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Debt Help Tips & Information

Past due bills? Find a debt relief solution.

Updated: Sep 23, 2014

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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57 Comments

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  • FG
    Dec, 2013
    Faye
    I have a Federal Student Loan that was taken out through a Trade School over 28 years ago, when I was 17-18, and it was only for aprox. $2,500. Over the years I have made payments that I could afford at that time. I was never in the position to pay it off. All these years later the loan is now owned by SalleMae and is at almost $14,000. ! I am NEVER going to be able to pay this! My life has not gotten any better.. What can I do?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Dec, 2013
      Bill
      Unfortunately, your options are limited. You could try negotiating a settlement with Sallie Mae. They are not bound to accept it, but if you can gather some funds to make a lump-sum settlement offer, it is worth trying.
      0 Votes

  • CW
    Jul, 2013
    Carmen
    We just got served via "private process server" tonight with a Notice And Summons that was filed with the courts on May 9th, 2013. Today is July 7th, 2013. We live in GA. In the Summons it states that we are "required to file an answer to this claim within 30 days after service of this claim upon you." So what exactly does "after this service upon you" mean? Does it mean the date it was filed with the courts because that would be considered a "claim upon" us. ?? Or..does it mean after their private processor has actually handed us the papers being served? Because they waited on purpose til day 31 on a weekend to serve us, hence, the reason I am sure as to why they use their own private process server. So can they say they served us 30 days ago & go forward? Am I just screwed here? By the way, this is through the same company to which was on 20/20 for being sued themselves for the dirty tricks they do to collect!! Help. Please...
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jul, 2013
      Bill
      You mentioned Georgia. Consult with a Georgia lawyer (which I am not) to learn the crucial details about Georgia's civil procedure laws and how to answer the summons.

      I wrote "crucial details" because as you hinted at in your message, in some states the plaintiff has a certain number of days to serve the summons and complaint on the defendant. Here, it appears the plaintiff may have met your state's deadline, but as I mentioned, I cannot say so for certain.

      File an answer to the complaint. In many cases, the plaintiff will file a motion to dismiss if the defendant shows any sign of a willingness to put up a fight.
      0 Votes

  • LG
    Jun, 2013
    Lynne
    I made a payment arrangement with a debt collector (attorney). The arrangement was that they would automatically withdraw the amount from my account each month. I noticed after the first 2 months, no money was being taken. I made written contact with them on 3 occasions, giving them my account number again and asked that they begin withdrawing the payment. I then receive a garnishment notice from my employer. I again contacted the collector, gave them my account information and told them they did not uphold the original payment arrangement. They released the garnishment. Again, the following month, no money was withdrawn. I then began making payments to them online. After 4 payments, they garnished my wages again saying I missed a payment. I have made in total 7 attempts to contact them to plead with them to uphold the original agreement that they automatically withdraw the funds. I explained had they done this, there would have never been a missed payment. They refused and said they tried withdrawing the money, but were unable to. The bank has verified that the funds were available in my account when they said they supposedly try to withdraw the payment. I then asked for proof of these attempts and they refused. At this point, I am having 6 times the amount originally agreed upon taken out of my check each month. I told them this was causing me a severe financial hardship. I was berated by the person at the attorney's office and told it was all my fault, even though they did not adhere to the payment agreement. Do I have any options? They are refusing to release the garnishment They refuse to send me any documentation or discuss with me any further. Thank you.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jun, 2013
      Bill
      Time to level the playing field and get a lawyer arguing your position with the collection agent.

      You mentioned a hardship. Call your county bar association and ask for the names of the organizations that provide no-cost legal services to people in your area with low or no income. Make an appointment with one of those organizations, and bring all of the documents you have have regarding this debt to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will advise you of your rights, and whether you have a cause of action (a legal reason to file a lawsuit) against the collection agent for failing to follow the terms of your settlement agreement.

      My guess is you will not need to file a lawsuit to gain the collection agent's attention, drop the garnishment, and restart the payment plan.
      0 Votes

    • LG
      Jun, 2013
      Lynne
      Thank you for the reply. An attorney is my only option as far as dealing with this collection agency? Is there any other agency, such as the Federal Trade Commission, or anyone else I can contact who can help me with this matter? I am currently working towards paying off my debts and rebuilding my credit. While my income is average, my debt payments are pretty high. I'm not sure I would even qualify for legal assistance. What this collector is doing is unfair, and I'm not sure it is even legal. I guess my question is; is an attorney basically my only option for battling this collector and holding them accountable? Thanks again.
      0 Votes

    • BA
      Jun, 2013
      Bill
      You can argue this issue yourself, without hiring an attorney, if you wish to. My point in suggesting hiring a lawyer is that your opponent is operating in violation of your contract. The FTC receives thousands of complaints a year, and it acts on a wholesale level against law-breakers who break the law or defraud a large number of consumers. It is unlikely an FTC lawyer will have the time to help you individually.
      0 Votes

  • PS
    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

    • BA
      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

  • WM
    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

    • BA
      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