I was going to file for bankruptcy and had retained a lawyer. I changed my mind though, and notified the law firm. I am now at a point where I would like to start repaying my debt; however, it's been a few years now, and I do not know all the companies I owe. How do I find out who I owe money to? Once I find out, if I contact them, will they be likely to settle my debts at a discount? And finally, if I settle my debts at a discount versus settling them in full, will I be able to restore my credit and how long will it take assuming I have no more late and/or no payments?
Unfortunately the damage to your credit has already been done. Simply paying off your debts will prevent further damage, but it will not reverse the damage causes by the delinquent payments. You can start with pulling your credit report to find your creditors. As for settling, this is up to the individual creditor. My experience is that you need to have money saved up before creditors will consider settling as most creditors will not accept a payment plan.
As for credit repair, it take several years before a delinquent report will fall off your credit report. There are services out there that can help you dispute the debt and get them removed quicker. It's hit or miss with those services.
Sent from my mobile device. Please excuse the brevity.
I agree with the other answers and You will need to consult with a consumer protection or bankruptcy lawyer locally for private and specific advice on your particular issues.
Make a written demand that all further communications from creditors is in writing under 15 USC 1692 (c). The letter should also contain a dispute of the validity of the charges and include a demand for a complete accounting with signatures, and all contents of their file.
The creditor then has 30 days to reply and they may not take any action until you have been sent the validation. Bear in mind that this may be motivation for the collector to work your account when the file comes to them from the original creditor with new information.
Do not give them any personal information because that is how collectors decide on which accounts to recommend suing. Remember they may not tell the truth and will say just about anything to get a payment from you and that payment reaffirms the debt, gives them information about you and your bank and ability to pay.
If you are going to make payments use money orders only and never personal checks, wire transfers, money grams, or “check by phone.” If the collector finds a bank account, the collector will be more likely recommend a lawsuit to their legal department.
Collections are negotiable; the original creditor has given up and is losing up to 50% on the face value already either by splitting any return or selling at a huge discount. In addition, the costs of a lawsuit although discounted still are a factor in the decision to settle with you.
If you are going to settle mark the check “settled-in-full” at the very top back of the check and include a letter explaining that you are offering a settlement, keep copies of everything.
Get written confirmation of any payment plan the agency will accept before making a payment.
Specify in writing that all payments shall be applied to principle first.
DO NOT use a paid debt settlement service; most of them are scammers. Here are some links to help you with your state & federal rights;
Washington collection agency complaint form: http://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/600006E.pdf
Washington statute regulating collection agencies: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=19.16
Consumer rights in Washington: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/collectionagency...
Look for a qualified consumer protection attorney for a low cost or free consultation: http://www.naca.net
You can search the Avvo web site under the Find a Lawyer tab. But always remember to act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to an attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote UP” review below. Be sure to indicate the best answer. Good Luck
The earlier post is 100% correct. You first need to pull your credit report and look into any judgments that may have been entered against you by creditors. Then, contact each one and see if they would be willing to settle the issue. Be advised, however, that they aren't going to make a payment plan with you - if you settle, you'll need to pay it in full immediately. Your credit is already ruined, but settling will stop the bleeding. It wil take years to fully restore it.
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