Before you attempt DO IT YOURSELF DEBT SETTLEMENT, you may want to consider what's involved.
After many years of negotiating debts for our clients, I'd have to say for the average person trying to settle debts yourself is too hard.
That's not to say that you may not be able to do it yourself, but you need to understand how the process works and how the collection agents are professionally trained to get as much money out of you as possible.
For this discussion, let's talk about unsecured debts and mainly credit cards.
If you fail to make minimum payments on time, what happens?
1. Your next statement will show an additional LATE FEE of say $35 added to the balance. Now your minimum payment is last month's plus this month's plus the $35 late fee, and you can't afford it.
2. You will now most likely get a DEMAND LETTER that says your account is now DELIENQUENT and demand 3 payments plus 2 late fees. Of course by now, you really cannot afford to pay.
3. The PHONE CALLS START! Your account is transferred to the creditors internal RECOVERY DEPARTMENT or basically their collections department.
The caller may be nice or very demanding, depending on the company.
You can and should explain your circumstances, but they are usually not very sympathetic!
4. At this point (about 3-4 months delinquent) the creditor is not ready to accept a settlement for less than the entire amount including late fees and additional interest.
Oh, by-the-way, your interest rate has been increased. There is small print on the back of the application you signed that basically states that if you fail to make payments on time, they can INCREASE YOUR INTEREST RATE.
Although the Credit Card Act of 2009 limited the UNIVERSAL DEFAULT method of increasing rates, creditors can still:
- Increase rates
- Charge late fees
- Charge over-the-limit fees
- Charge annual fees
5. Just before the account is set to CHARGE OFF, you may get a letter from the creditor offering a settlement.
The settlement offer may let you have 3 OPTIONS:
- Pay 65% of the amount due by the end of the month
- Pay 75% of the amount due over 6 months
- Pay 85% of the amount due over 12 months
You do the math! Not gonna happen!
SO NOW WHAT???
This is where "Do it yourself debt settlement" gets hard.
By now, you have been getting phone calls several times a day and possibly even at work!
The creditors may even be calling your friends and family!
There are legal ways to stop the calls. FREE INFORMATION
The account has now been CHARGED OFF and sent to a collection agency.
Now you starting getting calls and letters from the COLLECTION AGENCY, even though you sent out letters to the original creditor!
If the collectin agency finds out that you have a job, they may decide to FILE A COMPLAINT in your local courthouse.
You will now receive a SUMMONS that states the situation and that you have 20 or 30 days to "answer" or "contest" that you owe the debt. But, since you owe the debt, that would be a waste of time and money (yes, is costs to file an "answer").
If you call the collection agency or attorney for the creditor, you may be able to negotiate an agreement whereby they stop legal action and if you repay 100% of the debt plus attorney fees and court costs!
If not, they will set a court date and win a JUDGMENT by DEFAULT.
With the default judgment, they can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT that your employer has no choice but to honor.
In most states, the amount that a creditor can garnish is 25% of your net (after tax) income.
Let's say you earn $$3,000 per month and 30% is withheld for taxes, etc. That leaves $2,100 after-tax income.
At 25% of $2,100, they would deduct $525 each month until the entire debt is repaid! COULD YOU SURVIVE ON $1,575?
Not hardly, so you would probably end up agreeing to a STIPULATED AGREEMENT that would let you repay the entire amount at maybe $200/month at a reduced interest rate (each state is different).
Can a Debt Settlement Company do any better?
In most cases, yes. Do It Yourself Debt Settlement takes a lot of time and if you are not trained in dealing with collectors and attorneys, you may end up paying too much or possibly being forced into bankruptcy.
Why not explore your options by requesting a
Or Simply Give us a Call
photo by: Henrique Vincente