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

You've Enrolled in a Debt Settlement Program....Now What?

Now that you've made the decision to enroll in a debt settlement program, what happens next?

 

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Once you have looked at all of your options and decided to enroll in a debt settlement program, you cannot just sit back and do nothing. 

Here is what you need to be doing:

Debt Settlement is the best option for those who have accumulated too much debt and cannot keep up with the minimum required payments.

In a nutshell, most (if not all) of your unsecured accounts will ultimately be turned over to a collection agency.  This unusally occurs about 120-180 days from your last payment.

At first, you will get several calls and letters from the debt collector.

These calls can be very frustrating and annoying, so you should take advantage of a law from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that says that if you make a written request to the debt collector to stop calling you, they must stop or face very serious fines from the Federal Trade Commission!  Here's how to do that:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

If the calls do not stop, then you should contact your state's attorney general's office to file a complaint.  If you live in Oregon (as we do), here is the link:

How to File a Complaint with the Oregon

You will continue to receive letters from the debt collector.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you send the latest letter (s) to the Debt Settlement Company you have retained to negotiate settlements for you.

The easiest and fastest way to do this is by email or fax.  But, if you cannot email or fax, then you can mail the letters.

When you enrolled in the debt settlement program, you stopped making payments to your creditors (most likely, you had done so already) and began making a payment to a FDIC Insured Settlement Reserve Account through your debt settlement company.

As your fund grows, the negotiator will begin contacting your creditors to work out a reasonable settlement.

Depending on a number of circumstances, your settlement should be somewhere around 50% of the current balance.

If your reserve account has enough funds, the settlement may be paid in a lump sum.

But, if not, a good negotiator can still negotiate a very good settlement and pay it over a period of time (with no additional interest or fees).

Here are a few examples of actual settlements we have negotiated for our clients:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Once a settlement has been completed, the creditor/debt collector is supposed to report that the account has a $0 balance and was "settled-as-agreed" to the three major Credit Reporting Bureaus.... Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Unfortunately, not all debt collection agencies follow through and your credit report may be showing incorrect information.

About 2 months after the settlement is completed, you should request a FREE Credit Report to make sure it is being reported correctly.

Click on this link to request a Free Credit Report:

ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT

Your debt settlement company will provide you with proof of payment and help you open and complete a dispute.

Sometimes, a debt collector may decide to FILE A CLAIM with your county court about your debt.

If this happens, you will receive a SUMMONS.

Please DON'T PANIC!

The summons will state that you have a limited time to APPEAR AND ANSWER the claim against you.

It sounds like you will have to go to court, but this is not so. 

An ANSWER is a legal response to the CLAIM that you can prove that you do not owe the debt.

Most of the time you know you owe the debt and therefore you will not need to do anything.

Again, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, if you receive a summons, contact your debt settlement representative right away!!!!

The debt settlement company will contact the attorney for the debt collector and most likely will still work out a reasonable settlement.

I can't stress enough how important it is NOT TO IGNORE a summons.

After helping people for 15 years, the only time a client has a WAGE GARNISHMENT or BANK LEVY is that they failed to inform us that they had received a SUMMONS!

A quality, professional debt settlement company should welcome and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

You should be able to contact them via phone or email and receive a reply in a short period of time.

 

Here are some things to look for in a Debt Settlement Company

 

As time goes by, one by one, your debt will be settled.  Depending on the total amount of debt you had and how much you could afford to deposit into your settlement reserve account, your program may take anywhere from 36 - 60 months.

Remember....

The goal of debt settlement is to...

  • protect you from wage garnishments or bank levy
  • prevent you from having to resort to bankruptcy
  • help get you out of debt

Yes, getting settlements that substantially reduce the balances is great, but not necessarily the main goal.

FINALLY:

A good communication line between you and your debt settlement representative is critically important to a successful program.

Although it may seem like it is taking a long time, ultimately you will be debt free and your credit scores will begin to improve...but it just doesn't happen over night!

Here is what some of our former clients have said:

 

A FEW TESTIMONIALS

 

If you are just beginning your search for information about debt settlement, we can help. Just click on the button below:

 

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

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Tags: wage garnishment, debt settlement, Credit Score, summons, debt collector

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.

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

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

I've Been Garnished...What Can I Do?

Wage garnishment or a bank levy is a terrible situation to be in.  If you've been garnished, here are some things you can do to stop the garnishment:

We get calls each week from someone (we are in the Portland, Oregon area) that has been garnished or has been notified by their payroll office that they are going to be garnished.

As if things were not bad enough all ready, WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?

 

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Just to lay some groundwork...

A WAGE GARNISHMENT can only occur AFTER A JUDGMENT has been awarded to the plaintiff.

A lot of people are mistaken in thinking that just because one of your credit accounts has been charged off and assigned or sold to a collection agency, that they can come after your property.

THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE!

FIRST....

When you get behind on paying your credit accounts on time, there is a sequence of events or a time line that must take place.

You will get calls and/or letters from the original creditor trying to find out what's going on.  By-the-way, as long as your account is still with the original creditor, you can't do anything to stop them from calling.

But, once that account is charged off and transferred or sold to a debt collector, you can.  I show you how later.

NEXT...

Once the account is placed with a debt collector, you will start getting calls and/or letters from them.

If you have some funds and/or a little money left over to make a reasonable monthly payment, you may want to discuss this with the debt collector rather than just ignoring the calls.

You may be able to work out a SETTLEMENT, which is a reduction of the balance.

This settlement may have to be in a LUMP SUM or possibly in SEVERAL PAYMENTS.

To get an idea of what a SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT  looks like, click on the button:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

But, if you do not have any additional funds and are sick and tired of the relentless calls, you can put a stop to it now:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

If you cannot afford anything to put towards the debt you owe, and you are not taking their calls or responding to their letters, the debt collector may decide to FILE A CLAIM.

An attorney is retained to file the claim in your county's courthouse.

Once the claim is filed, you will receive a SUMMONS.  Although this can be a frightening experience, DON'T PANIC!

The summons will state that you the claim against you (you are the defendant) by the creditor or debt collector (this is the PLAINTIFF).

It will also state that if you want to contest the claim, ( called give an ANSWER), you must do so within a short time period (usually 20-30 days after receiving the summons).

If you can prove that you do not owe the debt, then you should give an answer to the court within the time specified. 

This costs a hundred dollars or more and must be in the correct legal documentation, so you may need an attorney also

RECAP.....

  • You could not keep up with the payments due on some or all of your accounts. This may be due to a number of circumstances, but here you are.
  • You can not work out a reasonable repayment plan or settlement with the original creditor, so you account is assigned or sold to a debt collector.
  • You cannot afford a settlement with the debt collector and the debt collector files a claim and you receive a summons.

NOW WHAT??????

Most of the time the plaintiff will be awarded a DEFAULT JUDGMENT by the court.

Once the JUDGMENT has been entered, the plaintiff has the option of seeking a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT to get back what is now owed.

Additional interest, fees and court costs have now been awarded to the plaintiff as well!

If you are employed and receive a check (W-2 wages), then the writ of garnishment is presented to your employer and/or payroll department.

You may be notified, but you may just be shocked to see that your payroll check has been reduced by 25%!

(I'll give you some advice on what you may be able to do about this in a minute.)

If you receive income from commission or what is reported for tax purposes as 1099 INCOME, then the plaintiff may seek to get a bank levy on ONE OR ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS!

This can really be DEVASTATING!

We have had people call us after their bank account(s) were depleted and they could not by groceries, pay rent, etc.!

The laws of your state (I am in Oregon and most of my clients reside here) will allow numerous EXEMPTIONS to wage garnishment and/or a bank levy.

Here are some of the "basic" exemptions (I give you a link to a more detailed list below):

  • Exempt wages....If you earn less than $1,000 a month, most likely this is exempt.
  • All Social Security Income
  • Retirement Income (very important information below)
  • VA benefits
  • Any Public Assistance (welfare)
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability benefits
  • Worker's compensation benefits
  • Spousal or child support or any other support you receive for you or your dependents.
  • Many "property" exemptions.

 

If you live in Oregon, you can get detailed information here:

Basic Exemptions from Wage Garnishments or Bank Levies

If you are retired and receive income from your 401(K), IRA, Pension, etc. as well as Social Security, those incomes are exempt from garnishment or levy, BUT BE AWARE!!!!!

Most people who are retired have their Social Security checks and any other retirement Income checks automatically deposited in their bank.

In May of 2011, a law was passed that protected Social Security and Retirement Funds from creditors, via garnishment/levy.

HOWEVER.... (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!)

As long as your Social Security and/or "Retirement" income is deposited in a bank account that has NO OTHER FUNDS CO-MINGLED, then your bank will not "FREEZE" your account if they receive a writ of levy.

For example:

Let's say you are retired, receiving a modest Social Security check and a small Retirement check. Together, they are automatically deposited in you bank account.

The problem is that you just don't have enough money each month, so you take a part-time job earning $500 or so extra each month.

You deposited that extra $500 together with the other Retirement funds and not that account has CO-MINGLED FUNDS and if a writ of levy were presented to the bank, the banker would have no recourse but to freeze the account (you cannot withdraw ANY FUNDS) and would have to send the amount of the levy to the creditor!

Or.....

Let's say you took some of your retirement funds that are automatically deposited in you checking account and transferred them to a savings account.  Those funds in the savings account are now SUBJECT TO LEVY!

 

LESSON HERE....

If you are retired, and receive a summons and/or judgment, you need to sit down with your banker and make sure that you funds are protected from any future/possible levy.

 

FINALLY....

If you have been garnished, it may not be too late to put a stop to the garnishment.

Contact the attorney for the creditor/plaintiff to see if they would be willing to accept a reasonable repayment plan rather than continuing with the garnishment.

For most people, losing another 25% of their income when things were financially tough anyway, would cause them to seek BANKRUPTCY protection.

So, the creditor/plaintiff might be open to another option rather than wage garnishment.

We have been able to help many people, just like you to stop a garnishment, but time is critical.

If you would like help or advice, just let us know:

 

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

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Tags: wage garnishment, debt settlement, Bankruptcy, stop creditor calls, debt collector, bank levy, debts

Too Much Debt?  Here Are Some Options:

If you are experiencing the stress that comes from having too much debt, take heart!  You have several options:

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There are basically two types of debt:

Secured debt (home mortgage, equity line of credit, automobile, etc.), anything that represents collateral to the lender in the event you default on your loan.

Unsecured debt, such as:

  • Credit Cards (Visa, Master Charge, etc.)
  • Store Credit Cards (Home Depot, Kohl's, etc.)
  • Medical bills (not covered by insurance)
  • Private loans (bank, payday, personal)
  • Private Student Loans not back by the Federal Government
  • Old Apartment/Rental debt
  • Deficiency balance still due after a repossession
  • And, of course, there are many others

In this article, I'm basically addressing UNSECURED DEBT, although, is certain circumstances,  some of the options can apply to Secured Debt as well.

If you are experiencing a severe financial situation, most likely it was caused by something beyond your control, such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Death of spouse, family member, or partner
  • Illness or disability
  • Divorce
  • Insufficient income after retirement!

See if this sounds familiar...

The company you have worked for decides (or has no choice) but to downsize and layoff (I guess this is a "politically correct" word for GETTING FIRED).

You are one of the unlucky ones and find yourself (for the first time in years), facing the prospect of looking for a new job.

Sure, you will receive UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for a time, but at some point, they will stop.

You had used some credit cards in the past, but the balances were relatively low and you were not only making the minimum payments, but also paying a little more to pay them off sooner than later.

As the job search continues, your unemployment benefits stop and you start dipping into whatever small savings you had. But soon, your starting to understand that you are in trouble!

You have a couple of job offers, but they are not going to pay you as much as you were getting before.

So, you really have no choice and decide to accept a lower paying job just to have some kind of income!  All the while, you are going to keep looking for a better paying job.

But, not only do you not find a better paying job, you have to start using some other credit cards to make up the difference just to get by!

Soon, your credit cards are starting to get "MAXED OUT", and you find yourself unable to keep up with the MINIMUM REQUIRED PAYMENTS! 

NOW WHAT????

When you start missing payments, the creditors will most likely send you a letter or perhaps call to see what is going on. 

Sometimes they seem almost understanding and willing to work with you, but often, they are very mean and demeaning to you!

After a couple of months of missing your minimum payments, you will start getting calls....LOTS OF CALLS, from your creditor.

Unfortunately, as long as the account is with the original creditor, you cannot do anything about the calls.

My advice is to answer once and try to explain that you are going through a rough time and fully intend to repay this debt.  After that, I would just ignore the calls as most of the agents calling are not going to be sympathetic to you anyway.

After 3-4 months of non-payment on your account, most likely the creditor will assign or sell your account to a DEBT COLLECTOR. 

 

At this point, here are you basic options:

 

At first, the debt collector may not offer anything else but FULL REPAYMENT (plus all the interest and fees added) on your account.

Of course, you can't do that (if you could have, you wouldn't have been in this situation)!!!!

The Debt Collector may start calling daily and even several times a day, but know you can put a stop to the calls!

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows a consumer to put a stop to these annoying calls by simply writing a letter telling them to "cease and desist". 

Just click on the button below for a free, sample letter you can use:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But, just because the calls have stopped doesn't mean the debt is going to "go away"!

 

At some point, you may get letter offering a SETTLEMENT of your account for less than the balance.

Most of the time, these letters offer a savings of 25% -35% off the balance if you can pay that amount in a LUMP SUM within a short period of time!

If you can't take advantage of the "offer", then you may get a letter stating that your account is set to be turned over to their "LEGAL DEPARTMENT".  That sounds scary!

The last thing a Debt Collector wants to do is to have to resort to LEGAL OPTIONS  in order to get you to pay on this debt.

Although the letter stated that they could only offer a moderate reduction if you could make a lump sum payment, in fact, they most likely will be willing to accept a better reduction and even let you pay it out over several months!  Here are a few examples:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

If the debt collector is unwilling to budge and/or accept a reasonable settlement with terms you can afford, then they may decide to go ahead and file a claim in order to get a judgment.

With a judgment, then they can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT, which would be sent to your employer.  Your employer would have no choice (although there are exceptions), but to obey the writ of garnishment and send them 25% of your net, take-home income!

Since that would be financially devastating, and you may would not be able to pay the mortgage or rent, utilities, buy groceries, etc.,  you may be forced to seek BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION!

In my opinion, bankruptcy should be your very last...there's nothing else you can do...option.

However, bankruptcy is not as bad or harmful as you may think!

Although your options of dealing with too much debt are limited, you owe it to yourself to get some advice and see what you can or cannot do, given your circumstances.

 

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

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Tags: debt collection, wage garnishment, debt settlement, Bankruptcy, debt, stop creditor calls

Preventing Wage Garnishment in Oregon

It is much easier to PREVENT a WAGE GARNISHMENT than to STOP A WAGE GARNISHMENT! If it's already hard to pay bills with your take home pay, what would you do if that was cut by 25% more!

Here are some VERY IMPORTANT things you must know in advance.

couple_Help.jpg
I've been helping people deal with debt issues for almost 15 years now.

I've taken hundreds of calls from stressed-out, scared, "OMG, what am I going to do now?" people who had had their payroll check garnished!

The title of this blog is Preventing Wage Garnishment in Oregon, but it applies to all states.

OK, so how do you PREVENT a Wage Garnishment?

If you have just started to fall behind or have fallen behind on making the required payments on your credit cards or other unsecured debts, here is what normally happens BEFORE a wage garnishment begins:

  • First, you get calls & letters from your original creditor
  • Then, you get Calls & letters from a debt collector
  • You may be issued a Summons
  • You may get a Judgment awarded against you
  • Finally, you may be Garnished

 

Let's walk through what you MUST DO in order to PREVENT A WAGE GARISHMENT:

 

Calls & letters from your original creditor(s)

When you are behind in making your monthly payments due to your creditors, those creditors will try  to help you get caught up and/or get a fresh start on repaying your debt.

Let's face, the creditors want to get repaid plus interest and fees, so at first (maybe the first 3 months or so you are behind), they will call and send letters.

Unfortunately, as long as your account is with the original creditor, they have the right to call you EVEN if you write a letter to stop calling.

Now, once they charge off or assign your account to another agency...debt collector, you can put a stop to those calls.  I'll show you how in just a minute.

I understand how stressful and possibly embarrassing it is to get calls like that, so at this point, rather than ignore them, try saying something like this:

"Yes I know that I am behind, and I fully intend to get caught up just as soon as possible.  But, please stop calling me."

Sometimes this works and the original creditor will reduce or even eliminate the calls. 

But, don't expect that to happen every time.

Sometimes they can be very rude!  In that case, don't waste your time trying to explain or arguie,  just hang up!

As to the letters....

You may get a letter offering you:

  • Reduced payments for 6 months or so to allow you to get caught up...or,
  • A settlement offer to reduce the balance you owe, if you can that amount in a lump sum or just a few months.

While I am not in favor of the first offer which is called a "Hardship Plan", sometimes the SETTLEMENT OFFER is not bad...if you have the funds to take advantage of it!

If the original creditor cannot get you into some kind of repayment plan or  "back on track" in 3-4 months, they most likely will charge off, transfer or sell you account to a debt collector.

 

Calls & letters from a debt collector

 

ISo, the calls and letters start again!  Lots of calls and letters!

But now, you can put a stop to those calls.  Here's how:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But again, just because the calls stop, the letters continue, so you are not "out of the woods" yet!

Depending on the type of debt collector your account has landed with, you may be able to get a settlement, whether in a lump sum payment or possibly a settlement paid out over several months.

Here are some actual debt settlements we have completed for our clients:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

If your still not able to make REASONABLE payment toward a settlement, then the debt collector may decide to FILE A CLAIM and then you would get a SUMMONS.

 

Summons

 

If you have ever had a summons delivered to you at home or even at work, it is a very stressful and humiliating experience!

Although most of the time the summons is delivered, in person, by a person contracted by the debt collector, sometimes a summons may be delivered by a sheriff officer!

 

BUT....DON'T....FREAK....OUT!

 

  • You are not going to jail!
  • They are not going to take your TV or other "stuff".
  • In about 99.9% of the time, you are never going to court.

So again....

DON'T....FREAK....OUT!

The SUMMONS will state who the PLAINTIFF is (that's the creditor or debt collector) and name you as the DEFENDANT.

It will also state what the amount of the claim is (how much you owe now, including interest, fees, etc.)

Then it will state something to the effect that you have"20 (or 30) days to give an ANSWER to the court at (address, etc.).

 

DOES THIS MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO TO COURT?

 

NO! NO! NO!

 

It means that if you KNOW FOR CERTAIN and HAVE PROOF that you do not owe this CLAIM, then you can file an ANSWER to the court in the allotted time (usually 20-30 days from receipt of the summons).

The ANSWER must be in the correct, legal document form and so you most likely will need an attorney to prepare itAnd, in addition to attorney fees, their is a hefty fee to file the ANSWER with the court!

So again, don't start down that road unless you know you can prove that the claim has no merit!

 

CAN A CREDITOR OR COLLECTOR GARNISH YOUR WAGES OR BANK ACCOUNT AT THIS POINT???

 

NO!

It is a misunderstanding that just because you are behind on your payments a creditor or collector can get a wage garnishment.  NOT TRUE!!!

Before that can happen, a JUDGMENT must be awarded by the court.

I'll explain more in just a minute...

 

OK, YOU GOT THE SUMMONS, YOU OWE THE DEBT....NOW WHAT?

 

This could be the most important point for you to take from this article...

 

DO NOT IGNORE THE SUMMONS !

 

I can't tell you the number of times a prospective client or even one of our current client calls and says that they have been garnished and admitted that they had received the summons, but just ignored it!

 

REALLY????   WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???

If a creditor or debt collector goes to the EXPENSE and TROUBLE OF FILING THE CLAIM and PAYING FOR IT TO BE DELIVERED, DON'T YOU THINK THEY ARE SERIOUS?

On the other hand....

In most cases, we have helped our clients AVOID GARNISHMENT by either negotiating a:

  • SETTLEMENT, LUMP SUM OR TERM PAYMENTS on a reduced balance, or
  • STIPULATED AGREEMENT

So, just because you have received a summons does not mean it's too late, but, we need to move fast to prevent a...

 

Judgment

 

Most of the time, a person who is in such a severe financial situation that they cannot keep up with their debts and these debts have gone to a debt collector and a settlement or repayment plan could not be arranged, a DEFAULT JUDGMENT will be granted by the court to the plaintiff (creditor or debt collector).

Now, once the JUDGMENT has been awarded, NOW, AND ONLY NOW, they (the plaintiff) can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.

Most states allow for up to 25% of the "take home/after tax check" to be garnished (deducted) !!!!

There are EXEMPTIONS FROM WAGE GARNISHMENT.

Some include:

In Oregon, income under $218 after tax/take home income. In other words, if you bring home less than $915 per month, you cannot be garnished.

Other sources of income that are exempt from garnishment:

  • Social Security
  • Retirement
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Public assistance (welfare)
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability Income (other than SSI)
  • Workers compensation
  • Spousal and Child support

WARNING!!!   If you have a judgment against you and receive income from one or more of the sources above, you should make sure your bank understands that any garnishment request should be denied!

If you don't and the bank doesn't do it's "due fiduciary diligence" and transfers your funds, you can get them back, but it may take some time!

 

OK, if you were barely paying the bills before, and 25% is deducted from your check, what are you going to do now?

 

BANKRUPTCY

 

When I refer to "bankruptcy", I like to call it "BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION".

The bankruptcy laws in our country and your state, are there to PROTECT you from losing everything you have when a dire, financial crisis hits you!

Yes, I think a person should do everything possible to AVOID bankruptcy, but when all else fails, the you need to seek the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

The bankruptcy attorney can not only advise you on what type of bankruptcy plan you qualify for, but they will put a stop to all calls and collection efforts by your creditors.

 

FINALLY . . .

If, or when, you face a financial hardship and you just can't keep up with the payments, you have options!

Do not...I repeat...DO NOT "hide your head in the sand"!

 

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

 

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Tags: debt collection, wage garnishment, debt settlement, oregon wage garnishment, debts, bankruptcy attorney

Dealing With Debt Collectors Can Be Frustrating!

If you have ever had to deal with a deal collector, you know how frustrating and stressful it can be!

  • First you get the letters from the debt collector.
  • Then, you get the phone calls.
  • From then, you get a combination of angry and sometimes threatening letters and calls!
  • If you chose to ignore all of this, you may get a knock on your door and be served a summons!

Yes, very stressful and frustrating.

But, here are some tips to make this process somewhat bearable:

You must understand the basics of the DEBT COLLECTION PROCESS:

Let's say you have several (unsecured for the sake of this blog) accounts including:

  • Credit Cards
  • Store Cards
  • Medical Bills
  • Private Student Loan
  • Personal Bank Loan

Not that unusual for the average person to have $7,000 - $15,000 of unsecured debt these days.  As long as you are making at least the minimum payments, everyone (your creditors) are happy.

But, miss a payment or two and the DEBT COLLECTION PROCESS starts.

Once your account gets a couple of months behind, it will most likely be transferred to  the "collection or recovery" department within the company.  They send letters and start making calls.

By-the-way...here's a link to show you how to stop collection calls from DEBT COLLECTORS.

But, as annoying as the calls are, as long as the account is with the the original creditor (not transferred to a debt collector), they have the legal right to call you.  Now, once that account is transferred, sold, written off, etc. and lands with a Debt Collector, you can request/demand that they stop calling.

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

If your account is still with the original creditor, you may be able to get a settlement (reduction in the total you owe), but most likely they are going to offer you some sort of HARDSHIP PROGRAM...but, BE CAREFUL!

In most "hardship programs", the original creditor offers to let you lower your monthly payment for 6 months or so and then "reconsider".  While this may cut your overall payments, inevitably, you will have to go back to making the larger payments.

So now you are late on your payments, the calls and letters are still coming, but there's not a lot you can do about it due to your financial circumstances.  What happens to your debt now?

In most cases, the creditor will hire a Debt Collection Company to try and get as much money from you as possible.

Dealing with debt collectors can be very intimidating for the average person.  They call several times a day and leave messages (for anyone and everyone to hear) that says that you need to return their call right away.

So, you call them back, and here is where it gets frustrating.  Debt collectors are trained to do one thing...GET AS MUCH MONEY OUT OF YOU IN THE SHORTEST PERIOD OF TIME they can!

You try and explain your situation, thinking that the debt collector will actually "care".  While it is true that not all debt collectors are bad people, it has been my experience over the last decade of dealing with them for my clients that the average debt collector has just gotten (for lack of a better word) "calloused".

You owe their client (the creditor) money...their job is to get it....period.

The debt collector will tell you that you must pay this much in this period of time and there is nothing else available.  But, that is usually not true.  In most cases, some sort of settlement can be negotiated.

The problem with trying to negotiate on your own for your own debts, is that you are (obviously) emotionally involved, stressed out, frustrated and scarred of what the debt collector can and cannot do to you!

If you are going to try and negotiate and/or work out agreements with debt collectors, I strongly advise you to learn about what your rights are as a consumer in dealing with them.

The Federal Trade Commission has some very good information on their sight that you should investigate. 

                    Go to: Consumer Information about Debt Collection.

The more prepared you are, the better your chances are that you can negotiate a good settlement or repayment plan.

If you are unsuccessful in coming to a mutually agreeable settlement, the debt collector may take the final drastic step and file a complaint against you.

They will hire an attorney who is licensed in your state to file a claim in your county's courthouse.  Next, you will be served a summons.  A lot of people try to avoid accepting the summons, but eventually you will be served.

unfortunately, a lot of people who are served a summons choose to ignore the summons.

                   BAD MISTAKE!  Please, DO NOT IGNORE A SUMMONS

                    Check out a recent blog on this that will be very helpful.

The goal of the claim and summons is to either:

  • Scare you into sending them money
  • Being awarded a "default judgment" so they can pursue wage garnishment.

But, the are EXCEPTIONS!  Basically, only W-2 wages can be garnished and each state has it's own variation of how much, etc.

The basic guideline for garnishment is 25% of your net take-home pay!  Wow!  Suppose you are bringing home a modest $2500 per month.  At 25%, that's $625 they can get and there's little to nothing you can do about it.  That is why you can't ignore a summons.!

Debt collection in Texas is a little different in that there is no wage garnishment for residents of Texas! However, your bank account could be garnished or better, levied in Texas, so be careful.

Their are more protections and/or exemptions that would prevent a debt collector form being awarded a wage or even a bank garnishment.  Again, if you are going to try and go it alone with debt collectors, you have to know what type of income is and is not available for garnishment!

I live in Oregon, and debt collection in Oregon can be very, very stressful and frustrating!  It seems that the smaller debt collection companies are tougher to work with than the larger ones.  Some debt collections companies are actually attorneys who only deal with debt colletion.  However, they can and will work out settlements, depending on your various circumstances.

Finally, if you decide to DIY and deal with the debt collectors on your own...good luck!

worry rocking chair

It is a frustrating and stressful situation to be in.

  • Know your rights
  • Know the debt collectors rights
  • Know the process

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

 


Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/kitby/4883787012/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: settlements, wage garnishment, debt collection in oregon, hardship plans, debt collector, credit cards, debt collection in texas

Everything is Bigger in Texas, Including Debt Settlement!


If you live in Texas, you have special protection under the law concerning debt collection.  Debt Settlement in Texas has advantages!

texas flag at longhorn game

 

 When a debt collector decides that they cannot collect on a delinquent debt, they may decide to FILE A CLAIM and a SUMMONS will be issued to the DEFENDENT, the person who owes the debt.

In most cases, the DEFENDENT (you), owes the debt, so there is no need file an ANSWER or to appear in court.

An "ANSWER", is a legal statement that you do not owe the debt and why the CLAIM is invalid.  Sure, you object to the outrageous interest, fees and penalities tacked on the original balance, but you agreed to that when you signed that credit card application...sorry!

So, if you don't do anything about the SUMMONS, and I certainly DO NOT ADVOCATE THAT, then the PLAINTIFF (the filer of the claim and owner of the debt), will be awarded a JUDGMENT.

NOW WHAT?????

If an agreement (SETTLEMENT or STIPULATTED AGREEMENT) cannot be negotiated, then the PLAINTIFF most likely will apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.  In most states, this will force an employer to send 25% of your net "take-home-pay" (after any state, federal or other withholdings have been deducted from your paycheck).

While this is true in most states, the good news for all of you Texans is that Texas has laws that prohibits most creditors from any wage garnishment!

Notice I said "most creditors" and not "all creditors. 

Texas does allow for wage garnishment for debts such as:

  • Unpaid income taxes
  • court ordered alimony and child support
  • defaulted student loans

One more thing, if you earn wages from an "out-of-state" employer, these wages most likely WILL NOT be exempt from wage garnishment.

For more information about Texas Law and Wage Garnishment, visit:

                                Debt Collection in Texas

So now you understand that for most unsecured debts, Texas will not allow wage garnishment.

                       WHAT ABOUT A BANK LEVY IN TEXAS?

In other words, can a debt collector levy (get the bank to send them your money!) your bank account for unpaid debts???

YES!

Just because a creditor who has been awarded a judgment cannot apply for a writ of WAGE GARNISHMENT, doesn't mean that they cannot (and most likely will) apply for WRIT OF LEVY from your bank!!!

Therefore, you should be making every attempt NOT TO HAVE A JUDGMENT GRANTED in favor of you creditor (or debt collection agency)!

How can you do that?

Contact your creditor(s) as soon as you are having a problem keeping up with your payments.  They may help you get caught up or arrange for you to lower your payments for a while until you get back on your feet financially.

If you know that because of loss of employment or some other catastrophic financial issue that you not only cannot keep up with your payments and it is unlikely that you'll be able to make any payments for a long time, then you need to try and negotiate a SETTLEMENT.

DEBT SETTLEMENT is a method whereby you and the creditor agree on an amount (usually much less than the balance that you owe) that will be paid either in a lump sum or in payments.

DEBT SETTLEMENT is possible to do on your own, but after helping people for over 10 years now, it is very TIME CONSUMING and can be EMOTIONALLY AND PYSICALLY EXHAUSTING!


Please download our FREE e book below:

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

If after reading the basics about DEBT SETTLEMENT, you feel that you could use some help, just let us know.  We'll be glad to talk with you to see if you qualify for the DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM, and this consultation is...

FREE, with NO OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER!

To summarize:

  • Your wages are exempt from garnishment in Texas
  • Other debts, such as, income taxes, alimony, child support and Federal Student Loans are not
  • You BANK account IS NOT EXEMPT from LEVY after a JUDGEMENT has been awarded, but,
  • YOU CAN AND DO HAVE OPTIONS

 

 

 

photo by Tiffany

 

Tags: wage garnishment, debt, Texas, debt settlement in Texas, debt collector, exemptions, bank levy

Are Social Security Benefits Protected From Garnishment or Bank Levy?

If you are receiving Social Security Benefits, most are protected from creditors, but not all!

social security garnishmentIt is a common misunderstanding that a debt collector has the right to garnish your income or bank account for an unpaid bill.

While this is kind of true, it is very important that you realize that a debt collector CANNOT apply for garnishment or a bank levy without first being awarded a judgment by the courts.

Having said that, you must also realize that the IRS and State Agencies CAN garnish or levy for certain debts, such as:

  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support (alimony)
  • Federally guaranteed student loans
  • Federal and State Taxes
  • Other debts owed to State or Federal Agencies

Rather than get into those debts, let's talk about what can or cannot happen to your Social Security Benefits if a debt collector (again, not from the list above) receives a judgment.

Let's say that you have an unsecured credit card debt, and you just cannot afford to make the minimum payments.  The account becomes 30,60 or 90 days past due and you are receiving phone calls and nasty letters. 

It is at this point that your credit card account may be sent to a collection agency.  Now things really get serious.  More calls and letters, but now you can put a stop to those calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

It is one thing to put a stop to the calls, but the letters will continue.  Too many people are so frustrated about being in such a terrible financial situation that they do their best to ignore these letters.

If that's what you have done, then it is possible that the debt collector will file a complaint.

A "complaint" is a legal process whereby the person who is owed the debt contacts an attorney (licensed in your state) and the attorney files the proper paper work (complaint) with the court in your county.

Next, you will receive a SUMMONS, and this is a little scary!

The worst thing you can do is to ignore the summons.  DO NOT IGNORE A SUMMONS!

Most of the time, some sort of settlement or agreement can be worked out even after a summons is issued, but if you do nothing, a court date will be scheduled and the debt collector will be awarded a judgment.  This is called a Default Judgment, as the debt collector (plantiff) was awarded the judgment because no one from your side (defendant) was there to argue.

By the way, unless you can prove that you do not owe the debt, there is really no reason to give the legal "ANSWER" that the summons mentioned.  Most courts charge a hefty fee to file an "ANSWER", and it must be "legally" correct, meaning you might have to pay an attorney for their services!

So now you know that except for the debts to the Federal or State governments and the other obligations mentioned above, there is a legal process that must happen before a garnishment or levy can happen.

But, let's say your creditor (debt collector) is awarded the judgment and sends a writ of garnishment/levy to your bank.  NOW WHAT?

Good news!  As of May 1, 2011, when a bank receives a garnishment writ or order, it must review your records or statements to determine if a Social Security check has been direct-deposited into your account in the past 2 months.  This is called the Look-Back Period.

The bank will determine the total amount of "exempt funds"...funds from Social Security Benefits.  SSI (Supplemental Security Income), Veterans benefits, and federal employee retirement checks will receive the same type of protection.

Other retirement income is also exempt from garnishment or levy, but is not given the same automatic "Look-Back Period" afforded direct deposits from Social Security Benefits!

Many banks or credit unions will help protect it's bank customers retirement funds from garnishment or levy, but you just assume they will!

If you are falling behind on your debts and have received a summons, then you should contact your bank immediately and find out what their procedure is if they are presented a writ of garnishment or levy.  Most banks will "FLAG" your account to notify anyone at the bank that those funds are exempt, BUT DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED! 

Another important point!!!!

Let's say that your Social Security Benefit is directly deposited in your checking account.  You want to move some funds to a savings account to make sure you have a little money set aside for a rainy day.  Seems like a good idea....WRONG!!!

If you transfer funds from the account that had received the Social Security Benefit, they are now NOT PROTECTED from garnishment or levy!

ONE MORE THING TO KEEP IN MIND...

Let's say that you have a part-time or side business to help out.  You get a little money from this extra job and you deposit it in the same checking account that receives your Social Security Benefit.  Prior to May of 2011, these funds were considered "co-mingled fund" and now all of the funds were subject to garnishment or levy!

Now, the bank will exercise the 2 month "Look-Back Period" and will determine how much is from Social Security and how much was from another, unprotected source.  Those funds would be subject to garnishment or levy.

HERE IS WHAT I SUGGEST:

Once you have received a summons, you know that the debt collector is very serious and will do every legal thing they can to collect that debt.

  • 1)  Contact your bank to determine what level of protection you have from a possible garnishment or levy.  If they don't give you a good feeling of security, consider moving your account!
  • 2)  If you receive "other sources of income", you should consider not having them direct-deposited or deposited at all!  I know, but until this summons/debt is dealt with, I would not risk it!  I've seen a client of ours who was too stubborn to take our advice have a coupld of thousand of dollars "frozen" by his bank and he couldn't make rent or buy groceries!

BOTTOM LINE...

Yes, Social Security Benefits are protected from garnishment or levy, but you CANNOT take it for granted!

If you receive a summons, then you must be pro-active.  The worst thing you could do is to do nothing.

 

 

 

Photo by Heidi Elliot

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7342234@N02/3846575731/

Tags: wage garnishment, debt collectors, wage garnishment in oregon, can social security be garnished, exemption from garnishment, levy, social security benefits, bank

3 Easy Tips to Stop Wage Garnishment

stop wage garnishmentA wage garnishment because of unpaid bills can be devastating!

Here are 3 easy tips on how to stop wage garnishment:

If you are having a difficult time keeping up with your credit card accounts or other unsecured debt, your not alone!

Over the recent years, hundreds of thousands of people just like you have had to take on more credit in order to survive the downturn in our economy or other financial setbacks such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Illness
  • Death of a spouse
  • Disability
  • Too little income from Social Security, etc.

Once you miss a payment to one of your creditors, they will start calling and sending late notices.

You can download FREE INFORMATION ON HOW TO STOP COLLECTION CALLS by clicking on the button below:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

 

TIP # 1: DON'T IGNORE THE CALLS OR LETTERS FROM COLLECTORS!

The biggest mistake I see people make that can lead to a wage garnishment is to ignore the calls and/or letters.

Obviously, if you miss a payment, it is going to trigger a signal to alert the creditor.  Creditors don't necessarily want you to pay off your entire account (they make their money on interest and fees!), but they demand a monthly payment...or they get real upset!

Your account will usually be sent to an internal collections department within the company when it is about 90 days over due.  The collection departments job is to save the account...get you to start paying again.

They may offer you a HARDSHIP PLAN, but BE CAREFUL! 

Most hardship plans will offer you a small reduction in your payment and perhaps your interest rate for maybe, 6-12 months.  Sometimes, they may offer to waive the "late charges and/or over-the-limit" fees they may have tacked on to the balance. However, the problem with a hardship plan is that, while it may stop the calls, you are not really paying down the debt.

Also, once the time period of the hardship plan expires, you are right back to making the normal payments!

TIP # 2: DON'T IGNORE A SUMMONS!

If a creditor cannot get you to start making payments again, they may decide to send the account to a collection agency. The calls and letters will start again as you will no longer be dealing with the original creditor anymore.

Just as you did before, you will need to send a letter to the collection agency to stop the calls.

If the collection agency cannot get you to pay, they may decide to file a complaint with your local courthouse stating that you owe the debt. The court will prepare a SUMMONS, and you will most likely get a know at the door one evening and someone (may be a police officer), will SERVE YOU THE SUMMONS.

Sounds intimidating...and it is! Yet, the worst thing you can do (and a lot of people make this mistake) is to ignore the summons!

The summons will state who you owe and how much, and it will say that you have 20-30 days (depending on your state's laws) to give an ANSWER. An answer is a legal term that you would file if you feel that you do not owe the debt.

In most states, you will have to pay a filing fee and it has to be legally correct in order to file, so you may need to hire an attorney.

Just because you received a summons does not mean that you are going to be sued, or go to jail, or have all of your belongings confiscated...you still have rights!

But what it DOES mean is that the creditor is SERIOUS about collecting the debt.

If you are employed, the creditor could be awarded 25% of your net take home pay until 100% of the debt is repaid with interest (9% in Oregon...each state varies a little).

Call the collection company or attorney representing the collection company and try to work out a SETTLEMENT or a repayment plan called a "stipulated agreement".

If you don't, the creditor will be awarded a judgment by default (called a default judgment), and now they can pursue legal avenues including wage garnishment!

TIP # 3: IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, MAKE AN LUMP SUM OFFER TO SETTLE THE ACCOUNT!

I know, you most likely do not have a lot of money in savings, but let's say the total debt is $2,000 including interest, attorney fees and court costs, they may be will to take 70%-80% to settle the debt.

If you had contacted the creditor before the account went to collections and then the legal process, you may have been able to settle for 50% or less!

We have been helping people get out of debt for many years and would like to help you.

                                 FREE, NO OBLIGATION CONSULTATION

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Tags: debt collection, wage garnishment, credit card debt, credit card hardship plans, how to prevent wage garnishment, wage garnishment in oregon, debt settlement in oregon, collector