Does Debt Settlement Really Work?

If you are considering enrolling in a Debt Settlement Program, you may be asking yourself, "Does Debt Settlement really work?"

does debt settlement really work

 

There are several options available to help you get your debt under control, including:

  • Debt Management Program
  • Debt Settlement Program
  • Consolidation of Debt

 

While a Debt Management Program may be just the program you need, if you are having a tough time just keeping up with the minimum payments, you should consider a DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

Some of the adantages of a Debt Settlement Program:

  • ONE monthly payment that is typically much less that what you are paying now.
  • Most debts can be negotiated at 50% or in some cases, much less.
  • A typical Debt Settlement Program will be about 36-48 months, depending on a number of factors.

So, the question you may be asking is, "Does Debt Settlement really work?"

Yes, if you fit the criteria for a Debt Settlement Program.  Many so-called "Debt Settlement Companies" only offer...Debt Settlement as the answer to anyone with debt problems.

Everyone should know that "one size does not fit all"!

Before you decide, it is critically important that you explore all of the options that are available to you.

But if after discussing your situation with a qualified, experience debt relief specialist, you deteremine that a Debt Settlement Program is what you need, you might want to ask for some proof of actual settlements.

Check out some of the actual settlements we have been able to negotiate for our clients:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Successful negotiation of unsecured debt depends on several factors. 

For example, if you are retired and living on Social Security and/or a retirement income, both are 100% exempt from any garnishment or levy by a debt collector.  For these clients, settlements below 50% are possible.

Debt Settlement is really for those who are in a very bad financial situation.  Most prospects for a debt settlement program have had something happen in their lives that has caused them to get over their head with debt, such as:

  • Unemployment
  • Illness or disability
  • Death of a spouse or partner
  • Divorce

If you find yourself with too much debt and just not enough income, then you owe it to yourself to look into how debt settlement works and see if would work for you.

 

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

Yes, Debt Settlement really does work!

 

 


 

 

 

 photo by: Eleaf

 



 

 

Tags: credit card debt, debt relief options, debt settlement, debt settlement in oregon, debt management

Basic Debt Settlement Information for Beginners

debt settlement for beginnersConfused about Debt Settlement?  Here are some easy to understand, basic information about debt settlement that will help.

If you are like thousands of others of consumers that have way to much debt, take heart!

There are several options for you to become DEBT FREE once again, including what is referred to as DEBT SETTLEMENT.

We are all living through some very financially difficult times.  Yes, there are those who say that our economy is starting to rebound, but if you are like so many people, just trying to survive has lead to a mountain of debt that may be out of control.

Most people that seek our help have not run up thousands of dollars of unsecured debt such as:

  • Credit Cards
  • Store Cards
  • Personal loans or lines of credit
  • Private student loans
  • Cash advance loans


No, most people are probably like you and are in this debt mess due to one or more of the following:

  • Major accident or illness
  • Limited fixed income of Social Security or meager Retirement Benefits
  • Disablitly
  • Divorce
  • Death of spouse of partner

So, here you are with several credit cards that have balances that demand more of a monthly payment than you can afford!

If you qualify, a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM might help.  Debt Management is the modern name for what we use to refer as CREDIT COUNSELING.

In a Debt Management Program, each of your creditors usually (not always) agree to a reduced interest rate and possibly a waiver or reduction in over-the-limit fees or late fees.

You would have one monthly payment that is made to a Debt Management Company and they in turn distribute the required amount to each creditor.

Most Debt Management Programs take about 48 months (some less and some more).

The problem with most Debt Management Programs is that the required monthly payment is just too high for all of the debt your are carrying!

For example...

If you have a total of $25,000 charged on several credit cards, the payment needed for most Debt Management Programs would be about 2.5% (or a little more) or about $625 per month!

In my office here in Portland, Oregon, I've had many people tell me, "Are you kidding?  If I had that much, I wouldn't be behind!"

So, that leaves us with Debt Settlement.

In a Debt Settlement Program, a debt counselor will go over your financial/household budget to determine where you stand.

This can be very revealing, as most people take the "head-in-the-sane" approach with so much debt.

You may find out that after being honest with yourself, you really only have about $350 per month remaining after all the essential bills are paid!

DON'T PANIC!

With a Debt Settlement Program, your creditors are not going to be receiving monthly payments.

Instead, you are going to be making a deposit into a FDIC bank account each month.

Yes, your accounts are going to become "late and/or delinquent", but really, there is nothing you can do about it due to your financial hardship.

Once your account is late approximately 120-180 days, the account will be most likely referred to a debt collector.

Now, the original creditor will be willing (not always, but in most cases) to accept a settlement for less that is due on the balance.

Most settlements average around 50% of the balance.  Some lower and some higher, depending on circumstances.

Once the account is SETTLED, you will receive a letter stating that this account has been "paid-as-agreed" or "settled-as-agreed".

The credit reporting agencies will be notified that this account has been settled as well.

Over time, your credit score will show improvement!

If you would like to receive a FREE BOOKLET that will explain more about DEBT SETTLEMENT, click below:

 

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

 

 

 



Tags: credit card debt, debt relief options, debt settlement, debt settlement in oregon, debt management, five credit score myths

Best Options for Credit Card Debt Relief

best options for credit card debt reliefWhen you have too much credit card debt, you only have a few options. 

Here are 3 options for credit card debt relief:

#1 Debt Management or what is commonly referred to as Credit Counseling

The credit card industry makes billions of dollars loaning us money to purchase things with credit versus using cash.

You can get several types of credit card interest calculator programs on line, but I found a good one at ZilchWorks.

You will be shocked to see how much interest and fees you really pay on your credit cards!

For example...

Let's say you have a Visa Card with a balance of $2,500 at an annual percentage rate of 21%.

How long (and how much) do you think you will repay if you make the minimum payments until the balance is fully paid?

I know it is hard to believe, but you could end up paying back anywhere from 4 to 5 times the original amount you borrowed!

If your one of the 7 out of 10 people in the US that has a credit card balance, and are only able to make the minimum payments each month, you should consider a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.

In a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM, you will have:

  • ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT
  • REDUCED INTEREST RATES
  • WAIVED LATE and/or OVER THE LIMIT FEES

Most Debt Management Programs take about 4 - 5 years to complete, and the consumer will not only be DEBT FREE, but save thousands of dollars in interest and fees.

Does a Debt Management Program hurt you credit score?

Common question, but the answer is not just a simple "yes" or "no".

There are many factors that go into determining a credit score and I've written several blogs over the last few years.  Go to "What Determines My Credit Score" for more information.

But for now, the best answer is "no" because with too much credit, your credit score most likely has already been damaged.

The only way to improve your credit score is to start paying off those debts and a Debt Management Program may be the way to go for you.

But, not everyone can qualify for a Debt Management Program. If that is your situation, then you should strongly consider a DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

#2 Debt Settlement Program

Features of a Debt Settlement Program:

  • Have ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT (that will fit your current budget)
  • Each of your debt will be negotiated at a balance that is approximately 50% of the current balance.
  • A QUALIFIED, PROFESSIONAL Debt Settlement Company will explain all of the pros and cons of a Debt Management Program.

There has been a lot of good and bad press written about Debt Settlement Companies.

Here are 3 tips on choosing a good Debt Settlement Company:

1)  Check with the Better Business Bureau.  It is not important that the company be an "accredited" company with the BBB.  The BBB charges a fee (no, the BBB is not a government agency but a "for profit" company.  What you are looking for is the rating (A+) and complaints.  Stay away from "shady" companies!

2)  Are they registered with the state?  Not all states require registration, but if your state does, DO NOT choose a company that is not on the state's list of registered Debt Settlement/Management companies.

3)  When you call the company, are you connected with someone you can understand and that seems to be more interested in you than just "signing you up"?  A good Debt Settlement Company will offer a FREE CONSULTATION WITH NO OBLIGATION.  Don't let anyone or any company pressure you into making a quick decision!

If you do not qualify for a Debt Management or Debt Settlement Program, then you may need to seek BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION.

#3 Bankruptcy Protection

Although the word "bankruptcy" brings up all kinds of sentiments and feelings, in some cases, it is not only the only choice, but could be the best choice!

If your financial situation is so dire that you cannot make payments towards your debts, then you must seek the counsel of a qualified attorney who specializes in bankruptcy.

He or she must offer an initial free consultation and demonstrate not only a professional but personal quality.  If you would just like to get more information without making any commitment, then click on the button below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tags: credit card debt, debt relief options, credit card debt relief portland oregon, debt management, credit card debt relief oregon

3 Tips on How to Survive With Too Much Debt

how to survive with too much debt

According to a report issued by the United States Federal Reserve System, as of July 2012:

  • Total US credit card debt was over $793 BILLION DOLLARS!
  • The average credit card debt per household was $15,799.
  • One out of 4 stated that their personal debt had increase by 26% in the last 12 months!
  • 76% of college students have credit cards.

I read an article about Survival in the Outdoors recently.  Interestingly, many of the lessons on how to survive in an emergency can be applied to how to survive with too much debt.

Step One: Don't Panic!

Stop and take a deep breath! Do not panic.  Do not feel ashamned that you are lost or in this prdicament.  Some of the best outdoors people in the world have become lost or disoriented,  and have run around in circles!

Slow down, relax and take a good look at your situation. There is a way out of this!

The same thing applies with having too much debt.  When you finally realize that you are in real trouble with your debt, DON'T PANIC!  Take a deep breath and realize that you are not the only one!

There is a way out of this!

Step Two: Evaluate your Circumstances

When lost or in an emergency situation, the next thing you must do is take stock of your circumstances:

  • Do you have water, shelter, food, fire?
  • Does anyone know where you are?
  • What supplies or tools do you have?

Once get a really good look at your situation, you can start to take steps to get out of it!

The same thing applies with having too much debt:

Complete a BUDGET OR FINANCIAL WORKSHEET.

This is the only way you can really know:

  • How much debt you really have?
  • What are the total of the minimum payments you have to make?
  • How much are all of the other household bills?
  • Is there any discretionary or money left over at the end of the month?

Step Three:  Make a Plan

In a survival situation, once you calm down and get a good idea of your circumstances, you can devise a plan.

Make a shelter.  You can survive without food for weeks if necessary and many days without water, but if you are caught in the cold and/or rain, you could die from hypothremia within a few hours!

In other words, you have to survive to survive!

The same holds true for getting out of debt. The most important thing you can do is to formulate a plan. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may need qualify for:

A DEBT MANANGEMENT PROGRAM

This program allows you to have:

  • One monthly payment
  • All of your creditors are being paid each month
  • Late fees and interest are reduced or eliminated
  • Creditors stop calling!

To see if you qualify, --> CLICK HERE <--

But if you don't qualify for the Debt Management Program, you may qualify for a:

DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM

This program allows you to have:

  • One monthly payment that will work with your budget
  • Your debts will be negotiated and settled for much less than the balances
  • Creditor calls can be stopped
  • Once all of your debts are settled, your credit report will improve

Bankruptcy

If neither of these programs work for you, then you may qualify for BANKRUPTCY.  Bankrupcty is a scarry word, but many times, it is the best and only solution.

There are various types of bankruptcies and you should consult a bankruptcy specialist to learn more about your bankruptcy options.

The worst thing you can do in a survival situation is to do nothing! The same thing applies to surviving with too much debt.

We can help point you in the right direction.

For a FREE Consultation, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: credit card debt, debt relief options, debt negotiaion, debt settlement in oregon, debt management, debt management vs debt settlement

Is Bankruptcy Better Than Debt Settlement?

is bankruptcy better than debt settlementMaking the choice between BANKRUPTCY and DEBT SETTLEMENT can be a daunting task.  The fact is, one is not the clear winner.  The option you choose will depend on several factors.

Here are some guidelines to determine whether Bankruptcy or Debt Settlement is the right choice for you. 

DON'T THINK OF BANKRUPTCY AS A "GET-OUT-OF-JAIL-FREE-CARD"!

As I research and blog about the debt settlement industry I'm in, I see too many sites that seem to say that Bankruptcy is an easy way to START OVER.

That statement is both True and false.

Before we look into when you should choose Bankruptcy over Debt Settlement, just remember this...

Bankruptcy is a statement that you cannot pay the debts you owe.  Say what you will, that is a hard thing to admit and can cause severe personal turmoil.  Although most people who have to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors do so as a last resort, it is still a very big and tough decision mentally.

DEBT SETTLEMENT IS NOT THE SAME AS BANKRUPTCY

Whether you qualify for a chapter 7 or 13 (personal bankruptcy), you are basically walking away from the debts you have incurred.  Your creditors get paid back very little, if anything on the money they originally loaned you with your promise to repay!

With DEBT SETTLEMENT, your creditors will get paid back approximately 50% of what you owe.  This is better for you because it shows that you made an effort and paid back at least a portion of what you owed.  Down the road, it will be easier for you to get credit when you need it.

BANKRUPTCY WILL SHOW ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT FOR UP TO 10 YEARS!

Make no mistake about it, bankruptcy will have an major affect on you and others!

You may not be able to rent an apartment for up to 2 years following a bankruptcy!

Many employment opportunities will not be available to you if you must state that you have declared bankruptcy in the past or if your prospective employer does a credit check!

Bankruptcy HAS A VERY NEGATIVE impact on your credit score!

In the long run, your credit and credit rating will not be as damaged through DEBT SETTLEMENT as it will be through BANKRUPTCY.

After a debt is settled, the credit reporting agencies:

  • Experian
  • TransUnion
  • Equifax

...will show the debt with a $0 balance and "paid-as-agreed" or "paid-for-less-than-the-full-amount".

When your credit report shows that you have done something to take card of your outstanding debts, it will (believe it or not) start to improve rather quickly!

SO, DEBT SETTLEMENT IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN BANKRUPTCY?

NO!  Again, debt settlement companies that only offer debt settlement have to say that, but it is just not true!

Reputable Debt Settlement companies will discuss all of your options so that you can make the right choice!

After 10 years of helping people get out of debt, I have found that in 99.9% of the time, the client found themselves in severe financial trouble from several circumstances of which they had no control.  Such as:

  • Loss of job and income
  • Divorce
  • Illness and/or disability
  • Cut back on the hours of employment due to bad economy
  • Forced retirement
  • Fixed income that cannot keep up with inflation

At first, you use the credit cards to "JUST GET BY", with the intent on repaying them when things get better.  However, in many cases, things don't get better and now you cannot keep up with the minimum payments.  Then:

You may qualify for a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

In a Debt Management Program, you will...

  • Have ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT (it may or may not be lower than the total of the minimum payments you now have)
  • Have interest rates and late fees are usually lowered or forgiven
  • Usually pay back all of your creditors in 48 months or so
  • Have improved your credit scores after your balances are $0

But, they question is, can you afford the MONTHLY PAYMENT?

If not, then you need to look at DEBT SETTLEMENT:

  • One monthly payment (a payment you can afford based on your circumstances)
  • Creditor call slow down and stop
  • Creditors are paid a percentage of the debt owed (avg. 50% plus or minus)
  • Once your creditors have agreed to a settlement and it is completed, your credit report will show a $0 balance and start to improve

Ifyou cannot even afford the Debt Settlement payment, then you need to consult a BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY, but be careful!  Not all attorneys specialize in bankruptcy and as the bankruptcy laws seem to always be changing, you must find one that is an expert!

STILL NOT SURE?  WE CAN HELP!  Give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or simply click on the link below for a FREE Evaluation.

Is Bankruptcy better than Debt Settlement

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


Tags: credit card debt, debt relief options, debt settlement, Bankruptcy, stop creditor calls, stop the collection calls, debt management

How Much of My Income is Exempt From Garnishment in Oregon?

income exempt from garnishment in oregonHow much of your income is exempt from garnishment?

For the sake of this blog, let's walk through a hypothetical example of how a wage garnishment is calculated by your employer.

Let's say you had financial problems (layoff, divorce, illness, etc.) and could not make the required minimum payments.

If an agreement cannot be reached between you and your creditor/collector, the creditor may instruct the collector to retain an attorney (many collectors are attorneys) to file a CLAIM or LAWSUIT for the debt you owe.

You would then receive a SUMMONS.

Again, if an agreement (usually called a STIPULATED AGREEMENT), cannot be reached, then a court date is set and the PLAINTIFF or CREDITOR would be awarded a JUDGMENT.

Now the plaintiff can apply for a WRIT OF WAGE GARNISHMENT.

Your employer is legally bound to honor the WRIT and uses a WAGE EXEMPTION or CALCULATION GUIDE to determine how much of your wages must be sent to the court.

In Oregon, ORS 18.385 says basically that the MAXIMUM subject to GARNISHMENT is 25% of an employee's DISPOSABLE INCOME (AFTER-TAX, TAKE-HOME).

Unless the employee is left is less than $218 per week!

So, if your net, disposable income is $218 x 4.2 weeks or $915.60 per month, you would not be subject to garnishment.

But, let's say you are earning $15/hour and working 40 hours x 4.2 weeks per month or $2,520 GROSS (BEFORE DEDUCTIONS).

Again, let's say your net deductions are 27% of your gross income, leaving you with a net take-home income of $1,839.60.

In Oregon, 25% of the net take-home (most states are 25%, but be sure to check your state's code) must be garnished.

$1,839.60 x 25% = $459.90 per month!

For most people, that would be financially devastating!

Before you let your delinquent accounts go this far, give us a call or contact us right away!

We may be able to arrange a repayment or settlement plan to avoid wage garnishment.

Tags: debt relief options, summons, wage garnishment in oregon

Credit Card Debt Elimination: 3 Great Options

credit card debt eliminationWhen you are facing a mountain of credit card debt, many people get confused and overwhelmed with all of the information that is out there to "help".  Over the last year or so, we added many posts to this blog about various options for Credit Card Debt Elimination. 

I thought it might be helpful to pull together what I find to be the most helpful posts on your best 3 Credit Card Debt Elimination Options:

#1 If you can keep up with your current payments, you should try to eliminate your debt with a Debt Snowball.  Click on the link below to read a post about what a Debt Snowball is and how to use it.

What is a Debt Snowball?

#2 If you have fallen behind on your debts, but would be able to keep up with your payments if you could just get caught up, Debt Consolidation may be your best Deb Elimination option!  A Debt Consolidation program can help reduce your monthly payments, lower the interest rate your credit card companies are charging, and put you on a "level payment plan" to get you out of debt FAST!  Click on the link below to read a post all about what a Debt Consolidation program can do for you.

Debt Consolidation Program vs Debt Consolidation Loan

#3 If you have had a drastic change to your monthly finances (loss of job, divorce, illness...) or if you are behind on your credit card or other unsecured debt payments by more than a couple of months, Debt Settlement is probably going to be your best option. Click on the link below to learn about Debt settlement and how it can help you reduce your monthly payment, get rid of interest and fees altogether, and eliminate your debt for HALF of what you owe!

Debt Relief Options: Why Debt Settlement May Be Your Best Choice

If you still have questions about the options available to you, or if you want to find out how to get started with these programs, our Debt Solution Specialists can help.  Feel free to ask a question in the comment thread below, call our toll-free number, or click on the button at the bottom of the page for a FREE DEBT ANALYSIS!  We are here to help find the right solution for your situation.

1-877-492-4109

credit card debt elimination

 

Tags: debt consolidation program vs debt consolidation l, debt snowball, debt relief options, credit card debt elimination

Is "Do It Yourself Debt Settlement" Really Possible?

do it yourself debt settlement

If you have accumulated a substantial amount of unsecured credit card debt, you may be tempted to try Do It Yourself Debt Settlement.

Although it is possible, most people who are inexperienced in dealing with debt collectors end up paying much more than they should.

Why does Do It yourself Debt Settlement end up costing you more?

There are several reasons, but the most important is that debt collectors are for the most part, TRAINED PROFESSIONALS whose only job is to get as much money out of you as possible!

They don't care about your circumstances or why you have fallen behind, and since most of them are paid on commission, they can get mean when trying to get you to pay up.

Collection agencies and Law firms that deal with collections will throw around terms like:

  • LEGAL ACTION
  • LAWSUIT
  • WAGE GARNISHMENT
  • LEVY

This scares the average person into agreeing to a monthly payment plan they can't afford or a settlement for 75%-80% of the balance.  A reputable Debt Settlement agency knows how to deal with these collectors and how to get you the best deal possible.

Here is a real life example of a settlement that was just completed by our Settlement Specialists:

Our client was a single female and was unemployed for a long period of time. As a last resort, she used her credit cards to buy groceries, gasoline, and sometimes cash advances to pay her rent. 

One of her cards was a Visa Card and after charge-off was given to a collection agency.  After several unsuccessful attempts to "work something out" with the collection agency, she contacted us to find out what her Debt Relief Options were.

She decided that Debt Settlement was her best option, and our Debt Settlement specialists went to work!

The original balance was approximately $1,400, but after moving around from collector to collector , it was purchased by a "LAW FIRM".

The balance had grown to more than $2,500 as over $1,100 had been added in interest, late fees, and so-called legal fees.

After going back and forth with the collector, our Debt settlement Specialists were able to negotiate the debt down to just $700 which was 50% of the original amount but only 28% of the RIDICULOUSLY INFLATED current balance.

                                        Click Here to See the Actual Settlement Letter

Yes, it is possible for you to negotiate settlements on your own, but after 10 years of experience in helping hundreds of clients settle debts, avoid garnishment and bankruptcy, I believe in the long run the average person will end up paying much more than necessary.

If you need help settling your debts, our Debt Solutions Specialist are here to help.  

1-877-492-4109

Or simply click on the link below for a Free Debt Elimination Analysis!

 


 

Tags: debt relief options, debt settlement, do it yourself debt settlement

Money Makeover for the New Year - Part 2

money makeover for the new yearEarlier this week, in the post Money Makeover for the New Year - Part 1, I talked about the first four steps toward making positive changes to help you achieve financial fitness in the New Year:

Step 1: Set Your Financial Goals

Step 2: Live Within Your Means

Step 3: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

Step 4: Keep and Eye on Your Credit Report

Today I will finish up this two part series with the final 4 steps of your Money Makeover:

Money Makeover for the New Year - Part 2

Step 5:  Creat an Emergency Fund

When life throws an unexpected event at you, and we all know this will happey, having an emergency fund can make all the difference.  Make a committment to save 5% of your income for the first 3 months.  Then bump that up to 10% for the next 3 months.  By the end of the year, saving will become a habit and you will have begun to build a sizable emergency fund. 

To help make this savings plan automatic and "pain-free", set up and automatic transfer of funds from your checking to your savings account after each pay day. Breaking up your savings over them month will seem easier than coming up with the whole ammount at once.

Step 6: Always Pay More than the Minimum Payment

I can't stress this enough, so I will repeat it...ALWAYS PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM PAYMENT!  Even if you can only add $5 or round your payment up to the nearest even number.  Every extra dollar you pay will help you eliminate your debt faster and save you thousands on interest over the life of your debt.

Step 7: Contribute to Your Employers Retirement Plan

Most employers will match your contribution into the companies retirement plan such as a 401K.  Not only are your preparing for your future, you are getting FREE MONEY from your employer!  If you are self-employed or if your employer does not offer a retirement plan, you can invest in an Individual IRA, Roth IRA, and/or plan for self-employed persons.

Step 8: Don't Hesitate to Ask for Help if You Need It!

After you have taken a close look at your budget and your overall financial situation, you may feel like eliminating your debt is never going to happen.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  You have several great debt relief options available to you. 

If you have made financial New Year's resolutions in years past without success, don't give up!  Try again using these 8 steps to a Money Makeover to build new habits and provide a better financial future for you and your family.


Tags: debt relief options, money makeover for the new year

How to Protect Your Credit Report During Bankruptcy

protect your credit reportBankruptcy should always be a last resort (see our Debt Relief Options for bankruptcy alternatives). However, if you have decided to file bankruptcy but have not done so yet, take your time and don’t rush the process – it is more important to ensure that all your bases are covered rather than make a mistake that may cost you later.

Obtain Credit Reports

You need to obtain your credit reports from the three major credit-reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Fortunately, you can conveniently obtain all three of your reports online in only minutes at www.annualcreditreport.com

  • With these three reports, you will have access to a file number and a phone number needed for accessing customer service.
  • You will see the addresses for each creditor on the credit report. If it is not there, then you can call customer service to ask them to provide you with the missing information.
  • When you call the bureau you can ask them to provide you with the phone numbers for each of the companies showing on the credit report.

Get Updated Information

  • Call each creditor and ask them how much is owed and for the address where payment should be sent.
  • If they don’t handle the account, then ask them for the name and address of the collection agency that will take payment.
  • When dealing with creditors and collection agencies don’t let them bully you or upset you over outstanding balances. Just collect the information you need. All you have to say is, “Thanks. I will call your company back soon regarding this matter.” Don’t give them time for a rebuttal – just hang up. If they push the matter, then only as a last resort tell them you will be filing bankruptcy. Give them the name and number of your attorney and end the call.

Make a list of accounts

Your attorney will need the name, addresses, balances, and account numbers for eachcreditor to complete the bankruptcy papers.

If there are creditors that you want to continue paying, then it is very important at this time to tell your attorney that you want to offer reaffirming on the debt. The attorney will then send the offer to the creditors you have selected who must accept it. Then the judge must accept the offer too.

The creditors will continue reporting the balance owed and show the status “reaffirmed” on your credit report.

Once the Bankruptcy is complete

Creditors have the means and responsibility to manually update account information with credit reporting agencies. However, at this point no one is requiring creditors to do this.

When creditors don’t update account information with the credit reporting agencies, then you get an incorrect credit report that still shows you owe on the accounts in question, and that they are currently in collections or charge off status when in fact they are not.

The clear, quick way to fix this problem is to:

  • Obtain a copy of your bankruptcy and discharge papers from your attorney or the courthouse. This may include a copy fee.
  • Make three copies of the section of papers that list all of the creditors and collection agencies that were included in the bankruptcy – usually this is called the Schedule F.
  • Forward these documents along with the discharge to all of the credit-reporting agencies requesting that each creditor included in the bankruptcy be updated to properly reflect a zero balance with the status included in bankruptcy.
  • Be sure when mailing correspondence to the credit reporting agencies to include a copy of your driver’s license and mail “certified return receipt requested”. This will ensure disputes are processed with little delay.

Finally, if you have a creditor or collection agency which is not honoring your bankruptcy and continuing collection efforts, then be sure to contact your bankruptcy lawyer. Give your lawyer the name and address of the company bothering you so that he or she can send them official notice. Follow up with the lawyer if the creditor persists in harassing you. It is a violation and they can be held accountable if they don’t cease after notification of the bankruptcy.

As with all consumer issues, knowing your consumer rights throughout the bankruptcy process is essential. Taking a proactive approach at the onset of the process will help you on your “road to credit recovery”.

protect your credit report

Tags: debt relief options, avoid before filing bankruptcy, protect your credit report