Successful Debt Negotiation and Debt Settlement Success Stories
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: June 12, 2017
Our methods of debt settlement do work. Some of you out there may be skeptical, but we can back up our claims by giving you some real life success stories as shared by our debt forum readers. You can visit our forum at any time and ask questions, read other posts, and get a lot of helpful tips from people just like you.
Below are just a few of the stories we have heard over they years. We hope yours will be another success story!
Was able to settle with collection agency, rather quickly, at about 30 percent. Their letter is good, covers what's needed.
I've thus far been able to negotiate 2 settlements - Wells Fargo and Bank of America. They both negotiated right before charge off @ 50% (3k and 1k settlements, respectively). The negotiations were relatively painless compared to the other creditors.
I just finished settling with Bank of America for 15%.
I just entered a settlement with HSBC for 50% of the balance paid over 6 months. I was at day 100 overdue not yet charged off. They sent a letter offering 60% but I was able to talk them down to 50%.
In December of 2007, I stopped making my credit card payments and I had $133,000 in credit card debt that was growing monthly at 29.99% interest with late fees and over-limit fees. I was more than panicked with many sleepless nights and the phone ringing off the wall.
I'm happy to say that with the right planning; I borrowed from my 401k, received money from family, cut back on my expenses and sold personal possessions - I was able to come up with enough money to settle my accounts. I had the following results:
BOA - 38% at 90 days delinquent
Chase - 45% at 120 days delinquent
Citi - 38% at about 100 days delinquent (they called me)
Discover - 50% at 170 days delinquent (the hardest one to settle)
Sears - 0% financing for 5 years at 120 days delinquent.
I now only owe $6,000 in credit card debt with Sears and resolved my credit card situation in about 7 months. I still have some tax implications to deal with, but I'm trying to sell my home so I can take care of that. If I do not sell by filing next April, I will just have to work something out with the IRS. I am insolvent for about $45,000 of the savings so my tax implications should be around $12,000 - I receive a refund generally of $5,000-$6,000 so that means I'll have $6,000-$7,000 left to pay them; the IRS will take a installment plan at 8% interest if you work it out with them and I could do that until I filed a few more years. They can have my refunds, to me it beats paying those credit cards who were at $4,000 a month by the time they were done with me.
I did my own negotiating with the creditors and found that if you treat them with respect; most of them treat you with respect. I talked to some very caring people that could relate to my situation.
I guess I would say from my experience, to anyone thinking of doing debt settlement, is to sit down and figure out what you owe and figure 50% of that amount is what you will need settle your accounts. I was fortunate because I saw it coming and was able to borrow before it was too late and that is what made my debt settlement successful. If you wait until it is too late and you have no resources to borrow from or family to help you; you will be less successful.
I think the biggest mistake people make is waiting and trying to keep paying until they are at the end of their rope. If you know you are in trouble, see it coming and still have some assets available by borrowing from your home or 401k or you still have some savings; don't use up all your resources until you have nothing else to tap into; stop the bleeding before it's too late.
This reader mailed in his experience with negotiating his debts down and repairing his credit report. We thought it was extremely valuable, so we are posting it here.
From 1992-1996, I went through a horrible period, mostly due to a bad marriage. During this time, my credit went downhill... fast. Needless to say, now I have a lot of work ahead of me to get my credit back.
I saw an ad back in March for AmeriDebt, which advertised for a "Debt-Consolidation Loan". While, by this time, I had already started to make some progress with repaying my debts, I thought that obtaining a consolidation loan might speed up the process a little. I filled in the information and applied, and got a response two days later.
The gentlemen that I spoke with sent a form for me to fill out, and explained to me that they were a "non-profit" organization. When I asked about the process, he explained that they could help me reduce my interest, and negotiate with my creditors. There really wasn't any mention about a loan. What was mentioned was the fact that they charged a "small fee" for their services to pay for their overhead. It didn't take me but a minute before I decided that I didn't want to spend extra money to pay someone else's bills. Needless to say, I didn't join.
I would like to let all of your readers know that they should be extremely cautious when dealing with debt consolidation companies. Much of what they offer, I have been able to do on my own, although it has been difficult.
The first step I did is request copies of my credit reports from all 3 CRA's. When requesting them, I asked for the list of creditors, which contains the addresses and phone numbers of all creditors listed. Then, I went through and itemized all of my negative bills, by both amount and type of certain bills are more often overlooked (medical bills, for instance) than others (charge-offs, installment accounts, repossessions, judgements, rent, and related items, etc.).
At this point, I began making payment plans with two or three creditors at a time. I found that oftentimes the amount shown on the credit report is the principal amount only, and the creditors have added interest. Nearly all of them cannot or will not negotiate on the principal amount, but will discuss reducing the interest (especially if they think they can get the bill paid immediately). Once I was satisfied that I was getting a fair deal, I paid the bill off, in each instance writing a check.
Once the check had cleared, I immediately contacted the CRAs and disputed the status and balance of the bill. I have found that this has worked to my advantage. Most of the collection agencies would respond as a paid collection (the best that I could hope for at the time, as they were 4-5 years delinquent), but many didn't respond to the CRAs, allowing the items to be deleted. Within the past six months, I have reduced my TransUnion report from 10 pages to 6! By year's end, I will have 1 negative account left open, and that one will be paid within the following year!!!
Anyway, sorry to ramble, but I want to let everyone out there know that they should strongly consider working on their own to repair their credit. I certainly believe that no one should have to pay someone to help them get out of debt. I appreciate the services that you offer, and find the site very insightful. I hope that more people are made aware of what they can do on their own.
Successful Hardworking Negotiator
And here's another letter from a determined lady who negotiated her way out of debt on her own:
You are the very BEST! I took all your advice and dealt with my creditors myself with great results! Not surprisingly, the credit card companies that are the biggest crooks (i.e. consistently post payments late so they can gouge out a "late fee") gave me the most grief. Others were really terrific.
All the info I got from you gave me the confidence to take matters into my own hands. I lined up my creditor info and started calling with my sob story and the when/how much I could pay. They seemed surprised that I called them. Then I told them I'd cooperate if they'd cut me some slack on the credit report. For the most part, they were okay to deal with. Their part of the game was to try to make me cough up more $$ than I could afford but I reminded them I'd been unemployed for almost 7 mos. and they backed down. Four of them were totally okay, but First USA (of course) and G.E.Card Services were jerks.
You may already know this but I'll mention it anyway. I found out its a very good idea to decide early in one's financial crisis which credit card(s) one will never be able to pay (or can live without) and use that to salvage a little portion of your credit report. For example, G.E. took it upon themselves to close my acct. once the pmt. was 57 days late. Well, now the report will reflect late pay AND they had to stop my deviant behavior by canceling my acct. Whereas if I'd beaten them to it and cancelled it myself (sensing that they'd probably be jerks anyway) when I knew I was about to take a financial dive, that wouldn't have been yet another glitch on my beloved credit report. It's not a big deal but maybe I can defend myself a little better someday if I can make it at least appear that I made the effort to stop the madness by closing the account. Thanks again.