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24k in CC Debt, should I stop paying and try settling? or stick it out

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Hello Everyone,

I just came across this forum 2 days ago and it has been the best information gatherer out there.

I have a major decision to make and would love anyone’s input or opinions!

Me and my wife have been struggling with paying our minimum CC payment for the last year, but so far we have not missed one payment and are up to date on all of our accounts.

Here is a summary of the accounts:

 

Bank Name   Min. Payment        Balance      Interest

Citi Card I        $93.00            $6,238.85       17.90%

Citi Card II       $26.88            $3,196.28        24.50%

Chase I            $37.00           $3,821.33        18.00%

Chase II           $28.00           $2,836.81        19.00%

Prosper Loan   $395.79        $8,595.10        14.50%

Total:              $580.67        $24,688.37

 

 

We are going to incur some serious medical expenses from now till August (High Risk Pregnancy) and we are

thinking of stopping on all of our payments and try to settle with the creditors ourselves. We have approx. $10,000

right now that we can use for settlements plus the $580.67 per month from now till 4 months  (my goal would be to settle

with the OC before it goes to collections) would equal a total of approx.$ 12,300.00 to use for settling these accounts,

is this reasonable? With my current income and the debt that we will incur via medical bills we are going to have to stop paying

in 6 months anyway so I’d rather stop now save that money for a settlement.

A couple things to clarify:

 

1.       I DO NOT care if my Credit score goes to Zero!

2.       I would be happy with settling these accounts @ 40% or less

3.       I look forward to documenting everything and handling the calls and letters.

4.       I do not want to be sued or taken to court if possible

5.       I do not own any assets (No home, or Car)

6.       I have close to $10,000 saved in cash (to be used for Settlements/ Medical expenses)

7.       I should be able to prove that I am delinquent at the end of this year so a 1099-C will not affect me

 

My main goal is to just get rid of these pesky irritating credit cards and to NEVER get them again.

Right now I plan on stopping all payments by this next month (March) and close down my account with my

current bank where I do all my payments with (ACH) on all 5 accounts. Then do all my banking with a different

local bank. (I already have an established account) I also am thinking of withdrawing all of my money that I currently

have and keeping everything in cash while I go through this ordeal. I also want to get a Cheap pre-paid phone and change

all my accounts to that phone # (that way I will know anytime that phone rings I know who it is :)

PLEASE GIVE ME ANY IDEAS/ SUGGESTIONS THAT I SHOULD BE DOING BEFORE I STOP ANY PAYMENTS!

 

Thanks everyone for the help

I Strive to learn!

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Get ready, Citibank will sue within six months of default and in your state usually Jovich ,Block and Rat.handles the account.

 

Chase doesn't sue as often as it used to  after the shake down few years ago, but It will drive you nuts with NCO from India call center. Make sure keep those recorded messages even if its for laugh , but they will disguise the number so the call looks like its from a local number. It usually has a + sign infront of it. Take pictures from caller ID.

 

It's a good idea to change phone number on the accounts to a prepaid phone.

 

If you have had a cell phone number as your contact with any of the two above I'd do this in case of default;  write and ask creditors not to call cell phone. I do this via certified mail return receipt. After that wait and see how miliciously they auto-dial your cell phone. take picture, record the calls just say don't call my cell and hang up ! a few of these will be a good leverage for negotiation and getting a favorable settlement.

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I think you have a good plan to settle your debts.  Most credit card companies will not even talk to you until you have defaulted.   Normally I advise a client to pay the minimum payments on the lower APR cards while paying down the card with the highest APR and then go from card to card that way to pay them off but you indicate you are struggling to pay the minimum payment.

 

Whatever you do, do not fall for one of the credit card settlement scams.  You will be able to tell the ones trying to scam you if you pay then $x per month and they are taking the majority of that payment for fees.   There may be attorneys in your state that assist in debt settlement.  If you choose to use an attorney look for one who charges a contingency on the amount saved and nothing else other than out of pocket costs.   You may not need an attorney but most states have laws that a creditor cannot call if they know you have an attorney and you may not want to deal with all the phone calls.

 

Also, get all settlements in writing before you pay.   Settlements are worth the paper they are written on and if it's strictly oral......................  Many states require settlements to be in writing anyway.

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Thanks guys.. Good idea on the revocation letter! So I send that right before I stop making payments, send the letter then change the number to my pre-paid #?

So if I stop my payments next month do I call them and explain why or wait till 90 days past due?

I would rather not do a BK b/c of the publicity of it.

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Don't worry, they'll call you. ;-)

 

Just be on alert , NEVER talk to a debt collector if you are going to say something like " I lost my job or dont have money , etc."

 

Be careful, to never get angry or use faul language as you may end up presenting a copy of recording to court , it will not be received favarobly.

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weighing in on this turn of events I would stop paying and take the money that you would pay and put it into an account use that money to litigate and stretch it out when you are near to getting a judgment against you, If a lower balance account is suing you take a judgment on that one the others cannot collect right away until that is paid off then start to bargain such as they can have 20% of it or none of it. With a warchest then BK is possible because you have the money.

 

as for the medical debt that is sticky also because they will be the first to go to court, so to stall the medical debt, you sue the smallest balance card for FDCPA violations if they have done that or breach of contract for whatever, they will cross complain then you can dismiss yours and take a stipulated judgement once the small judgment is their they will wait for awhile because they know that you can only pay one judgment atr a time with qwage garnishment. you can even move the court to lower the wage garnishment to a small level.

 

Just some outlandish rantings but the underlying strategy is save money for a lawyer or BK. By the time the get around to sue you get a lawyer for the first case and that plaintiff will get the word out that you have a lawyer.

 

You hear the collectors crying about a 2 percent litigation rate saying it raises the cost of credit hogwash it is the selling of supposedly valid and well documented accounts for 4%of their value that is raising the costs of credit.

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I can only speak from my personal experience with Chase. When I became unemployed back in the 2008-2009 Recession/Depression and notified them that I had lost my job, within the first 2 months of default while in one of my first conversations with them, the woman blurted out "We'd be willing to settle the account for 50% of the balance (which was over 15k). I could not have afford that amount at the time, but was stunned at how quickly they offered to settle. Now granted, this was at a time when CC defaults were swelling, so it would be impossible for me to speculate what their current inclination would be towards these situations 3-4 years later.

 

I remember being shocked at how quickly they were willing to negotiate without any effort on my part.  I am a wiser consumer today, though. Who knows if they would have settled and sold the balance to some bottom feeding JDB for a song, who would have then come after me for the remaining 50%. I'm glad I never took their offer. It's been sold to a JDB who has to date, not pursued the matter. It's now beyond the SOL for Delaware so I at least have somewhat of a Defensible position under Choice of Law.

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The banks wont settle with you till you default.

 

You might try and get citi and chase to combine the credit cards in to one credit card account with each bank,I think you would save a ton of money on interest alone.Also it would take two accounts out of the court system that you could be sued over.

 

medical debt

Assistance programs. Ask the hospital's patient liaison to review your case and see whether you qualify for financial assistance from the government, a charitable organization or the hospital itself. Most will forgive some or all bills for people whose income falls below certain amounts tied to federal poverty levels. Also pursue this avenue with your doctor or other provider.

Ohio Free Health Clinics

AAPIO Clinic (Bharatiya Temple) Dr. Raj Tripathi, Medical Director 3671 Hyatts Road Powell, Ohio 43065 AAPIOCLINIC@yahoo.com

Ashland Christian Health Center Bobbi Harpster, Executive Director 400 Orange Street Suite 208 Ashland, Ohio 44805 419.207.3911 419.207.3913 fax cjbobbi@zoominternet.net

Asian Health Initiative/AACS Ayako Kaino, Free Clinic Coordinator 4100 N. High Street, Suite 301 Columbus, Ohio 43214 614.220.4023 x235 614.220.4024 fax akaino@aacsohio.org

The Breathing Association Teresa Allton, Lung Health Clinic Director 1520 Old Henderson Road Columbus, Ohio 43220 614.437.1520 614.457.3777 fax tallton@breathingassociation.com

By The Way, Inc. Medical Mission – Free Clinic Cathy Barthelmas, Executive Director 1029 S. Broad Street Lancaster, Ohio 43130 740.653.5734 740.653.0242 fax bythewayfreeclinic@sbcglobal.net

Clinic at Faith Mission Shannon Easter, Clinic Director 315 E. Long Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 614.224.6617 ext. 2173 614.221.0936 fax zcolon@lssco.org

Columbus Free Clinic Elizabeth Halley, Secretary 2231 N. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43212 614.404.8417 elizabeth.halley@osumc.edu

Community Health Clinic Christine Shaffer, Executive Director 743 E. Main Street Newark, Ohio 43055 740.345.1613 740.349.0956 fax Shaffer_chris@yahoo.com

Compassion Medical Clinic of Williams County Diane Ullom, Executive Director 614 E. Edgerton Street (PO Box 644) Bryan, Ohio 43506 419.630.0313 ddullom@yahoo.com

Compassionate Care of Shelby County Teresa Ditmer, Executive Director 124 North Ohio Avenue Sidney, Ohio 45365 www.ccsccares.org 937.492.9400 937.492.1409 fax teresa@ccscares.org

The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland Danny Williams, Executive Director 12201 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44106 www.thefreeclinic.org 216.721.1667 216.721.2431 fax dwilliams@thefreeclinic.orglreeder@thefreeclinic.org

Free Clinic of Clinton County, Inc. Dr. Keith Holten, Secretary/Treasurer 62 East Sugartree Street Wilmington, Ohio 45177 937.383.3382 937.383.0610 fax keholtenmd@cmhregional.com

Good Neighbor House Cassandra Wayes, Executive Director 844 S. Patterson Boulevard Dayton, Ohio 45402 www.goodneighborhouse.org 937.224.3003 GNHCJW@ameritech.net

Hartville Migrant Ministries Lynn Klein, Board Vice President 3980 Swamp Street Hartville, Ohio 44632 www.hartvillemigrantministries.org 330.877.2983 (phone/fax) lklein@hartvillemigrantministries.org

Health Partners of Miami County Deborah Miller, Executive Director 1300 N. County Road 25A Troy, Ohio 45373 www.healthpartnersclinic.org 937.332.0894 937.339.7084 fax healthpartners@woh.rr.com

Helping Hands Health & Wellness Center Joyce Bourgault, Director 1421 Morse Road Columbus, Ohio 43229 614.262.5094 614.778-0153 helpinghandsfreeclinic@hotmail.com

Jefferson County 4th Street Health Center Angela Quillen, Executive Director 701 North Fourth Street Steubenville, Ohio 43952 740.283.2856 740.283.2932 fax hillharr@yahoo.com

Lake County Free Clinic Anna Fetzer, Executive Director 54 South State Street, Room 302 Painesville, Ohio 44077 440.352.8686 440.352.8107 fax afetzer@lakefreeclinic.org

Lorain County Free Clinic Paul Baumgartner, Executive Director 3323 Pearl Avenue Lorain, Ohio 44055 www.lcfreeclinic.org 440.277.7602 440.277.5160 fax lcfc@centurytel.net

Madison County Health Partners Melissa Canney, Executive Director 210 North Main Street London, Ohio 43140 740.845.7286 mcanney@mch-ohio.org

Medina Health Ministry Kim Bowen, M.D., Board President Tonya Martin, RN 425 West Liberty St. Suite 1 Medina, Ohio 44256 330.764.9300 Tkmartin1@zoominternet.net

Metro Youth Outreach Free Clinic Mika Major, contact 6600 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44102 216.651.5428 x22 216.651.6439 fax mmajor@lgbtcleveland.org

Midlothian Free Clinic Allen Sinclair, Executive Director 388 East Midlothian Blvd Youngstown, Ohio 44507 330.788.3330 allensinclair@zoominternet.net

North Coast Health Ministry Lee Elmore, Executive Director 16110 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44107 www.nchealthministry.org 216.228.7878 216.529.5051 fax lelmore@nchealthministry.org

Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Community Health Programs Kathy Trace, Director 055 Grosvenor Hall Athens, Ohio 45701 740.593.9364 740.593.9536 fax tracek@ohio.edu

Oxford College Corner Clinic Dawn Pfohl, Board President P.O. Box 390 Oxford, Ohio 45056 513.523.3742 pfohld@muohio.edu

Parma Health Ministry Gene Lovasy, Board Chair and CEO Executive Director 7000 Ridge Road Parma, Ohio 44129-5621 440.843.8087 440.843.8503 fax eel40@cox.net pmh7000@sbcglobal.net

Columbus Medical Association Physicians Free Clinic Kathryn Clark, Nurse Coordinator 431 E. Broad Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 www.goodhealthcolumbus/pfc 614.240.7430 614.240.7418 fax kclark@goodhealthcolumbus.org

Reach Out of Montgomery County Sharon Sherlock, Executive Director 25 E. Foraker Street Dayton, Ohio 45409 www.daytonreachout.org 937.258.2000 937.258.2566 fax Sharon.sherlock@wright.edu

Southwest General Neighborhood Care Center Debbie Borowske, Director 17951 Jefferson Park Drive Cleveland, Ohio 44130 440.816.4039 dborowske@swgeneral.com

OPEN M's Summit County Free Clinic Lisa Fazenbaker, Clinic Director 941 Princeton Street Akron, Ohio 44311 www.openm.org 330.434.0110 330.434.6661 fax clinic@openm.org

Toledo/Lucas County CareNet Jan Ruma, Executive Director 3231 Central Park West, Suite 200 Toledo, Ohio 43617 419.842.0800 419.843.8889 fax jruma@hcno.org

Total Living Center Ministries, Inc. Dr. Edward Hill, Medical Director 2221 9th Street SW, P.O. Box 6477 Canton, Ohio 44706 www.totallivingcenter.org 330.455.3663 330.455.5355 fax codthe@aol.com kimble1attlc@yahoo.com brettew@malone.edu

Townhall II Medical Clinic Cathy Smathers, Clinic Director 155 N. Water Street, Suite 210 Kent, Ohio 44240 www.townhall2.com 330.678.3006 330.346.3039 fax cathys@townhall2.com

Tuscarawas Clinic for the Working Uninsured Wendy Thomas, RN, Executive Director 44762 County Road 23 Coshocton, Ohio 43812 740.622.0935 wmtrn@roadrunner.com Dr. Brenda S. Prince, Medical Director 247 Rutledge Drive Akron, Ohio 44319 330-644-7577

University Family Physicians Race Track Clinic Dr. Joe Kiesler, Program Director 2123 Auburn Avenue, Suite 340 Cincinnati, Ohio 45219 513.721.2221 Ext. 15 513.345.6665 fax kieslehj@fammed.uc.edu

Vineyard Free Health Clinics Jason Pierce Director of Health Clinics 6000 Cooper Road Westerville, Ohio 43081 614.259.5511 614.890.5056 fax jason.pierce@vineyardcolumbus.org

Viola Startzman Free Clinic John Moritz, Executive Director 1874 Cleveland Road Wooster, Ohio 44691 www.viola-startzman-free-clinic.org 330.262.2500 330.264.8713 fax jmoritz@startzmanfreeclinic.org

Western Stark Medical Clinic Gary Feagles, Executive Director 820 Amherst Road NE Massillon, Ohio 44646 330.834.1546 330.834.1548 fax gfeagles@wsclinic.org

Wheeling Health Right Kathie Brown, Director 61 29th Street Wheeling, West Virginia 26003 www.wheelinghealthright.com 304.233.9323 304.233.9348 fax kbrown@wheelinghealthright.com

Xenos/Youth For Christ Free Clinic Dr. Tony Khoury, Executive Director 40 N. Chicago Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43222 614.823.6510 x840 614.921.9029 fax tkhoury@glasscity.net

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Racecar, 
Thanks alot for your all the info you provided, unfortunately we do not qualify for the assistance at our hospital (Aultman) I make 45k a year and we have no kids. And switching hospital's is not an option b/c of my wife's medical condition (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy) Aultman has been taking care of her since diagnosis at age 14.
 
We did negotiate with Aultman and they are giving us a 40% discount on all medical bills but it will still be 20k +,  but I signed up with a community program that helps with paying uninsured medical expenses and from what we have discovered we will have to come up with no more than 6k unless our bill goes over 80k.
 
A recent job change bumped my salary by 50% but in the process we lost our Insurance. 
 
I really am not interested in filing for BK.    Thanks everyone
 
The main question that I have for you guys is this:
 
Do I take my 10k that I have saved right now for my medical expenses and keep making the min. payments for the next 10+ years till they are paid off? It will be hard to make it through the next 6 months doing this but I think we could MAYBE do it but what happens the next time another emergency comes up?
 
OR

Stop all payments and default on my loans and CC and then try to settle for 40% or less and get rid of this debt for good!! That way I can then start saving for future medical bills and other emergencies ( I want to start a n HSA account)

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If you default, you'll have five lawsuits to eventually deal with and the amounts will be significantly higher than they are now. How's this....pay off the big Citi Card in its entirety and see if they will renegotiate the interest rate on the other one. See if Chase will do the same. Put the rest into the prosper loan, ask them to rewrite it so you can get a low monthly payment, and you may see your total payments on this pile of debt drop to about a hundred bucks a month. This will save your credit and keep you out of court.

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If you default, you'll have five lawsuits to eventually deal with and the amounts will be significantly higher than they are now. How's this....pay off the big Citi Card in its entirety and see if they will renegotiate the interest rate on the other one. See if Chase will do the same. Put the rest into the prosper loan, ask them to rewrite it so you can get a low monthly payment, and you may see your total payments on this pile of debt drop to about a hundred bucks a month. This will save your credit and keep you out of court.

Bruno,

Great advice and its one I have been comtemplating, my fear is if I do that in 5-6 months I will have a medical bill of 10k or so and wont be able to pay so therefore I will be dealing with defaults anyway and with no cash left over for trying to get settlements..

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Well, there are a lot of different ways to go with this, but waiting to get sued and hoping for a deal isn't the best choice. I'm sure the hospital will make you a deal you can afford. Sometimes you can put this through a city or town welfare program and the hospital will reduce the bill to Medicare rate, which is quite a reduction, maybe 75% off.

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Here is a little sidenote:

The reason that I am even thinking of a Settlement is because last week I received a letter in the mail from "Debt Arbitrators" saying I can cut my debt from 24k to 10k, (first I ever heard of CC doing a settlement, I'm a newbie)

So I called them on Saturday Talked with a Laurie from Debt Arbitrators and she was really nice and persuasive and convinced me to sign up Saturday ( I musta been drunk at the time)

 and here is a copy of what they purposed:

 

Summary of Key Terms:

Total Monthly Payment:    $762.17

Amount of Enrolled Debt:  $24,653.62

Service Fee:  $2958.44

Monthly Maintenance Fee:  $49.95

Estimated Timeframe:  18 Months

Estimated Savings Required:  $9,861.52

First \ Recurring Start Date: 2-28-2013

 

After signing that and actually THINKING a little I realized that this must be some kind of scam and started searching online for more information and found you guys! :) I have since Saturday been reading about Debt settlement nonstop.

I also CANCELED my contract that I signed and the nice lady became a little nasty.

 

Also on the contract that they gave me to sign it says that it is from "Limited Scope Legal Services Agreement" From ********* LAW FIRM, LLC I tried searching for a firm with that name in Texas and came up with a website that matched exactly the same name, but it said it only does family and criminal Law. So I called the Firm (real one) and asked them if they realize that there name is being used in a scam? She was astounded and wanted any and all information that I had.

I emailed her a copy of what I had signed and have since been talking with her and she is setting up a defamation lawsuit and wants to use me as a witness.

 

What do you think guys?  I am not releasing the law firms name b/c I dont want to further muddy the waters for them.

 

Sorry for the ramble, I should maybe start a seperate post for this..

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Well, there are a lot of different ways to go with this, but waiting to get sued and hoping for a deal isn't the best choice. I'm sure the hospital will make you a deal you can afford. Sometimes you can put this through a city or town welfare program and the hospital will reduce the bill to Medicare rate, which is quite a reduction, maybe 75% off.

Bruno, I have had the hospital check for any kind of program to help me but we do not qualify, they said the best the can do is a 40% discount.

For me I want to stay in good terms with this hospital as they have been great dealing with my wife's condition and they are the only one's that she will trust.

So I would MUCH rather pay the Hospital, but the CC companies can go shove it for all I care.

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I'd suggest two things: 

 

1). Take the $580/mon your paying for the CCs and buy your wife health ins.  The premium is tax deductible (probably) and if there are complications, you're covered.  You might have some co-pays to deal with, but chances are the insurance plan has a cap on how much.  For my plan, its $2k out-of-pocket max, per person.

 

b. Use Bruno's approach to dividing the $10,000 among the CCs. (Although, actually, I'd pay off the 3 with the highest interest rate, and then deal with the others).   As he implies, don't wait for "default"...call them and ask for the "hardship" department.  See what you can work out, but don't agree to anythoing until you talk to them all and make sure you can stick to their deals.

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As soon as I get the first bill from any creditor, I send them a cmrr letter like this one:

 

 

 

xx Bank

xx address

 

 

Re:

Account # xx

 

To whom it may concern:

 

I hereby notify you that I remove any consent I might have give you to receive calls and messages, including autodialed and prerecorded message calls, from xx Bank, xx card issuer (if is a store card), their affiliates, marketing partners, agents and others calling at their request or on your/their behalf, at any telephone number that I have provided or may provide in the future (including any cellular telephone number).

 

I do still give my consent for xx Bank, and xx issuer, to call me with a live person, exclusive to my phone number xx.

 

 

The cross out part, you might wanna put it or not, I do since is not for defaulted accounts is just to avoid beeing call by pesky machines 24/7, not to avoid beeing called by a real person if they really need to contact me.

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