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American Express Debt Settlement

Mark Cappel
UpdatedSep 21, 2023
Key Takeaways:
  • A signed fax is a legal document in all US jurisdictions.
  • Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in contracts if you do not understand a contract before you.
Can I trust an unsigned, faxed settlement offer from a collection agent?

I have been negotiating a settlement with American Express and Nationwide Credit. They have sent me a fax in writing confirming the settlement amounts. I'm a little suspicious of agreeing since it is not signed and came to me by fax. Should I believe that the offer is accepted and that they will not be able to come after me for more after this?

A signed fax is a legal document in all US jurisdictions, to my knowledge. (Readers, please chime in below if you know otherwise.)

If the creditor sends you an unsigned document it may not be considered a contract, but instead may be considered an offer or counter-offer. I do not have the document you are referring to in front of me, so it is impossible for me to observe whether you have an offer or acceptance from the creditor.

Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in contracts or consumer law. He or she will be able to review the document and opine accordingly.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



Dealing with debt

If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q2 2023 was $17.06 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.569 trillion and credit card debt was $1.031 trillion.

A significant percentage of people in the US are struggling with monthly payments and about 26% of households in the United States have debt in collections. According to data gathered by from a sample of credit reports, the median debt in collections is $1,739. Credit card debt is prevalent and 3% have delinquent or derogatory card debt. The median debt in collections is $422.

The amount of debt and debt in collections vary by state. For example, in Indiana, 28% have any kind of debt in collections and the median debt in collections is $1721. Medical debt is common and 16% have that in collections. The median medical debt in collections is $748.

Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.



mmichele, Aug, 2011
I have negotiated settlement payment(s) but the creditors and the debt collector will not send me any written agreements, yet they threaten to sue. What do I do
BBill, Aug, 2011
Sounds like the collector is with a third party for AmEx (probably either Nationwide Credit, NCO, or MRS) and he or she is pulling the oldest trick in the book by saying "send me the money and I'll pretend its towards a settlement."

I recommend that you tell this collector that you will not send them one dime until you receive their agreement in writing and, further, that you offer to fax over your settlement offer, if the collector provides a fax number.

This is important for two reasons: one: it's the end of the month and that collector will want money towards his goal so will most likely comply, and two: if this ever is forwarded to an attorney it's a great negotiating tool to show the judge, or the collecting attorney, that the consumer made a reasonable offer that the creditor refused to document.

Regardless, unless you're OK paying on the current balance, you should NOT send in money without first receiving a written agreement (oral "this line is recorded" stuff does not count).Hope this helps, and good luck!