DebtSettlementJourney

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Posts posted by DebtSettlementJourney

  1. 7 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

    Since this is an OC, there's a fairly decent chance they will follow you into arbitration. Having said that, i think arbitration hanging over their head will likely give you more negotiation leverage than you would have otherwise.

    Thanks!

    Given that, do you still think I should go arb or trial? Of course I’d still be trying to negotiate settlement either way...

    I figured arbitration wouldn’t get me out clean, especially given the amount ($20k). 

    I can actually afford the 40% figure originally proposed to me now, although I wouldn’t want to pay that much. Ideally I’d love to get closer to 30% (given I have other creditors that I’m dealing with)
     

    I heard their desire to negotiate generally goes down once you are served, but.... I’m hoping I can turn some screws by having my Veritas attorney call them and threaten them with arb. At that point they’d have to know default judgment just isn’t going to happen. Reasonable or am I dreaming?

     

  2. Hi. First time I've needed some expertise here. I've been catalouging my debt settlement journey on this site and after many successful settlements (averaging around 30%) I have finally gotten sued....

     

    FYI when I first start trying to deal with this debt (well before I found out about this forum and even arbitration) I signed up for the Veritas Legal Debt Relief Plan. So in theory I have an attorney I can go to, although they may want to fight in court more than arbitration. https://www.veritaslegalplan.com/Blog/LegalPlan/DebtReliefPlan

     

    1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

    SunTrust/Lightstream

    2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)

    Vinci Law Office (they've been trying to collect for a few months as well)

    3. How much are you being sued for?

    ~20k

    4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff)

    SunTrust/LightStream

    5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?)

    Served

    6. How were you served? (Mail, In person, Notice on door)

    In Person

    7. Was the service legal as required by your state?

    Yes

    Process Service Requirements by State - Summons Complaint

    8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?

    High level negotiations with SunTrust, their best offer was 40%. I spoke with Vinci over the last few months, best offer 45%. I couldn't afford either at the time. I haven't spoken to Vinci in a couple months

    9. What state and county do you live in?

    Davis, UT

    10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations)

    late 2018

    11. When did you open the account (looking to establish what card agreement may be applicable)?

    early 2018

    12. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out:

    NA

    13. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed? You can find this by a) calling the court or B) looking it up online (many states have this information posted - when you find the online court site, search by case number or your name).

    Just got served today. I have 21 days to answer

    14. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?)

    No

    15. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request before being sued, it likely won't help create FDCPA violations, but disputing after being sued could be useful to show the court that you dispute the debt ('account stated' vs. 'breach of contract').

    No

    16. How long do you have to respond to the suit? (This should be in your paperwork). If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit?

    21 days

    17. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits.

    Loaned agreement (that I signed). I just checked and their is an arb provision (with JAMS). Some info that I filled out initially when I got the loan (where I worked, how much I made, etc). My payment history with them

    18.  How did you find out about this site?

    Google

  3. Bunch of updates here:

    I settled with BestEgg for about 27.5%. They said they were going to sell it to a JDB and gave me a few options. Lump, or spread out over a few months (at a higher percentage). I took lump

    A Citi account was sent to Calvary. It was a smaller amount and I ended up settling for 40%. They started much higher so it was a tougher negotiation. I wanted to get this done this year for tax reasons.

    The citizens bank account got sent to LVNV. THis was a larger amount, think 5 figures. I ended up settling for about 32.5% spread out over 3 months. They werent as tough as Calvary

     

    Now for the bad part. I just got served by Suntrust/Lightstream (via Vinci Law). Vinci has been working the account. Suntrust actually offered 40% when they were working it...but I just didn't have the funds. Ever since Vinci took over the lowest they'd go is 45%. I really didn't have the funds then either. So now I need to come up with the plan to fight it. Arbitration is #1 tool although I will try to settle first. This is a 5 figure balance as well. I also subscribe to the Veritas Legal Debt Plan so I have an attorney at the ready. 

    • Thanks 1
  4. Ideally I'm looking to settle, but in order to get the settlement in a ballpark that I feel comfortable the agency said I must provide 2 years of tax returns, 2 pay stubs, and a hardship letter. I've settled other accounts and never dealt with this. This collection agency is a "law firm" and was outsourced by the original creditor (who still owns the debt).

    I feel very skeptical about giving them this information as they could use that against me in court (if we ultimately don't settle). Granted I can elect JAMS, but I don't think this info is relevant to them.

    What would you recommend? 

    At this point I'm thinking of just waiting it out with my current offer (25-30%) and see if they end up biting without the additional information. If they decide to sue, then elect arb. But should I take the chance of a settlement by sending them those docs?

  5. On 8/20/2019 at 10:16 AM, WonderingInWI said:

    Hi there @DebtSettlementJourney

    I echo the thanks others have offered. The specifics of your negotiations are extremely helpful.

    My question to you is about Discover. Am I correct in assuming your settlement payment plan is sans interest accrual?

    I have been on a payment plan with Discover- for the full amount while the balance still accrues interest (on the closed account) I’ve reduced the balance from 8k to 5k this way but more than half of my monthly payment is going to interest. I have called numerous times but am told there is no way to renegotiate this. I would be downright thrilled with payments on 40% of the remainder.

    How did you get to that point with them?

    You just have to stand your ground and get a feel for the creditor based upon research. From what I could tell with my research Discover rarely goes below 40%, and I didn't want to (and couldn't) do a 40% lump sum. So we found a way to make it happen.

    No interest is accruing. 

    These aren't my numbers but here is an example...

    Say you owed 10k. I paid them 3k lump and then every month I give them ~$42 for the next couple years for a total payment of $4k. 

    IMHO never do any sort of 'payment' plan that is not a true settlement (although the reporting to credit agencies is different and settlements are more damaging). The question you really have to ask yourself are you trying to settle/pay less or do you want to find a way to pay the entire amount. 

    • Like 1
  6. I officially settled with Velocity (original Upgrade).

    Some background here: this was a fairly large account (>40k) that started as a loan with Upgrade. Upgrade sold it to Velocity post charge off who assigned it to CKS.  Given the large size it is worth their while to go to arbitration so I was a little worried here.  Plus Velocity has a reputation for suing, so I wanted to settle this one

    CKS was the agency assigned and they were pretty firm at 40%. I offered 30-32.5% and CKS would always come back at 40%. In fact they would play some games (at least how I perceived it) where I got passed around to "supervisors" who would then "talk to Velocity" and would always come back with 40%. This happened a few times at least.  I question whether they even went to Velocity. They were generally nice though. After the last merry go round they said that Velocity told them to close the account and send it back for legal action unless I took the 40%. I told them I was willing to arb and my offer was the best I can do. 

    Basically I called their bluff. CKS eventually closed the account to send it back to Velocity, I called Velocity the next day, and they settled right away around 32.5%.  We "negotiated", they sent a letter, and I paid in the span of maybe 30 minutes tops. Honestly in hindsight I wish I started lower with Velocity, but I'm happy with where it ended. 

  7. 18 hours ago, Cabinboy said:

    Was the Discover for 40% settled with a collector or a law firm.  I have seen a pattern where debt is settled from 30 - 40% with a collector for Discover and the Law Firm's such as Gurstel are 40 - 50%.

    Straight with Discover. They were at the stage where they were threatening to send it to legal. The 40% was also a 'payment plan'. I paid like 60% of it up front and the rest is over equal payments over the next 23 months. 

  8. Paid and settled the second Amex account that was sent to Gurstel. Honestly they were pretty easy to work with, although I knew pretty quickly an extreme settlement was out of the table. Ended up doing it for about 46% (was closer to 50% but the account balance grew).

     

    FYI so far everyone except BOA has emailed me the final settlement letters... so things move pretty quick.

    • Thanks 1
  9. 14 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

    I don't have any advice to offer, but really appreciate the fact you bothered to keep track of all of this and share it with us. One of the questions we get most often is "how much will Creditor ABC accept in settlement?"  Now we have a pretty detailed list for several of the biggies and some of the smaller ones as well. 

    I'd like to pin this topic, if you don't mind. Let me know. 

    Sure. I’ll keep this updated as I go.

    • Thanks 1
  10. My Velocity/CKS plan is probably wait until the end of the month, give them a ring and reoffer the 32.5%. 

    Since this is a Upgrade/Webbank loan I think there is an arbitration clause (I'm an idiot and do not have my original docs...once it got sold I lost access to my Upgrade account)...

    So as a last ditch effort I may 'threaten' arbitration and bump my offer up to 35%. And if they do not accept that then I'll see what their next move is and see if they are bluffing. If they aren't then that is why I have the legal protection (and potentially arbitration) in place. This is a larger balance so I just can't really get to 40%. 

    Any suggestions on that strategy?

  11. Hi All. 

    I've lurked for awhile (learned a lot), and now I'd like to share my journey. It is ongoing but hopefully other reads can learn something...and perhaps I can get some feedback when I hit rough patches

    Basically I had 15 accounts with 11 creditors, totaling 275k.  Due to a failed business, major family health issues, and other personal problems the debt piled up over a handful of years. 

    I was literally depleting all my savings paying monthly payments and it got to the point where it was obvious the well was going to run dry.  I didn't want to file bankruptcy (I still don't, although technically that may be my best option), so debt settlement became the key option. If I get sued in mass, or I can't negotiate decent deals then C7 is my only option. I certainly do not have all the funds to settle these at the same time, so I'm trying to plan and spread them out. 

    All debt settlement is being done DIY, and I have been largely proactive. Personally I found talking to OCs, JDB, and CAs to be a fairly straight forward process. Most haven't bugged me anywhere near the amount that I expected. Everything is totally unsecured. 

    I'm also keeping track of all my assets and liabilities to claim insolvency for each settlement (so I don't have to pay taxes). I may potentially not be insolvent near the end of the process. 

    I also signed up for the Veritas legal protection in case I get sued (I haven't yet).  My last payments were in the Sept-Dec range of 18.

    As of 5/10/19

     

    Chase Card 1 (UPDATE settled for 30% lump sum):

    Discussions are ongoing, but nothing truly ongoing.  I'm 125 days or so.  They started calling a lot so I had them stop calling my cell. There really hasn't been a serious offer on their part. It has been over a month since I made the do not call request and I haven't gotten any communication. Given their more lenient reputation I am looking to delay settling this. 

     

    Chase Card 2 (UPDATE settled for 30% lump sum):

    Same as Card 1

     

    BOA Card 1: SETTLED FOR 26.5%

    I settled this account at about 130 days.  I had two accounts with BOA and I settled them jointly for about 26.5% in a lump sum. I was hoping to hold off but they accepted that offer so I was happy. They barely bugged me at all during the 130 days. I called them a few times to keep them updated but that is about it. Then on day 130 I called them, made the offer, and that is that. Combined this was my second largest creditor, so I am thrilled with this outcome. 

     

    BOA Card 2: SETTLED FOR 26.5%

    See BOA Card 1

     

    Best Egg Loan:

    Once I began to go past due on these accounts Best Egg offered a pretty nice extension. So I took it to mainly extend out my settlement window. My extensions officially ended at around 120 days and they just now consider me late. No serious negotiations at this point. 

     

    Upgrade Loan (sold to Velocity, placed at CKS): (UPDATE: settled for 31.5% once it got sent back from CKS to Velocity)

    I tried to negotiate this directly with Upgrade and made them fair offers (30-35%). Once it charged off (probably 120ish days) they sold it to Velocity who then placed it with CKS Financial. I've been negotiating with CKS (toughest to deal with out of everybody). I offered 28% first, went up to around 30%, then CKS tried to get Velocity to do 32.5%. Velocity has been pretty firm at 40%. In fact after the last counter of 32.5% Velocity said to do 40% or else they will go to court. I'm not sure if I believe them just yet since they bought it about a month ago. It is a higher balance so legal is definitely an option for them. 40% right now is really tight for me, so I think I may try to call their bluff. This is my number 1 focus right now.  CKS has a distinct style that is quite annoying (passing you amongst reps)... I also get the feel that they use more 'tactics' on you than other firms.

     

    AMEX #1 (placed at ARSI): SETTLED for 40%

    As you would suspect AMEX did virtually zero negotiating. After about 100 days it was past to ARSI. Not as tough negotiations with ARSI as with CKS and GC.  Ultimately given AMEX likes to sue I decided to go with 40% and they ultimately accepted. 

     

    AMEX #2 (placed at ARSI sent to Gurstel) (UPDATE settled at 46.5%):

    At the same time as AMEX #1 this account was sent to ARSI then sent to Gurstel straight away. I've been negotiating with Gurstel directly and honestly it has been one of the simpler nicer experiences. It is a law firm so my settlement amount expectation isn't high and AMEX has their reputation. This is a smaller account so I'm trying to finish it off at 50%.  I'm slightly optimistic given I got the other AMEX/ARSI done at 40%. At this point I'm just waiting on a response

     

    Marcus by Goldman (placed at Radius)

    Marcus doesn't settle, but they certainly call a lot. It charged off in the 120-140 day range, and then sent to Radius. Of course now they are willing to settle, but they are only offering 65% (so 35% savings). I'm trying to target 30-40% settlements so we are far off.  They haven't called much (couple times in a month) and the negotiations aren't too serious. Holding off on this.

     

    Earnest Loan:

    No serious negotiations with them. They barely called but they do have one lady that was their "overdue" person, who was a little intense.  But she wouldn't budge at all. Regardless they just moved their servicing to SST. Given funds are tight I'm hoping to delay this one so I'm letting SST make the first move. About 150 days here.  My guess is it gets charged off and sent (probably sold elsewhere)

     

    LightStream Loan

    For the first 120 days I was told they don't settle. After it got sent to their "Default Recovery Team". Their offer right now is about 65% so it is a nonstarter. They aren't too intense and don't bug me too much so it is a lower priority on my current list. 

     

    Citizens Bank Loan

    They also claimed they don't settle and after 120 days it gets sent elsewhere. I talked to them a bunch before 120 days (they would call a reasonable amount), but they wouldn't budge. After the 120 day mark they basically went dark.  I'm holding off on reaching back out. 

     

    Discover Card: SETTLED at 40% via payment plan

    They were pretty flexible and easy to deal with the entire time. No problems with them at all. However they simply would NOT go below 40%.  At first they were around 50-60%, then I get a letter saying at the end of the month it would be referred to an attorney (at about 120 days). Despite having Veritas I obviously would like to avoid that.  I aimed for 30%, they came down to 40%. At first 40% lump sum, but I balked. We eventually settled on 30% and the last 10% via 23 month payments. I didn't mind this since it pushes my 1099C off for a couple years for this account. 

     

    Citi Card 1:

    At 60 days they were at 60%, 90 days they were at 40%, and they haven't moved since.  Now we are around 150 days. They've been easy to work with and were the first to offer legitimate settlement offers.  Citi hasn't been a top priority for me, but if I can get it down to 30% I'll jump at it. 

     

    Citi Card 2 (sent to GC Services):

    At about 115 days they sent this over to GC services, who also has been glued to the 40% mark.  GC hasn't called much but when I've talked to them they've been the meanest of the group by far (CKS calls the most but has been largely friendly). 

     

     

    As you can probably see I've had more luck with big brand credit cards than the smaller unsecured personal loans. 

    I'll keep adding to my story as things happen so hopefully you all can learn from my experience. If you have any tips for me, please do not hesitate. I need all the help I can get.

     

     

    • Thanks 2