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Debt  Settlement
Call Today: (877) 274-1260
If you successfully complete our program, it’s possible that you’ll enjoy these benefits:
Settle your debts for less than you owe
  (read here for full details about how much you can expect to save)
Resolve your unsecured debts in 18 to 60 months
  (read here for full details on how long our program lasts)
No Up Front Fees - Don't Pay Till You See Results!
 
 
 
Credit Card Debt  Settlement FAQ's

Q: How does your credit card debt settlement program work?

A:  The goal of our program is to settle and resolve your debts for less than you actually owe.  When you enroll in our debt settlement program, each month your payment is automatically deducted from your checking account and part is used to pay our fees and the rest is saved in a trust account set up for you by Noteworld Servicing Center with Key Bank.  Once you have saved sufficient funds in this account and your credit card account has become eligible for settlement, we negotiate with one of your creditors to get them to accept a lump sum pay off for less than you owe to completely satisfy the debt. Once they agree, we get the proper documentation from the creditor showing this and then with your permission, authorize Noteworld to distribute the funds from your trust account in accordance with the settlement agreement.  This process continues until the program is complete and all of your debts are resolved.

Q: Is there a minimum total debt amount in order to be eligible for your debt settlement program?

A: Yes, we only accept clients with more than $10,000 of debt, and each balance must be above $1000 in order to be included in our credit card debt settlement program. We do make some exceptions depending on the client hardship and creditor, so feel free to contact one of our debt settlement experts to see if you are eligible.

Q: How will your credit card debt settlement program affect my credit?

A:  Debt settlement will likely have a negative effect on your credit.  Your credit would benefit more by making on time payments for the full balance than enrolling in a debt settlement program.  The marks left on your credit from a debt settlement program will remain your credit for up to seven years and include past due payments, charge offs, accounts being sent to collections, and in some cases, judgments.  Unfortunately, this is one of the compromises one must accept in order to settle their balances and realize the savings potential of our program, although the credit impact is generally less than filing bankruptcy.    

Q: What are some signs that I may need credit card debt settlement?

A: You don't have any savings. You cannot afford the minimum payments on your credit cards now or in the foreseeable future. You get calls from debt collectors. You take out cash advances on your credit card to pay other bills.

Q:  What is the difference between credit card debt settlement and credit counseling?

A: In a credit card debt settlement program, negotiators work on your behalf to settle your balances for less than you owe. In a credit counseling program, counselors work on your behalf to reduce interest rates to as low as 0%. The credit card debt settlement program lasts between 1 and 3 years, whereas credit counseling services last for between 4 and 6 years. In general credit card debt settlement tends to be a more aggressive approach to debt elimination, where the savings potential is greater but so are some of the downsides. Some consumers may be better suited for credit counseling depending on their individual situation.

Q: Can I get a home equity loan to fund my credit card debt settlement program?

A: Yes, this is encouraged if possible. In these cases, a client gets a home equity loan or refinances their home, we negotiate with the credit card companies, and once they agree to a settlement for less than the balance owed, we use the money from the 2nd mortgage or refinancing to settle all the credit cards. This process takes as little as 4 to 12 months to complete, and it is recommended, although we understand if a client does not have the means or the desire to pursue this avenue of credit card debt settlement.

Q: Is credit card debt settlement the same as bankruptcy?

A: No, credit card debt settlement is very different from bankruptcy. Bankruptcy may be a suitable alternative for consumers who have limited income or are seeking debt relief for secured debts like mortgages and car loans, among other reasons. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court orders a debtor to liquidate all of their non-exempt property and a trustee pays the creditors back with the proceeds from their sale. In many cases, your home, car, and other assets will be exempt from liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but this depends on your state.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court orders a debtor to turn over all their disposable income for a period of three to five years.  Since Franklin Debt Relief is not a law firm, we are not qualified to give you legal advice about bankruptcy.

Q:  Can I be sued in a credit card debt settlement program?

A: Yes, a credit card company is reserved the right to pursue a client in court to collect the full debt amount if you are past due on your payments, which will be the case during our program.  Having your account handled by a law firm in itself may not result in a lawsuit, however, as we usually set up a payment plan or settle those accounts, albeit at a higher percentage (60-80%) once we learn they are being handled by a law firm.  Read below for more information about the potential outcomes of a lawsuit. 

Q: What happens if I am sued while working with your debt settlement company?

In some cases, an impending lawsuit results in a settlement that is higher than the amount originally estimated. In other instances, a lawsuit results in what is called a stipulated agreement with the creditor, where they enter a judgment against the client in court, but they agree to a payment plan to resolve the debt. After the debt is paid, any legal right to the debt is dropped.  In these situations, the client usually pays the debt off in full at 0% on the very low end or at statutory interest, which typically ranges from 6% to 12%, over a 24 to 60 month period.  In other instances, the creditor pursues legal action, gets a judgment and then does nothing else to collect the debt. In the worst case scenario, it is possible a creditor will attempt a wage garnishment, freeze a bank account, or put a lien on a clients' property to collect the debt after a judgment is entered. Since Franklin Debt Relief is not a law firm, we cannot represent you in court or give you legal advice.

Q:  How much does your credit card debt settlement program cost?

A: Franklin Debt Relief charges no up front fees for the services we provide, and clients only pay a fee after an account has been settled or resolved for an amount they agree to. The fee we charge varies based on your individual situation, but typically it is a percentage of what you save a flat percentage of the total amount of debt you enroll (20% of the debt you enroll in our program).

Q:  Can you elaborate on what happens to interest and late fees during the program?

A:  Late fees and interest charges continue as usual until an account is settled. In our experience, the majority of accounts that are settled are not affected by this fact as our negotiations target settlement percentages according to the original balance, but there are certainly cases where despite our best efforts, our ability to settle debts for our targeted percentage is impaired by the fact interest and late fees accrued on the account.  In particular, late fee and interest charges most affect accounts that we are forced to set up payment plans or settle for higher to avoid legal action. 

Q: Can you give me more information about the tax implications of settling my debts?

A: Yes, it is possible that you may be taxed on the savings related to our settling of your credit card debt. However, for clients who are technically insolvent, then filing IRS form 982 may exempt you from paying taxes on the savings from settling. The IRS defines insolvency as financial state in which someone owes more (liabilities) than the value of their assets. Many of our clients fall under this category, but you should consult a tax attorney for advice regarding your situation. Secondly, even if you are taxed on the savings from debt settlement, you may still save a lot of money. Remember, you are only taxed on a percentage of the savings. For example, if our debt settlement program saved you $2000 off one of your credit cards and you had to pay 25 percent of that amount to the IRS ($500), then you still saved approximately $1500. Assuming the debt was $4,000 and our fee was $600, the total savings is still $900. Again, since we are not tax specialists, however, we cannot offer advice in this area.

Q: What are my responsibilities throughout the credit card debt settlement program?

A: Your main responsibilities are to be truthful, not make additional charges on the accounts you intend to settle, and to make your monthly payment as planned. Without ample savings we will be unable to obtain settlements from the credit card companies. If you will have trouble making your monthly payment, then it is important that you notify us 5 business days in advance, so you do not get charged for having insufficient funds. Moreover, it is important to forward creditor correspondence you receive and stay in touch with us, so we always have quick and easy access to you during the negotiation process in the event that we need you to supply our debt settlement representatives with any important information regarding your credit card accounts.  Other responsibilities include giving us relevant information about any co-applicants, co-signors or authorized users before the process starts. 

Q: What is the difference between credit card debt settlement and credit repair?

 A: Credit repair involves removing inaccurate or unverifiable information off your credit report.  Unlike debt settlement, however, credit repair cannot legally resolve any debts that you actually owe. Franklin Debt Relief is not a credit repair organization.

Q: Do you make payments to each of my credit cards every month?

A: No, we negotiate with your credit card companies to settle your debts for less than you owe. Once you have saved enough money and one of the credit card companies has agreed to lower the amount you owe, we pay them off with a lump sum settlement of your debt.

Q:  Can you get the collections calls to stop?

No. Although there are some steps we can take to stop collector calls, as well as numerous state and federal laws that protect consumers from harassing phone calls from collections agencies, clients should expect calls throughout the debt settlement program. Once your accounts move to collections, you can notify us of any calls you are receiving and we can take specific steps to get the calls routed to us instead by notifying the collector of our representation in writing.  Although they are legally obligated to contact us instead of you once this is done and many collection agencies do in fact honor this responsibility, some may not and once your account leaves that particular collection agency, the new collection agency may call you until they receive written notification of our representation.

Q: What laws can you take advantage of to reduce creditor calls?

A: Debt collectors are bound by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA specifically states that a debt collector is obligated to contact third-parties with a Power of Attorney instead of the debtor.

Q: Do you make payments to each of my credit cards every month?

A: No, we negotiate with your credit card companies to settle your debts for less than what you owe. Once you have saved enough money and one of the creditors has agreed to accept a settlement for your debt, we get the proper documentation from the creditor and with your permission, authorize Noteworld to pay them off with a lump sum settlement of your debt using the funds you saved in the trust account.

Q: How do you decide which credit card companies get paid first?

A: We prefer to settle with the most aggressive creditors first (the ones who are most likely to pursue legal action to collect the debt). Assuming all things are equal, we will settle based on which creditor is offering the best settlement. If each creditor is offering similar settlement percentages, we usually try to negotiate the smallest account.

Q:  How long does it take for you to contact my creditors and start negotiations?

A:  The length of time it takes for us to begin negotiations depends on how far past due your accounts are, your creditors, and how much money you have accumulated for settlement, among a number of factors.  In other words, this varies and depends on your individual situation.  Since all or most of the first three payments in the program go to fees for Franklin’s services, you will not begin aggressively accumulating funds for settlement until you are at least four months into the program.  This being the case, the typical client would likely see negotiations begin and an account settled in the first six to eight months of the program.  Once an account is paid off, funds must accrue again before another debt can be resolved. 

Q:  How long do the negotiations take before everything is settled?

The length of the program is expected to vary based on your unique situation, but the typical client is expected to have their debts resolved within 24 to 48 months.  If all your accounts are successfully settled, then it’s possible for you to resolve your debts in less than 24 months, but if one or more of your accounts is forced to be set up on a payment plan because of legal action, then it’s possible that your accounts will not resolved within the 48 month estimate given above. 

Q: Will I still be eligible for bankruptcy if I do debt settlement, but lose my job or income down the road?

A: In most cases, bankruptcy is still available as an option, but since we are not a law firm, we cannot speak as to whether or not you will qualify. What we do know is that it is important to note that any money we spent in your credit card debt settlement program up until then will go forever. On the flip side, since you are always in complete control of your savings account, any monies still in reserve there will be returned to you at your request.

Q: Is it possible that a creditor will refuse to settle?

A: Creditors rarely refuse to accept settlements, but it’s a possibility.  What’s more likely is an account cannot be settled because the client does not have the funds saved yet to make settling an option at that time.   If the account is being handled by an attorney in your state and there aren’t funds available to settle (most attorneys require 60 to 80% of what is owed), then non-settlement is likely.  For the most part, when a credit card company or collector refuses a settlement offer, however, we wait for the account status to change or wait until more funds are built up, and then begin negotiations again until it is settled.

Q: How does your debt settlement company come up with an estimate of how much I will have to pay the credit card companies?

A: Our estimate is based almost entirely on who the credit card company is. Each creditor has a different internal policy regarding debt settlement, so each one typically accepts settlements within a certain range. The vast majority of creditors will accept settlements in the 40 to 60 percent range during a specific period in the collections process. Debt settlement is a lot about timing and planning, and it comes down to having the right amount of money at the right time in order to obtain the ideal settlement.  Even with the best planning, however, clients must understand that every situation is unique and results do vary, so although we do give our clients estimates in good faith, they are in fact just that - estimates.

Q: Do I have any incentive to pay these accounts off faster?

A: Absolutely. By paying off the debts faster your credit score will be able to improve more quickly since you'll be done with the program earlier. That is, if you are in 24 month program, you can start restoring your credit much faster than someone in a 36 months program. Moreover, shorter debt settlement programs are even less likely to be in danger of legal action by the creditors because we can potentially settle all the accounts before it ever gets to that point.

Q: Can I pay more some months and less other months in your debt settlement program?

 A: Yes, we allow a lot of flexibility in terms of your monthly payment, although we do not allow you to pay less than a certain amount every month. A lot of our clients will use their tax refunds to fund their program and get out of debt even faster than what we estimate. You are informed of the minimum monthly payment before enrollment into the program, and if you are having difficulty making a payment one month, please feel free to call our customer service to discuss your options.  It's important to note that if you are barely able to afford the minimum payment we give you, you are best not enrolling.  The leading cause of failure for our program is the inability to save funds or being unable to continue the program altogether because of budget issues. In this situation, clients are forced to file bankruptcy and the fees they paid up to that point were spent in vein.

Q: What is the longest debt settlement program possible?

A: For the most part, we aim to have our clients in programs that last no more than 3 years, oftentimes shorter. That said, much of the program length is determined as the process unfolds and depends on how the creditors react to our settlement offers, your ability to save funds, and whether or not your accounts are forwarded to attorneys for collection.  Although we aim to provide good-faith estimates of the program length to our prospective clients, results do vary, so we cannot completely predict when you will be debt free on the accounts included in our program.

Q:  How will debt settlement affect my spouse's credit rating?

A: As long as the debts are in your name only, your spouse's credit rating may not be affected by debt settlement. If you spouse is an authorized user, you can request that they be taken off the account prior to enrollment in order to ensure that they are not affected by our program. However, if you live in a community property state (Texas, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, or Wisconsin), then the credit card company may treat your debt as your spouse's debt for collections purposes, even if your spouse is not a co-applicant on the account.

 
 
 
 
 

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