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DON'T BE HAMMERED BY YOUR DEBT

DON'T BE HAMMERED BY YOUR DEBT

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Problems Debt Collectors Don't Want You To Know About #1

There are lots of problems a typical debt collector has in collecting your debt.  Usually, you as the debtor have no idea the problem even exists and so it never comes to light.  In today's debt market and economy, perhaps the biggest problem a collector has is producing a documentable chain of ownership.  Simply explained; you have a legitimate debt, you ran up a credit card that you now can't pay, you had medical bills you couldn't pay or you borrowed money and can't pay it back.  You didn't pay your debt and the original creditor, rather than hound you or after hounding you with no success, bundled your debt with a batch of other debt and sold it for pennies on the dollar.  That package of debt has now probably been sold and assigned several times since then.  Now, a collection agency has your debt (with tons of interest and collection cost and fees added on) and is calling and writing you demanding payment.  One of the most effective tacks to take as a debtor is to say, "yes, I may have had a debt with XYZ, but I don't know who in the world you are.  If you can send me written documentation that you either own this debt now or are authorized to collect it, then I'll pay it." Immediately follow that verbal request up with a letter (ALWAYS certified mail, return receipt requested) asking for the same documentation.  If the collector can't produce that record of ownership or authorization to collect, then they can't collect the debt.  Often times, the collection agency or debt buyer has actually legally purchased the debt for real money.  But that transaction is part of a complicated and lengthy legal document that they have absolutely no desire to share with you and to which a standard floor collector has no access.  It may be simply easier for the collector to move on to the next more compliant debtor. 

Monday, February 09, 2009

Simplest Advice In Settling A Debt

This is a simple piece of advice that you may not already know.  Debt collectors almost always work on some form of a commission basis.  Those commissions and every facet of a collector's performance are calculated at the end of the month.  Therefore, the absolute best time to settle a debt is at the very end of the month.  The deal you may be able to negotiate at the end of the month can be literally thousands of dollars less than the deal you could negotiate at the first of the month.  

The Present, The Future and The Myth That Your FICO Score Will Not Matter

There is a myth being sold to the American people regarding their FICO credit score.  Millions of Americans now find themselves in a situation where because of job loss or other economic hardship they must prioritize how they pay their bills.  I see an endless stream of financial experts who are telling people to pay for food, shelter and transportation and forget about student loans, credit card bills and any other installment or revolving debt because preserving your credit is a futile exercise. First, let me say that I understand, empathize and agree with the need to prioritize food, shelter and transportation.  But do not lead these poor people down the primrose path to believe that the damage they do to their credit will be harmless. The myth is sold under the guise of don't worry, there are so many Americans in similar situations that credit scores will simply have to be a thing of the past.  The truth is absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is that the credit markets (home mortgages, car loans, etc.) will after this economic storm passes be more highly governmently regulated than at any time in our lifetimes.  In plain English, that will mean that before a bank can give you a mortgage, it will have jump through a series of government regulatory hoops.  Government programs and government oversight has never and can never be subjective.  It will always be driven by forms, procedures and benchmarks.  Therefore, if though you may have a wonderfully logical explanation why your credit is ruined, it will not matter.  In order for the bank to make you a loan, you will have to fit neatly into a government designed program.  The only existing benchmark that the government will be able to use to design the regulations they believe are necessary to prevent this disaster from reoccurring is your CREDIT SCORE.  So, bottom line, protect your family, but also make ever effort to protect your credit score.  It may not matter one iota today when virtually no one can borrow money, but it will mean everything in a year or two or three when the world rights itself.