Debt settlement companies usually offer a lot of promises. There are ads that promise to free you of all debts in less than a year. Some promise to chop off more than half of your current debt. This makes people assume that debt settlement is a miracle cure. This is not the case. If you’re already in a lot of debt, you would do well to learn about debt settlement first. You don’t want to get yourself into even more trouble. Typically, people hire companies to help them with the debt settlement process.
Debt settlement: The Process
Debt settlement seems like an easy process. You begin it by calling up a debt settlement company. In the call, you tell them about your debts. You can also inform them about why you’re finding it difficult to meet the payments as well as other information related to your financial capabilities. Lastly, you should give the debt settlement company a list of all the creditors to which you owe money, along with the exact amount of each debt.
The debt settlement company will respond with an estimate of how much your debt can be reduced. The company will also tell you that you have to pay the company a certain amount each month. They will offer a monthly payment that is much lower than your current monthly debt payments. To end the call, the company will inform you that they will settle all your debts so you no longer need to make payments to your creditors.
When you start making the monthly payments, the money goes directly to the company. The first four payments will be considered as your payment for the company’s efforts in processing your case. The rest of the payments will simply go to your account and accumulate in time. Once your account reaches a certain amount, the company contacts your creditors. This is the beginning of the negotiation between your creditor and your debt settlement company.
Disadvantages of Debt Settlement Companies
The problem with debt settlement companies is that while you are paying to them, they do not contact your creditors at all. Debt settlement companies wait for at least six months. The companies wait for the accounts to be charged off. Since your creditors would rather have a little money than let you off the hook, they’d be more than willing to negotiate.
While the debt settlement companies wait for your account to be charged off, your missed payments will still be reported to credit bureaus. Even when the debt settlement company has paid your debts, the records of your delinquent payments will remain on your credit report. The account will also be marked as ‘Paid-Settled’ and not as ‘Paid on Full’.
Because of the negative entries on your credit report, it may take a few months or even years before credit companies will consider giving you another loan.