The Honest And Ethical Way To Resolve Your Outstanding Debts
That Will Satisfy Your Creditors And Leave You With Your Dignity Intact.
“If You’re Struggling To Pay Your Bills And You’re Buried Deep In Debt, You Might Be Able To Get Substantial Debt Relief Without Filing Bankruptcy.”
Depending On Your Present Situation, You Could Be Eligible For Thousands Or Even Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars Of Debt Relief!
Ok, you didn’t just arrive at this site by accident. You’re here for a reason.
Most likely you’ve accumulated a lot of credit card debt and something has happened recently in your life that’s making it difficult for you to keep up with your prior financial commitments.
You need help. Like now.
Also, you probably never thought in a million years you would be having financial difficulties. But unfortunately bad things do happen to good, honest, decent people.
After 15 years in this industry and several thousand 1-on-1 consultations with people in all stages of financial distress, I have a pretty good idea of what’s on your mind and what questions you have.
Let’s first start by reviewing your options for resolving excessive credit card debt.
Usually this is a last resort for most people due to the fact that it can appear on your credit report for up to 10 years. Bankruptcy is also a matter of public record for anyone that wants to know. Filing bankruptcy requires you to appear in Federal Court for at least one hearing, possibly more. In addition, certain types of bankruptcy require a court-appointed trustee to control and oversee your estate.
2. Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).
Often this is a non-profit organization that is funded in-full or in-part by contributions from creditors. You make one monthly payment to the CCCS, then they disburse your funds and pay each of your creditors for you.
A CCCS will usually be able to get your interest rate lowered and stop the harassing collection calls. It is important to understand, however, that you will pay the full balance owed on your various accounts plus interest. No debt relief on the outstanding balance will be granted.
3. Obtain A Debt Consolidation Loan.
Certainly not the worst thing you could do, but naturally you must own a home, have some property or have some assets to pledge as collateral for the loan…otherwise a loan isn’t even an option at all. In addition, you cannot borrow your way out of debt. You’re still going to have to pay back the money to someone eventually.
4. Do Nothing.
For most people this is not a practical solution, but it is an option. An example where doing nothing might work would be if you were unemployed and had no assets a creditor could pursue. Essentially you would be “judgment proof” and your creditors would (at least temporarily) hit a roadblock. However, this does not mean that they can’t come after you at a later date…when you least expect it.
5. Negotiate Settlements For Less Than Full Balance.
In certain situations and if handled correctly, most creditors will agree to accept less than full balance to settle outstanding debts.
Those are your choices. That’s it. Short of winning the lottery, there simply aren’t any other magical solutions for resolving outstanding debts.
Let’s now focus on option # 5, since that is my area of expertise.
Would A Debt Reduction Of 40-60%
Solve Any Of Your Financial Problems?
$0.35 on the dollar ($10,363 settled for $3,600)
$0.46 on the dollar ($10,230 settled for $4,721)
$0.36 on the dollar ($25,245 settled for $9,000)
$0.30 on the dollar ($5,272 settled for $1,582)
$0.50 on the dollar ($9,142 settled for $4,576)
(and there are plenty more where these came from)
There are many factors that determine what creditors will or will not accept to settle outstanding debts.
Depending on your situation, one or more of your debts might be settled for as little as $0.25-0.30 on the dollar. Or it’s possible that some of your creditors might be difficult and won’t accept anything less than $0.55-0.60 on the dollar. Every situation is different.
However, if you want to attempt settlements for less than full balance on your outstanding credit card debt, here are 11 things you absolutely need to know before proceeding:
- Settlements are only available on unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills and department store cards. Things like mortgages, student loans, alimony and child support fall into the category of secured debts and there is usually not much that can be done with these types of debts.
- Settling debts is not always about what you know, but often who you know. Getting to the right person and avoiding the uncooperative people can make all the difference between settling and not settling.
- Creditors and collection agencies are not usually going to write off hundreds or thousands of dollars without a fight. So you have to have a thick skin and be willing to persevere…sometimes for several months.
- You must use different strategies with different financial institutions and collection agencies. What works with one, will usually not work with another. In fact, your approach with one company could trigger a lawsuit with another company. It’s true.
- Creditors routinely threaten litigation. Most of the time they’re bluffing, but not always. So how do you know whether the threat of a lawsuit is real or just a bluff? We’ve discovered that past performance of a creditor or collection agency is the biggest determining factor. Therefore, it’s extremely helpful to know the “profile” of a particular creditor or collection agency to determine if the threat of a lawsuit is legitimate.
- What if one of your accounts is referred to a law firm? Does that mean for sure you’re getting sued? Not necessarily. Although I am not an attorney, I am able to report that I have negotiated settlements with law firms many times over the years. You just need to have confidence and approach them in the correct manner.
- You’ll need to know what constitutes a good settlement offer and what’s not a good settlement offer. For example, a 50% settlement offer might be the best offer you’ll ever see with one particular creditor and you should definitely accept the offer. Then there are other creditors that routinely settle for 30-35% of the outstanding balance. The key is knowing when to accept a certain offer versus holding out for a more favorable offer.
- Sometimes temporarily doing nothing is the best negotiating strategy. Other times doing nothing will backfire on you and you’ll miss a good settlement opportunity or possibly get sued. The key is knowing when to take action and when to be patient.
- Should you attempt to settle directly with the creditor or let the account go out to an agency? Believe it or not, there are times when you are better off by letting an account go out to a collection agency. Other times you should definitely settle directly with the original creditor before they outsource your account to a collection agency.
- What if your debt is sold to another company? Credit card companies sometimes sell accounts to debt-purchasing companies. These debt-purchasing companies sometimes handle the account in-house and other times they outsource collection of the account to a collection agency. So it can get a little confusing at times. Therefore you need to make sure the final settlement paperwork is completely accurate and demonstrates what company actually owns your debt so you are not liable for the remaining balance at a later date.
- What about settling liens and judgments? Yes, it is possible to settle outstanding liens and judgments for less than what is owed. But the strategy is slightly different than if you were simply attempting to settle an outstanding credit card debt that was not already converted to a lien or a judgment. You’ll also need to make sure the proper paperwork gets filed at the courthouse after the settlement is finalized.
The Debt Settlement Process Is Not For Everyone
Although it would be nice if everyone would qualify to have their credit card debt settled for $0.25-0.50 on the dollar, unfortunately that’s not going to happen. There are strict criteria that must be met for this process to work.
- If it’s going to take more than about 12-18 months to negotiate settlements with your creditors, bankruptcy might be the better way to go, and you might want to consult with a bankruptcy attorney instead. Please understand I’m not saying it’s impossible to go longer than 18 months, but it is known that the statistical likelihood of you successfully accomplishing your settlement objectives is not real good if it’s going to take more than about 12-18 months to complete the process.
- It is impossible to stop all collection calls from your creditors. As much as I hate to say it, creditors are legally entitled to contact you about outstanding debts. Creditors are not simply going to write off large amounts of debt without at least some collection efforts. Unfortunately there is no magical way to force a creditor to stop calling you if you legitimately owe them money.
- No results are guaranteed. Any reasonable person understands and accepts this. Past performance does not guarantee future results. But if you know what you’re doing the odds of achieving your desired outcome are actually pretty good.
- Your credit score will be adversely affected. This is the trade-off for your creditors writing off a substantial portion of the debt that you owe. You cannot expect to have your creditors forgive hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars and still have a good credit score. It just doesn’t work that way. Any reasonable person understands and accepts this.
In short, there’s no free lunch. As with anything in life, there are positives and negatives. If any of the previous 4 items is unacceptable to you, then STOP RIGHT HERE because attempting settlements with your creditors is not the right option for you.
On the other hand, if you acknowledge and accept these potential drawbacks in return for substantial debt relief without the need to file bankruptcy, then negotiating settlements with your creditors could very well be the best solution for you.
Here’s The Next Step …
The next step is to determine whether or not the settlement approach is truly the right solution for you.
To assist you, I’ve put together a free online video series where I candidly discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of the debt settlement process in detail. The videos will systematically walk you through the thought process to either rule in or rule out debt settlement as the right option for you.
Maybe you have just begun your research on this topic or maybe you’ve been scouring the Internet for weeks or months trying to find a solution to your financial dilemma. Either way, I strongly recommend you watch theses videos before doing anything else. You’ll be glad you did.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hoffman, Brinker & Roberts
P.S. If you need further convincing that I know what I’m talking about please click here