Do Not Let Debt Collectors Intimidate You!!!

Dealing with a debt collector can be very intimidating.

 Here are some tips how to deal with them:


4685879535_e268930fc8_n.jpgSomeone has said that the word FEAR really stands for:

  • False
  • Evidence, that
  • Appears
  • Real

Living under the financial stress that comes from dealing with too much debt can be one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can face!And if that wasn't bad enough, now you have debt collector calling day and night!

It's time to eliminate that fear that comes from dealing with debt collectors!

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects all consumers from the unlawful tactics used by some (not all) debt collectors.

Although the FDCPA covers many things that debt collectors can and more importantly, CAN'T DO, here are some of the most important for you to know:

They cannot call you dozens of times a day or before 8am or after 9pm.

They cannot harass, threaten or try to deceive you.

Although they can contact family and friends, they are prohibited from revealing anything about you debts or situation.  They can only contact them for your address, phone or work number.

And about contacting you at work...You can stop that by telling them you cannot take personal calls at work.  If they call again, you have a legal right to file a claim with your state's attorney general's office or even contact an attorney to bring charges!

They cannot threaten you or insinuating that you could be arrested, etc.


But, what most people are afraid of is that somehow they can take your stuff or money in the bank, wages, or make you sell your home.

You have to understand the legal process a debt collector must go through to really understand what they can and cannot garnish or levy. 

Disclaimer...

Although I've been helping people solve their debt issues for a long, long time, I am not an attorney, so don't take anything I say as the advice from a legal authority!

Having gotten that out of the way....

While your debt is with the original lender, they have the legal right to call you about it. Now, the same FDCPA rules apply, but at this point, you cannot make them stop calling you.

However, once the original creditor charges off, places the debt for collection or even sells your debt to a debt purchaser, then you have the LEGAL RIGHT TO STOP THE CALLS!

Here' how:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

 

When the debt is placed with a debt collector, of course, they want to get you to pay them money and don't really want to go the "legal" route unless all else fails!

Trying to explain your situation to the average debt collector is usually a waste of time.  That's why I encourage all of our clients to NOT ANSWER the phone and if they do by mistake, JUST HANG UP!

But they are going to send you letters....lots of letters in hopes of getting you to pay or set up a repayment plan.

You might even get a letter offering to SETTLE for LESS THAN THE FULL BALANCE.

This may or may not be a good deal, but you should think about it.

When I work for my clients, I'm trying to negotiate a settlement of around 50% or less.  In most cases we can.  Here are some actual examples:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

If you cannot come to an agreement with the debt collector over a reasonable amount of time (maybe 2-4 months), they may decide to:

File a CLAIM

You'd then get a SUMMONS

And that could lead to a JUDGMENT

Which could allow them to now...NOT BEFORE... get some of your money, etc.

ONE MORE TIME...

THE DEBT COLLECTOR CANNOT TOUGH ANY OF YOUR ASSETS WITHOUT A JUDGMENT!

Filing a CLAIM means that they hire an attorney to file the proper documents with the county court wherein you reside.  They are "claiming" that you owe this debt.

Then, you'd be served a SUMMONS.

It basically states that the "plaintiff" (creditor or debt collector) claims you owe such-n-such a debt.

It also states that you have 20-30 days to "APPEAR" and give an "ANSWER".

That sounds like you have to go to court, but you don't!!!!

If you can prove (with clearly documented evidence) that you do not owe this debt, then you could file the legal document called an ANSWER. 

But, in most cases, you owe the debt, so it is not necessary.

WHAT YOU CANNOT DO IS TO IGNORE THE SUMMONS!

In most cases, they (the debt collector or attorney for the plaintiff) may be willing to set up some reasonable repayment plan instead of going through all of the legal processes to get a judgment.

But, if you ignore the summons, they will then set a court date and be awarded a judgment by default (no one contested the CLAIM) so they win a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

I hope you are starting to see that there is a long process before a creditor or debt collector can go after any of your assets.

So, let's say that a creditor or debt collector is awarded a JUDGMENT, NOW WHAT?

If you are employed, and receive a normal check (called a W-2), then they can now file a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT with your employer.   

Your employer had no choice but to obey the "WRIT" and send the attorney for the plaintiff 25% of your net/take home check each week or by-week until the total debt you owe is paid back. And, they can charge interest as well (each state varies, but Oregon is 9%).

If you are unemployed or retired, unemployment income or retirement income from a retirement plan and especially from Social Security is 100% EXEMPT from garnishment.

But, BE AWARE!!!

If you "co-mingle" your retirement income (including Social Security) with other "earned income", then ALL OF THE FUNDS are now accessable at your bank!

That can happen if you transfer some of your retirement or Social Security income funds from checking to a separate savings account!  Now they can go after the savings account.

So, if you have a judgment against you, make sure you get some sound advice on how to protect your assets!

Here is a link to a very good article about what I have been writing about.  It's published by the Federal Trade Commission and very informative...

Debt Collection

 

I hope this has helped you understand what a debt collector can and cannot do so that you won't be afraid!

If you could use some help, then let us know:

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Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, summons, judgment

Enrolled in a Debt Settlement Program? Now What?

Making the decision to enroll in a Debt Settlement Program brings a whole lot of different things to prepare for and get comfortable with. 

After 15 years of helping people manage their debt issues, let me share with you some things that will really help!

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People decide to enroll in a Debt Management Program such as Debt Settlement after a careful examination of their individual financial and personal situation.  We always carefully walk our potential clients through their various options to make sure they choose the best one for them.

Although there could be many other reasons, most people have experienced one or more of the following:

  • Unemployment for too long a time
  • Divorce
  • Major accident or illness
  • Death of spouse or partner
  • Retired with too little income
  • Disability

Again, many people turn to the easily available credit of a credit card, pay day loan, or some other "quick fix" solution with the intention of paying these off as soon as things turn around.

I can't remember anyone that sought our help that had just foolishly spent and spent and spent and now was not able to keep up.  I'm sure that happens, but that's not the normal Debt Settlement Client.

So here you are...

Several unsecured accounts (may also include medical bills and judgments) where the minimum monthly payment is just too large for the current income you have coming in.

Let me walk you through the basic process of the Debt Settlement Program:

When you miss (or start missing) the minimum payments due on your credit accounts, you most likely will get a letter or even a phone call from your creditor.

At first, they seem pleasant and willing to work with you, but as time goes by, their attitude and tactics change.

Now the letters seem very "threatening" and "demeaning" and the phone calls keep coming more often.

When a creditor calls, don't forget that the caller has been trained to say and do whatever they can (hopefully within the laws of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) to get you to start making payments again.

If you are not in a position to get caught up on your outstanding/delinquent debts, then I advise that you just ignore the call (learn to use caller ID!) or just hang up if you pick up by mistake.

I know this sounds harsh, and some other Debt Settlement Companies my suggest that you try to explain your situation, but years and years of working with people deal with debt collectors has taught me that is is usually a waste of time!

Oh, and by-the-way, as long as your account is still with the original creditor, they have the legal right to call you. Now, they are not supposed to call every hour or so and they are limited to the times of day, but at this point, I still advise that you just ignore them for now. (I'll show you how to put a stop to them just a little later.)

So, what's next?

After a while, maybe 3-4 months of this, your accounts will most likely be charged off and/or assianged or sold to a debt collection agency or debt buying agency.

"Charged off" means that the creditor is going to claim that they could not collect on this debt and they will "write it off" as a loss for their annual tax reporting.

TIME OUT...

About 99% of our clients ask, "What's this going to do to my credit?"

There is some great information about how your credit report and credit scores work.  I'll give you a summary here, but it would be well worth your time to visit this site:      MyFico.com

I know you are concerned about your credit score, but at this point, by being late, having too much debt and using too much debt, your credit scores are going to go down (if they haven't already).

The fact that you have gotten "in over your head" credit use wise, but, have taken the steps to do something about it (like debt settlement), will in the long run improve your scores.

Right now, the goal of the debt settlement probram is to help you avoid wage or bank garnishments due to judgments and/or avoid being forced to seek bankruptcy protection from your creditors.

Once you/we have successfully negotiate all of your accounts to a $0 balance, your credit score will improve.

Having your account "assigned" or "sold" to a collection agency, sounds very bad, but actually, for your debt settlement program, it is good.

Once your account(s) have been turned over to a collection agency, the negotiation process really starts. 

Now we can demand/put a stop to the calls.  I do this for my clients, but you can do this yourself.

Here's how:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Now, once in a while the orgingal creditor may send you letter stating that they would be willing to settle you account for such-n-such, but not very often. 

If you get such a letter, be sure to forward it to the Debt Settlement Company right away as they may be able to get an even greater reducion/settlement for you!

Here's a good place to explain what your responsibility is while enrolled in a settlement program:

  1. Don't speak with the crediors or debt collectors as this actually hinders your negotiator in reaching good settlements.
  2. While your account is with the original creditor (Visa, Home Depot, etc.), you really don't need to send every monthly statement.  One about every 3 months is fine.
  3. But, when the account is transferred to a debt collector, you need to scan or fax the most recent letters you receive each month.  This is VERY IMPORTANT!  I have had many client's fail to send me very good offers until a couple of months after receiving them.  When I called on the offer, the account had been recalled by the creditor and now we have missed a very good opportunity.

How settlements are negotiated:

You've been making deposits/contributions into your Reserve Account help by an FDIC bank through your Debt Settlement Company for a few months now.

Obviously you don't have enough built up to settle all of you accounts, but your negotiator will try and negotiate a settlement with the company that is willing to give you the best settlement.

Most debt settlement companies will not make offers for settlements until they have a very large lump sum of money to offer.  However, I have found that fair settlements can be negotiated and paid out over several months at now additional interest.

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

After the settlement has been completed:

Once the terms of the settlement have been completed, the debt collection company will send a letter of statement stating such.

They are supposed to send update information about this account to the 3 major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), but about half the time they don't!

I have our clients wait about 2-3 months after the settlement has been completed to request an Credit Report on themselves.  It's not difficult and it can be FREE.

The law allows for each of us to request and receive a credit report on ourselves annually.

For a FREE copy (no scores) go to www.annualcreditreport.com. 

You will asked a few security related questions, but should be able to get your credit report without too much effort.

You can get a more detailed report including your credit score from a number of sites, such as:

Credit Karma  or   several other sites

If you find errors, ie. they have not been updated since the settlement was completed, you can open a DISPUTE and in most cases, the error will be corrected in 30 days or so.

So, in a nutshell, that's how a debt settlement program works.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, let us know:

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Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, credit card, free credit score

How Does a Debt Settlement Program Work?

If you have decided to enroll in a Debt Settlement Program, no doubt you have several questions and concerns.  Here's how a Debt Settlement Program works:

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Faced with just too much debt (basically unsecured debt) and have decided to enroll in a Debt Management Program through a reputable, professional Debt Management Program.

Now what?

Most likely, you have provided the agent with the latest copies of your bill statements, collection letters, or your Free Annual Credit Report.

From time-to-time, you will need to provide the most recent information about the debts you have enrolled, so save the latest (NOT ALL!) statemenst and/or letters that you receive.

It's a good habit to fax or email (much quicker than snail-mail) these to your negotiator  every couple of months or so.  Your Debt Settlement Company may also ask you for a specific update once in a while.

As you learned during your interview/counseling session, rather than making payments to your creditors or debt collectors, you will have authorized an amount that you can afford each month to be deposited into a Client Reserve account with an FDIC insured bank.

As these funds begin to accumulate, your negotiator will be contacting some, but not possibly all of your creditors at once.

"Timing" is very crucial to a successful debt settlement program.

By "timing", I mean that each creditor and/or debt collection agency will accept or decline an offer to settle depending on several factors, such as:

  • How old is this account.
  • Your circumstances (working, unemployed, retired, disabled, etc.)
  • The current balance of the account.

Again, depending on the creditor or debt collector, more favorable settlements may be negotiated a certain times of the month/quarter/year.  An experienced Debt Settlement Company's negotiator will have years of experience and will have worked with most, if not all creditors and debt collectors over the years and will know when and how to get the best settlements possible.

Once a settlement has been negotiated, a SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT will be faxed or mailed to the debt settlement company.

Payment or payments (depending on the agreement) will be set up from the Client Reserve Fund per the agreement.

Once the agreement is completed, a statement or letter of satisfaction will be mailed to you and/or the debt settlement company. 

They (the creditor or debt collector) should report the settlement to all three of the major credit reporting bureaus that your account has been "settled-as-agreed" or in some cases, "settled-in-full". 

But, not all creditors or debt collectors do this, so again, a reputable, professional debt settlement company will assist you to make sure that your Credit Report is accurate.

Depending on the amount of debt your enrolled and the amount of your monthly deposit into the client reserve account will determine how much time your program will take.  This can only be estimated as circumstances and other events may shorten or lengthen the program.

Once all of your accounts have been settled you will receive an accounting summary.

So, that is the basics of a Debt Settlement Program, but, there are other things that you need to be aware of:

What happens if a creditor or debt collector decides to file a legal claim against me, ie., start a lawsuit?

Any creditor or debt collector has the right to file a claim against you for the unpaid balance or your account.

Usually, before they do that, they will have tried to get you to pay by:

  • Making many phone calls
  • Sending many collection letters

Once your account has been charged off, assigned or sold to a debt collection company, you legally have the right to demand that they stop calling you at home or at work. (Unfortunately, as long as it is with the original creditor, you can't prevent the calls.)

You will need to write a letter (sometimes a fax will do) and demand, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that they cease and desist all calls immediately.

To receive a Sample Letter, click below:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

 

The calls should stop rather quickly, but if they do not, then you can file a complaint with your state's Attorney General's Office.  Just go online to get the link for your state's attorney general's office/department.

 

If you live in Oregon, here is the link.

 

Again, depending on your particular circumstances and the particular debt collection company that has you account, they may or may not decide to pursue a lawsuit.

But, if they do, here's what will happen:

(1)   A Claim will be filed.

"They" (referring to the creditor or debt collector) will retain an attorney to FILE A CLAIM with the county court you reside in claiming that you failed to repay the debt you agreed to repay and now they demand legal action.

(2)  You will receive a SUMMONS.

Receiving a summons is kind of scary!  Usually, someone knocks on you door and asks if you are so-n-so and that you've been "served"!

Most of the time this claim is delivered by an agent of a company that does this, but in some cases, your local sheriff's office may send it via an officer! 

Regardless of how you get the summons, the first thing you do is send a copy to your debt settlement company.  TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!  DO NOT DELAY!

The summons will state something to the effect that you have 20-30 days from the time of delivery of the summons to give an ANSWER.

This "answer" is a legal term that you would do if you can prove that you do not owe this debt!  If you have proof....I mean written, easy to see proof that you paid this debt or that you do not owe this debt for whatever reason, then you would pay the cost (you'll need an attorney and there is usually a court filing fee) of filing the ANSWER.

But, if you know that you owe the debt, then you will not file the ANSWER.

(3)  Your negotiator will contact the attorney who filed the claim for the plaintiff (creditor/debt collector) and in most cases work out either a settlement for less than the balance due, or some kind of repayment plan.

This will ONLY BE POSSIBLE if you get your negotiator a copy of the summons RIGHT AWAY!

I've been negotiating with attorneys and collectors for my clients for about 15 years.  In all of that time, as long as my client got me a copy of the summons quickly, I was able to stop the summons, prevent either a judgment, wage garnishment or bank levy in about 99% of the cases! 

Again....TIME IS CRITICAL!

Although most creditors/debt collectors will do their homework to determine if a client could be garnished or a bank account levied after a judgment has been awarded, in some cases, they do not.

Here's what I mean....

You cannot be garnished if you are:

  • Retired and receiving Social Security or Retirement Benefits
  • Disabled and receiving Disability Income Benefits
  • or, if your income is below the exemption level (usually around $218 per week or less, but varies by state)
  • Receiving unemployment benefits, workers compensation, spousal support, child support
  • And many others (click here for complete list of exemptions in Oregon)
  • .

HOWEVER!!!!

If you own your home (or have a mortgage), a LIEN can be placed against it.  This means that if and when you sell (or transfer ownership), the judgment amount (plus interest) must be paid before the sell or transfer can be completed.

Can a LIEN be removed/satisfied before selling or transferring property?

Yes.  Depending on several factors, a creditor will most likely be willing to accept either a slight reduction of the balance or will accept payments on the entire amount in order to release the judgment.

 

FINALLY:

If you qualify for a debt settlement program, most likely you will be able to become DEBT FREE and start to rebuild your credit score again as long as you work with your Debt Settlement Company and Negotiator.

For an idea of what an actual settlement looks like, click below:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: wage garnishment, debt settlement, debt collectors, debt, bank levy, stop debt collector calls

What to Expect While in a Debt Settlement Program

Before you make the decision to enroll in a debt settlement program, here are some very important things to consider:

The decision to enroll in a Debt Settlement Program should only be made after careful consideration and weighing all of you options.

22853064975_8c547f714f_m.jpgFirst, some VERY IMPORTANT POINTS...

Not everyone should enroll in a debt management program! 

Debt Settlement is not an "easy" way to get out of paying the debts you owe!

Not all Debt Settlement companies are alike or legitimate, so be very careful in deciding!

You cannot just forget about your debts and the program!

A Debt Settlement Program may take a few years to complete.  It is not a "quick fix"!

 

NOT EVERYONE SHOULD ENROLL IN A DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM

I began helping people with debt problems almost 15 years ago, so I understand and appreciate it when someone calls seeking help.

Most of our clients (I'd say 95% or so) needed help after something very traumatic and/or financially devestating happened to them.

It could have been one or a combination of the following:

  • Unemployment, downsizing, or a significant reduction in  income
  • Death of a spouse of partner that cut income dramatically
  • Sickness or disability not only limiting income, but requiring payment for medications and treatment
  • Too little fixed income after retirement
  • Divorce

When a catastrophic event happens, it usually does not give us much, if any, warning. 

You have a mortgage, or rent, car payment, normal bills, a few credit card accounts that you are making all of your required payments on each month with maybe even a little left over.

Then, you lose a large portion of income and all of a sudden, there just isn't enough income to keep up with all of your obligations.

At first, you're concerned, but not too worried as you expect things to turn around in a short period of time.

But after a few months, the small savings you had (if any) is gone and you actually had to do a cash advance in order to meet your obligations.

Your credit cards begin to get maxed out and soon, you just simply cannot keep up.

What can you do?

You really only have a few choices:

In a Debt Management or Credit Counseling Program, usually your interest rates ared reduced, late or over-the-limit fees are stopped (and sometimes forgiven), you have one monthly payment to a company that distributes it to each of your creditors as per the agreement.

The calls and letters stop and usually, you debts are paid off in around 48 months.

THE PROBLEM IS....

The minimum total monthly payment is usually as much or MORE than you are currently unable to meet!

Now what?

If you cannot qualify for the Debt Management Program, then the Debt Settlement Program may be just what you need to avoid the 3rd, and in my opinion, the final option after all other options are examined, Bankruptcy.

Previously, I stated that a Debt Settlement Program IS NOT for everyone.

I believe that if you have taken out debt, then you should, if at all possible, repay the debt per the agreement.

Debt Settlement SHOULD NOT be a "get-out-of-debt-free" card!

By the way, a professional, qualified Debt Settlement Company will take the time to go over you particular situation and outline all of your options so that you can make an informed decision.

Be VERY SUSPECIOUS of any company that tries to "sign you up" very quickly without reviewing all of your options!

Once you are enrolled in a Debt Settlement Program, here is basically what will happen:

Most likely, you have missed or stopped payments to your creditors.  These creditors are going to send letters and will call you seeking payment.

While your account is still with the original creditor (it has not been charged off yet), that creditor has the legal right to call you concerning the debt.

However, they must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that protects consumers from harassment int he debt collection process.

Once your accounts are 120-180 days late, they most likely will be "charged off" and assigned or sold to a Debt Collector.

A Debt Collection Company will take accounts on consignment or buy debt in order to get some kind of payment from the consumer.

Once that account has been placed with the Debt Collection Company, they will send letters and start to call, and call, and call!

The good news is that now, you can PUT A STOP TO THESE CALLS!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Just use the Free Sample Letter above, follow directions, and the call should stop very soon.  If not, your Debt Settlement Company will help put a stop to them!

The agent who enrolled you into the Debt Settlement Program has gone over your budget to determine an amount that works with your situation that you can contribute to your Settlement Fund each month.

It will be much less than the total monthly amount you were required to pay before!

While this fund is growing, a negotiator from the debt settlement company will contact the debt collector to start negotiating a settlement.

Depending on a number of factors, usually a settlement around 50% of the current balance will be negotiated.

After a written SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT is received, a the payment will be made.

In many cases, the final settlement agreement can be paid out in monthly payments (0% interest) from you settlement account over several months.

Again, it all depends on your particular situation.  Your negotiator will most likely discuss the situation with you.

Once the settlement is completed, the debt collector should contact all 3 major credit reporting bureaus that this account has a $0 balance and has been paid-as-agreed.

Over time, the process of settlement will IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE as your balances are going down.  But, it will not happen over night!

WHAT IF YOU CANNOT EVEN AFFORD A DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM?

There are times that even after enrolling in a debt settlement program your financial situation worsens and you simply cannot afford to continue.

In that case, BANKRUPTCY may be not only your only options, but your BEST OPTION.

I believe that bankruptcy should be a person's "last resort"

In fact, the bankruptcy laws have changed over time to make it very difficult for someone just to walk away from their financial obligations through bankruptcy!

You should consult an attorney who specializes in Bankruptcy! 

The attorney will meet with you (no charge for the initial meeting) and go over you situation and your options.

FINALLY....

While a Debt Settlement Program is not for everyone, in many cases, it will allow you to:

  • Avoid Garnishments
  • Reduce you monthly outgo
  • Avoid bankruptcy

Need help making your decision? 

Let us help...

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Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, debt, stop the collection calls, bankruptcy attorney, garnishment

Oregon Wage Garnishment...Now What?

If you live in Oregon and receive a notice that your wages are going to be garnished, here's what you need to do:

We get calls almost every day from someone who has just received a notice from their employer that they are going to have their check garnished.

Most of those callers seem surprised by the garnishment, and yet, they should have know it might happen!

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First of all, a wage garnishment cannot "just happen".

Carrying too much debt (specifically, unsecured debt) plagues 7 out of 10 people.

Most of our clients called us because they had experienced a devastating experience in their lives which caused them to turn to the easy access of credit cards for help.

See if this sounds familiar:

You lost your job.  But, you weren't too worried, because you were pretty sure you'd find another one within a couple of months or so.

Well, it just didn't happen.  

So, you burned through what ever little bit of emergency savings you had and now, you had to start using your credit card for things like:

  • Gasoline
  • Groceries
  • And/or for that major appliance repair!

Soon, your were at the limit on your card and had to start using a second card.

You knew you shouldn't, but what else could you do?

As the months went by, and you still could not find a job that at least would pay you as much as your old job, the bills started adding up and up and up!

It wasn't long before you just couldn't keep up with the minimum payments on your credit cards and missed a payment here and there.

Soon, the creditors started sending "nasty" letters threatening this or that.

And if the letters weren't bad enough, the CALLS STARTED! Lots of calls!

Sure, you tried to explain your situation to the agent calling, but they didn't seem to care.  So, you stopped answering the calls. 

BY-THE-WAY...

As long as your account is with the original creditor, you cannot stop the calls.  You agreed to this somewhere in the fine print when you applied for the credit card.

But, after a month or so, the calls stopped and the letters seem to slow down as well.

You were hoping that maybe they would forget about you so you would have more time to find a good job and get caught up.

The good news...

You finally were hired and the salary was even just a little more than before!

The bad news...

 

Your account was charged off by your original creditor and assigned or sold to a DEBT COLLECTION COMPANY.

Now you began to get letters and calls from the debt collector, and you soon realized that they were a less sympathetic than the original agent was!Much less!

So, you stopped answering the phone.  

Even though they left a message, you didn't return it because you knew that it wouldn't do any good.

BY-THE-WAY... 

Now you can put a stop to the collection calls!  Here's how:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Well, the calls did stop, but the letters kept coming.

Some of the letters had a SETTLEMENT OFFER, and although it was an offer to reduce the amount you owed, you were still digging your way out of the financial hole you were in and just couldn't afford to pay 50%-75% of the balance in a lump sum within 30 days!  

COME ON.....REALLY?

A few more months went by and then one evening, the door bell rings and there's a guy with a registered letter for you.

You sign for it...open it up...and guess what????

YOUR HAVE JUST RECEIVED A SUMMONS!

You start to read the first page and it sounds like you are going to have to go to court to give an "answer" about your debt!

The truth is, that you don't have to go to court (at least not yet).  

The ANSWER is a legally prepared explanation with the proper PROOF that you do not owe this debt that the summons says you owe!

But, since you know you owe the debt, you don't do anything.

Again, THE GOOD NEWS....

You don't hear anything for a couple of more months.

But, THE BAD NEWS...

Since you didn't do anything about the summons, the PLAINTIFF (that's the debt collector and/or original creditor) was awarded a JUDGMENT against you for the full balance at the time of default...plus interest...plus fees... and court costs!

This is also called a DEFAULT JUDGMENT as it was awarded without defense, by default by you, the DEFENDANT.

Up to this point, the creditor/debt collector COULD NOT apply for a garnishment.  

Many people mistakenly think that if they just get behind on their bills that a creditor or debt collector can just "take their money or property".

No, they have to go through the whole legal process first.

But now, AND ONLY NOW, with the DEFAULT JUDGMENT, the Plaintiff can apply for a Writ of Garnishment.

And, now you get a notice from your employer that they received a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT on you.

This means that they have no option but to withhold 25% (the usual amount in most states) from each of your paychecks until the full amount is repaid. 

And oh, by-the-way, each state allows additional interest to be added!  

  • Here in Oregon, it is 9% annually.  
  • In Washington, it's 12%!

Now let's stop for a minute and do some math.

  • Let's say you earned $5,000/month from you new job, and you receive approximately $2,500 every two weeks. 
  • After City, State and Federal taxes are deducted, your net/take-home pay is $1,750 every two weeks.
  • Take $1,750 less 25% for the wage garnishment, and now your take-home pay is only $1,225!  
  • It was tough paying all the bills on $1,750 every two weeks, but now, you are going to have $525 less or a total of $1,050 less each month!
  • $525 is mailed to the Plaintiff, and will be until the full balance from the judgment is satisfied!

How in the world are going to make it now!

You only have a couple of options:

  • DEBT SETTLEMENT
  • BANKRUPTCY

I'm not going to get into all of the details of the two options above in this blog, but if you'd like more information, click below:

OPTIONS FOR STOPPING A WAGE GARNISHMENT

Let me wrap this up...

The time to put a stop to a garnishment, in Oregon or any state, is BEFORE the creditor/debt collector FILES A CLAIM to start the SUMMONS/JUDGMENT process.

Most of the time, a debt collector would much rather accept a SETTLEMENT instead of going through all the time and expense of seeking a judgment.

Even if you have a JUDGMENT AGAINST YOU, there is still an opportunity to STOP THE LEGAL PROCESS.

You should be able to get a STIPULATED AGREEMENT in place that would stop the creditor/debt collector from moving forward with legal action.

If all of this sounds good, but you need some help or advice, let us know.

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Tags: wage garnishment, Bankruptcy, debt collectors, default judgment, Oregon

Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop!

You're already having a very hard time paying your bills and keeping up the rent!  Now you get the bad news that your wages are going to be garnished!  Now what?

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I"ve been helping people deal with the stress of managing debt for a long time. 

It's one thing to be so tight in your budget that you are barely making ends meet and only able to pay the minimum payments on your credit cards and/or other debts you owe.

Today happens to be a Friday and for a lot of normal, hard working people, they are looking forward to getting their pay check and having a couple of days off from work!

But, when you open your payroll envelope, you get a shock!

After all of the taxes and other deductions are withheld from your check, the net/take home amount was going to barely cover the bills that are due (or over-due)!

Now, 25% (average amount that can be garnished) more is deducted.

OMG!!!

 

What can you do?

OK....take a breath...and let's go back a little while and see what happened.

We get calls almost every week from someone who has either been garnished or has just received a notice that they are going to be garnished.

We often hear,

"I had no idea this could happen!" or....

"I never received anything about this!"  or....

"I thought this bill was paid a long time ago because I haven't received anything in the mail or had any calls for over a year or so."

Well, I realize that is some rare cases, some of the above comments may be true, but most often, it is basically that the person had their 'head-in-the-sand" type of an belief as things were just so bad they didn't want to think about it!

I understand....been there...done that.

Here's what happened and why this garnishment happened:

When an account (just talking about normal, unsecured credit card type accounts) becomes delinquent, a process begins by the original creditor:

STATEMENTS

The next statement you get will show the PAST DUE amount and the "late fee charges" that have now been added to your balance.

Somewhere on the statement it will tell you that you need to get caught up and to call the customer service number if you need help.....or something like that.

Let's say you just cannot make any payment and don't want to talk to them about it.

 

CALLS AND LETTERS

Now you will start getting letters saying something like:

"Your account is SERIOUSLY past due and you need to do...... "

The letter may state that if you don't do "this or that", they may close and send your account to a debt collector or attorney for collection.

Now, 4 or 5 months have gone by and although you get a call and letter from the original creditor now and then, nothing really has happened.

 

DEBT COLLECTOR

When the original creditor is unable to get you to pay on the account, they will usually either "charge off" the account and transfer or sell to a debt collector.

I'm not going to get into how difficult it is to work with some debt collectors in this blog.  I've written numerous articles and blogs about "Dealing with Debt Collectors" that may be very helpful for you. 

The debt collectors job is simple....Get you to pay them money!

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is to protect consumers from illegal debt collection tactics.

Everyone should have a general knowledge about your rights, so take some time to check out a very good article:

The Fair Trade Commission, Debt Collectors and your Rights

Now that your account has been turned over to a debt collector, you can put a stop to the annoying and often harassing phone calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But, just because you get them to stop calling doesn't mean that your debt problem has gone away!

If the debt collector cannot get you to pay up, they may decide to file a claim in your local county court.

If this happens, you are going to receive a....

 

SUMMONS

The summons will state that a "claim" has been filed against you for the debt you owe with "so-in-so" creditor and that you have 20 (or 30) days in which to give an "ANSWER" in court......

NO, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO COURT!  (unless you want to)

An "answer" is a legal response from you stating and explaining why you do not owe that debt and therefore are not subject to this claim/summons.

It is a legal document and not only will you need to hire an attorney, there is also a fee for filing the "answer", so make sure you can prove that you don't owe the debt first!

Most of the time an "answer" is not necessary, so now the "PLAINTIFF" (the debt collector or the party filing the claim) will wait a while (varies) before taking the next step.

 

DEFAULT JUDGMENT

If you don't respond to the summons, the plaintiff/debt collector may decide to send one of their legal representatives to court in order to awarded a judgment.

This is usually called a "default judgment" since you didn't contest the "claim", the debt collector/plaintiff wins by default.

Now what?

 

WAGE GARNISHMENT, BANK LEVY OR PROPERTY LIEN

OK, now things are serious....

With the default judgment, the plaintiff can now apply for of several options for getting something from you:

  • a writ of wage garnishment
  • a writ of garnishment/levy on your bank account(s)
  • Lien placed on your property (usually your home)

Writ of wage garnishment

A legal document is sent to your employer.  The employer (by law) must withhold an average of 25% of your "after-tax" payroll check until the entire judgment awarded is paid!  There are exemptions, but unless you are making very little income, your in trouble!

 

Writ of garnishment/bank levy

Yes, with that default judgment, the plaintiff can find your bank or bank accounts and send the writ of garnishment/levy to the bank.

The bank is supposed to go back a couple of months and make sure that your account does not have funds that are from "exempt" sources like:

  • Social Security
  • Retirement income
  • Disability income

Again, I'm not going to get into all of the exemptions in this blog, but you might want to check out:

Are Social Security benefits Protected From a Bank Levy?

But for this blog, you are employed (W-2 Income) and so they have the legal right to go after your income, bank account or other property (not exempt).

 

PROPERTY LIEN

Although a plaintiff can apply for a lien against certain property (not exempt), most often they will apply for a lien against your home, paid for or not.

This DOES NOT mean that you have to sell your house to pay the debt/judgment.

It means that when you sell or transfer the property (death or gift), this judgment must be paid!

Sure, this may make the plaintiff many years to collect, but that is an option for them.

 

FINALLY....

I think you can start to see that the best way to put a stop to a wage garnishment is to make every attempt at not letting your delinquent account become a judgment!

There are many OPTIONS that you can take advantage of to stop your account from every becoming a "judgment"!

But, since you have the wage garnishment happening (or about to happen), here's what you (or with help) need to do:

Contact the attorney who filed the writ of garnishment

In most cases, they are usually willing to set up some kind of repayment plan and stop the garnishment.

You will need to be able to show your financial hardship and make a "reasonable" payment each month!

They may want you to sign a "Stipulated Agreement" that will be filed with the court.

It basically says that as long as you make the payments agreed upon, they will not pursue further legal action.

If you have a very large amount of funds available, you may be able to make a SETTLEMENT OFFER to have the judgment satisfied and the writ of garnishment removed.

This offer will most likely need to be much larger than the normal settlements we negotiate for our clients, because they have leverage on you!

 

BANKRUPTCY

If you are unsuccessful at putting a stop to your garnishment (wage or bank), you may be forced to seek protection through bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a legal "tool", so to speak, that allows a person an avenue to get their lives back on track.

Make sure to contact an attorney whose practice deals with all aspects of bankruptcy!

 

It should be obvious that the way to stop a wage garnishment is to not let your accounts/debts ever get to that point!

We can show you various options of how to deal with your specific debt situation.

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Tags: stop wage garnishment, debt collectors, bank levy, Oregon

Does "Pay-to-Delete" Really Work?

There is a term being used by some credit repair and settlement companies called "Pay-to-Delete".  Does this really work or is it just a scam?

I've been helping people resolve credit issues for almost 15 years. I am not a "credit repair" specialist, but having been in and around this industry for a long time, I've seen a lot of things come and go.  Some good....some bad.  Not sure about this "pay-to-delete" idea, but here are my thoughts:

What does "Pay-to-Delete" mean?

When a person runs into trouble keeping up with the payments on their credit accounts, all kinds of things start to happen!

If you've ever been in that position, then you know that as soon as you are 30 days or so late, you will start getting letters and/or calls from your creditor.

If you are able to get back on track, then fine.  But if not, and your accounts start approaching 90 - 120 days late, then most likely you're account will be charged off, assigned or sold to a debt collection company.

Here's where things start to get serious!

Debt collectors earn money by getting you to pay....period.  If they cannot get the job done, then the account may be pulled and placed with another collector. 

So, it should not be a surprise if they are VERY AGRESSIVE in their collection efforts.

I've written many articles and blogs over the years on how to deal with agreesive and abusive debt collectors and while I'm not going to get into that in this blog, you might want more information, so click here:

 

"How to Stop Debt Collector Harrassment!"

 

When you have "past due" and "delinquent" accounts, you really only have a few options, such as:

  • Debt Consolidation Loan (very hared to get when you are in this situation)
  • Home Equity Loan (be careful...very dangerous!)
  • Debt Management or Counseling Program (fine if you can afford the monthly payments)
  • Debt Settlement Program (for those who cannot qualify for Debt Management)
  • Bankruptcy (most people want to avoid unless there are not other options)

For the sake of this blog, let's focus on the Debt Settlement Program as this is where you might be introduced to the PAY-TO-DELETE idea.

In a Debt Settlement Program, the debt collection companies (and sometimes even the original creditor) may be willing to accept a reduced amount rather than the full balance due. This is called a "settlement".

Often, these settlements range from 30% -50%, depending on circumstances.

Once the settlement has been completed (according to the settlement agreement), the debt collector is supposed to report it to the major credit bureaus a $0 balance with a notation something like:

  • "paid for less than full balance"
  • "paid as agreed"
  • "settled in full"

Although your credit report and score will start to improve with a $0 balance and the fact that you took care of this bad debt, the history of the action will still be reported for up to 7 years according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The fact that you got yourself into credit/debt trouble and were not able to meet the payments/agreement you made with the creditor when issued credit are to be reported and thus, will negatively affect your credit score.

Yes, getting the account paid off via a settlement helps, but the history remains.

Here comes the new term...."PAY-TO-DELETE".

If that "history" could be deleted before the FCRA guideline of 7 years, it would help improve your credit score more quickly....or at least what the proponents of this method claim.

Rather than make a settlement offer of say, 50% of the balance to settle this account, you offer to pay 100% (or maybe a little less) if....(and here's the point....)

If the debt collector will agree to contact the major credit bureaus and have the account COMPLETELY REMOVED...just as if this had never happened.

Let's say you get an official agreement from the debt collector saying they will honor this "pay-to-delete" plan and it is signed and looks very "official" and "legal".

You make the payment (cashier's check to expedite the process) to the debt collector according to the agreement.

The agreement stated that within 15 days of receipt of the payment the debt collector would contact the major credit reporting bureaus to have the account removed.

You check your credit report after 20-30 days and guess what.....

The account was not removed!

Now what?

Of course, you contact the debt collector, but are told that the agent who made the agreement did not have the aurthority and therefore they will not honor the deal (or some other excuse).

Your recourse....

I suppose you could contact an attorney and file a lawsuit, but that is going to take a lot of money and time!  And, there is no guarantee that the attorney will be successful! 

  • Maybe the "agreement" was not a "legal contract" after all.
  • Maybe it is ILLEGAL for a Credit Bureau to remove an account, insinuating that the BAD DEBT never occurred!  This is a very "grey" area as far as honest credit history reporting goes. 

I'm using the word "maybe" because, not being an attorney, I just don't know.  But, in my opinion, the credit bureaus (FOR PROFIT companies) are in business to sell CORRECT credit information to lenders that accurately shows the person's credit history in order to determine if they should or should not loan the money.

Think about this....

Let's say I'm a car dealer, and I run a credit report on a prospective buyer.  The credit report comes back and looks good, but in reality, this prospect had had a couple of cars repossed in the last 3-4 years that are not being reported as they were removed via a "pay-to-delete" agreement.

The repossessed car(s) were sold at aucuion and the difference between the selling price and the total balance due at that time was awarded to the dealer/debt collector as a "deficientcy judgment".

The dealer/debt collector hires an attorney to go collect on the judgment and contacts the orginal owner.

The orignial owner offer a PAY-TO-DELETE deal.  The deal/agreement was struck between the debt collector and the origninal owner of the car, and the payment was made and the credit bureaus removed the history of this repossesion(s).

Am I getting an honest credit report?

 

Of COURSE I'M NOT!

 

But, based on the information contained in the credit report, I grant the loan for the car.

Later, the purchaser runs into financial trouble again and does not make the payments.

I'm forced to pay the legal and repossession fees to get the car. 

IS THAT RIGHT?    Don't think so....

In fact, I believe I would file a claim and sue the credit bureau for their FALSE CREDIT HISTORY REPORTING.

Would I win?

Don't know, but I think you can see my point.

A Pay-to-Delete agreement may be completly legal, fair and ethical.  But for now, until there is more proof, I'd be wary.

Rememeber the old addage....

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

 

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Tags: debt settlement, Credit Score, debt collectors, credit repair, pay to delete

Will Debt Collectors Negotiate After a Summons or Judgment?

If you have been delivered a summons or had a judgment awarded against you be a debt collector, you should still be able to reach an agreement to avoid garnishments or bank levies! 

Fear-1.jpgFinancial circumstances beyond your control can be very stressful.

More often than not, your situation was caused by one or more events such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Illness or Disability
  • Fixed Income of Retirement

When this happens, your debts can be very difficult or impossible to keep up.

 

And, as you may know, sometimes these accounts are turned over to a debt collector.  A debt collector may be contracted by the original creditor or may have purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar after the creditor decided to give up on trying to collect.

This is where the problem starts!

Most debt collection companies as well as the debt collector agent themselves are professional.  

Like it or not, they do serve a purpose of trying to recover debt that is owed.

However, there are some, and you could say many debt collectors who do not act in a professional manner and violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If and when you are contacted by a Debt Collector, you need to take action.

THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO IS TO IGNORE THE PROBLEM!

If you legitimately know that you do not owe the debt, you can demand that the debt collector VALIDATE the debt.  But, you must do this right away.

Most letters you receive from the collector will state something to the effect that "If you do not dispute the validity of the debt, it will be deemed an admission that you are liable for the debt."

Here's a link to a blog I wrote about:

FREE GUIDE to

By the way, be very careful of a so-called "Credit Repair Company" that uses the "debt validation" procedure to challenge LEGITIMATE debts in order to try and raise your credit score.  This is not only unethical, but may also be illegal!

OK, let's say you know that you owe the debt and the debt collectors are calling all day.  Here's how to stop the calls: 

If you cannot afford to deal with this debt now, you can put a stop to the never ending calls from a debt collector.  

While you cannot stop the original creditor from calling, you certainly have the legal right to demand the collector from calling.  

Click here for a "How to Stop Debt Collection Calls":

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

 

But, the problem is not going to go away!

If you do not make some kind of arrangement with the debt collector, they may elect to file a complaint with you county court in order to get a judgment.

The first thing that will tell you that they are very serious and are not going to just go away is that you will receive a SUMMONS.

Receiving a summons is unpleasant and a little scary if you do not know what to do.

I've written many blogs and articles about how to deal with a summons, so check out one of these at:

 

HOW TO DEAL WITH A SUMMONS

 

For this article, let's say that you ignored the summons and the debt collector was awarded a DEFAULT judgment.

A Default  Judgment just means that the judgment was awarded to the plaintiff (debt collector) as you did not contest the claim in court.

When these type of judgments are awarded, in about 99% of the time, the defendant (creditor) did nothing, and thus, the judgment was granted to the plaintiff.

Now the debt collector, with the judgment, can take legal action to recover the debt.  These may include:

If you have some funds or can afford a reasonable monthly payment, you should be able to avoid these actions.

The debt collector really doesn't want to spend the money or take the time to file for those legal actions above, but depending on your situation, should be willing to either accept:

  • A Lump-sum (or in some cases a monthly term payment) Settlement
  • A Stipulated Agreement whereby you repay the balance at 100% plus the interest allowed in your state.  (Oregon is 9%, WA is 12%)

We have been helping people deal with the problems associated with debt for a long time (about 15 yrs.), and I can only recall two cases where the client received a wage garnishment or bank levy.

In both cases, this happened because the client refused to follow our advice.

But, in both cases, we were able to STOP THE WAGE GARNISHMENT and BANK LEVY.

If you would like a FREE CONSULTATION, with absoutely NO OBLIGATION, give us a call or click below:

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Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, debt, summons, judgment

Debt Settlement Gave Us a Second Chance!

Three years ago we were facing bankruptcy.  We decided to use a Debt Settlement Company.  Now we are Debt Free, our Credit Score has improved and are in control of our financial lives again!

Fresh_Start.jpgBACKGROUND....

My story is probably much like anyone who has had to face the prospect of bankruptcy!

I had been employed with a fairly large company for about five years.  The pay was decent and although I can't say that I "loved" my job, I didn't "hate" it either.

Rumors had been circulating about a possible sale of the company to a larger competitor for about 6 months, but I was told "Don't worry, you'll be OK".

Well, one Friday afternoon, my supervisor called me into his office and let me know that the sale was going to happen and that the new company was going to close down my division.

Then I heard those dreaded words..."I'm really sorry, but we are going to have to let you go."

Talk about a shock!  All I could think of was...

NOW WHAT?

I'm married with two kids (ages 6 and 8).

My wife doesn't work because her net take-home pay would barely pay for day care, so why bother?

So here I am:

  • Unemployed (for the first time in my life!)
  • Mortgage
  • Family
  • No real job prospects!

The company had some counselors available for job searches, etc., but after my session, I knew I was in trouble!

I signed up for unemployment and hoped that I'd find a job before the benefits ran out....wrong!

We had very little savings.  Well, I probably shouldn't call it a "savings account" because we really just transferred some money from checking just to keep it "out of reach" until an emergency came up.  Seems like those "emergencies" always came up!

JOB SEARCH, BILLS, and STRESS

At first, I wasn't really worried because I thought I would be able to find another job rather quickly.  Boy, was I wrong!

I sent out dozens of resumes and went on several interviews, but no luck.

We had used the "savings" up a couple of months ago when the hot water heater stopped working.  The plumber said that there was nothing he could do to repair it as it was just too old, had rust, and parts where very hard to find!

So, I used one of my credit cards to buy a new one and pay for the installation.  

Even though the total was about $800, it really only increased my minimum monthly payment by $25 or so.

The unemployment finally ran out and I had to take a job at just a little over minimum wage.  It was better than nothing, but the final take home pay was just not enough to cover everything.

I was really beginning to stress out!

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CREDIT CARDS TO THE RESCUE?

As time went by, I continued to not only send out resumes and work at my job, but the bills started piling up.

My wife and I decided to pay only the absolute essential bills like the mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc. and let the credit card bills, medical bills, and yes, even the car payment get behind.  

As the total credit card debt was increasing due to late fees and over-the-limit fees, we had to use a CASH ADVANCE once in a while to pay a utility or grocery bill.

The crazy thing was, even though we hadn't made a payment in 3-4 months, we would still get an OFFER from a credit card company for another card or to make consolidate the others with a BALANCE TRANSFER.  We had three cards from one company!  

Made no sense!

Sure, this "rob Peter to pay Paul" action was holding them off, but we knew that a "day of reckoning was coming!"

DECISION TIME!!!

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The total credit card and other unsecured debts was now so high that we knew we couldn't keep up.

It looked like BANKRUPTCY was our only option until we learned about DEBT SETTLEMENT.

We weighed our options and decided to give Debt Settlement a try and use Bankruptcy as our last resort!

At first, we tried to contact the debt collectors ourselves, but soon learned that they did not care about our situation and were unsympathetic and rude!

Even though they were willing to discount the total amount due, they wanted it all in lump sum by the end of the month!

Right.... We can't keep up with our payment now and yet we have two or three thousand dollars laying around to send them!

We realized that since we were dealing with professional debt collectors we should consider retaining a professional debt settlement company.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DEBT SETTLEMENT COMPANY

We did the normal "searches" online and soon found out that there were a lot of debt settlement companies out there!

Since they all seemed to offer the same services, we decided to narrow the field by using the following checks....

It was very evident that not debt settlement companies were the same!

They ranged from being very pushy, trying to rush us to make a decision, to those who seemed to have very inexperienced reps who obviously had not much experience with our problems.

We finally found a company that seemed to not only really know what they were doing, passed the criteria we mentioned above, but demonstrated empathy for us and our situation.

THE PROCESS

Once we enrolled, the first thing they did was to put a stop to those annoying and basically harassing calls from the collectors!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Even though one or two collectors still tried to call, our company contacted them and those calls stopped immediately.  It felt so good to not have to deal with those debt collectors any more!

As time went by, the monthly deposits we made to our reserve account began to grow.  At the same time, the debt settlement company was negotiating our accounts.

One by one, they accepted a settlement agreements that averaged around 50% or less that the current balance.

THE RESULTS

The total debt settlement program took a little over 3 years, but it was worth it.

Through the debt settlement program we accomplished our goals:

  • We were able to stop worrying so much about our debts
  • We did not have to file for bankruptcy
  • We avoided wage garnishments or a levy on our bank account
  • Our credit scores are starting to increase

As I said before, debt settlement is not for everyone, but for us, it worked better than we expected and now we are DEBT FREE!

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Tags: stop wage garnishment, debt settlement, Credit Score, debt collectors, credit card

Can Debt Settlement Improve My Credit Score?

Debt Settlement is an option to clear old debts and improve your credit score.

When you find yourself faced with a very stressful financial situation, there are only a few options:

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     Consolidation Loan

     Debt Management

     Debt Settlement

 

 

 

CONSOLIDATION LOAN

A consolidation loan may be:

  • Second Mortgage on your home or other property
  • Personal loan with your bank or credit union
  • Balance transfer from a credit card offer

Getting a second Mortgage or even what's called an "Equity Line of Credit" through your bank or another lending institution, may be possible with lower than normal credit scores.

Just be very careful and do your homework and math to make sure that the lender is not charging you such a high rate of interest or fees that this type of loan makes no sense in the long run!!!

But, a Consolidation Loan will not really change your credit scores right away!  Here's why:

The calculations to determine a credit score in fairly complicated, but one of the most important or "weighted" portions of that calculation is the ration of current debt to the total available debt you have.

For example:

Let's say you have 5 credit cards with a total available credit of $20,000.

You have maxed-out 4 of the 5 for a total of $15,000 of debt.

You "Debt Ratio" looks like this...

                   $15,000 divided by $20,000 equals a 75% debt/available debt ratio

That's high as far as the Credit Bureaus evaluate your "credit worthiness" with a credit score!

For more information, check out:

How Are Credit Scores Determined?

So, even if you do qualify for a Consolidation Loan, your credit score may not improve quickly!

 

DEBT MANAGEMENT

Debt Management is what we used to be referred to as Credit Counseling a few years ago.

In a Debt Management Program, each of your creditors agrees to lower you interest rate and may forgive or bring current late fees, etc.  Each creditor is a little different.

But, consider this:

  1. Your total monthly payments on all of your debts may not be less!
  2. But, being enrolled in a program like Debt Management, will not quickly improve or change your credit scores!
  3. If you miss a scheduled payment, you may void the agreement and you are right back where you started. 

Before you enroll in one of these programs, you might consider and even do much better by looking into a DEBT ACCELERATOR PROGRAM.

 

DEBT SETTLEMENT

If you qualify, a Debt Settlement Program may give you all of the results you are looking for:

  • ONE Lower Monthly Payment
  • Total Balances of you debt reduced by 50% or more!
  • Debt Free in about 3-5 years, depending on your particular circumstance
  • Ultimately Improve your Credit Score!

A Debt Settlement Program is for someone who is going through a very tough time, especially in the financial area!

  • Loss of employment or cut in pay
  • Divorce or other family upheaval
  • Death of a spouse or loved one
  • Limited income after retirement
  • Disabled or suffering from severe illness

Most of your accounts are either delinquent or about to become severely "behind".

You've probably had one or more of your accounts turned over to a Debt Collector and are enduring the constant phone calls and letters.

By the way....you can put a stop to those calls now:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Rather than continuing to make minimum monthly payments on your accounts, you will be making a monthly payment that FITS YOUR BUDGET into a FDIC insured bank account.

As these funds are growing, negotiations with your creditors and debt collectors begin to arrange a SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

The final settlement amount varies, depending on a number of circumstances, but settlements of 50% or less are not uncommon.

But, will Debt Settlement Improve your credit score?

Yes, but over time!

It may be hard to understand, but a potential lender is looking for a couple of key items in a credit report, such as:

  • How much credit are you carrying now?
  • Length of employment?
  • Credit History...not just late payments, but how long and how have you handled your credit payments over time?
  • What is your "credit worthiness"...If a loan is granted, what is the likelihood that you can and will repay as agreed?

Just because you have fiancial trouble now or in the past IS NOT an automatic DECLINE OF CREDIT!

When you have had all of your accounts settled with a ZERO BALANCE, you will be offered NEW CREDIT as your Credit Scores will have improved.

 

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Tags: debt settlement, Credit Score, debt collectors, debt management, credit cards