The Facts about Debt Settlement
This article seeks to eliminate the mystery surrounding debt settlement and to clear up any misconceptions about debt settlement programs in general. Makes good reading for someone considering this option.
The service known as debt settlement may not be what one thinks it is. Below are the basics of debt settlement that are good to be aware of before enrolling.
Debt settlement is a program for those with financial hardship. If one does not struggle to pay their bills they should not typically enroll in such a program. This service is one which offers a compromise between one's current hardship and filing bankruptcy.
Monthly payments do not go directly to ones creditors. Payments only go towards two places, fees and escrow funds. The escrow funds are used to settle the accounts, typically in a lump sum, with the creditors. As it often takes months or even years for enough funds to accrue in escrow, some creditors do not see any money at all for a long time.
This service does not completely stop creditor calls. Creditors continue to call in attempts to collect funds. There are steps settlement companies can take to avoid debt collector calls but the laws to stop creditor harassment typically only apply to collection agencies not creditors. If a person is preparing to enter a settlement program they should also prepare to deal with creditor calls. Note that creditor and collector calls to one's work place can typically be stopped in debt settlement.
Settlement quotes are an estimate only. There is truly no way to guarantee an exact quote for debt settlement as it varies depending on the creditors, the client's financial situation, and other factors. Therefore the initial quote and payoff time may be better or worse than estimated. In these cases the client would get the remaining funds returned to them or need to make additional payments respectively. The vast majority of settlement clients save a great deal of money vs. paying their creditors in full plus fees. The settlement option is for those who are struggling so even a moderate savings is much better than none at all.
This service cannot prevent you from being sued. No service can! Legal reality in America is that anyone can sue anyone else and nothing can stop that. Debt settlement companies can and do, however, attempt to settle the debt out of court. Many companies assist by suggesting lawyers in the clients area who can help them further for lower rates. As a general rule it is best to keep the program term as short as possible to avoid lawsuits and accrue funds in escrow rapidly.
For those who qualify for and understand settlement programs fully many benefits can be achieved through this type of program. As always "be prepared" is the best motto to follow.
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