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The DebtClear Roadmap

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Debt Relief

I have been constantly bombarded with collection calls. What should I do to make them stop?
There are two types of collection calls, those from original creditors and those from debt collectors. Unfortunately, you cannot do anything about original creditor calls (besides avoiding them). Fortunately, you can make debt collectors stop calling by sending a simply letter to them certified mail with return receipt telling them not to call you anymore. See the Resource Library for a sample letter to send.
I have received a letter saying that I have 30 days to dispute my debt and ask for verification. What happens if I do not send a response?
If you do not respond you give up one of the most powerful consumer protections that the FDCPA affords you. This notification letter is commonly known as a dunning letter and if you don't dispute the debt and/or request verification and validation within 30 days of receiving the letter, the debt is assumed to be valid and the debt collector can proceed collection activities AND report negatives to your report. If you do assert your rights within 30 days of receiving a dunning letter all collection activity and reporting of negative information must stop until verification and validation has occurred. Oftentimes, a debt collector will not respond or their response will be insufficient and—according to the FDCPA—they are barred from further collection and reporting activities.
It has been 180 days since I sent my last payment to the creditor, I checked my credit report and it shows it has been charged off. Does that mean I no longer owe the debt?
Unfortunately, no. Original creditors usually write-off your debt as bad (record it as a loss on their books) after 180 days of non-payment. Around the same time they usually report the account as a "charge-off" to the credit bureaus. A "charge-off" means that the account has either been assigned or sold to a debt collector. Note, that some creditors do charge-off accounts before 6 months for a write-off.
Can I assume that I am in the clear if the statue of limitation expires on my debt?
The short answer is "Yes". If the statue of limitations has expired on your debt it is considered "time-barred" and a creditor is no longer allowed to sue you. If you receive a lawsuit on a time-barred debt, simply show the court a copy of your credit report showing your last payment on the account and your state's statue of limitations. Note that just because the statue of limitations has expired the creditor can still report the negative to your credit report for up to 7 years of your original default.
What if I incurred my debt in one state and then have moved to another?
The laws of your state of residence will apply, including statue of limitations. Some creditor contracts state that the laws of their state apply, but these forum selection clauses have been found by the courts to be unenforceable.
If I try settlement and can't get the collector to agree, what do I do?
Settlement is all about knowing your walk-away points. Start low and if you can't make a deal on one of your walk-away points then walk-away. You may be surprised when they call you back agreeing to your "impossible" terms. If they don't come back then they don't come back. Not everything is negotiable.
What if I try the debt validation process or dispute process and it does not work, can I still settle?
Settlement is always an option that is available to you. Read the tutorial on Debt Settlement in the Roadmap section of the website, or consult with an accredited debt settlement company.
What if a debt collector can validate my debt?
Most debt collectors will send the name of the original creditor and copies of billing statements in response to a debt verification and validation request. Some collectors don't even have this information and will likely stop collection efforts and sell your account to another debt collector if verification is requested. Rather than you trying to decide if their response is legally sufficient, just keep copies of everything. If you think your rights have been violated, consult with an attorney who specializes in FDCPA violations.