Debt Negotiation FAQs
1. What is Debt Negotiation?
- Debt Negotiation is a process of negotiating with a creditor to accept a lesser amount than what is owed, either through a lump sum payment or a payment plan.
2. How does Debt Negotiation differ from a debt management plan?
- Debt Negotiation is designed for people who cannot afford to pay the full amount of their debt and reduces the overall amount of money paid back, while a debt management plan is for people who can afford to pay their unsecured debts and changes the payment structure so that the entire amount owed is paid over an extended time period.
3. Why should I use a law firm to settle my debts rather than handling it myself?
- While it is true that anyone can attempt to negotiate on their own behalf, a law firm provides an attorney who knows the law and its ramifications to work on your behalf without being intimidated by the aggressive tactics of your creditors and collection agencies.
4. What happens to my credit card accounts?
- If you stop paying your unsecured creditors, your credit card accounts will become delinquent. While you are a client of CFLN, you will make monthly payments into an Escrow Account which will be utilized to settle your debts. As sufficient funds grow in your Escrow Account, negotiators will begin to contact your creditors to seek settlements.
5. Can my creditors take legal action against me while I am represented by you?
- Yes. Your creditors may pursue collection efforts such as harassing telephone calls, letters, garnishments and lawsuits. In fact, you can expect that your creditors will increase collection activities. Our representation of you cannot stop a creditor from exercising its legal rights.
6. What legal services do you provide if my creditor sues me?
- In the event you are sued, the law firm will continue to negotiate with the creditor or the creditor's attorney on your behalf. The law firm will not represent you in any lawsuit, file an appearance on your behalf or provide any other legal service to you concerning a lawsuit. We are available to provide additional legal services involving any such lawsuits, all of which are beyond the scope of our debt settlement representation, if you enter into a separate retainer agreement with us which specifies the work to be performed and the fees to be paid in advance of performing additional legal services. The additional services typically include assisting you in answering or otherwise responding to the creditor’s complaint, discovery requests or motions.
7. Will Debt Negotiation have a negative effect on my credit?
- It is likely your credit will be negatively impacted by debt negotiation. In fact, anything other than paying all of your bills ON TIME and IN FULL may adversely affect your credit reports and credit score. The goal of our legal representation is to settle your debts for a lower amount.
8. When do my creditors receive payment?
- CFLN does not make monthly payments to your creditors. Your creditors will receive payments when they accept a settlement offer which is funded from the amounts which have accumulated in your Escrow Account. The settlement may be paid in a lump sum or according to a payment plan.
9. What should I do if my creditors call?
- Tell them the truth: "I can't make any payments right now; I am trying to avoid bankruptcy; I will be in contact when I can work something out with you." Ask that all future communication from your creditors with you be in writing, instead of the phone. You can also provide them with our telephone number and have them call us directly.
10. Will my attorney stop late fees and interest from accruing on my accounts?
- No. If you do not make your minimum payments, your creditor may raise the interest rate on your account and add late fees.
11. What if my creditors won't settle with you? I heard that creditors do not work with you.
- This is a common scare tactic used to discourage clients. We are unaware of any creditor that does not settle unsecured debts.
12. Will I be totally debt free when I'm done?
- The goal of our representation is to settle your unsecured debts. At the end of our representation, you should have settled with all of the creditors enrolled with us. We do not enroll or otherwise attempt to settle debt that is secured by collateral (i.e., a secured debt), such as home, car and boat loans.
13. What correspondence do I need to send to you?
- All correspondence received from your creditors, other than monthly statements, needs to be faxed to us at 1-608-807-1972. This includes notices from third-party agencies, settlement offers and information about a charge-off.
14. Why shouldn't I just file for bankruptcy?
- If you qualify, bankruptcy may be an option for you. Many of our clients qualify for bankruptcy relief but choose to settle their debts because a bankruptcy action is recorded in public records and appears on their credit report. Our attorneys can review a bankruptcy option with you.
15. How long will it take to settle all of my unsecured debts?
- The time required to settle unsecured debts varies for each client. We strive to complete the settlement within forty months; this time period may be lengthened or shortened depending on how aggressively you can accumulate savings to be used for settling your debts.
16. When do I pay legal fees?
- There are no upfront legal fees. Our legal fee will be a percentage and is based on the results achieved for settling or compromising the terms of each of your unsecured debts. The savings for debts settled at less than the full amount will be calculated by determining the difference between the balance of each debt at the time our representation starts and the time a settlement is reached. If you compromise any debt, the legal fee will be a smaller percentage calculated on the amount of that debt. Our legal fee for each respective debt is considered earned and fully due only after a settlement or compromise is reached and you have made at least one payment to the creditor.