Settlement offer from Brachfeld Law Group for my GE Capitol Care Credit account.
I am currently in contact with the collection agency Brachfeld Law Group. This is for an GE Capitol/Care Credit account which was charged off in November 2012. After many calls from a non attorney agent (this is what he called himself), he states that his client has agreed to accept $3,800 for balance that was originally $10,375. He sent the info to me via a vaguely worded email which stated that payment had to be made the next day. In an effort to protect myself, I immediately contacted the agent and told him that would only pay after recieving a signed letter stating that the debt would be satisfied completely and that the matter would be fully resolved. His response instead of providing the letter has been:
1. The Email contains all of the info that I need.
2. His company doesn't send out these type of letters, but I will get a letter from the client 10 days after they receive payment.
3. I don't need a letter, because all calls are recorded.
When I refuse to proceed , he then transfers me to his manager or another agent, who yells at me and tells me that I am about to miss out on my only chance to clear this up, and that he will sue me for the full amount.
I don't know what I should do at this point. I feel that I am being pressured and set up. I do want to resolve the matter, but I cannot afford to lose the money to some sort of scam and still have the original debt hanging over my head. Please advise. I desperately await your response.
Is this a fair settlement amount? What exactly should I ask for in the letter?
Settling a debt with a third party debt collector like Brachfeld Law Group requires a written settlement letter on their letter head. A vaguely worded email is absolutely not sufficient to memorialize your agreement.
Brachfeld Law Group sends out written settlement agreements.
Brachfeld has been in debt collection long enough to have standard operating procedures for negotiating settlement and payment agreements, and then sending out documentation. I have several in my data base, so it is not a foreign concept to them. I am being a tad facetious, but only because of how standard it is to follow through with documentation.
An email is not sufficient to back you up if there is some error with how your account is resolved on the part of Brachfeld Law Group, or GE Capital. If the Care Credit account was sold off to a debt buyer, and Brachfeld is collecting for the investor, errors occur there too. Here are some things a settlement letter from Brachfeld will protect you from that an email will fall short of:
- Brachfeld Law does not code the settlement correctly in their system and instead your settlement is recorded as a payment.
- Brachfeld’s error prevents accurate credit reporting updates from GE Capital, Care Credit, or the debt purchaser if one is involved.
The settlement terms outlined on the letterhead of Brachfeld Law Group will help you to:
- Immediately deal with any other debt collection effort if the account resurfaces later on because the unpaid balance gets sold off or reassigned for to different collection agencies.
- Dispute any incorrect credit reporting that does not get updated by the creditor and where proof you settled will mean the difference in succeeding with getting your report corrected and avoiding what has for some been more than a years worth of headaches dealing with the credit reporting agencies to do what is right when you do not have documentation.
Emails are just not going to be the ticket, and their comment about calls being recorded being there to back you up if you need it is laughable. I cannot think of a single instance where a consumer was able to get a copy of a recorded call from a debt collector that did not require there to be active litigation in the courts.
I have noticed a trend with GE Capital debt collectors where they want payments set up in there system, or a date set for payment, before releasing the letter. You have to stick to your guns though. Otherwise you are taking a risk that you will not have the ability to deal with any mistakes they make in the simplest way.
What is a good settlement with Bracheld and GE Capital on a Care Credit account?
The offer they made to settle your Care Credit account is good. It is about what I would normally suggest you target for this type of account. You would not be leaving much, if any, money on the table by accepting it. Just not without documentation.
I am concerned about the threat the collector from Brachfeld made about suing you. Not as much from the perspective of them following through with that, but from them not following through. Depending on how carefully worded the threat to sue you was, you may be able to pursue them for a violation of debt collection laws if they do not, or are not, authorized to sue you. It is worth running this scenario by an experienced debt collection defense attorney. What state do you live in?
Here are two articles in the debt relief program series I recommend you read:
Anyone dealing with Brachfeld Law Group collecting a debt is welcome to post questions and comments below for feedback. If you would like to talk over your situation you can call me at 800-939-8357, choose option 2.