Debt Settlement Fees

Today, the Federal Trade Commission came down hard on for-profit debt relief firms. The FTC’s new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule will prohibit debt relief companies from collecting advance fees, among other things. Here is some basic information about the new Rule.

Who: The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the Telemarketing Sales Rule, has developed the new rules.

The rule applies to all for-profit debt relief agencies that sell debt relief services over the telephone, including those that discuss settlement over the phone with prospective clients. In other words, they don’t have to be cold-calling consumers to be covered by the rule.

When:

These final amendments are effective on September 27, 2010, except for the upfront fee ban, which is effective on October 27, 2010.

What:

The Rule will:

(1) prohibit debt relief service providers from collecting a fee for services until a debt has been settled, altered, or reduced;

(2) require certain disclosures in calls marketing debt relief services; and

(3) prohibit specific misrepresentations about material aspects of the services.

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Is a Debt Settlement Program just a Scam?

For starters it is important for people to understand what debt settlement is and how it works. The main goals a consumer is trying to reach with a debt settlement program are twofold, one is to save money on how much debt they currently owe and the second is to become debt free as fast as possible. Now one thing must be understood, debt settlement is not for everyone, and what I mean by that is the process is not the easiest to go through and people must understand that prior to enrolling into a debt settlement program. In order to get a settlement on any of your credit card accounts you must first realize that falling behind on the payments for these accounts is necessary. There are no creditors anywhere that are willing to negotiate a debt settlement when someone is current with their payments. I mean if you think about it why would they? If they feel you can maintain your monthly minimums that is right where they would like you to stay. It’s called the “credit treadmill”, a vicious cycle of minimum payments that will last over thirty years and cost the consumer tens of thousands in interest. This is precisely how the creditors make so much money and this is right where they would like you to stay.

So you must understand that during the debt settlement process you will have to fall behind on your debts for the creditors to settle with you. Once you stop paying them they completely change their tune and are much more receptive to reducing your debt drastically. Like I said earlier this process will not be for everyone some people cannot come to grip with the fact they must fall behind on the payments and that is unfortunate. For these people they will stay slaves to their creditors for what may end up being decades and lose a whole lot of money throughout the process. Now during that time when a debtor is falling behind on payments the goal will be to save up as much money as possible. This will then enable the debtor to be in position to have a negotiation made thus making a one time payment to the creditor closing out that particular account. This process is repeated over and over again until all the accounts have been settled and the person is then debt free. With a good and reputable debt settlement company the client can expect to save around 50% or more of what they currently owe including paying the fee as well.

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Debt Settlement Law Firm vs Debt Settlement Company

Unless you have been living under a rock, you should understand that the American marketplace has seriously gone down south. People have been losing work, their places of residence, and many their sanity. A single difficulty that has pretty much been haunting consumers since this has occurred is large amounts of consumer credit card debt. Debtors can be found trying to beat large monthly premiums that practically never seem to go down plus interest rates that are totally absurd. One plan that has been truly proving to be a success for most consumers is credit card debt settlement; however there are two forms of debt settlement programs. Currently, there are business models that can be setup using a lawyer and then programs that can be set up with a standard service. The former is what will be able to really present debtors a great possibility to become debt free in the least amount of time with the least amount of concerns.

With a credit card debt settlement program, the debtor must fall into delinquency on their minimum payments and save money on the side. This will allow them to in time work out a one time lump sum payment and close the deficit out. Oftentimes the consumer can salvage about half what they owe plus find themselves out of debt in just a couple years. That is very good; however there are a couple downsides with debt settlement that can make using a lawyer more beneficial to the consumer. For starters once you fall past due on the debts the lenders can try to gather the balance due through calls. A law firm has the ability to lawfully limit collection agencies from constantly harassing the client, at which a company cannot. One more downside to the debt settlement plan will be the potential for getting sued. With having retained a law firm, then they will lawfully interact with and still negotiate with a bank who will be making an effort to take somebody to the courtroom. This is a great selling point for people when using a debt settlement law firm over a company.

Consequently if you have found you and your family to be jammed in extreme measures of consumer credit card debt then contacting a debt settlement law firm is probably an exceedingly prudent idea for you and your family’s economical safety. Being caught in personal credit card debt which will by no means go away is a very bad economic move to make and can make investing savings almost impossible for the regular American. You should come to grasp how much more comfortable month to month bill handling might turn out to be when you no longer need to worry about expensive credit card expenses that must be paid with no ending in view.

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Debt Doesn’t Discriminate

Debt – it can happen to anyone. Some think that those who bring in a “certain level” of income are immune to financial hardships, but that simply is not the case. Often times, we hear stories of wealthy individuals or huge corporations filing for bankruptcy because of uncontrollable circumstances or poor financial planning.

In a story released this week by The Guardian, we learned that even royalty isn’t immune to debilitating debt, as Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, is considering filing for bankruptcy after years of money woes. The article states that the Duchess is considering a number of ways to manage her personal finances, but has yet to settle on one option:

Ferguson’s spokesman said she was reluctant to declare herself bankrupt. “There is a number of options open to the duchess, of which bankruptcy is one. But it would be premature to say she is going into bankruptcy as the situation is being managed,” she said.

Many people around the world, no matter their income, are currently weighing their options for dealing with large amounts of debt. While bankruptcy is one alternative, it may not be right for you. Consider credit counseling or debt settlement as alternative to bankruptcy – these options take less time and have a smaller impact on your credit score and history.

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Chase Credit Card Settlement

Credit card debt is one of the main problems that is facing people all around the US, and the Chase credit card is one of the most commonly used card. The highest interest rates, coupled with diminishing wealth during the economy downturn, debt is rising at breakneck speed. Today, people owe more on their credit cards because they are using those cards to cover things that their paychecks no longer can. It is possible to negotiate with the company, with the help of a debt settlement company, to help with a Chase credit card settlement.

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Determine the Extent of Your Debt Problem

Step 1

Request a copy of your credit report from one or all three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S. The companies are TransUnion LLC, Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc., and Experian.

Step 2

Review your credit report and check for inaccuracies, such as incorrect personal information, accounts that do not belong to you and even accounts listed with balances that are actually paid in full. It’s also important to know your FICO score, which is a credit score system. The acronym ‘FICO’ is derived from the name of the software used to calculate the score. While FICO scores range from 300-850, the average score is somewhere in the high 500s.

Step 3

Determine how much debt you have by adding up the balances of all of your credit accounts, loans, both secured and unsecured, and even collection accounts.

Step 4

Use this information when making your decisions about filing for bankruptcy or employing a debt settlement agency to help alleviate your financial problems.

Examine Your Monthly Finances

Step 1

On a sheet of paper, list all of your monthly income including paychecks, alimony/spousal support, child support, bank, investment and rental interests or income. If you work overtime or receive bonuses, include that information, too. If you opt for filing bankruptcy, you will need to include your average monthly income from the six months prior to filing in your bankruptcy petition, so it’s important to get these numbers no matter which solution you opt for, bankruptcy or credit counseling.

Step 2

On another sheet of paper, list all of your mandatory monthly living expenses, such as for housing, transportation, insurance, prescriptions and doctor visits, utilities, groceries and education-related costs. Don’t include payments for credit card debts, entertainment, or other items that are not necessary for your day-to-day survival. Definitely do not list an expense twice. That means if you used your credit cards to buy prescriptions, include that cost in your mandatory expenses list. However, if you used your credit card to buy a shirt, do not list the purchase on your mandatory expenses list at all, unless it was necessary for say, work.

Step 3

Subtract the total of your monthly living expenses from your total monthly income. A balanceindicates you have expendable income you could potentially use to pay down your debts. A zero or negative balance indicates you do not have expendable income that could be used to pay down your debt.

Step 4

These calcuations are important for helping you formulate your decisions about filing for bankruptcy or seeking the aid of a debt settlement agency.

Determining if Debt Settlement is Right For You

Step 1

Determine if you could pay down your debts with your current income. If your income does not exceed your housing expenses, utilities, gas, groceries, and basic financial needs for the month, debt settlement is not a viable solution for you. However, if your monthly income exceeds your basic living expenses, debt settlement may help you resolve your financial crisis.

Step 2

Determine if your debt situation qualifies for debt settlement services by examining the total amount of unsecured debt you owe. To qualify, you will usually need to owe at least $7,500 in unsecured debt. However, the qualifying balance will vary by debt settlement company. Make sure you ask each debt settlement company about their unsecured debt balance requirements to determine which debt settlement company is right for your situation.

Step 3

Look for reputable debt settlement companies. Companies that charge huge fees up-front are companies to be avoided. Opt for debt settlement companies endorsed by the Better Business Bureau, or some other reputable pro-consumer group. Make sure to check that their fees are reasonable for the services rendered.

Step 4

Compare the services each company offers. Look for companies with a sound history of effectively negotiating with creditors. Ask for references or case studies you can examine that prove the company’s track record. If company representatives are hesitant to provide you with that information, walk, don’t run, out their door.

Step 5

Examine the pros and cons of committing to a debt settlement program. Ask the debt settlement company if by hiring them to represent you to negotiate your debts will your various creditors how your life might be impacted. Will those harrassing creditor calls stop? (possible, but no guarantees. Creditors can still contact you for the collection of debts they are owed unless or until you file bankruptcy). Also, inquire how a debt settlement program will impact your credit in the future and what the long-term side effects to your credit might be.

Step 6

Make sure you are prepared for the drawbacks of debt settlement programs such as the potential for increased creditor calls, possible collection lawsuits initiated by creditors, damaged credit and tax problems. If you don’t think you can handle these possibilities, then you should probably look for another debt solution.

Determining if Bankruptcy is Right For You

Step 1

Determine if you have any other options for resolving your financial crisis short of filing bankruptcy. Look online for other solutions to your debt problems such as debt settlement, debt management and nonprofit assistance. In addition, attorneys who practice bankruptcy law have begun to offer debt settlement services to clients who might have filed a bankruptcy before the Bankruptcy Code was overhauled in October, 2005, and find the new laws too onerous.

Step 2

Determine if you qualify for bankruptcy by reading the most current version of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, found in Title 11 of the U.S. Code. However, the revamped Bankruptcy Code is extremely complex to understand, so don’t be surprised if you aren’t able to comprehend much of what you are reading. The Bankruptcy Code can be found online. Many books attempting to explain the Code in plain English have been written, so check out your local library or bookstore for some helpful titles. Even if you discuss your financial problems with an attorney who specializes in bankruptcies, you might still want to read up on the law for yourself.

Step 3

Determine which bankruptcy chapter you qualify for by reading the descriptions of each type of bankruptcy, as well as by reading the rules and regulations associated with each. This information can be found at your local library, bookstore, online, or by talking with an attorney who handles bankruptcies in their everyday practice.

Step 4

Court costs for filing bankruptcy are different depending on which chapter you file. Currently, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs $299 in filing fees while a Chapter 13 costs $274, although Congress can change those fees at any time. It will also be important to learn how much an attorney will charge you to represent you in your bankruptcy. If you meet with a bankruptcy attorney, they will likely give you a written fee quote for their services either at your first meeting or perhaps in the mail. Do not expect to be able to email a bankruptcy attorney for a price quote on what they would charge for their services. Bankruptcy is an extremely complex area of law and an attorney well familiar with the law’s complexity wouldn’t likely give you a fee quote over the phone or in an email without knowing your entire financial picture. Would you call a doctor to ask how much it would cost to set your broken arm? Do you think the doctor would even come to the phone, and secondly, do you think they should or would give you an answer? They don’t know how broken your arm is by talking to you on the phone and a bankruptcy attorney doesn’t know how bad your financial situation is until they meet with you to discuss it.

Step 5

Another important consideration is deciding whether filing for bankruptcy will resolve your credit problems. Depending on the types and amounts of your debts, a bankruptcy filing won’t necessarily rid you of your duty to pay some of your bills, even though you filed for bankruptcy. Keep in mind that a bankruptcy filing remains on your credit record for ten years but a bad debt is only supposed to stay on a credit report for seven.
Read more: How to Compare Debt Settlement vs. Bankruptcy | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2002283_debt-bankruptcy-settlement.html#ixzz0tURSWGS0

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Credit Card Debt and the US Economy

The United States under Obama is just turning the corner as far as recession is concerned. But one factor that had contributed to some extant to the recession and financial crisis is the credit card debt in the USA. In terms of figures the credit cards in circulation are over 1.5 billion for a population of just over 300 million. This is a menacing ratio and translates to a credit card debt of over 600 billion. To this figure if we add the almost million bankruptcies in the United Sates than we can get an idea of how much the United States economy is affected.

America is presently the world’s largest economy though in the near future China may well over take it. But unlike in China in the United States 60 million households do not pay their outstanding balances in full. This are carried forward and classified as unsecured debt. This debt because of the low rate of clearance say 2-4% of the outstanding has resulted in a big economic problem resulting in a huge liability to a lot of people.

The reason for this debt is not hard to seek and has its genesis in the easy availability of credit and secondly the ease by which gambling on the net with credit cards can be affected. At a conservative estimate nearly 3 million Americans could be addicted to gambling. Bear in mind that the cumulative United states national debt is hovering around 5. 7 trillion. This is far exceeded by the total consumer debt of $6.5 trillion and one can imagine what this means. It really spells a very difficult financial situation bordering on a catastrophe.

The situation is compounded with an abysmally low saving rate of the American populace which presently is almost zero. In case one compares this with the saving rate in the eighties when it was around 8.5% then the magnitude of the problem can be understood.

The period of the late 90s of the last century saw immense prosperity for the people. But this was also the period when debt grew because of easy availability of credit. Thus In the period 1989-2001 the debt almost tripled from $ 238 billion to $692 billion. The savings rate declined and bankruptcies rose up by 125%.

This massive credit card debt has had a negative effect on the economy. In addition mounting mortgage and consumer debt is crippling the budget of most households. Large bankruptcies have set in like Lehman brothers and GM. The deregulation of Banking has also taken its toll as the real cost of corporate credit (prime rate) has increased only marginally (2.5%-3.0%) yet the real cost of consumer credit card debt has doubled from less than 6% to over 11%. Revolving of credit card debt to the next cycle amounts to nearly $11,000 per household.

To sum up, as things stand the vast US economy may in the years to come buckle downwards if the credit card debt is not reined in.

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Business Process Outsourcing Benefits (BPO)

Debt Aid Processing is a business process outsourcing company. An advantage of BPO is the way in which it helps to increase a company’s flexibility. However, several sources which have different ways in which they perceive organizational flexibility. Therefore business process outsourcing enhances the flexibility of an organization in different ways.

Most services provided by BPO vendors are offered on a fee-for-service basis. This can help a company becoming more flexible by transforming fixed into variable costs. A variable cost structure helps a company responding to changes in required capacity and does not require a company to invest in assets, thereby making the company more flexible. Outsourcing may provide a firm with increased flexibility in its resource management and may reduce response times to major environmental changes.

Another way in which BPO contributes to a company’s flexibility is that a company is able to focus on its core competency, without being burdened by the demands of bureaucratic restraints. Key employees are herewith released from performing non-core or administrative processes and can invest more time and energy in building the firm’s core businesses. The key lies in knowing which of the main value drivers to focus on – customer intimacy, product leadership, or operational excellence. Focusing more on one of these drivers may help a company create a competitive edge.

A third way in which BPO increases organizational flexibility is by increasing the speed of business processes. Using techniques such as linear programming can reduce cycle time and inventory levels, which can increase efficiency and cut costs. Supply chain management with the effective use of supply chain partners and business process outsourcing increases the speed of several business processes, such as the throughput in the case of a manufacturing company.

Finally, flexibility is seen as a stage in the organizational life cycle. BPO helped to transform Nortel from a bureaucratic organization into a very agile competitor. A company can maintain growth goals while avoiding standard business bottlenecks. BPO therefore allows firms to retain their entrepreneurial speed and agility, which they would otherwise sacrifice in order to become efficient as they expanded. It avoids a premature internal transition from its informal entrepreneurial phase to a more bureaucratic mode of operation.

A company may be able to grow at a faster pace as it will be less constrained by large capital expenditures for people or equipment that may take years to amortize, may become outdated or turn out to be a poor match for the company over time.

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Do it Yourself Debt Settlement – The Top Seven Things You Need to Know

Want to get rid of your debt but don’t want to file for bankruptcy or risk foreclosure? If so, debt settlement is an option worth considering. You might think you can’t settle your debt on your own, but the truth is you can do it yourself. There’s no law that says you have to hire a company to handle the debt settlement process. In fact, hiring an outside company usually means paying the company a hefty commission based on the total amount of your debt.

The key to successful debt settlement is negotiation and it’s a skill anyone can learn. Just follow these seven simple steps to do it yourself. Remember when you negotiate, you’re not only reducing the amount you pay individual credit card companies each month. You’re also lowering your total debt by 50 to 80 percent.

Once you start negotiating with creditors you’ll find that settlement amounts will vary. Some may offer as low as 30% and others up to 50%. Some will even forgive most of the amount you owe. Try it and in about six months you’ll be off to a fresh start.

Here are seven debt settlement and creditor negotiation steps you can do yourself:
[list type=”1]

  1. First you need to accumulate a sizable amount of unmanageable debt, which you’ve probably already done since you’re thinking about settling.
  2. Next you have to determine that debt settlement is your best option.
  3. Once you make that determination, stop making your monthly payments.
  4. Take the money you would have spent making those payments and put it into a savings account. Or if you can, try to get a loan with a low or zero percent interest rate from family or friends.
  5. Begin negotiating with creditors about five to six months after you stop paying your monthly bills.
  6. Negotiate with each creditor until you get them to agree to settle for 50 to 80 percent of the balance owed.
  7. Get each creditor to send you a written settlement letter that specifies the terms that were agreed to. Do not skip this step!

[/list]

Wondering why creditors would agree to settle so low? Let’s face it. If you can’t pay your bills each month, creditors realize you probably won’t ever pay the balance. They know you have the option to file for bankruptcy and that if you do, they might not get any money from you at all, depending on the outcome.

They could hire a debt collector, but they have to pay for that service, which further cuts into the amount they recoup. If your account has passed the charge off date, a creditor might sell the account to a collection agency for a measly five or ten cents on every dollar. As you can see, settling is sometimes their best option.

Good luck with your negotiations. You can do it!

In order to find out more about debt settlement processing, you can visit our site Debtsettlementprocessors.com.

Krista Scruggs is an article contributor to Debtsettlementprocessors.com. Debtsettlementprocessors.com is an informative site about debt settlement processing which also connects consumers with service providers that can help them avoid bankruptcy. We have several Debt Settlement companies within our network, each with their own strengths and specialties. Depending on your specific situation (the amount of debt owed, nature of your debt, your credit, your hardship, and any other unique situation you might be in), we will match you up with the right company.

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