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Debt consolidation help
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10/26/2010 12:37 AM (PST)

Hi Susie,and Renee

Go to debt settlement letters, click on link'samples.
There is so much information on this website, start with the settlement letters, you should make all offers in writting, as you read through the site, you will begin to learn how to best handle your individual situaion. Don't let the amount you owe, or the lawyers scare you into accepting an arrangement you cannot or do not agree to. Finding out how many times your debt has been sold, will help you to know how much bargining power you actually have. More than likely the offers they already offered, is much more than they bought it for. The site teaches you how to figure the estimated current amount. Also stop giving companies new information about you, when you get a call from them, you can request in writing from them to give you the information in your file, so many people owe so much today, that you have a right to make the company give you the information they are holding. When you answer their questions or admit to a debt before you are sure the account is yours, you hold yourself liable to the debt, they will try to scare you and not give you the info, because when they buy your debt, the usually do not get all of your info, so talking to you is how the get it, you can confirm you are you,even your phone # is yours, anything else let them provide. After the debt is sold several times, the current collector probably don't even know the orginal company or the original amount. If this info has already been given recently, then read through the sample letters and choose the one that best fits your need, they have counter offer letters to, just do not agree until you are comfortable. Also check the SOL (statue of limitation) in your state, this is available on this site. Creditor, collectors, even verbal agreements have a limitation, meaning after this time has passed, they cannot legally collect from you, just tell them, or the lawyers, even the court, the statue of limitation has expired. You must know though, every time a collector notifies you, and you admit to the debt, anytime you pay on the debt,or update your info with any collector, the SOL starts over. Read through the site, educate yourself and you will be ok, also, almost forgot, when you start to write letters and work out a settlement, be sure to request,in writing, that they agree to take all negative info related to the account can handleoff your credit file, as well as list the account paid in full, on all of the credit beauwhat you agree to. ru. After you are comfortable, and they agree in writing, be prepared to pay by money order the amount, in the time agreed upon, if you do not follow through, the offer becomes void, you forfeits, and the company can sue for the full amount, and you will have to start over, so be sure you can handle what you agree to.

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10/26/2010 7:54 AM (PST)

In the post above, Mary is talking about Junk Debt Buyers as opposed to debt settlement (but JDBs do offer "settlement" plans for the debts they are trying to collect on). Junk debt buyers are collection agencies who purchase charged off debts (aka "zombie debt" since it's Halloween season). This is one of the most predatory industries in America.

Be aware that junk debt buyers (and others) access credit bureau lists to locate former debtors who are applying for current credit. Be sure you opt out of these lists! You have two choices for opting out: you can opt out of receiving these offers for five years or opt out permanently. Opt out permanently, and be aware you'll have to go thru an annoying gauntlet of sales pitches & other obstructions. For permanent opting out, you'll have to print out a form and mail it. Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit

Junk debt buyers are notorious for adding on bogus interest charges and other fees. The LABBB has an informational article on "How To Deal With a Collection Agency" at:

The telephone number and website for opting out of pre-screened credit offers are managed by the major credit bureaus. When you call or visit the website, you'll be asked to provide certain personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out. Remember that if you have joint credit relationships, like a mortgage or a car loan with a spouse, partner, or other adult, you may continue to receive some prescreened solicitations until both of you exercise your opt-out right.

There's lots of good info on dealing with collection agencies at this site too:

Be aware of your rights, which many JDBs frequently violate, and submit a complaint to the BBB and to the FTC if necessary. Check out the FTC site
"Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers" at:

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