Debt Help Tips & Information

Bills.com Team
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Highlights


  • Establish a plan.
  • Know your debt help options.
  • Build a budget and commit yourself to attacking your debt, and if you cannot self-manage then get debt help fast.
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Debt Help & Debt Consolidation Help to Solve Your Debt Problems (with video)

If you are in debt, you probably need to get debt help to get yourself debt free and back on solid financial footing. Bills.com can help you evaluate your debt help options, from debt consolidation loans to credit counseling to debt resolution. Many people let debt pile up and do not get aggressive about getting debt free. If you really want to get your finances back in order and your creditors off your back, you need to:

  • Establish a plan and start with a budget and a commitment to helping yourself before looking for third party help
  • If you want lower total cost or payments, know what your debt help options are
  • Start paying off your debt

Quick tip #1:

Get a no-cost, no obligation analysis of your debt options from a pre-screened debt relief provider.

Did you know that just by calling your creditors and requesting to be on their "hardship" program that you can cut your interest rates, sometimes even qualifying for zero interest charges or a reduction in the size of your required monthly payment? Did you know that with the help of a credible debt resolution firm, people in serious debt hardship may be able to find a plan to negotiate resolutions on their debts for as little as half of what they owe? There are many tools and tips and secrets we have uncovered to help you find your own path the debt freedom.

Bills.com has aggregated all the debt help resources and information you need to start tackling your debt today. We even have a Debt Help Savings Center that will help you find the best solution for consolidating and paying down your debt, whether that is debt consolidation, credit counseling, debt settlement or other forms of debt help. Bills.com will help identify what options you have and which ones are best suited to help you tackle your debt. Browse through our articles, debt help guides, and debt relief tips and get all the information you need to get debt help.

Understanding Debt: The Impact and Options for Consumers

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49 Comments

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  • 35x35
    Apr, 2013
    Pete
    I had an account with American Express over 10 years ago. During the time I had the account, I was being charged for magazine subscriptions that I never ordered. After getting a number of these charges reversed, I was unable to get the rest of them reversed. I accumulated over $1,200 before my account was closed. Since I considered these to be fraudulent charges, I refused to pay. American Express sued me in small claims court. The court did not provide me with the proper paperwork to dispute the claim and granted judgment in favor of American Express. I did not hear anything back from American Express for almost a year when I received a 1099 form for which I paid the taxes on the amount in dispute. Just recently I received a letter from AE giving me the option to dispute the claim. This letter is more than 10 years after the original judgement. Does this conform to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I am in the process of refinancing my house and cannot afford a negative credit statement. What do you suggest? Thanks for your help.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2013
      Bill
      American Express' recent letter is very curious. I would not hazard a guess what it means without reading it. Accordingly, take the letter and any other documents you have regarding the debt to a lawyer who has consumer law or civil litigation experience. He or she will review your case and outline your options.

      One option to discuss is filing a motion to vacate the judgment. You mentioned you were never given notice of the small-claims case filed against you. This is contrary to state and federal civil procedure law, and may form the basis for appealing the judgment and throwing out the case against you.

      Another issue to discuss is your state's statute of limitations for judgments. You indicated you reside in California. The California statute of limitations of a judgment — in other words, a judgment's lifetime — is 10 years. It can be renewed before its expiration to tack on an additional 10 years. Your lawyer can contact the court to learn if American Express renewed the judgment.

      You asked about the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under the FCRA, the consumer credit reporting agencies can publish information about the judgment for 7 years or the statute of limitations for the judgment, whichever is longer. If the judgment expired without being renewed, and Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion are still publishing this information, then file a dispute with the offender(s).
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2013
    wendiellen
    In 2007, I took out my last private student loan through Sallie Mae and I paid on them once I needed to until January of 2009, and this is reflected on my credit report. In 2009, I went to prison and was there until August if 2011. The day I got out, my grandmother died and sometime soon her estate will be settled and I will receive a small amount. I made some payments on these loans when I got out of prison, but at the end of the agreement time, they said my payments were no longer sufficient and would need to pay more. I am a server and was paying two different collection agencies and a car payment, insurance, rent, and other associated bills. I just want to make sure they can't take what little i am going to receive. I live in Indiana, and was recently married. I believe as long as i don't put all of it in our bank account only $4,000, what Indiana has to leave in there, we should be alright. But I would like verification of this. Also, I haven't received notice of a judgment or a summons. Please help. Thank you, Wendiellen M
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2013
      Bill
      You are accurate about Indiana's exemption laws for bank accounts. However, do not assume the bank or judgment-creditor will follow your state's laws when push comes to shove and the judgment-creditor sends the bank an account levy demand. Judgment-creditors seem to take the position that it's better to empty a judgment-debtor's account and ask forgiveness later if the judgment-debtor complains.

      Our advice? Let us assume Sallie Mae or its collection agent receives a judgment against you. Let us also assume you receive a lump-sum inheritance you mentioned. You would be wise to withdraw as much as you can from your account and leave only as much in the account as you need to pay your monthly bills.

      See the Bills.com article Sallie Mae Private Student Loans to learn more about your repayment options.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2012
    Jim
    I recieved a summons and complaint recently from a law firm that is sueing me for an account I have with a collection agency. I was slowly paying this off for almost 5 years. In August of last year, I spoke with the collection agency and explained that my income had been cut in half, due to a change in profession. He agreed to hold off on payments until things got better. They continued to send me monthly bills that state that the balance of the account is $2650.00. The latest monthly statement (dated 10/5) has this balance and the due date with the amount due for my payment. In the letter, they also offer to settle for 70% of the balance. In the complaint on the summons, they state that there is now due and owing $4195.00 and that my account has accrued interest in the amount of $4521.94 (total of $8716.94). I have submitted my answer to the county clerk, two days after I recieved the summons. In the answer, I denied the amount owed, due to my current statement/bill showing $2650.00. I also denied the interest amount, due to the stated balance of $2650.00 I also denied their assertion that demand was made to pay off the balance. On my statement, they only ask for the monthly payment and the offer to settle for 70% of $2650.00. I attached this statement to my answer to the summons and claimed an affirmative defense since the balance stated in the summons did not reflect my payments. My bill for this month, stated my due date for payment was 10/21. I sent a cashier's check from my bank via overnight mail. I met the deadline for this month's payment and will keep paying until this is paid in full. Can I still hold them to that agreement and that balance? I am wondering if I have a good chance for avoiding a judgement against me and if I have grounds for a counterclaim of any sort with them stating a different balance than what this month's bill states? Sorry for writing a novel on here, I just wanted to present all of the information. Any advice would be very much appreciated as I am absolutely terrified of what this could do to my family.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2012
      Bill
      The best advice I can give you, given the complicated facts you presented, is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. He or she can best answer your very reasonable questions about whether the agreement you had was a binding agreement, what balance should apply, or if you have any grounds for a counterclaim.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    dean
    My mother has been contacted by a collection agency on a credit card debt that the company says is from 2001. I looked through all 3 credit reports and the account is not listed. I just started cleaning up her finances, and it shows she paid on the debt for 6 months in 2010. I haven't been able to figure out why it stopped yet. 2 questions: 1. How do I determine if the debt is actually hers? (agency says it is) 2. Because she payed on it recently, does that mean the SOL stars new and did that make the debt hers? She won't remember paying on it, I checked her bank statements, she just follows what others tell her, that's why I'm fixing her problems now. Thanks in advance.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      She could validate the debt, as a first step. Given how old the debt is and her lack of records, if she receives validation that she feels is not legitimate, she may have trouble proving the debt isn't hers.

      I say this without blaming your mom, as she was pressured into paying on the debt, but she shot herself in the foot, when she made a payment on the debt in 2010, if the SOL had passed. Paying on an old debt can start the SOL again. If she paid on a debt that was not hers, making the payment does not make the debt her responsibility.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Dean
      Thank you for your reply. I went ahead and settled on their payment of a third of the "actual" debt. I will be calling the original credit card company tomorrow.

      Another question in the vein of stopping this from happening again. Can I put a freeze on her credit that only lets me approve any new account, credit card or revolving account (she orders a lot by phone), to be created? When reviewing her credit reports, I found a new account that she opened without me knowing. She takes no responsibility for her debt and has proven she can't control her spending. I would like to avoid any future issues for her and myself. I currently have power of attorney for her. Thanks again.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Contact each of the major credit reporting agencies and place a credit freeze on your mother's credit files. This should prevent anyone, including her, from opening a new account. The freeze prevents a creditor from gathering any information from a credit bureau on the applicant. I say should prevent new accounts because there is no requirement that a creditor run a credit check on a new applicant, though virtually all do.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Kimberly
    I have several derogatory accounts on my credit report that range from 2001 to 2008. Should I pay off all of the accounts?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Kimberly, what steps you take depend on a few different factors, including:
      • Your goals
        • Improving your credit score
        • Protecting yourself from collections
        • Clearing out old derogatory accounts to qualify for a mortgage or loan
      • The status of the statute of limitations on your debts
      • The aggressiveness of your creditors.

      Old accounts should fall off your report 7½ years after your first delinquency. You can dispute items on your credit report that should no longer be appearing.

      Regarding debts that are within the 7½ period, some may be past their statute of limitations. You can choose to do nothing with those and use the SOL as a defense, if any creditor tries to collect on debts past their SOL. You could also try to negotiate a pay for delete, using the fact that the SOL has passed as leverage. You can also try negotiating pay for deletes on the debts that have not reached their SOL. In either case, the creditor does not have to agree to have the item deleted, if it so chooses.

      If no creditor is contacting you, reaching out to the creditor can, in some instances, bring about aggressive collection efforts.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Jennifer
    If you have a charge off and you are sending them a payment every month and they are accepting it. But, now are saying that is not enough. But, you can't afford to pay more. What can they do.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Lilly
    Hello, Bill. In a comparable analysis cost between legal cost to hire a lawyer and self settle down the court order with creditor,I prefer to work on my own. I have much experience to do paper work. Please advise and share information. I appreciate this
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      If I understand your question correctly, you seek advice in negotiating a settlement on a judgment. See the link I just mentioned to learn more.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Lilly
    Hello, Please give me any advice to settle a court order debt about $4k My sister has business as nails. Lease finance goup llc / service of creditor machine insited her for free trial 1 month. About two wks later, she did not like it and call agent to take back the machine. They promised to come and fix the problem and never took back the machine It turned out to pass free trial deadline and got in the actual contract. Now they filed court order debt which my sister felt that no reasonable and scam I want to negotiate with the creditor or comp to settle down debt. My sister has no docs on her hand. I dont have creditor infomation on her credit report either except court order docket and where the creditor filed claim. Any advise, please help me Is that possible to settle down a court order. Possible for a payment plan? Possible to claim for a scam or fraud? How to do it? I appreciate all ideas and share information
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Tell your sister to consult with a lawyer in her state who has experience in litigating (arguing in court) civil cases. The sooner she talks with a lawyer, the faster she can resolve the case at the lowest possible cost.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Kara
    A while ago i got into trouble with my credit cards when i lost my job and had no money saved up.Eventually when i got back on my feet i got help from an agency that help me settle my debt with the exception of 1 because this collection agency when we sent an offer to settle, the collection agency replied with a letter sent to them and to myself that "they were ceasing all efforts of collection regarding this account and that they contacted all 3 credit reporting agencies who they furnished info regarding this acct and ask them to delete it from their files"why they did that i have no idea becuase we were trying to settle.The problem now is that come to find out a couple days ago that they only asked 1 credit agency to delete Transunion but left it in the other 2 still showing as transferred and derogatory and now that account got sold out to a different lender who is now calling me and asking to pay for this with extra fees and interest, can i fight it with that letter? that account was not charged off until July 2006 and I believe that the statue of limitations in MA is 6yrs so technically they still can right? I told them that this account was settled so what should I do? Contact the previous lender? Send them that letter? Please give me an advice. I also noticed that some of the lenders we settled with they took it from 1 or 2 of the credit reporting agencies but not all three what is your advice?I hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      The language you shared from the letter you received indicates, to me, that the debt collector was ceasing collection activity, but not that the debt was settled or brought to a $0 balance. Whether or not the debt had disappeared from any or all of your credit reports would not mean that the debt no longer existed.

      If some entity purchased the right to collect on this debt and is contacting you prior to the expiration of the SOL, you may have to pay the debt. You can try to negotiate a settlement or payment plan with the new collector. If you can reach an agreement (and if the debt is within the SOL and you can't prove it was settled), then you could be sued.

      Regarding your other accounts, if the creditors agreed to delete the accounts from your credit report, then you need to contact them to make sure they do. If you did not negotiate a pay for delete, at the time you reached your settlements, then the debts are likely to remain on your report.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Deb
    I rent in a complex that has for 3 yrs told me that under Govt orders I would not be charged any cost for early termination. Story changed now that it has occurred. I live in TN and don't want to pay the monies but know that in order to avoid a judgement, I must pay. Is there a minimum that I can pay to avoid any credit reporting?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      With the exception of government-operated housing projects, neither state or federal law "orders" or otherwise requires landlords to assess early termination penalties on tenants who break their leases.

      Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience, and when you do so bring a copy of your lease agreement so that he or she can read its terms and conditions.

      If you cannot afford a lawyer, you have two options if you live in an urban area. Many big cities have tenants unions or similar organization that give low- or no-cost legal assistance to tenants who have a dispute with their landlord. Your other option, or your option if you live in a suburban or rural area is to contact your county bar association and ask for the names of the organizations that provide no-cost legal services to low- and no-income residents. Make an appointment with that organization, and bring your lease contract to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will advise you accordingly.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Danielle
    I have paid off two items in collections on my credit report and I want to know how I can show that they have been paid/taken off my credit report. Is this possible?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Derogatory entries on a credit report remain for 7½ years after the date of first delinquency, regardless of the debts being paid or unpaid later. See the Bills.com resource Seven Years of History and Credit Reports for a more detailed discussion of this issue.

      An exception to this rule is if the consumer negotiates a pay for delete agreement with the creditor(s).
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Todd
    I have an old credit card from 2005, it was bought buy a less then reputable company. I was young and in college and didn't have the money to pay it back then. Now i can an would like to pay it off, or get it removed. The problem I have now is the company that bought it is asking 5x the original amount and,has a horrible track record. So I'm a bit apprehensive about calling them. what should i do ?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Check to see if the statute of limitations has expired. If it has, you can just avoid paying it until it falls off on its own, approximately 7½ years after the first delinquency or you can contact the collection agency and negotiate for a pay for delete. If the SOL has expired, you have strong leverage to dictate terms, as the collector has no reasonable hope of collecting.

      If the SOL has not expired and the collector has a reputation for being aggressive, it may be prudent to not call attention to yourself, if they are not pursuing you currently.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Frank
    I never had bad credit until 5 years ago my Daughter was diagnosed with cancer.She needed medicine at over $1000 a week even after insurance coverage.I kept putting it on credit cards as my only option.She was in and out of hospitals for 2 years .I couldn't keep up with the interest on the credit cards and defaulted to the sum of $14,000. We bought our home in 2001 and in 10 years have never been late on a payment .my car was paid off this month again never late. Went to my bank to try to borrow the 14,000$ to pay off my creditors and they would not give me a loan despite the fact that my house is worth $180,000 and I owe less than $120,000 .I receive $3,600 a month pension also.Despite having the income and equity in our home they would not give me the home improvement loan because of my defaulted credit cards when my daughter was sick.What can I do to fix my credit.I really do not know where to turn.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Qualifying for a refinance is like a stool that requires three strong legs. You have equity and income, but the weak leg is your credit, as you stated. Without all three legs in good order, a conventional loan is not going to happen in today's mortgage market. There may be no immediate fix, but you should be able to build your credit to an excellent status in two years. Follow the steps we outline to improve your credit.

      FHA loans have less strict credit requirements. You may also be able to provide a letter of explanation (LOX) to the underwriter, explaining how you ran up debt to cover your daughter's medical expenses. You will still need a certain credit score, but the LOX may take reduce the weight assigned to your delinquencies.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    kedar
    Recently i was served a summons notice of legal action from a previous car loan creditor. 2 years ago my vehicle was vandalized and totally destroyed in the process. After a long battle with my insurance company Allstate, they dropped the ball and refused to cover the damage. The said that based on the fact that i had a spare tire (which i did not even know at the time) to change a tire upon getting a flat that i could have prevented the vandalism which happened over night. So now im facing legal action? I am not in a position to repay anything, is there any other recourse for me at this moment?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience. He or she will review the facts in your case, read your insurance policy, and will advise you accordingly.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    Jasmine
    Hi, first and foremost I would like to thank you for such free valuable services. I truly appreciate it. I am a 25 year old student looking to reestablish my credit. I'm in the process of attending grad school in the fall and my credit needs to be in good standing in order to qualify for school loans. One particular issue is my outstanding balance of $260. The original balance was $50 (in 2007). As of today, the current balance is $260. I retrieved the annual credit report for the very first time and noticed that the time frame was inaccurate. Instead of stating the account was opened in 2007 it states 2009. Do collection agencies have the ability to change it? Should I send a validation letter? Being that I'm trying to reestablish my credit, will paying the negotiated price hurt me in the long run? I have yet to make any payments. Please let me the best route in handling this situation. I am a broke student and $260 is pretty steep for me.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      It is illegal for original creditors or collection agents to unilaterally change the date of first delinquency on a delinquent account. Your best option is to negotiate a pay for delete. Why? Paying the debt alone does not undue the damage to a credit score. But deleting the account will.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Jasmine
      Hi Bill, I spoke to the collection agency to negotiate a pay for delete, they flat out stated the company policy (IC Systems) does not allow them to do it. Is this accurate? What can I do now? I'm really trying to avoid this being on my account for the next 7 yrs. Thanks
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      "Company policy" is not a state or federal law. It's a made-up rule someone in management decreed. If the person you talked to cannot change the policy, then ask to speak to someone who can. Tell them this is a deal-breaker for you. Ask if they more interested in consistency and adherence to an arbitrary rule, or your money.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Jasmine
      Hi Bill, thank you for your previous response. Currently my sister is in a bad situation. She took out a car loan for $17,000. Initially she made a down payment of $9000, leaving her with a remaining balance of $8,000. Due to the combination of the high interest rate, unexpected bills, loss of income she was only able to make payments 2 monthly payments of $176 for the past 11 months. Eventually, this increased her remaining balance to $9,060 ($1,800 of it being past due). At this point the vehicle is charged off to repossession. At this point we are trying to find a way to get out of this situation without furthering indebting ourselves. I attempted to call the bank to make a settlement of $5000, but they flat out stated they stopped making settlements in April 2011. What is the best route to take to negotiate? Should I hire a professional negotiator to lower the balance of $9,060, so we can pay everything all at once? If so, can you please recommend anyone who will be of help in the Bay Area, Ca. I greatly appreciate it!
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      Your sister should start by learning the vehicle's Kelly Blue Book value. If it is worth more than she owes, she can sell it and pay off the loan. If it is worth close to the value, perhaps you can help her make up the difference. As long as she still has the car in her possession, negotiating a settlement is unlikely to be fruitful.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Amanda
    I have a medical debt that I completely forgot about; I've moved a couple of times in the years since the billing. A bill from a collection agency finally got forwarded to me 3 years later, the same initial amount of 1100, plus 300 in interest. Something about the letter seemed off, so I looked up the company, and there are multiple complaints of fraud, incorrect billing, refusal to settle accounts once paid, etc. Is there a way to switch this collection to reliable firm, or pay the medical company itself?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Unfortunately, consumers cannot pick and choose the collection agents for our debts.

      If the original creditor sold your collection account to the collection agent, then you will likely not get far if you call the original creditor and seek to negotiate a settlement. However, if the original creditor hired the collection agent to do the dirty work in collecting your debt, then you probably can negotiate a settlement with the original creditor. Call the original creditor and talk to the billing department. You will learn in a few minutes if your account was sold.

      If the original creditor sold your account, this would be good if you could trust the collection agent. It would be good because collection accounts are bought and sold for pennies on the dollar. You would be able to start negotiating at 10 or 15 cents on the dollar. As you mentioned, you learned the collection agent has a reputation for unscrupulous behavior. In that case, be certain to get your settlement agreement in writing, and ask a lawyer experienced in contract law to review the contract before you sign it and before you send the collection agent a dime.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    shawna09152002
    I have been served court papers from HSBC credit services on 4-30-11. As to the best of my knowledge I paid the account in full because as of 1-10 they stopped billing me. I never got phone calls or letters from then stating I was still needed to pay. Is there a way out of this besides filing bankrutpcy or going to court because they are asking for 6500.00 for the bill along with 10% per year starting on 1-10 and lawyers fees to be determined?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Validate the debt. Also, I find it amazing HSBC or its collection agent went straight to a lawsuit regarding a $6,500 debt without trying to contact you first through a collection agent. Consult with a lawyer who has experience in consumer law or civil litigation to learn more about your rights and potential liabilities.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      shawna09152002
      When I validate the debt is it wise to have the letter copied to go to the courts? On my credit report it states it was a charge off and there is no monies owed. Should I contact the attorney in this matter by phone or should I mail a request to validate the loan? I have 30 days from the date of when they served me to respond to the summons. There is no documentation on the amountt owed to HSBC ie: a bill or credit card application copy woth the summons. It is a fax copy that was sent to the courts and filed.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Charge off does not mean the debt no longer exists or is forgiven. Charge off means nothing legally for the consumer.

      A debt validation must follow a certain chain of events.

      A defendant must respond to a summons and complaint according to his or her state law. The rules vary by state, and a lawyer in your state can help you respond appropriately.

      Review the hyperlinks mentioned here to learn background information on the general legal issues you face. Then consult with a lawyer in your state to learn the specific rules in play.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2011
    Sue
    My husband and I have a good credit rating and have always paid our bills on time in 32 years. We have, however, acquired about $50,000 in credit card debt. We have tried to get an unsecured loan but have been turned down due to high debt. We want to pay them off in a short period of time but do not want to hurt our credit alot. Would your employer be notified of any counseling or settlement that you may go through? Any ideas? We have very little left over each month and these payments are killing us financially. Our house has no equity in it to refinance.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2011
    CALVIN
    I was wondering if the credit repair signs that I see around town is worth looking into? I am trying to repair my credit, which is in the bad category. I have a couple of credit card bills that I have not paid in years. They are in recovery. I am now able to pay a little monthly, so that I get on track to hopefully repair my credit(somewhat). I filed Bankruptcy several years back and I don't know what to do. I have recently paid of a vehicle and several other smaller loans, in which I paid on time for six years. But when I apply for credit cards (clothing or home improvement), I am denied. The bottom is, what can I do to improve my credit?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      See the Bills.com resource FICO Score Basics to learn four steps you can take to improve your credit score. My guess — note that word choice — that you are seeing billboards for a credit-repair service similar to Lexington Law. Follow the link I just mentioned to learn how these services operate, and what they can and cannot do.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2011
    Rebecca
    This is my plight. I am a 55-year-old woman, single, and disabled. I have been disabled since 2000. I presently live with my 35-year-old son who is single. My brother and I share our parents' 64-acre farm, he lives there now. In 2007, I was blessed to be able to go back to school online. I studied to become a medical transcriptionist. I chose this profession mainly because of my desire to help others, and my love of typing. I currently type 65-70 wpm. My GPA was 3.80. A prior default issue from 20+ years earlier caused me to have to drop this course. Since then, I am having trouble paying what I owe back, plus some medical bills I still have pending. I was brought up to take care of my obligations, and I have failed myself until now. I definitely need some type of help; I am not sure what kind. I have considered bankruptcy, grants, private loans, struggling to find some type of work-at-home job because I have so much time on my hands. I need a legitimate professional to help me in the right direction.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has experience in bankruptcy law. Your disability may qualify you to discharge what I assume is the student loan you received to pay for your class. If you cannot afford a bankruptcy lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the name of the organization that provides no-cost legal services to people with low and no income. Make an appointment with that organization, and bring all of your documents and letters relating to your debts. The attorney you meet with will ask you questions about your situation, and will advise you if bankruptcy is your best option.

      Your reason for dropping out of the medical transcription class is unclear to me. It seems like you still have interest in that field, and at 65-70 words-per-minute it may be a good fit for your skills. Consider re-enrolling. Alternatively, review the courses available at your local community college. Talk to a counselor there about tuition grants and assistance. However, in the meantime, do not let your lack of a degree or certificate stop you from applying for jobs in your field.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    Truman
    I am weighing whether it is better for me to file for bankruptcy or to try a debt settlement program. I owe about $22,000 to four different credit card companies. My income dropped and I don't think it will go back to what I used to make. What kind of debt help do you think I should try?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      I can't recommend one form of debt help over another, only knowing how much you owe and that your income has dropped. For instance, I don't know if you qualify for a bankruptcy or, if you do, whether it would be Chapter 13 reorganization of your debts or a Chapter 7 discharge.

      I recommend that you read the detailed Bills.com Whitepaper on Debt. The Whitepaper reviews all the debt help options available. Please post any follow up questions on that page.

      Lastly, I suggest you speak with one a reputable debt settlement provider and a bankruptcy attorney, so you can gather more information, make an informed decision, and choose the form of debt help that best suits your needs and goals.
      0 Votes