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helping a friend stay away from debt consolidation


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my friend that i went to college with has bit the big one. she has tons of cc's maxed out. she is at 110% utilization. but she has

Discover 2,500

Mbna 3,600

Citibank 5,600

American Eagle 460

express 890

gap 236

limited 50

victoria's secret 594

maurices 775

and a 'stage' charge off for 340

she says her sister did debt consolidation and it helped her cut her payments down. she is young and has a shitty job. i told her to try to pay down her newest cards and the ones over their limit. i told her to try to close her newest cards but to keep the older ones. and to call the big dogs about special programs to help her. should she just do the debt consolidation thing? her scores are sooo low she has 2 judgments and 2 paid collections in addition to all these cards. i want to help her get her judgments/collections/charge off deleted maybe, but will d/c make that impossible? any advice?

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DC sucks. Half the time, they don't get the payments to the OCs on time, making your credit worse! I tried DC and it was horrible. Negotiating with the OCs directly is the best way to go. I think most of the big boys (Discover, etc) have hardship programs. She should even think about picking up Dave Ramsey's book, Financial Peace. It's got sample letters to send to OCs to temporarily reduce payments and lots of info about getting out of debt.

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