The Basics of Debt Settlement
Debt settlement is an agreement between a lender and a borrower for a large, one-time payment towards an existing balance in return for the forgiveness of the remaining debt. Someone that owes $10,000 on a single credit card, for instance, might approach the credit card provider and offer to pay $5,000. In return for this one-time payment, the credit card provider agrees to forgive or remove the remaining $5,000 still owed.
Why would a credit card issuer willingly choose to forgo a sizable portion of the balance it is owed? It is usually because the lender is either strapped for cash or is afraid of your eventual failure to pay off the entire balance. In both circumstances, the credit card company is attempting to protect its financial bottom line-- a key fact to keep in mind as you begin negotiating.
Credit cards are unsecured loans, which means that there is no collateral your credit card company-- or a debt collector-- can take to repay an unpaid balance.
While negotiating with a credit card company to settle a balance might seem too good to be true, it's not. Not surprisingly, lenders don't like to advertise settlement, and although there are no independent statistics about success rates, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that about half of debt settlement cases make it to completion. Still, if you're severely behind on your payments and spiraling towards bankruptcy, your lender may agree to take what it can get, offering you one last chance to get back on your feet.
The Negotiating Process
Begin by calling the primary phone number for your credit card's customer support department and asking to speak to someone, ideally a manager, in the "debt settlements department." Explain how dire your situation is. Highlight the fact that you have gathered a small amount of money together and are wishing to settle one of your accounts before the money gets used up elsewhere. By mentioning the fact that you have multiple accounts on which you're seeking debt settlements, you're more likely to receive a competitive offer.
Offer a specific dollar amount that is approximately 30% of your outstanding account balance. The lender will probably counter with a higher percentage or dollar amount. If anything over 50% is proposed, think about trying to settle with a different creditor or simply put the money in savings to help pay future monthly expenses.
Last but not least, once you've finalized your debt settlement with your lender, be sure to get the agreement in writing. It's not unusual for a credit card company to verbally accept a debt settlement only to turn over the remaining balance to a collections agency. Guarantee the written agreement defines the amount you have to pay in order to have your entire balance excused from further payment.
For More Information About Debt Settlement in Los Angeles, California, Contact Thomas K. McKnight LLP At (800) 466 - 7507 or Visit Our Website at TKMLLP.Com for a Free Consultation!