Frequently asked questions
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How do I get started?
It is easy. Call us today at (800) 558-2718 or fill out our simple assessment form and one of our associates will reach out shortly.
How Long will it take me to complete the program?
Every situation is different and much of it will depend on your commitment. The average times we see with our clients that stick to the plan can complete the plan in about 36 months. Depending on your individual circumstances.
Who will be helping me?
From day one, you will be working with our expert associates to guide you and help you every step of the way with the debt settlement process. Our dedicated staff is committed to helping every one of our clients to make the best decision for their individual situation.
Will participating in a debt settlement program affect my credit?
The most important factor to boost your credit and credit score are timely payments. Depending on how bad your credit is currently, your credit score might initially suffer as we negotiate with your creditors. As long as you stick with the program and complete the settlement, you should be able to improve your credit scores once the program is completed.
DOES Your firm have access to my bank and savings accounts?
Simply, no. Throughout the process, you have complete control and your accounts. It’s your money. When your creditor and you agree to settle an account, the payment to the creditor will be funded with a specially set up savings account specifically for this purpose and no money will be disbursed without your written authorization.
How will you negotiate with my creditors?
Our firm has established relationships with most major creditors which allows us to submit your accounts through our network. Our team of expert negotiators submits your accounts to our network and negotiates a settlement offer with them. The money accrued in your Special Purpose Savings Account will be used to fund these settlements. Most creditors are willing to settle for less than what is owed based on your hardship conditions. We cannot guarantee that the collection calls will stop but we can also work as a buffer to receive some of those calls on your behalf and the number of calls may go down once we start working with you and your creditors.
Do you contact my creditors?
Yes. Once we get your written authorization, we contact your creditors on your behalf. As soon as you join our program, we start working immediately on your behalf. We communicate with your creditors throughout the process until a settlement is achieved. It could be months and even years before a settlement is achieved. Also, the funding of your savings account is critical to complete the settlement. There may be some occasions when a creditor will require you to speak directly with them, but we can handle most of the communications for you.
Do I need to demonstrate hardship to participate in Your program?
Yes. If you do not have financial issues and hardship we cannot assist. Our program is only for individuals that are experiencing financial hardship. We need to fully document the hardship in order to demonstrate to your creditors that you require help.
Do I have to include all my debts in the program or can I pick and choose?
No. The final choice is yours. We do recommend for you to include them all for a couple of reasons. First, it makes more sense to address your complete financial picture. Also, creditors will be more open to negotiation if they see that you are struggling with all your accounts and not just theirs. We are here to advise you on the best course of action, but the ultimate decision is completely yours.
DO I HAVE TO PAY TAXES IF SOME OF MY DEBT IS FORGIVEN?
Creditors usually are required to provide a 1099-C (Cancellation of Debt) form when they agree to settle for less than what they are owed. We are not tax advisors and you should consult with your accountant to go over your particular circumstances. However, it some cases, it might be possible to legally and ethically exclude some of your forgiven debt from your income under the “insolvency exclusion” tax provision. To qualify, the fair market value of your assets must exceed your liabilities.
DO you make payments to my creditors?
Throughout the process, you are in full control of the special account we will set up to satisfy payments with your creditors and to cover our fees. We never make any payments on your behalf to any of your creditors. The goal is to settle the debt for less than what you owe and that’s where we can help. Our expert negotiators have negotiated a significant discount for many of our clients and they can do the same for you.
How is debt settlement different from debt consolidation?
A debt consolidation loan is a new loan that can be used to pay off your outstanding debt and combine it into one single loan and one payment. It sometimes requires you to pledge some collateral (like your home) to secure the loan.
Normally, the entire principal still needs to be repaid and you are switching from one lender to another. If you fail to make payments, you may be compelled to give up the pledged collateral (and lose your home)
In contrast, a debt settlement uses negotiation techniques to get your current lender to agree to settle the debt at more favorable conditions like a lower payment, lower interest, and in some cases, a lower principal.
WHAT happens if I am not able to set money aside every month for the program?
Depending on how much is owed, your payment history, and other factors, creditors may be willing to settle for less than what they are owed. But they will never settle for no money. It is critically important that you fund a separate savings account that will be used to settle with your creditors.
We understand that life gets in the way sometimes and some months you may not be able to fully fund the account but if this keeps on happening it will negatively impact the plan and may delay the outcome.
Will my creditors continue to charge fees and interest?
Until a creditor agrees to the settlement terms that we negotiate with you, interest and fees will continue to accumulate. However, in many cases, we are able to negotiate with them to waive the fees and interest.
What will be my involvement?
We view this process as a partnership between you and us with each of us having a well-defined role. Your part will be to ensure the Special Purpose Saving Account is funded as well as helping us fill out the required paperwork to get the program completed. In addition, timely communication is key in this process so we expect that we will be able to reach you as the different settlements are worked out. We will work with you at the beginning to analyze your finances and make sure the plan to fund this account is achievable. Our team of expert negotiators will handle most of the communication with your creditors. But there are some lenders that require to speak directly with the borrower and we will guide you through the process to successfully talk to them and help you get the best deal possible.
CAN YOu guarantee results?
We have a proven track record of success. And our team has talked with the major banks and lenders hundreds of times. However, every single negotiation is different and the creditor is never obligated to settle your debt. We cannot force anyone to accept a particular settlement offer. If someone guarantees they will be able to settle for a certain amount, that is probably a good clue for you to run away.
How does your firm get paid?
We never charge any advance fees. We charge a performance fee each time a settlement is reached with one of your creditors, you approve the settlement and fund it.
Why not file bankruptcy?
As a U.S. Citizen, it is your right to declare bankruptcy which in some cases can greatly reduce or eliminate many of your debts. However, declaring bankruptcy is not a decision that should be made lightly. Filing bankruptcy can have severe long term consequences and can impact your ability to obtain credit and, in some cases, secure employment. A bankruptcy will stay in your credit report for 7 to 10 years and creditors will sometimes ask if you have ever filed for bankruptcy. Finally, depending on the details of the bankruptcy filing, you may still be compelled to pay all or some of the debts.
COULD A CREDITOR STILL SUE ME?
Even if you start working with us, a creditor still has the right to file a suit for monies owed. However, this is not common. Your creditors may continue collection efforts such as phone calls and letters or sending the account to collections. When this happens you can direct them to us and we can deal with the communication. In case you are sued, please bear in mind that we are not attorneys and will not be able to represent you in court.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN MY ACCOUNT IS “CHARGED OFF”?
It is a common misconception that once an account is “charged-off” that the debt is no longer owed. Nothing could be further from the truth. When an account is charged-off, it means that the current creditor has given up on collection efforts for the account. Once this happens, they may send the account to a collections agency for further collection efforts. When this happens, the full amount is still owed and the collections agency will most likely try to collect on the full amount at first. Only when you have a written and signed settlement agreement do the terms of the account change.