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Bad Economy Means Settling Credit Card Debt May Be Easier Than Ever

January 4, 2010

As Fontana debt settlement lawyers, we know that the new year typically brings in a few people who have resolved to get their financial lives under control. Fortunately for those with credit card debt, a Dec. 30 article in the Chicago Tribune suggests that this may be an excellent time to settle that debt. As the economy goes downhill and unemployment rises, many people are having a hard time making their credit card payments. That means credit card companies are seeing more and more defaults -- in fact, the article says defaults are tracking the unemployment rate. And that, in turn, means credit card companies are hurting and eager to negotiate settlements with people who can no longer handle their debt -- even if that means the company gets less than the full amount.

The article suggests several ways to approach settling your credit card debt. The most direct way is simply to call the credit card company, explain your situation and request a reduction in your debt in exchange for paying it off quickly. However, negotiation is not for everyone, and the stress of debt can make some people shy. That's why the article also suggests a nonprofit credit counseling agency. These agencies may charge a fee, but they also do the negotiation for you, help you set up a payment plan and provide education on how to avoid overwhelming debt in the future. A third alternative is a debt settlement company, which the article recommended with reservations because they are for-profit companies that may be dishonest and will likely harm your credit. A debt settlement company uses missed payments as leverage to negotiate a settlement for a reduced amount.

We offer a fourth option: representation from a licensed Orange County debt settlement attorney. Like credit counselors, our law firm negotiates directly with creditors to settle debts, generally for less than the full amount owed. We can do this because credit card companies know that they could get nothing at all if the client is forced to declare individual bankruptcy -- and when bankruptcy lawyers are on the job, they get nervous. Once the debt is settled, we have partners who help follow up to ensure that official records reflect the settlement and that old debt won't come back to haunt you. And unlike some debt settlement firms, we believe it's part of our job to explain the financial implications of the actions we take on clients' behalf, such as taxes owed on forgiven debt.

Howard Law LLP is a partnership of professional, experienced Downey debt settlement attorneys with publicly available discipline records. We believe that in addition to the peace of mind offered by the professional discipline system, hiring an attorney gives our clients several important advantages over other debt settlement choices. For one thing, lawyers are professional negotiators, which means we can provide the know-how and experience that many individuals haven't had any reason to learn. For another, creditors and debt collectors know that because we are lawyers, we will be able to identify any violations of our clients' rights, such debt collection harassment that's illegal under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and sue to stop it. And if debt settlement doesn't solve the problem, we can help clients explore other legal options, including filing for personal bankruptcy.

If you're sick of collection agency phone calls and you're ready to take control, Howard Law LLP can help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, you can reach us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send a message through our Web site.