with the original creditor, they have the right (in the fine print of the application) to call you.

But once these accounts are transferred or sold to another party,  you have the legal right to stop them from calling 

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter


But, whether these companies are working on a commission basis or have purchased the account, their goal is the same...


Depending on your particular situation, you may be able to accept or negotiate a SETTLEMENT.

In fact, they may mail you an offer or you can call and try to negotiate.

A SETTLEMENT is an agreement to accept an amount less than the full balance.

Once this settlement is completed (lump sum or in payments), the account is deemed "settled-as-agreed" or "settled for less than the full balance" and it will be reflected as a ZERO or $0 Balance on your CREDIT REPORT.

If you'd like to know more on how DEBT SETTLEMENT affects your CREDIT SCORE, CLICK HERE:

What Can You Do to Improve Your Credit Score?

But what if you don't have the funds necessary to accept to negotiate a settlement offer?

The collection agency may be patient and keep the account on file for several months.


The original creditor may RECALL the account and RE-ASSIGN it to another collection agency.

If this happens, then the LETTERS and CALLS will start again.  You'll have to follow the same procedure to STOP THE CALLS.


Sometimes your account lands with a Law Firm that specializes in DEBT COLLECTION.

This firm will send the letters and make the calls, but if no agreement can be reached, they may start the LEGAL PROCESS to collect.

A CLAIM will be filed with the COURT in the county where you reside.

A SUMMONS will be delivered to you.  It will state that you have 20 or 30 days (varies by state) to APPEAR and give an ANSWER to the court.

Sounds like you have to go to court within that time-frame or else!!!!

Good time to give disclaimer:

I am not an attorney and am not nor cannot give legal advice. My comments are just my opinion gained over many years of helping people deal with debt.  If you have concerns, please consult an attorney.

"Appear and give and Answer":

If you have clear proof (payment stubs, bank records, etc.) that prove that you DO NOT owe the debt that the PLAINTIFF (creditor or owner of the debt) CLAIMS you owe, then you have the 30 days or so to file your ANSWER with the court.

This ANSWER must be in the proper, legal form your county court demands and usually it is best to have an attorney prepare it and file with the court.

Of course, this takes more money, so don't even start if you cannot prove (no question) that you DO NOT OWE THE DEBT!

But what if you owe the debt the SUMMONS says you owe?

Then you need to contact the attorney's office and try to negotiate either a SETTLEMENT or a REPAYMENT agreement! 


If an agreement cannot be arranged in about 2-3 months, then the attorney will probably apply for a JUDGMENT by DEFAULT. (No one filed an ANSWER), so they win by default.

Many people think that if you get behind on your bills that a creditor can just TAKE MONEY OUR OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, GARNISH YOUR WAGES or put a LIEN on your home or other property.

NO,         NO,        NO ! ! !

A creditor, debt collector or attorney cannot just take your money or property!

I hope you are starting to understand that there is a whole lengthy, legal process that has to take place before that could possibly happen! 


If you owe taxes, child support, alimony or some other debts, then your bank account, wages and liens can be done without all the above process! 

If your creditor (plaintiff) has been awarded a judgment, now they can apply for a wage garnishment, bank levy or place a lien on your home or other property.



If you have EARNED INCOME (not Social Security or other Retirement income) then it can be subject to garnishment per the judgment.

In most states, this is usually about 25% of your net (after tax) income. 



Once the plaintiff is awarded a Judgment, they can search for you bank accounts. 

This is usually done by using your social security number.

In 2011,  a law was passed to protect consumers from incorrect bank levies.

If you bank receives a court order to "freeze" you bank account due to a judgment, the bank is required to follow laws on what they can and cannot do.

However, not all banks do so and this can result in a very frustrating situation.  To learn more, click here:

Bank Laws Concerning Levies and Garnishments



One of the most misunderstood options a creditor has for collecting a debt (REMEMBER: ONLY AFTER A JUDGMENT IS AWARDED!) is a LIEN.

If a lien is placed on your home, is DOES NOT MEAN that you have to sell your home to pay the debt!

A LIEN is basically a plaintiff taking a position (usually behind a first or second mortgage) on your home.

If you home is paid for, then they would have first position.

What does this mean?

It means that when you go to sell or transfer ownership (give to your children after your death as an example), the amount of the judgment must be paid.


If you sell the house for say $250,000 and the judgment balance is $20,000, the title company will have to send $20,000 to the plaintiff at closing.

That's why they do a "Title search" when you are buying/selling/refinancing a house in order to see if there are any LIENS.

In this example, you would net $225,00 and the Lien is removed from court records.


OK, let's review:

Can a creditor take anything you own without being awarded a judgment?   



If you receive a SUMMONS, do you have to go to court?                                 



If you receive a SUMMONS, can you still negotiate a settlement or a repayment agreement to stop any other legal options a creditor may have?   



Can a creditor take money out of your bank account without being  awarded a judgment?                                                                                                           



Even after being awarded a judgment, can a creditor take money from your bank account that comes from:

  • social security
  • disability
  • retirement
  • child support, or
  • alimony.                                                                                       

No ! 


Hope this helps.


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Tags: debt collector, how to improve your credit score, impove your cedit score, settlement, mimimum payments

Why Do Some Creditors Go After a Judgment?

A creditor has the right to file a claim, seeking a judgment if credit cards and/or other debts and loans are not repaid according to the agreement.

Some do and some don't.....WHY???


If you have too much debt and because of circumstances (usually beyond your control) you just can't keep up with the minimum payments, a creditor has several options to collect, including legal options.

Why some do and some don't is not clear.  

I've been helping people deal with having too much debt and not enough income to repay for almost 17 years now.

Usually, when an account (for this blog, I'm talking about unsecured accounts like credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, etc.) becomes delinquent, a creditor will usually do one or more of the following:

  • Have an agent or computer call you.  Sometimes several times a day!  Although ultimately you can stop these calls later, as long as the account is still with the original creditor, they have the contractual right to call.
  • Send out letters trying to get you to catch up or start repaying.
  • Assign the account to the creditors internal collections or recovery department.  The calls and letters start again.
  • Assign or sell the account to a collection agency or debt buyer (sometimes they can be one in the same.)
  • Place the account with a Law Firm that specializes in debt collection.  This firm will contact you, but if you cannot repay they may decide to start the legal process.

If you have some funds available or are able to make a reasonable monthly payment, a repayment agreement or settlement usually can be negotiated.  A creditor would rather get you "back on track" to keep that interest going rather than "give up" and "charge off" the account as a loss.

The point of this blog is to try and understand WHY some creditors will be patient and work with you and some won't.

Although I don't claim to understand why and/or when a creditor chooses to seek legal options to collect, this is what I've learned over the years:

Never forget...a lender is in business to make money/profit! 

This profit comes from the interest and fees they charge us for the use of their money!

Certain creditors have a set of rules/guidelines of how the seek the loss revenue of these delinquent accounts and they change for year to year.

Few examples:

When we first started our company in 2003, American Express was one of the easiest companies to negotiate settlements for our clients.  We could get them to settle for 30% -40% and let us set up monthly payments as $0 interest over a long period of time!

But over the last couple of years, American Express has determined that will not negotiate directly with like ours and will only discuss settlements or repayment plans with the client.

We have to coach or American Express clients, and although we still help them, it is very frustrating and time consuming!

One more...

Discover Card has starting going after judgments very quickly over the last year or so.

Now, if we can't negotiate a settlement, most of the Discover accounts are being placed with debt collection law firms to start the legal process within a few months!


I think (and this is just based on my experience over the years) that certain companies go through leadership changes and/or profit-loss margins that force them to become more aggressive, more quickly.

Why can't a Consumer or Debt Settlement Company negotiate with a company like Discover right away and avoid the legal process?

That depends on the circumstances of the consumer and the creditor!

Let me give you a hypothetical example that may help you understand:

Mary goes through a nasty divorce and ends up with a lot of credit card debt and a lot less income!

At first, she does the best she can to make as many minimum payments she can, but after a few months, realizes there is just not enough money coming in to keep up.

She calls the creditor and explains her situation, but even though one or two are willing to adjust her payments, there is still not enough to satisfy all of them.  AND THEY ALL WANT THEIR MONEY!!!

She doesn't want to file for BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION from her creditors now, so she calls a Debt Settlement Company like us and after going over her situation, budget, etc. we agree that her best option now is debt settlement, she enrolls.

She has a total debt balance of $27,000 spread over 5 credit cards.

They total monthly minimum payments they want is about 2.25% of the total or in this case, about $600/month, but her budget (even with making cuts as much as possible) only allows her to commit to $350/month (and that is going to be really hard to do).

She has:

  • Walmart                       $3,500
  • Citibank                        $4,500
  • Discover                       $5,500
  • Bank of American         $6,500
  • Lending Club                $7,000

We knew that our client had not made payments on her accounts for 3-4 months when she contacted us and that some of the accounts were in the process of being charged off.

In fact, a couple of the accounts (including the Discover account) had been placed with a debt collection Law Firm!

One evening, the doorbell rang and she was served a SUMMONS for her Walmart account.

She sent it to us and to avoid the possibility of this going to judgment and potential garnishments, we negotiated a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.

This is an agreement (usually filed with the court) that says basically that as long as she/we pay the agreed amount according to the terms negotiated, they (the Plaintiff/Creditor) will not pursue legal options such as garnishment, bank levies, or liens.

Even though this stopped the potential garnishment (25% of her net take-home income), the terms of the stipulated agreement called for a down payment of $1,000 (she had about $1,300 in reserves) and monthly payments of $200 until the total of $2,400 was paid.

Since we had to take care of the immediate problem with the Walmart Summons, their wasn't enough to negotiate on the other accounts for a few months.

The creditors were all contacted and we explained where she/we were at.

All of them agreed to be patient except Discover!

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

After a couple of months, they/Discover placed her delinquent account with a Law Firm/Debt Collector.

This firm sent letters and we contacted them to explain her situation.  They would not agree to a small monthly payment until the Walmart was completed and they filed a COMPLAINT and a SUMMONS was served.

Why were they not willing to wait a few months?  It all depends on their profit/loss or margins at that time.

Bottom line...

Most creditors/collectors are willing to negotiate settlements and/or work with a client or us, but depending on various circumstances, some decide to seek legal options quickly.


Make sure to make sure to communicate with any creditor/collector sooner or later.

If you are using a company like ours to help, send all letters received IMMEDIATELY!

Hope this helps!

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Why Would Creditors Settle for Less Than the Full Balance?

The average person is carrying so much debt that they just cannot keep up with the minimum payments due if any financial or other hardship hits!

What will a creditor do to collect or are they willing to settle for less than you owe?

It has been estimated that the average American is carrying over $30,000 of various "unsecured" credit card debt!

CNBC Article

Missing a scheduled payment sets in motion a lot of things.

What are we going to do?

As the accounts become "past due", creditors can take several steps to collect:

  • Letters and calls
  • Assign to Debt Collector
  • Assign to Law Firm that specializes in Debt Collection
  • Sell the account to a Debt Buyer
  • Agree to Settle the debt for Less than the Full Amount


If you have ever missed a payment or have fallen behind in making the required minimum payments for your credit card accounts, then you know that about 30 days after the missed payment, the calls and letters start!

The letter says basically that you must make a payment within a certain time frame or they may decide to take further actions to collect.

If you don't or can't catch up, then the calls start!  Not just a call now and then, but lots of calls.

Yes, there are ways to stop the calls, but while the account is still with the original creditor, they have a right to call.

Although there are laws that are supposed to protect consumers from annoying calls, most collectors ignore them and call via computer or "robo dialers" several times a day!


There are all kinds of estimates of how much debt is in the hands of debt collectors, but I think it has to be in the BILLIONS!

Once a creditor (Visa, Master Card, Discover, Capital One, Chase....) have tried to get you to catch up or start making payments again for about 3-4 months, they usually assign the account to a debt collector.

After dealing with debt collectors for about 17 years now, I've found that contrary to popular beliefs, most of them are professional and will try to help you take care of the debt.

However, there are always the exceptions!

They send letters and make calls (lots of calls), but now you can put a stop to the calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

After a month or so of attempting the collect for their client (creditor) if there is not success, the account may be recalled and assigned to another collector.

This may go on for a few months or even a few years.

Debt Collecting Law Firms

Depending on a lot of circumstances, the original creditor may decide to retain a Law Firm that specializes in debt collection.

The calls and letters start again and if there they cannot get you to pay the balance, then they may decide to start a LAWSUIT.

Here is a blog I've written that explains that process and will help you understand:

Summons, Judgments, Garnishments....What You Need to Know!


When there are Billions (if not Trillions) of dollars of debt out there, you can understand that there are companies that do nothing more that buy huge lots of debt that has not been collected for "pennies-on-the-dollar"!

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the top three credit reporting agencies and they sell debt (yes our information) to debt buyers all the time!

You thought they were in business to help you, well think again!

The "Big 3" collect information from all of us and SELL to lenders, companies running background checks on potential employees, insurance agencies and many more.

Once your account is SOLD, the owner has the right to collect.

Sure, they want to get as much as possible, but since they only spent say...$100 to buy an account balance of $5,000, they may be willing to negotiate the final balance due or a settlement.

Debt Settlement

Most people do not realize that at some point along the collection process a creditor, debt collector, law firms or debt buyer may be willing to accept less than the full balance.

This is called a SETTLEMENT.

To give you an idea of what a settlement looks like, click below:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Not every debt can be settled, but most can.

The debt settlement process is time consuming and frustrating for the average consumer, but can save you thousands of dollars and help you start fresh or even avoid bankruptcy.

Hope this has helped.

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary


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Can a Debt Collector Take My STUFF?

When we enroll a new client for the Debt Settlement Program, most of the time they are confused about what a debt collector can and cannot do.

Although the whole experience of facing severe financial circumstances is stressful, let me help alleviate your fears.



For all kinds of reasons or circumstances, you just cannot keep up with the minimum payments required on your credit card accounts.

The annoying calls and letters come many, many times a day!

The last call left a message and the guy said that unless you contact them right away, they may decide to start legal processes to collect the money you owe.

Your mind starts fearfully asking:

  • Can they take money out of my bank accounts?
  • What about my paycheck?  Is it safe?
  • Will I have to sell my house or car?
  • What about my jewelry, tools, or other things I value?

Let me walk you through the debt collection process so you can start to understand what a collector can and cannot do:

Once you miss a couple of months of the required payments due, you'll start getting letters saying something like...

"Mr. Jones, your XYZ Account is seriously past due and unless you call us immediately, your account may be turned over to an attorney for collection."

If you've just had a temporary financial setback and have enough money to catch up or start making payments again, you may want to call and see what they will do to help get you back on track.

They should be willing to work out some kind of plan to start taking your monthly payments again.

But if you find yourself with just too much debt and not enough money coming in to keep up, then what should you do?

It really depends on a lot of circumstances:
  • How delinquent is the account?
  • How much do you owe?
  • What kind of account it is?
  • Who the creditor is (some will work with you and some will not).

If it comes down to paying the rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc. (the really important bills) and making credit card (unsecured) payments,


Usually a creditor will try to get you back to paying monthly payments (they need that interest!) for a couple of months.

If unsuccessful, they will either send to their internal recovery department or to a debt collector or even sold to a debt buyer.

An account is deemed "CHARGED OFF" when the creditor decides that they are not going to spend any more time trying to collect and are going to write the account off as a loss.

Yes, there are companies that buy millions of dollars of debt for pennies on the dollar in order to try and collect.

Either way, now you can do a couple of things:


STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

2)  You may be able to negotiate a SETTLEMENT for less than the balance.

Your account may now be with the original creditor's internal recovery department, a debt collection agency or a Law Firm that specializes in debt collection.


At this point, creditor, debt collector, debt buyer or law firm CANNOT:

  • Garnish your wages, retirement income, disability income (an several other exempt income sources).
  • Levy your bank account
  • Repossess your TV, stereo, furniture, jewelry, tools, etc. (unless they were used as collateral)
  • Arrest you or most any other thing you may think!!!!

BUT... (very important you understand the following!):

If no agreement can be reached, the creditor or collector may decide to file a CLAIM.

CLAIM is a legal document filed with the court of the county of your residence. 

You will be delivered a SUMMONS.

Basically is says that XYZ is claiming that you owe $$$$ and that if you want to dispute the CLAIM you have (avg.) of 30 days to file an ANSWER with the court.

A ANSWER is a legal document (usually prepared by an attorney) that PROVES that you have paid or why you do not owe the debt.  There is a fee for filing the ANSWER and fees for the attorney who prepares it.

Most people know they owe the debt so they don't file the ANSWER.


At this point, an agreement can still be negotiated to stop the legal process, but is it VERY IMPORTANT that you DO NOT IGNORE the SUMMONS!!!

If an agreement cannot be negotiated, the the PLAINTIFF (the creditor or one filing the claim) may move forward for a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

You don't want this to happen!

If a JUDGMENT is awarded to the PLAINTIFF, then now the PLAINTIFF has the right to apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT OF WAGES OR BANK LEVY.

To prevent this, a SETTLEMENT or STIPULATED AGREEMENT may be negotiated.

A SETTLEMENT is an agreement whereby the PLAINTIFF agrees to accept an amount less than the balance due.  It may have to be paid in a LUMP SUM or in many cases, a LONG-TERM PAYMENT agreement.

Either of these is usually much better than a WAGE GARNISHMENT!

A WAGE GARNISHMENT is usually (in most states) 25% of you net (after tax) paycheck!

Let's say you earn $5,000/month.  If State (if you have) and Federal tax withholding equals 35%, you net take home would be about $3250.

25% of $3250 equals $812.50 ! ! !

If you're facing a financial crisis now, how could you survive if your income was cut by over $800 more!



A creditor or debt collector cannot just "take your stuff" when you don't pay your required payments due.

There's a whole process that must be completed first.


It is not easy dealing with collectors and attorneys. 

Time consuming and frustrating, but absolutely necessary to prevent GARNISHMENTS!

This may help:

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!


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Tags: stop wage garnishment, credit cards, BBB, PORTLAND, settlement, mimimum payments

Debt Collection and Debt Settlement, How Does it Work?

When you fall behind in making at least the minimum payments due on your credit cards or other personal loans, here's what happens...


Your original creditor wants to keep you as a long-term, minimum payment customers!

Have you looked closely at how the charges are calculated on your credit cards?


If not, you are in for a shock!  bunch_of_credit_cardsYour monthly statement will give you a breakdown of how the minimum payment is calculated.

Let's say your minimum payment is $50.

How much is going to the PRINCIPAL (the amount you actually charged/borrowed) and how much are you paying in INTEREST! 

Don't be surprised to learn that almost HALF or $25 is being taken as interest and only $25 is paying down the PRINCIPAL!

At this rate, (and they are supposed to show you an estimate) it may take 20-25 YEARS to pay off this debt!

No wonder they want you to keep this up. 

This is how they make their BILLIONS in profits!

So now you see why they send letters and call many times a day?


While your account is still with the original creditor (Bank of America, Chase, Discover, etc.) they have the legal right to call you. 

Once your account is charged off and transferred or sold to a collection agency, then you can stop the calls.  I'll show you how to do this later.)


You may get a letter that will OFFER TO SETTLE your account for LESS THAN THE BALANCE.  This is called a SETTLEMENT OFFER.

Sometimes they can be very good, but usually, they only offer to reduce the balance by 20%-25% and often they want it paid in a LUMP SUM within 30 days or so.

If you have the funds, then it may be a good deal, but if you can be patient, the account will ultimately CHARGED OFF and transferred or sold to a collector.


Now you will start getting letters and more calls from a debt collection agency. 

Yes, it is annoying to get all those calls, but now you can STOP THE CALLS:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter


The Debt Collection company has either had this account assigned to them by the original creditor or have purchased it.

Either way, now they should be open to SETTLEMENT.

We negotiate with debt collectors on behalf of our clients every day.  Here is a sample/example of what a SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT looks like:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!


If you have fallen behind on your payments, your credit score will go down.

There are a lot of factors that go into calculating a credit score (very confusing), but late payments makes up a large percentage.

If you'd like to learn more, click:

How to Improve Your Credit Score

The most important factor to improve your credit score is to pay off balances, old and new!

To a lender, even if you have had a time of late payments or "settled-for-less than the full balance", the fact that you took care of is VERY IMPORTANT!

I've had clients that completed the Settlement Program  go from a credit score of 580 to 700 within 3 months!

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary




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Debt Settlement May Be Just What You Need!

When you have too many credit accounts and cannot meet the minimum payments required, then it may be time for you to consider a DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM.


There are many reasons a financially stressful situation like this can happen, but some of the most common are:

  • Loss of employment or layoff
  • Too little income in retirement
  • Unexpected medical bills
  • Increasing cost of medications
  • Divorce
  • Disability
  • Loss of spouse or partner



These are just some of life experiences that can financial hardship.

If one or more of these sounds like what you are going through, you may have several options:

If you have enough equity in your home, a refinance or equity line of credit may be a solution.  

If you qualify for a consolidation loan or balance transfer and the interest rate is not too outrageous, then that may work.

You may qualify for a Credit Counseling or Debt Management Program.  But if you are having a hard time keeping up with the total due for all of the minimum payments now, most likely this type of program will not help.

What about BANKRUPTCY?

I believe bankruptcy can be a viable option if you have tried all other options.  Bankruptcy laws have changed over the last few years to prevent someone from trying to use bankruptcy to discharge debt when they possibly could meet their promised to repay!


If you have missed a couple of months of making the minimum required payment due on all of your accounts or cards, they are probably getting close to being "charged off".  

When this happens, the account will most likely be transferred or sold to a third party debt collector or debt purchasing company.

Most people are not aware that there is a multi-million (or most likely) billion dollar industry that purchases old, delinquent debt for pennies on-the-dollar for collection!

Let's say you have a credit card and due to circumstances beyond your control you just cannot make the payments.

The original creditor will call and send letters trying to get you to start making payments again.  But after 3-4 months, the account lands with a Debt Collector.

Now the Debt Collector starts calling, and calling, and calling.....

The good news is that now you can put a stop to those annoying calls!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample LetterBut the letters keep coming!

These letters will try to get you to pay or in some cases, they may offer to SETTLE THE ACCOUNT for less than the balance due!

This offer may be anywhere from a small reduction or possibly a very good reduction.  

You may also be able to contact the debt collector to NEGOTIATE a better settlement or perhaps to let you take advantage of the settlement offer by making a series of monthly payments that you can afford.

Negotiating with debt collectors can be very time consuming and stressful.

I've been helping people deal with the stress of too much debt and negotiating with debt collectors (many time attorneys) for many years, so I know from personal experience!

The agent for the debt collector's job is to get as much money out of you as possible!  In many cases, their income, commission or bonus depends on being very inflexible.

The agent will try to intimidate you and in many cases try to shame you into getting you to pay back all of the balance!

There are laws that protect consumers from illegal collection tactics, but most people are not aware of them.

I've written several articles about dealing with debt collectors.  Here's one that may be especially helpful:


Debt Collectors, the FDCPA and Your Rights


For the sake of this blog, let's say that you negotiate a settlement for less than the balance due...NOW WHAT?

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT make any payment (by phone or mail) without a WRITTEN SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT!

A settlement agreement is basically a modified contract from the original contract (application) you signed when you took out the card or loan.

If the agent will not email, fax or mail the written agreement, then no settlement/no payment....PERIOD!  It is your only proof of payment once the agreement is completed.

Here is link to what a settlement agreement looks like:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Once the settlement agreement is completed, you can request a letter or statement showing a $0 balance, but if they will not comply, then your cancelled check or bank statement showing payment along with the settlement agreement will suffice.

Over time, you can get yourself back to being DEBT FREE! 

If all of this sounds like a little too much for you to handle, let us know:

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary


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Tags: what can a debt collector do, stop debt collector calls, Credit Card Debt Negotiation, debt settlement help, Oregon debt collection, settlement, mimimum payments