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  1. Hello- Yes...I'm back after a long absence. I went the DS route with mixed results (as I had expected). One of the final accounts I have is suing me for around $1750 for an old apartment lease from the end of 2005. I do not have immediate funds to settle. Since a complaint has been filed with the court and a summons is on the way, is it too late to contact the attorney to offer a settlement? I can get a quick loan from my credit union for $1,000. Any thoughts? Thanks!
  2. The man has pulled it off again! I had an account with National City that was sent to Weltman, Weinberg, and Reis for collection. They actually did file suit and we were to go to court in the January/February timeframe. Sifxpert not only got the account recalled from Weltman (i.e. dismissal of the lawsuit), but he negotiated a 37% settlement on top of that!! In a year's time he has settled two major accounts for me: MBNA: $29,800 original balance, settled for $7,450 (25%) National City: $13,650 original balance, settled for $5,000 (37%) So far the man has saved me $31,000. Yes, there are fees and tax consequences, but even after you add all of that in I have come out WAY ahead!! Here's a toast to you, Sif. Now...the rest of you doubters can go pound sand.
  3. Recover- Just wondering...under what basis are you filing suit? Did they NOT send you a 1099 or are you disputing the one they sent?
  4. I'm sure you are right. Still...the total you pay is less than the original balance. Everyone's tax situation is different. Depends on how many deductions you can claim.
  5. Willing- The account was around $27,000 when I started my program. My settlement letter states "MBNA will forgive the remaining balance of $22,350 and you will have no further obligation for the remaining balance." This is a clear written contract as far as I can tell (everyone says to get EVERY detail in writing before making an agreement). In case a CA or JDB were to attempt any further collection I have proof of payment and my written contract. Do I know what is in it for MBNA? I'm not sure. I guess its' possible that they feel the amount they could get before charge-off is better than what they may get when it goes to collections...in addition to all of the hassles associated with it. I'm sure that if they are going to settle for 25 cents on the dollar that the CR reporting will not be the greatest...probably "paid settlement". Oh well. Look, this topic has been debated to death. The bottom line IMHO is that DS is not for everyone obviously. If you look at my other posts in the last few months you will see that in my case I have done my due diligence. From that I made (again, IMHO) the decision that was best for ME. That's what it all boils down to...what is best for YOU and YOUR situation. Not researching and understanding what you are getting into is a very good reason why some people fail or unsatisfied with DS programs - they are not aware of all the pros and cons associated with it. That combined with unscrupulous DS companies gives the whole industry a crappy reputation. Many times on this forum I have seen posts where people have started a DS program. They then find after six months to a year that a good chunk of the payments that they have sent to the "trust fund" that most DS companies set up is going to upfront fees. Then they do not have enough to settle with. The problem is that they DID NOT check out and understand the terms and conditions of the program...so who is to fault here? In my case there is no "trust fund". No one has control of my money except ME. A performance based fee structure is much better than having a set percentage of the total original debt used. What incentive does the DS company have to work for YOU? Not much. They get their full fee no matter what they settle for. There is a certain amount of trust that has to go on between me and my chosen DS company. They trust that I am saving what I have said I am saving, and trust that I will pay the associated fees as agreed upon (since they get nothing upfront). I have to trust they they know enough about what they are doing to get me the best settlements possible in regard to my debt balance, creditor mix, and the amount I can afford to save. Wow...that's a lot to type this early in the morning...
  6. I'm not trying to stir the pot here (it has been stirred enough lately)...but the statement that "no OC is going to settle for 25% of the total balance" is simply not true. As I have stated before, I had a $29,800 MBNA account that was settled pre charge-off for 25% - a total of $7450. One initial payment of $3000, then four monthly payments of $1112.50. I just made the last payment in August. I assume that everyone knows by now I AM working with sifxpert. That is not a blatant testimonial, but its' the truth - he got for me what he told me was possible. From what I figure, even with a 1099C issued in combination with any debt settlement fees I will still be paying only around half of the total balance...and it will take less than a year instead of five to six years. Yes...I know...my credit is trashed. So what? Again, as I have posted before, I would rather have bad credit and be debt-free instead of having good credit and be in +30% APR credit hell for God-knows how many years. Just my two cents. Flame away!!
  7. Leave the guy alone. If the mods feel that he is not playing by the rules then that is up to them. Personally he has helped me out quite a bit. I could care less if he gets any business from his help here. I would think that all of the free advice he has given would be reason enough to get off his back.
  8. Hello all, I have been on this forum for around six months now and I can say that I have learned a great deal about how to deal with creditors when you are in trouble financially. If you do a search and look up my posts you will see that I have analyzed most (if not every) option available to handle debt. My personal choice has been debt settlement, and I could not be more pleased with the results so far. I have been in my program for six months and I have settled one account with an original balance of $29,800 for 25% of that amount – that’s $7,450!! On top of that, it was negotiated for payments over a four month period…which helped my cash flow tremendously. I have several other accounts with my chosen DS company that have yet to settle and while I don’t think I will get 25% on all of them, I am certain that they will negotiate the best possible scenario. I have no doubts about that. I won’t pull punches and I will tell you upfront – I am working with sifxpert. For those new to the forum, all you have to do is search for his name and you will be amazed at his knowledge of how this industry works. This isn’t a blatant suck up – it’s the truth. There are those on the forum that do not necessarily advocate using debt settlement, and that’s fine – that’s their opinion. For example: Quote: Willingtocope "What I am telling you is giving someone else money to make this go away is a bad idea. It just ain't gonna happen. Most debt handlers say "stop paying, put the money in the bank, and when we settle you'll have the funds to work with". Can you save enough in 6 months to pay even one of them?" Sure did! I settled already 30k worth of debt and saved myself a ton of money and the DS company is allowing me to finalize my 25% settlement with MBNA and have not asked for a penny. In addition, my DS co. has already proven itself in regards to settling with the highest balance and most problematic creditor first since all other creditors have assigned my accounts to CA's and not local attorneys. The DS co. and/or sif were clever enough to manipulate the accounts so that I can settle and avoid litigation...that is something not I nor anyone else without specific experience could do. So, thus far, paying someone has proven to be my best choice. I just wanted to say…THANKS, SIF!!! Like I said and have posted before - I have done enough due diligence on this to choke a bankruptcy lawyer! Shoot me a message and I will try to help anyone that I can by sharing what information and experiences that I have had. Post your success stories here!!
  9. Yet again this rears its' ugly head... I'll tell you, I have heard a lot of horror stories about DS companies. I looked into them for a few MONTHS. DS can be a very personal thing, and with me being a natural skeptic on everything I questioned EVERYTHING that the companies told me about their program. Just from my experience, the only - ONLY - way to get into this is to find a company where there are little to no fees paid upfront. They ARE out there...it just takes a little digging. It is very easy to jump on board with the first company you come to because you are so stressed out and want to get things rolling. This fee structure benefits the client the best. There is no "escrow account" where there is money going somewhere you cannot control. You know when and where your money is at all times. Just having that control eases some of the anxiety associated with the process. The companies I am referring to base their fees on the amount that they save as compared to a flat fee based on the debt. In addition, the fees are paid AFTER the settlement is done. This only gives the DS company an incentive to do a good job for you. If they don't settle at all, they don't get paid. If they do a great job, they get paid a little more. It's worth it in the long run. It shows that the company believes in what they do, and they are willing to put out the effort first. With all of the scams out there, any peace of mind helps. Of course, on the same token, I can understand the "pay upfront" model. Companies are not the only ones that can scam. I'm sure plenty of clients have defaulted on their agreements. That being said, there has to be a certain amount of trust to be developed with both parties. In my case, I recently had a large account settled for 25%. I will gladly pay the fee. Even when you add the settlement, fees, and potential tax liability I will be paying around 50% of the original debt balance - in less than a year. Even with the creditors hardship program I was going to have to pay for five years at 1% (paying off the full balance in the process). I should say that there is alway the option of trying to do it yourself without the aid of a DS company. That all depends on the individual. I am not trying to make light of your problems, eastoutwest, I am just sharing what I have gone through.
  10. Debt Settlement is indeed a route to take, but make sure you are aware of the ramifications of it. This is long...it is two previous posts that I wrote combined together...so it may take some time to read. BK was not an option for personal reasons, so I elected to go with debt settlement. I had almost $30,000 on an MBNA account and they agreed to a five-year plan with payments at $600 a month with 1% interest. You can't really beat that, and your credit stays intact. Unfortunately for me the big issue ended up being monthly cash flow and I was forced to go a different route. With the help of a DS company I ended up settling this account for $7500. Sounds great, I know...but I figure I will have to pay that amount over again in DS company fees and taxes. BUT - that still equals 50% of the original amount with it being paid off in less than a year. Is it expensive? Yes. Fees vary from company to company. You MUST do your due diligence before deciding on a company to help (if you do not want to go at it alone). There are many scams out there and the sheer amount of companies in existance now can make your choice difficult. Will it destroy your credit? Yes - almost as bad as BK but not quite. Do you pay less? Overall...yes. Less than the original balance. Possible legal action? Yes - if you let it go too long past charge-off or send cease and desist letters to the "wrong" creditor (i.e.: Citi or MBNA). You could definitely avoid the fees and do it yourself with the information found on this board. I chose to hire someone simply because I don't want to deal with it. And yes...creditors can issue a 1099-C so you have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount. Again, this was PERSONAL decision. I am not necessarily advocating it as the best solution. Only you can make that choice. DS is not for the faint of heart. There are definite risks involved. You just have to weigh out if those risks are worth it compared to BK or just not paying at all. Let's put a few things in my own perspective - no matter how warped that may be! Keep in mind that monthly cash flow (which is non-existant) is more important to me at this time: 1. Trashed credit and score I am fully aware of this. It depends on your personal tolerance and situation, I guess. Personally I really don't care about it that much. I would much rather be relatively debt-free in a few years and have bad credit than have A++ credit and still be up to my eyeballs in credit card hell at over 20% for the rest of my natural life. 2. Lawsuits So I may get sued. So...I might get a judgement against me. From what I see I have four options: a. Lien against real property. From what I understand they can put a lien against the house. So what? That only means that if I sell or refinance that I have to pay them. In addition, that is only for ten years (but can be renewed for another ten). I sure don't plan on moving any time soon, and they cannot FORCE me to sell the house. My credit sucks anyways, so no lender in their right mind would give me yet another equity loan (I already have one that I can afford to make interest only payments on) to begin with. In any case this is essentially a home equity loan that I don't make payments on. b. Wage garnishment. Max amount is 25% of income and only one creditor at a time. I am already paying over 50% of income a month now. Which would be worse? c. Bank levy. If I get a summons my bank accounts will turn into cash in my mattress. All bills will be paid via money order. If they can't find it, they can't take it, right? d. Seizure of property. Worst that could happen is that they take a 6 year old pontoon boat and a 7 year old snowmobile...and maybe a big screen. Big deal. 3. BK as an alternative Nah. I don't want my employer knowing unless I can't help it (wage garnishment). From what I understand, the BK will be a little worse than the settlement TL's. Besides, my wife won't do it. I may be extremely naive here, but I don't see EVERY creditor suing me. It all boils down to reality - and reality hit me square in the face last week. My furnace went on the fritz. If I had paid all of my cards, then I would not have had ANY way to pay to fix it. All credit is maxed out, and I have already borrowed from my relatives (on both sides). That there is part of the problem - for years if I needed anything expensive (note I said NEEDED, not wanted) I had to put it on the cards. I will admit to charging things I did not need, though. 4. 1099's Let's say I save 50%. That would be around $38,000. Taxes on that would be (I think) not be more than $10,000. I STILL will make out in the long run. Besides, I plan on proving insolvent anyways. Bottom line is this: I refuse to live as a credit slave any longer. If that takes a period of time with bad credit and possible legal action...then so be it. The way I see it there are three methods of action: 1. Don't pay at all and deal with calls, collection, and legal action anyways 2. BK (see personal reasons above) 3. Debt settlement I feel I have to go with #3. This way the creditors will get SOMETHING at least - not totally pulling the plug. Also, like I had stated earlier, I don't have the energy to do this with seven creditors. One or two maybe.....but seven? No way. Sometimes you have to pay for convienience...and close your eyes and pray to God that you are making the right choice. I wish you luck. PM me if you want to discuss your situation. Sharing my experiences may help you somewhat.
  11. A quick question for you all... Once an account is charged off is there a set limit on the amount of interest that can accrue until it is taken care of? Also - will late fees stop? I'm just wondering if the charge off will stop the 30+% hell I am in right now. If the laws are state-specific, I live in Michigan. Anyone know? Thanks.
  12. From what I see it doesn't really matter HOW beoram got to this point - he is in trouble and what led up to it is irrelevant. What IS relevant is how to deal with it. Yes - there are several options. Willing is right that MBNA's hardship program may be for you. I had over $30,000 on an MBNA account and they agreed to a five-year plan with payments at $600 a month with 1% interest. You can't really beat that, and your credit stays intact. Unfortunately for me big issue ended up being monthly cash flow and I had to go a different route. BK was not an option for personal reasons, so I elected to go with debt settlement. Is it expensive? Yes. Will it destroy your credit? Yes - almost as bad as BK but not quite. Do you pay less? Overall...yes. Less than the original balance. Possible legal action? Yes - if you let it go too long past charge-off or send cease and desist letters to the "wrong" creditor (i.e.: Citi or MBNA). From what I have determined MBNA will settle for as low as 25-30% IF you settle at the right time (right before charge-off) and talk to the right person. You could definitely avoid the fees and do it yourself with the information found on this board. I chose to hire someone simply because I don't want to deal with it. And yes...MBNA can issue a 1099-C so you have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount. Again, this was PERSONAL decision. I am not necessarily advocating it as the best solution. Only you can make that choice. On another note, you question on whether or not to negotiate while still paying minimum payments. Look at it like this: if you are making your payments then what incentive do they have to negotiate? beoram, PM me if you want to talk. I can't guarantee you anything, but I can share my experiences with you and maybe give you some food for thought. ...and NO - I do not work for a debt settlement company!!
  13. Hello all- I am currently going through the debt settlement process. I will have around six or seven charge-offs by the time it is all over. I KNOW that these debts are mine. I KNOW that they were charged off and settled - and will be reported as so by the CRA's. How in the world can you work on deleting these TL's if you KNOW they are right? What leg do you have to stand on? I would not feel comfortable saying "I don't remember owing this debt". Hogwash. Please advise.
  14. Hello all: A quick question on the DV process for you... I am wondering what the whole point of the DV process is other than to stall for time. From what I understand most creditors now assign instead of sell the account to the CA's. If that is the case, then I see two scenarios: 1. The CA provides proper documentation and you have no choice but to deal with them 2. They cannot verify and the debt goes back to the OC with the OC now either collecting on their own or going to another CA...and so on and so on...and possibly getting sued in the process depending on the OC In either case you will end up paying in full or settling somehow. So...what exactly IS the ultimate purpose of the DV process other than to stall an eventual payment? Please advise. I have been wondering this for some time now.
  15. Sheesh...I don't HAVE to pay anyone. I can trash my credit on my own. I've been doing a pretty good job of it lately!!
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