Debt Settlement - FAQs
What is debt relief?
What’s the difference between debt relief and debt settlement?
How is bankruptcy different?
Who qualifies for the program?
What types of debt can be enrolled in the program?
Do I have to include all my accounts in the settlement program?
How does your program work?
Will I be totally debt free after the program?
Do I have to keep paying my creditors?
Can I negotiate my credit card debt myself?
What is the process to settle my credit card and loan debts?
When do you start negotiating?
How much of my credit card debt and loan debt can you settle?
Is there any guarantee that you can settle all of my debt?
How much does it cost?
When I pay into my new account, who controls my funds?
Will my taxes be affected by a debt settlement?
Will my credit card accounts still gain interest and late fees?
How will my credit be affected?
How long will a settlement be reported on my credit?
Can you stop my creditors from contacting me?
What should I do if I think a debt collector or creditor is breaking the law?
Can I be sued by a creditor?
1. What is debt relief?
Debt relief is any program that relieves a borrower from a commitment to repay debt according to the original terms of the loan. A debt relief program is a structured savings and settlement plan.
2. What’s the difference between debt relief and debt settlement?
Debt settlement is a form of debt relief because it is a negotiated settlement between the borrower and lender which normally settles a debt for less than the original amount.
3. Is bankruptcy different to debt relief?
Bankruptcy is definitely a last resort to consider and has many downsides. Most of all it is emotionally stressful and financially catastrophic. It is reported for 10 years on your credit and you can be rejected for employment, apartment leases, insurance, licenses, and almost all kinds of credit. It won’t help you discharge taxes, alimony, child support, or student loans. And despite all these downsides, you’ll still have to pay part of all your debts.
4. Who qualifies for a debt relief program?
The program is designed for anyone in financial hardship who is falling behind or having problems making minimum payments to creditors on their unsecured debts. You must have a minimum of $10,000 in total unsecured debt and a minimum of $500 of unsecured debt with each individual creditor.
5. What types of debt can be enrolled in the program?
Debtko settlement program can enroll most credit cards, store cards, medical bills, and other unsecured debts. We cannot assist with collateralized debts such as mortgages and auto loans.
6. Do I have to include all my accounts in the settlement program?
We advise enrolling all qualifying unsecured debt accounts into the program. If you leave an active credit card outside of the program it will be more difficult to negotiate with your creditors.
7. How does your program work?
Following enrollment you set-aside and save a fixed amount of money each month. The amount you save each month is determined during your initial consultation and is based on the total amount of debt you enroll. As your savings build, we work with your creditors and collectors to reach agreeable settlements on each of your accounts. Once a creditor settlement has been negotiated you will be contacted to authorize it prior to payment. This process repeats until you are debt free.
8. Will I be totally debt free after the program?
We will do our best to negotiate satisfactory settlements on every account that is enrolled in our program. Unfortunately, our program does not have any effect on debts that remain un-enrolled. The most important advice we can give our clients is to adhere to the program payment plan and work towards an on-time graduation.
9. Do I have to keep paying my creditors?
It is our understanding that you have enrolled in this program because you are in financial hardship and are unable to make payments to your creditors. If you are able to pay your creditors every month, then it is in your best interest to do so and this program may not be the right program for you.
10. Can’t I just negotiate with my credit card or loan company?
Yes, you can. You can also do your own taxes and fix your own car. Most people don’t like the hassle of communicating with their creditors on a regular basis, and prefer to entrust their debt relief strategy to specialists with years of expertise. An expert debt relief company will already have a good idea of exactly how much certain lenders will settle for and the best strategy by which to do this. And some lenders will settle and some won’t.
11. What is the process to settle my credit card and loan debts?
Firsty, we confirm your eligibility through a financial analysis during your Free Debt Consultation. You can only be eligible if you can demonstrate true financial hardship. Once your eligibility is confirmed, our specialists walk you through the entire program. You set up a new custodial savings account, commit to save a certain amount into this new account each month and as your balance grows, we negotiate with your creditors and settle debts step-by-step. As we negotiate each settlement, our team reaches out to you for authorization.
12. When do you start negotiating?
As your balance grows in your custodial savings account, we start negotiating each account. Each account is tackled in turn until you are eventually debt free.
13. How much of my credit card debt can you settle?
A debt relief program can typically settle debts at 40-70% of the balances at enrollment. No settlement is ever identical so there is no correct answer until you enter a program and start to settle your debts.
14. Is there any guarantee that you can settle all of my debt?
No. Companies who advertise any guarantee are unreliable because every case is different. However, you can trust our specialists to assist your situation as much as your case allows. Your success at reducing your debt is our success because the fee is based on how much we can save you.
15. How much does a debt relief program cost?
Costs are governed by your state of residence, and by how much debt you owe. See our debt settlement calculator for an estimate on savings and fees.
16. Who controls my funds in the custodial account?
You control your custodial savings account. Our fees are deducted from your account as each debt is settled. You still own whatever savings you accumulate. We encourage you to add funds to a separate account because this increases the success of our strategy. There is a low monthly fee applied for the set-up and administration of this custodial account.
17. How will my taxes be affected?
The IRS regards forgiven debt as income, and expects you to pay your taxes accordingly. Your creditors will send you a tax form once a debt has been settled. However, if your liabilities outweigh your assets when your debt is settled, you may become exempt. We advise that you seek professional tax advice. See Debtko Tax Services for tax debt relief information.
18. Will my credit card accounts still gain interest and late fees?
If your accounts become delinquent, creditors continue adding interest and late fees. Even if you make minimum payments, it’s normal for your balance to increase as we negotiate your settlements. Our service is designed to secure sizable reductions, even after the accumulated expenses. Also, keep in mind that if your creditors increase their fees, we will not increase ours.
19. How will my credit be affected?
Any debt settlement program can negatively affect your credit. This depends on your credit profile at the time of your enrollment. Your score, debt-to-income ratio, payment history, and other factors contribute to varying results. The effects aren’t nearly as severe as the effects of bankruptcy. You need to decide if rebuilding your credit is worth settling your debts now at a lower cost.
20. How long will a settlement be reported on my credit?
Debt settlement will be reported on your credit report for up to 7 years.
21. Could a creditor sue me?
Yes. However, since lawsuits are expensive, creditors aren’t likely to sue debtors with just low to average assets and income. We have also partnered with Veritas Legal Plan which has a specialist plan for this type of situation. If debts are in legal, then we cannot enter that particular debt into a debt relief program. Instead we will refer you to one of our legal partners who may be able to assist.
22. Can you stop my creditors from contacting me?
All collectors must abide by the FDCPA guidelines. These are rules put in place to make sure you are not being harassed. If you feel your creditors are harassing you, make sure to call our account management team. If we determine collectors are violating the law, we can transfer you to one of our partner attorneys who specializes in debtor’s rights. Since you are in true hardship and cannot afford to pay your creditors, the best thing to do is to inform them that you wish for them to send all communications to you in writing. There is no law that says you have to talk with your creditors. The main thing you should do if you are being bothered by a collector is call our account manager team and they will explain the best way to handle the calls. You can send us any mail you receive by fax or email.
23. What should I do if I think a debt collector is breaking the law?
You should report issues to your state attorney general’s office. You’re also able to sue a collector within one year of the violation.