Don't Panic if You Receive a Summons!

If you are served with a summons for past due debts, DON'T PANIC!

You need to understand what a debt collector CAN and CANNOT DO!


Make no mistake, it is a scary time when someone knocks on your door and says something like, "Are you....You've been served!"

Sometimes, the delivery person is a police officer and that even makes it worse!

Someone has said that FEAR is:

  • False
  • Evidence, that
  • Appears
  • Real

So true!  We often get "freaked-out" because we think something is what is not.

Let me try and help you get over the fear of receiving a summons!

I/we've been helping people with DEBT, basically UNSECURED DEBTS, for many years.

When you have too much debt to keep up with the payments due, they may be charged off by the original creditor or placed with a collection agency in an effort to collect on the delinquent debt.

If you've ever been in that situation, you know that you get letters and calls and calls and calls.  By the way...hears how to put a stop to collection calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

If the collector cannot get you to pay the debt, they may decide to FILE A COMPLAINT. This is a legal technique whereby an attorney, licensed in your state, is hired by the debt collector or creditor to file an official complaint with your county court.

Next, you will receive a SUMMONS.  And this is when it gets scary!

We're located in Portland, Oregon and in the County of Multnomah.  A client recently sent us a SUMMONS and this is what it said (you can understand why they were upset!):

"YOU ARE HEREBY required to appear and defend the complaint filed against you in the above-entitled action within thirty (30) days from the date of service of this summons to you.  In case of your failure to do so, for want thereof, Plaintiff will apply to court for the relief demanded in the complaint."

"You must "appear" in this case or the other side will win automatically.  To "appear" you must file with the court a legal paper called a "motion" or "answer".  The"motion" or "answer" must be given to the court clerk or administrator within 30 days along with the required filing fee.  It must be in the proper form and have proof of service on the Plaintiff's attorney or, if the Plaintiff does not have an attorney, proof of service on the Plaintiff.  If you have any questions, you should see an attorney immediately."


OK, let's calm down and look closely at the SUMMONS.

First, in the case of UNSECURED DEBTS (Credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, Store Cards, private student loans, etc.), the Plaintiff (this is the creditor or who you owe the money to) cannot:

  • Put you in jail
  • Take other belongings
  • Cause you any harm, etc.

In fact, there are limits and protection for consumers by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that you should be aware of.

Next, the SUMMONS seems to say that you are going to have to GO TO COURT!

NO IT DOESN'T!  (Remember, FEAR...False Evidence that Appears Real?)

If you don't believe you owe the DEBT=CLAIM, then you must file an "Answer", which not only costs (about $165 last I heard in Multnomah County) but it must be in the proper, legal format which may require an attorney to prepare...more costs!

BUT, since you owe the debt (not the time to talk about the outrageous fees and interest tacked on), then you won't be filing an ANSWER.


You should contact the attorney for the Plaintiff (creditor) and try to work out a repayment plan.

If you are employed (receive W-2 income), then you are not going to have very much leverage at this point.  But, you should be able to negotiate a reduced settlement (if you have a large sum of funds to offer) or a repayment plan of the entire debt balance.

If the Plaintiff is awarded a judgment (which most likely they will win), then they can file a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT and your employer would have no choice but to deduct 25% of your net income (most states) and send it to the Plaintiff until the entire balance is paid!

Think about that for a minute.  Let's say that you usual bring home pay (after taxes are withheld) is $2,500/month.  At 25%, that's an additional $625 per month that would be deducted, leaving you with only $1875 to pay bills!  Ouch!

Remember when you ignored those letters and calls?  Well, this is one of the results that can happen.  It is always better to try and negotiate with the creditor or collection agency than let the account go to this.

If you are self employed, you may have a little more leverage in that your "salary" may be low enough (if you are using a good accountant) to be exempt from garnishment.  To see what this exemption amount is, check with your state's attorney general's website.

In Oregon, go to: State of Oregon Garnishment Forms.

If you are retired and are living solely on Retirement or Social Security, then those funds are protected from Garnishment or even a Bank Levy.

If you are SELF EMPLOYED or RETIRED, or receiving only DISABILITY INCOME, you should be able to negotiate a pretty decent settlement at 50% or less of the balance.

We've prepared a very good booklet that will explain how Debt Settlement can work:

 OK, I hope you are starting to understand that just because you receive a SUMMONS, you are still going to be OK, BUT YOU HAVE TO TAKE ACTION...AND I MEAN IMMEDIATELY!!!

If you are not sure you can deal with debt collectors or the attorney for the Plaintiff, we can help:



Photo credit:  Kevin B3 at






Tags: fair debt collection practices act, credit card debt, debt settlement, debt collectors, debt negotiaion, debt relief in Portland Oregon, credit cards

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:


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:


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:


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


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 It Possible to Negotiate Student Loans?

is it possible to negotiate a student loanIs it possible to negotiate student loans? 

It depends... There are basically two types of student loans:

  • Government Loans
  • Private Loans

There are several types of government loans, but for the most part, these cannot be negotiated.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try! 

Besides having several repayment options, it may be possible to offer a reduced LUMP SUM PAYOFF of 50%-75% of your balance and pay off your student loan at a reduced amount.

Since most deferment or repayment plans are based on your financial situation, you should gather as much information about yourself as possible before making the calls. In order to  have a chance of negotiating a lower lump sum payoff, you must show that you are in struggling financially.

Start with a basic budget that shows your assets vs. your liabilities.

is it possible to negotiate a student loan

Again, if you do not have approximately 50% -75% of the balance due, you are probably wasting your time trying to negotiate a federal student loan.  However, budgeting will help you make a plan to save for that negotiation in the future.

You may be able to negotiate a PRIVATE student loan for less!

If you have a PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN from a bank, credit union or other private lending source, you have a VERY GOOD CHANCE of negotiating the loan!

Again, gather all of your financial information BEFORE you make the call.  When you call, explain your HARDSHIP and SITUATION and then ask the agent how much they would be able to reduce the balance if you were to pay in a lump sum right away.

LET THEM GIVE THE NUMBER FIRST!  It may be a lot less than you were willing to pay, so don't offer any amount!

Debt negotiation is not always easy for first timers, so you may want to get some advice or counseling before your call.

If you are successful in negotiating a lower amount, MAKE SURE TO GET IT IN WRITING!

Too many people have sent payments or authorized a check-by-phone debit after speaking with an agent and find out later that the company had NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONVERSATION!

Debt negotiation takes a lot of time and patience. 

If you would like help, click here for a FREE REVEIW.

Tags: debt forgiveness, student loan forgiveness, debt negotiaion

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