5 Things You Won’t Hear From Debt Settlement Companies

In the prior section of the CRN debt relief program we discussed the benefits of settling credit card debts in the first stage of collection. This means getting settlement deals documented and either fully funded, or partially funded, by dealing with the original creditor. We will continue with the pre charge off debt settlement topic on the next page. Before we get back on track with that, we did leave off with some concerns you should be aware of if you hire a debt settlement company to help you settle credit card debts.

These concerns are mostly related to debt settlement companies and their ability to settle debts with some creditors.

5 things you typically do not hear from a debt relief company about settling your credit card debt:

1. Some of your creditors refuse to work with my company.

2. We have to wait for some accounts to charge off before trying to settle even though this may cost you more.

3. You can negotiate and settle credit cards on your own and sometimes get a better deal than we can.

4. If we weren’t charging you such high fees you could actually be out of debt faster.

5. You’re a good fit for our settlement program, but bankruptcy may still be a better and less expensive option. You should speak with an attorney first before committing to enroll with us to settle your debt.

In the prior debt settlement article we pointed out a few concerns you should have with hiring a debt settlement company to negotiate credit card debt in first stage collection. The above items are HUGE concerns because they are ways that hiring a company could limit your ability to succeed with debt settlement. We may come back to this topic in later updates to this section, but for now let’s focus on what the above means to you when settling credit card bills with your banks.

Here is a brief video where I touch on the 5 items listed above:

Debt settlement companies wait for credit cards to charge off.

The best offers with some credit card settlements are going to be with your original creditor before they charge off your account. By better, I mean 10 to 25% better. By settling with your original creditor, I mean within the first 6 months of missing payments. But most debt settlement companies will not point this out.Their fees for settling your debt, and the expectations the front line sales people are trained to set you up with, prevent the sharing of key details you need and deserve to know.

Judging from the tens of thousands of people who sign up with debt settlement companies each year, people must be okay with this. I can only come up with 3 reasons why folks will act outside of their own interests in this regard. If you can think of more, post them in the comment section below.

  1. They didn’t know any better.
  2. They know better, but don’t care because they have no grasp how simple it is to work out a settlement with many of the larger credit card issuers.
  3. Some people just don’t want to pick up the 10 ton phone and talk to a creditor, let alone a debt collector, and would rather a debt settlement company do all the heavy lifting.

We get it. Different strokes for different folks. The CRN debt relief program is designed to educate and inform. The do-it-yourself-ers will take the information in the debt settlement program and run with it. Some of the DIY-ers will see the value in becoming a CRN member so they can work with a pro one on one in order to maximize savings, timing and to navigate things that inevitably change along their debt settlement journey. Some people will only ask a debt settlement company to step in when they are dealing with later stages of debt collection, or if they hit a road block with a tough account.

Why have we taken a break from our regular schedule programming to insert the debt settlement company concerns? Well, we were going to anyway. We will have more to say about saving money by avoiding high fees to a debt settlement company in later sections. We are pointing this out here because – debt settlements with your original creditor should be done by you when and wherever possible. Here are 3 reasons why:

1. Money.
2. Money.
3. And money (this is the stuff your running short of, or you would not be reading through the debt relief program on this here web site).

I thought hiring a debt settlement company was going to save me money.

A couple of the largest credit card banks in the nation flat out refuse to work with debt settlement companies, including CRN. They have held this position for a couple years now. If you want to settle debt with one of these credit cards before charge off in order to save the most, potentially save some damage to your credit report, and prevent the account from getting dropped into the collection pipeline – you have to settle it yourself!

Tip: Banks change their internal policies. Not every month, but credit card banks willing to work with a debt settlement company today, may decide to stop doing so right in the middle of your debt settlement program. It happens.

For people who just want a settlement company to do it for them, we understand. That’s why our members also have the option of asking for a negotiator to handle some or all of your credit card negotiations. But we cannot help you settle some credit cards until the account charges off.

Another one of the largest credit card banks does work with debt settlement companies to settle accounts. But this bank typically settles with professional negotiators at a rate that is 10% or 15% higher than what CRN members consistently settle for on their own by planning and being prepared.

Tip: Virtually all creditors will settle with you at the same, or better rate of savings, than they will offer any of the debt settlement companies you might hire.

If you want someone to negotiate your credit card bills with your original creditor before charge off, and are a CRN member, you will need to have a blunt conversation with your assigned CRN specialist about your creditors and their policies at this time.

Okay, let’s now return to our regularly scheduled programming. The next section will continue without a soap-box interlude, and will focus on the do’s and don’ts of settling debts in first stage collection.

Continue with the debt settlement section of the CRN debt relief system – How to handle your banks bill collector calls on the way to settling with them.

If you have questions about anything covered on this page, about hiring a debt settlement company, or about one you are already working with, post in the comments section below.

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About Michael Bovee

Michael started CRN in 2004 with a mission to provide detailed debt and credit help and advice that encourages and allows people struggling with debt to solve their debt problems just like a pro - but without the high fees.

Comments

  1. Kisha Dee says:

    If your account has been charged off and sent to a debt collecting agency what is the likelihood that you will be able to open up an account with your original lender, IF you are able to clear the debt with the collecting agency? I hope you are able to respond, and thanks for this website, it has a lot of good information. Especially in these times when everyone’s having it bad with their creditors. Thanks! Please respond!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kisha – The odds of opening up another account with the bank that charged off your credit card debt in the past are high. What type of account are you looking to open, another credit card, or a checking or savings account? Who is the bank?

      American Express is about the only lender I know for certain maintains a list of prior defaulted account holders. Getting another AMEX credit card when you have a balance outstanding on a prior credit card from them is not likely.

      It can make a difference whether you pay a collection agency who is just working for your original lender as a collector, or paying on a collection account after your original lender sold off the account. Getting a debt settlement with a collection agency and paying less than the balance owed can bring the same result you are looking for as paying the collection account in full. The difference of course being the savings.

      Are you working with a debt settlement company?

      • Kisha Dee says:

        Thanks for your response! I’m just now getting the chance to reply to you…Well the bank was Capital One, and yes they have sold off the account. I read about a ‘pay for delete’ option over the internet, and tried to call Capital One to see if that option was possible, but received quite an unfavorable response- they just referred me to the collecting agency and didn’t seem interested in hearing me out.

        I have negotiated with the collecting agency and will be paying in full because I’ve read that a ‘pay in full’ is better on your credit report than a ‘settlement’. I asked you that first question because, of course, my credit score has taken a hard blow from this and I would like to go about improving it bit by bit by getting back a credit card. I wish this would be possible, because I can say that I’ve definitely matured since that first poor management of that account…Would you recommend that I still try to get one from them?

        I read about some banks giving you a conditional credit card where you have to put down a security deposit of some sort in order to have one…I was thinking of trying to get one of those too…I’m still trying to see what’s the best option for now.

        I appreciate you responding to my question. Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Kisha – Pay for delete is just not common (and I mean to the point of nonexistent unless a utility bill a couple months old). For Capital One to have your account out to a collection company normally means they charged it off. Paying the collection off in full, or for less than full at this point, is not a major credit report improver. Getting the account to show a zero balance owed, which both paying in full or settling for less accomplishes, is the goal.

          Rebuilding your credit is not difficult when you approach it with a plan, and understanding it takes time. The tools available through http://www.credit.com will help you reach your goal. They have offers for secured cards like you mention in your comment, as well as unsecured cards that you are more likely to qualify for. I would suggest you resolve your outstanding collection accounts and wait a couple of months before opening new accounts.

          I am still curious if you were working with a debt settlement company? This post is dedicated to that topic, so that is why I am asking.

          • Kisha Dee says:

            Hey again!
            No I’m not working with a debt settling company at the moment. Thank God I don’t need to…I think I can cover my debt with my wages right now. Thanks a lot for your replies. All the best!

            • Daniel R Kupke Sr says:

              Make sure that coll agency or the original creditor actually does some-thing for you on your credit report ?? I paid some of these types off several years ago n they made no corrections on my credit report and I had to go through the hassel of proveing it myself to the credit reporting places and that in itself was a real pain n took awhile to see any improvement !!!

              • Michael Bovee says:

                Credit reporting should be updated with the fact that you no longer have a balance owed by creditors and collectors once you settle or pay off a debt. There is not much more that can be done by them. But accurate reporting, a little time, and smart planning – all will help to improve credit reports and scores after a financial setback.

  2. David m says:

    Have a charge off on a cap one visa that is seven years old..It started at about the three thousand dollar range and kept growing with fees and penalties to 7700 dollars today. I am going to call to settle this debt as it is the only thing keeping me from a mortgage to buy a house.
    . My question is, what should I expect to settle this for I was thinking about offering them 10% of the present balance. Is that too optimistic?
    Thanks
    David

    • Michael Bovee says:

      David – Do you know who is holding the debt today? Are you certain that the last payment made was 7 years ago? Depending on when the account was last paid, it could be ready to age off of your credit report soon, which would likely mean you would not need to settle it in order to achieve your goal.

      If you do go though with settlement, your 10% target is going to be way too optimistic if CapOne still owns the debt. If it was sold of to a debt purchaser and is passed the SOL, you can get a better settlement than with Capital One, but probably not 10%.

  3. The link to the next part of the guide is broken.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Marie – The link was not live due to the next post in the section having not been published. I have the next part of the debt settlement section up now. It is linked above. I will put the rest of the settling in first stage collection up early next week, then get second stage collection up the week after that, followed by third and critical stage collections the week after that.

      I have been detoured from the publishing part of the debt and credit guides until just recently.

      • Daniel R Kupke Sr says:

        Hello I had a bunch of credit card debt back around or just before 04 that I still keep getting notices and calls on ?? These debt are allmost 10 years old now ??? Why are they still being a problem on my credit rateing ?? They were done by a wife at the time that used my name without my knowledge and I flat refused to pay them after the divorce ??

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Unpaid debts have a SOL (statute of limitations) for how long you can legitimately be sued in your state. Unpaid debts have an SOL for how long they can stay on your credit report of 7.5 years from the date of last payment. Once these timelines expire it does not mean the debts go away. They are still out there and can be collectable, just not through the courts, and cannot impair your credit (if they do you can dispute them as passed the SOL).

          Are the accounts showing on your credit reports today?

  4. Brandon says:

    Great read and watch; I work in collections so all of this makes a lot of sense to me. I’m glad to see a debt settlement company that is willing to be honest, unlike some of your competitors (looking at you Freedom Debt Relief) I’m really pleased that you work towards educating consumers with actually giving real solutions to their debt, and not just filling your pockets. But curiously, what options does a consumer have after finding out that their creditor won’t work with debt settlement companies? As an example, there was a woman who had paid around $4,000 into her escrow fund, only to find out via third party collections that her creditor will not work with them. Does the company just get to keep that money?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brandon – Thanks for adding your voice to the discussion. Here are some ways that I see companies like Freedom Debt Relief, and others, handle the scenario you outlined:

      If she has additional credit cards to resolve, the debt settlement company will move on to another account and look to negotiate a payoff in order to collect their fee from that. This is often going to be with little “strategic” planning for identifying which credit card to settle next in order to limit risks. It is more about settling where the company can in order to generate fees.

      In your scenario the collection agency is an assignee of the original bank who has a policy of not working with Freedom Debt Relief, or other debt settlement companies. The company may just wait for the assignment contract to end with the collection agency. Once the original creditor places the account with another assignee, or sells the debt off to a purchaser, they may look to settle the account at that point.

      Whether or not the debt settlement company just keeps the money will depend on the company she is working with. If she is working with FDR, they went to a no upfront fee model when they were required to after the FTC passed the amended Telemarketing Sales Rules in 2010. As far as I know FDR does not deviate from that. She would therefore be able to pull her 4k from her escrow account at anytime.

      Unfortunately there are still debt settlement companies working with an upfront fee scheme using some questionable tactics to enroll people and take fees before settling debts (face to face meetings, attorney sponsored, outright noncompliance). In some of these instances she may indeed lose out on some, or all of the 4k.

      I would really like to see more perspective shared throughout the site in the comments. Please feel free to add to the discussion from your collection experience on any pages you read.

      Do you work collections from an issuer, or from and assignee angle?

  5. Yvette Dinvaut says:

    Hi Michael,
    I want to thank you for all the great information you give those of us who are having these types of issues. I was hoping you might be able to answer a few questions for me. I am a disabled veteran who tried for almost 8 years to get my student loans from college to be discharged using the total and permanent disability status. I will not bore you with the details, except to say that I’d tried EVERY POSSIBLE THING I knew in order to get the paperwork necessary to the right people, but to no avail. I finally wrote to the Department of Education’s Ombudisman, t implore them for help, which they finally gave me! Now all nine of my loans are in a discharge status. I was told by Nelnet that the loans would be removed from my credit report, as you can imagine the havoc it has done! In addition, as I am constantly in and out of the hospital and have amassed a large number of medical bills. I have tried my best to keep up with the bills, but have been unable to do so. I have, however gotten the medical bill balances to just under $5000.00 (There are several, that are less than $300.00, a few that are less than $100, and two that are over $2000.00, all with collection agencies such as Southern Credit Recovery.) I just pulled my credit report, and I noticed something strange: there are nine accounts in total. All three agencies have pulled some of the student loan balances from some of the individual accounts off of my report, some accounts they have zeroed out, but left on the report, and some have been left in a deliquent status and still appear on the record. ALL OF MY STUDENT LOAN ACCOUNTS have been forgiven. Do I have the right to demand that they ALLL be zeroed out with the account history wiped out as well, especially since the time it took to get the accounts dismissed was not my fault? If not, is there anything I can do to make it look better on my report? I’ve waited so LONG to get this cleared up, and as you know, student loan default does not allow you to be able to do ANYTHING in terms of credit. I also would like to ask about the medical bills. I recently was given some money from my mother’s estate that will allow me to pay off the remaining balances I owe on the medical bills. Is there anything I can say to the creditors to get them to remove the items once I’ve paid them? If not, what is the best I can hope for in terms of my credit report. I’m sorry for the long post, but I really need some answers. Thank you so much again for trying to help people like me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yvette – Great job with your student loans! I know it took all of your patience and persistence to get that done.

      With the credit reporting, if the balances are no longer owed (have been forgiven), you can use any documentation of that to get the credit reporting agencies to show zero balance due. But getting the legitimate negatives like late pays etc. removed is a different story. You should not have high expectations for that, as the loans legitimately were late.

      When was the date of last payment on the loans? What do your credit reports show as the month and year the negatives are schedule to fall off?

      With the medical bills, people have mixed results with getting the collection reporting removed when they pay the debt in full and are still able to work directly with the medical billing company or service provider. How old are the medical bills?

      • Yvette Dinvaut says:

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! As for the loans, throughout the process I had been advised (believe it or not) by Nelnet, to continue using my forebearances and other extensions to not make any loan payments while this was all being worked out. I followed their advice initally, but that didn’t work out because one set of loans actually defaulted while I was waiting, even though they assured me this wouldn’t happen! Then last year, I want to say in (Jan 2012), I was advised to start a repayment program with them that would allow me to make a small payment and allow me some more time to keep the second set of loans of out default, since the first set had already been declared in that status. I agreed to make the payments, as I was panicked to think of the other set defaulting, so consecutive payments. It was just about that time that Nelnet notified me that they were moving my loans back into a temp permanent disability, because I’d met all the preliminary criteria for a permanent discharge. I think in all 3 or four payments were made. Of course, I’m not getting any of the money I paid back, because as they said, “the loans WERE in default, even though we realize it was our mistake that it took so long to discharge them.” Nice. Anyway, I don’t care. I just do not want these loans or anything to do with them to continue to wreck havoc on me and y family’s life. I went through so much to get this done; I just want to be able to move on, but maybe that’s not to be. If not, I’m hoping you can tell me what my best case senario is to put them in the best light going forward. Finally, as far as the medical bills, they are different dates, some ranging from 2 years ago to some as recent as 30 days. I ‘ve paid over $65,000 since 2001, and so many come in from month to month, but recently some of the smaller ones have fallen through the cracks because my husband was laid off 7 months ago. We had about $10,000 of savings at the time, and thought it would be sustain us for a while, but we had no idea how fast that money would be chewed up! As a result, there are a few bills that are scheduled to come off the reports by Nov 2013, but several smaller ones just made it onto the report and will stay on until 2017/18. They are mostly under $250.00 and now I have the money to pay them. Is there anything I can do to get them off the reports quickly? maybe send the payment to the original creditor? I have done that at least once, and when the third party collector called, I told him it was already paid. he had me fax the reciept to him, and he dropped it after that. Does this work with most 3rd party collectors if the original creditor takes and processes the payment? And if so, do you have the right to demand it be removed from the report? I really can’t thank you enough. It’s always nice to be reminded there are good people who really do have good intentions in this world. :)

      • Yvette Dinvaut says:

        Oh, one last thing. The student loan dates for removal were listed as 07/2018 for one set, and 05/2014 for the other. The issue though, is that since I wasn’t able to get any credit except for HIGH rate lenders (all of which show a great payment history,) most of my credit record is student loans and hospital bills. Wouldn’t that lower my credit rating even more with basically no real credit history? I swear, it feels like being between a rock and a hard place, with no end in sight. :(

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Yvette – I am going to suggest we talk about some different strategies in a phone consult. The reason for this suggestion is that you have several things going on, and I want to be able to ask you some questions about your situation, and your credit goals, without the comment back and forth that will be lengthy. We can bring the conversation back to the site after that.

          If you are up to it, just send an email to the same address that you get these comment notifications from (those all come directly to me).

  6. I see Freedom Debt Relief is advertising here. Are they good to work with if one chooses to go that route?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kathy – Freedom Debt Relief has settled a lot of consumer debt. Perhaps more than any other settlement company by now. If you want someone to negotiate and settle for you, and are aware of what the fees can mean to your over all success, hiring them, over any other settlement company, will come down to choice. Have you talked with any other settlement companies in order to make a comparison? If not, I would. If you have made some comparisons, with what other companies? What stood out to you?

  7. I would just take issue with one thing printed here about the “five things…” I tried to negotiate with every one of my creditors/credit cards before dealing with a debt relief (lawyer based) firm. Not one of the credit cards would negotiate with me at all. I’m happy with my results. $75 a month is not a lot to get out of debt when you consider my interest rates had skyrocketed to 28 and 30 percent, with $35 late fees.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rik – Thanks for commenting. I am glad you got the help you needed, and depending on the amount of debt involved, I am with you, 75 dollars a month is very affordable!

      I am all for people hiring a company to negotiate and settle debt for them. Most people prefer to, even after watching a video, or reading an article like the one above. This site is mostly for the person who wants to do some or all of it on their own. But like you shared, that is not for everyone, even if they would prefer to go the DIY route.

  8. I have recently lost my job and I currently have $56,000 in credit card debt. I joined Freedom Debt Relief in December 2013 but I keep wondering if I am doing the right thing. Discover is one of my creditors that I turned over to them and they have sent me a letter saying they will not work with settlement companies and that they will turn my account over to a attorney. This Discover card has $15,000 on it and their “settlement” offer for me directly is to pay $5000.00 a month for 3 months. I can’t even pay the $300.00 minimum payment right now.

    My questions to you are:

    1. When in a settlement program, like I currently am, can a creditor still send you to court to try and collect the amount owed? I definitely can’t do this, it just about makes me sick to even thinking about it. When I asked Freedom Debt they said No.

    2. When paying my cards directly I was paying roughly $1100.00 / mos. Now I am paying Freedom Debt Relief $870 / mos. Is there a better way of negotiating debt settlement with creditors that I don’t know about because when I call I think I can actually hear them laugh when I ask to be put on a payment plan with minimal interest? My thought was to take the $870/mos. and pay my creditors directly on a fixed payment plan but not with 20% or higher interest. Obviously I’m not negotiating correctly because $5,000/mos. to Discover is ridiculous and I’ll never get out of debt if they continue to charge high interest rates and late fees.

    3. I closed all my accounts myself in hopes of saving my credit a little. I also continue to pay at least $25.00/mos. to my cards to show I am trying to do something (that is very minimal compared to my actual monthly amount due). Will this help my credit any and will this keep them from sending my account to collections or taking me to court if it shows I am trying?

    I have only made a 1 month payment to Freedom Debt Relief and will be making a second one in a few days but I am still not 100% I am doing the right thing. At this point it is so hard to know what to do so any help you can give me to help guide me in the right direction will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Lynn – Great questions. I will answer them in order, with some additional comments.

      1. Yes, a creditor can sue you in court to collect even though you are enrolled in a debt settlement program. Debt settlement companies like Freedom Debt Relief know this, and should not say otherwise.

      2. The 1100 monthly you were paying on all of the credit card debts is about as low as you could expect. Even in the best qualifying hardship plan, your monthly payments would still be around 1k. Most account holders are not going to qualify for the lowest repayment plans many banks offer, and some lenders offer no extra-ordinary hardship payment plans.

      My experience is that it will be impossible for you to get all of your credit card lenders to agree to reduced monthly payments that would combine for a monthly amount of what you are currently putting in an escrow account for the debt settlement company to use in later negotiations.

      As far as what would be better at this point for your credit – when did you stop paying on the credit cards, when you enrolled with Freedom Debt Relief at the end of the year, or before that?

      It is not that you are negotiating incorrectly. You are trying to achieve something in your negotiation with Discover Card that is not realistic with their current trends. They do sometimes offer a 60% of the balance with payments spread out over 60 months. How long have you had the Discover account? Were there recent large transactions to the card (12 months before payments stopped)?

      3. Closing accounts yourself can sometimes help save a point or three on a credit score when enrolling in a credit counseling companies repayment plan,but does not help when working with a debt settlement company. Paying $25 a month is the equivalent of setting those dollar bills on fire at this point. As soon as the required minimum payment is missed, sending less than that minimum payment without an agreement from your lenders, is a waste. That money is likely not enough to meet late fees per account. The payments you are making will not help your credit, or keep your account from being dropped into the lenders debt collection pipeline, which includes debt collection agencies and the risk of being sued for collection.

      All of the above may make it sound like debt settlement is not a good option for you, but it may be the right path. I think you need to understand the process and the implications better for sure. You are only a month in with your debt settlement company. If you were not late with credit card bills prior to that, all options are probably still on the table for you. You know that a credit counseling company could get your payments down to the average I posted above(I do not recommend you try doing that on your own). And you should also consider how bankruptcy would stack up next to debt settlement and credit counseling if you qualify for chapter 7. Questions:

      Do own a home with equity in excess of your states exemptions for bankruptcy?
      Do you earn more than the median income for your family size in order to qualify for chapter 7?If so, by how much?
      Do you have a steady income, and feel secure in your job?
      Do you get a tax refund, if so how much, and is that amount ear marked for something else (like property tax etc)?
      Do you have other debts beside credit cards? If so, what are those debts, and what are the balances (rounded).
      Who are your credit cards with besides Discover? What are the balances (rounded)?

      If you can answer those questions I will have a good amount of feedback that should help you change directions for reasons that you hold as important, or that could help you better embrace the debt settlement path you are already on.

      • I have been with Discover for over 20 years and yes I did have a large purchase within six months of entering into the Debt Settlement Program. I stopped paying the full monthly amount due when I entered into the Debt Settlement Program, so I am 1 – 2 months past due at this point.
        I do own a home and was planning on putting it up for sale and moving into a apartment or rent a smaller home that will have a lower monthly payment versus what my mortgage in now. I have no equity in my home at this time. I do have a steady income and my job is pretty secure. I usually get a small tax refund or we break even. If we do get a refund it will go to pay off smaller credit cards. Between my husband and I we make decent money but are upside in credit debt. Yes we have other debt with our cars, home, utilities, phones, etc. My other debt is roughly $5,500.00 / mos. on top of the 1,100.00 / mos. credit card debt. My other cards are with Discover, Chase and American Express. Total credit card debt is 55,000.00.

        Thank you!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Lynn – If Discover is still offering the 60% plan, you may/may not be offered that. Roughly what percentage of the 15k balance was the result of your card usage the last year?

          What state do you live in, and how many dependents do you claim? I can help you compare the dollar benefits of bankruptcy vs settling debts, if you qualify for chapter 7.

          You are not too far down the path to get your listed creditors to agree to a credit counseling payment plan. Those plans go as long as 60 month. You can learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of credit counseling here. I would encourage you to determine if a credit counseling program better fits your needs and credit concerns before you are 90 days late, and certainly before you are close to, or more than 180 days late. You can talk to a certified counselor and get a monthly payment plan quote (one that your creditors agree to – therefore no collections or risk of being sued) at 888-948-4425. The monthly payment is going to be close to what I already estimated. If you cannot swing the payment you are quoted, or are otherwise told you cannot qualify for a DMP proposal to be sent through, it will boil down to bankruptcy and debt settlement.

          When were you looking at downsizing/moving?

  9. David C says:

    Hello, I am settling a debt with a law office from a landlord in which they got a judgement against me. I’m paying about 50% and they said they can’t do a PFD, but that they will notify the client to vacate the judgement as soon as the payment clears their trust account. I got a fax with that information, account numbers and that the payment will be full satisfaction on the law offices letterhead signed by a member of the firm. Is this good?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      David – What you describe sounds good. It is a bit odd to have them agree to vacate the judgment. Great job negotiating that!

      • David C. says:

        Michael – Thanks, your site really helped me determine what to ask for and how to deal with them. About how long should it take them to vacate the judgement? What is my recourse if they don’t do it?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          60-ish days would be a realistic expectation. Because you are dealing with the courts, and legal issues, I highly recommend running your situation, and the details of what you have negotiated, by an experienced consumer law attorney. Even if you have to pay them a little for the consult, getting a judgment vacated is a big win, and worth it.

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