Santa Ana Debt Settlement Attorneys
Serving Clients of All Backgrounds Throughout the State of California
What Is Debt Settlement?
Debt settlement is the “middle road” when it comes to making the decision on how to finally” get out of debt”. You basically have three options when it comes to attacking your debt problem:
- PAY IT OFF: Or at least pay more than the minimum payments- which is to say: pay off principle amounts faster. The faster the better. Making the minimum payments won’t work as that will take years and you will pay 2 or even 3 times the amount you borrowed in interest alone. The lone advantage of this approach is you will not hurt your credit rating by keeping current (although excessive debt will hurt your rating). If you take this approach, make sure you have a legit plan with a date you will be debt free.
- DEBT SETTLEMENT: Negotiate to reduce your debts so that you pay something and your creditor gets something. This is the debt settlement “middle road”. Because both sides get something, and both have some “pain”. You don’t pay 100% plus, and the creditor does not get 100%. For this same reason, it is not as bad on your credit rating. Your credit will take a hit when you default in order to settle (which you must do), but your credit rating will recover faster too when you pay something to your creditors.
- BANKRUPTCY: if available and desired, gives the consumer the biggest benefit as you pay nothing (other than legal fees) and the creditor gets nothing. As a result, it also has the biggest negative impact on your credit rating.
Every person’s situation is different, and a legal consultation is necessary to see what is best for you. I often refer to these options as the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The Good is the Debt Settlement option as it is a “win-win”. For many consumers it is a good option, so long as you use the right provider and understand all the pros & cons.
The Bad is the Bankruptcy only because it can have a longer lasting negative affect on your overall financial future. That said, it is not as devastating as you might think, and it is at least worth investigating and learning more about. You should know if bankruptcy is even an option or not. Then decide if it is right for you.
The Ugly is paying the creditor full amounts plus all the interest. There is a reason banks are rich, and you are struggling: They give you $1000 and you pay them back $5000. That is Ugly for you and your family. Especially when there is a better way that you can secure your financial future, sooner than later.
There are in fact a couple of other options. One is to ignore the debts altogether. This is usually a bad approach as it is the worst of both worlds: bad credit and a growing debt balance that will likely end in wage garnishment or worse. That said, it is something we do recommend to some clients in certain situations. You may not owe it, or you may be 85 living on social security alone in a nursing home. There is no reason for this person to worry about the debt at all. Another option is debt consolidation (not to be confused with debt settlement as many debt settlement companies do intentionally). Debt consolidation is where you get a new loan to pay off all the old debts, hopefully with a lower interest rate. You will still pay 100% plus interest, but you can pay less and maintain your credit score.
This is complicated stuff and there are many frauds out there trying to fool you who will take your money and make your situation worse. Discuss your options with a reputable firm that is not trying to “sell” one option over all others because that is the only thing they sell. Talk to someone who is interested in YOU, someone who can fulfill the option You select as best for you and your family. Always remember that circumstances CAN change, even for the better. There is a route to financial freedom, you just need the right partner to help you.
How Does Debt Settlement Work?
Debt settlement involves negotiating with your creditors to pay less than the amount you owe. Credit Card debt, medical bill debt, personal loans, payday loans, business loans & debt, as well as private student debt all qualify for settlement. Amounts due after auto repossession and home foreclosures also qualify for settlement.
This is how it works:
First, you must stop making payments to any creditor you want to settle with. There is no getting around this.
Second, you must estimate how much money will be needed to: 1) settle the debt and 2) pay the attorney fees to do so. We call this the total “outlay”. For example, if you have a $10,000 Bank of America account that you want to settle and you estimate a 40% settlement, you will need $4000 to pay Bank of America. Assuming the attorney fee is 15% of debt amount, that means you will need $1500 for the fees. The total “outlay” will be $5500 ($4000 plus $1500).
Third, you must determine how much you can save each month to get to the $5500. If you can save $500 per month, it will take you 11 months to save up $5500. If you can save $250 per month, it will take 22 months (22 months X $250/mo= $5500).
Fourth and final, you must find a reputable and trustworthy service provider who can get you the best settlements, who will protect your savings, get the proper settlement documentation, and who is in compliance with California’s new Fair Debt Settlement Practices Act.
The goal of debt settlement is to get you out of debt for the least amount of money possible, Bankruptcy is a powerful weapon and the mere threat of bankruptcy can get reductions. There are several other valuable LEGAL tools available to consumers facing insurmountable debt. Tools such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Statute of Limitations, and the rules of evidence in court all exist to protect debtors from creditors who violate the law and overextend their authority over consumers. At Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC, we offer comprehensive Debtor Protection Plans and Debt Settlement Plans to assist clients throughout California who are struggling with debt and debt collectors.
Should I Choose a Debt Settlement Company or Debt Settlement Attorney?
This choice is all about which is going to get you a better settlement and for what fee. Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC will match any Debt Settlement Company fees so this is all about who will get you the better settlement.
Here are the top 6 reasons a lawyer will get you a better settlement:
- Creditors are worried about you filing Bankruptcy. Only a lawyer can file bankruptcy. Creditors love if you use a debt settlement company for this very reason.
- Creditors are worried about being sued by lawyers for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). No lawyer? No Problem! is what collectors say!
- Only a lawyer can stop a collector or creditor from contacting you directly. If you don’t want any calls, letters, texts, emails; you must use a lawyer. Collectors hate that they cannot contact you.
- Debt Settlement Companies are afraid of Collection lawsuits because they will lose you as a customer if they don’t settle right away for whatever the collector wants (and so they agree to a higher settlement because of this). We often get better settlements because collectors know we will be in court with you.
- Lawyers have Clients. Debt Settlement Companies have customers. For customers the law is: Buyer beware. For Clients the law is: you are owed fiduciary duties (lawyer must think of client before themselves)
- Lawyers have a bar license and you can complain about poor or over charged services to the State Bar. Who do you call about a debt settlement company? The BBB?
Bottomline, Creditors also know that consumers with debt settlement companies can’t give you any legal advice, stop any calls, represent you if you get sued, and or sue collectors that violate harassment laws.
But if you are represented by a debt settlement attorney who also handles bankruptcy cases, then creditors will likely offer a better settlement. Likewise, threatening a lawsuit to a lawyer that goes to court to defend cases is meaningless because lawyers are equipped to sue collectors, which is a risk that most collectors aren’t willing to take.
All of these factors can impact your settlement. That is why our trustworthy consumer protection and credit defense attorneys will work closely with you and use our decades of combined experience to protect your best interests and keep as much money in YOUR pocket for as long as possible.
Which lawyer should I choose?
- Choose a lawyer who has been doing this for over 30 years.
- Choose the lawyer that did this for himself!
- Choose the lawyer that has a team of dedicated and highly trained staff focused on results and client service.
- Choose the law firm that has prior collection attorneys and collectors on staff now working for you!
- Choose the law firm that serves the entire state of California.
- Choose the law firm that goes to trial on debt collection cases regularly.
- Choose the law firm that files bankruptcies and fights judgments.
- Choose the law firm that does debt settlement on a complete contingency basis.
- Choose the law firm that has settled tens of millions of dollars of debt.
- Choose the law firm that is winning and growing.
Consult with Our Debt Settlement Team Today to Discuss Your Case
Many debt collectors will not be able to prove what is owed. Most won’t even try and instead will rely on a continuing assault on your telephone or mailbox. Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC turns the tables on them by continually holding creditors to the letter of the law.
Get Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC working for you and jump start your financial future.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by debt and debt collectors, then please give us a call today at (844) 431-3851 to take control of your future. Schedule your free case consultation today.