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Roadmap Roadmap

Overview of the Process

First things first: if you haven't read the sections on Debt Relief, Credit Repair, Lawsuits, and Asset Protection, stop.

Go back. Read them all. Take the time to understand the debt collection laws, the guidelines, and every single bit of the background information. Knowledge is power, and the only way to be at full debt relief power is to put all the knowledge at your disposal to work. The Road Map is an overview of the process. It will help you understand where you are on the road to debt relief and the signposts, forks, and pitfalls that lie ahead. It does not contain all the information you need to make informed decisions about what to do at each stage of the process.

The other sections of this website are intended to educate you about the players, the playing field, and the rules of the game so you can make the best decisions for you given your unique situation. You can't make great decisions without the right information.

So if you haven't already, go back and read those sections. Now. Once you do, you'll be ready to take all the knowledge you have gained to accelerate down the road to financial freedom.

Again, this is a fairly high level overview; refer back to the appropriate section any time you have questions or are in any way unsure about how to proceed. Also, please make sure you utilize the other resources available to you here—the Blog Forum, FAQ, Resource Library, and referrals to trusted service providers.

Now, on to the Road Map!

Let's walk through the debt relief process from start to finish and identify the steps you should take along the way:

  1. You take steps to protect your assets from creditors and from others.
  2. You stop—for whatever reason—making payments on a credit card.
  3. You start saving as much money as you can for settlements, if needed.
  4. The credit card company calls and sends letters. You never admit the debt is yours. In fact, you never admit anything and you give the credit card company no information whatsoever.
  5. You decide to dispute a billing error on an item or items on a credit card bill in order to create an affirmative defense, or
  6. You decide not to dispute a billing error on a credit card bill, either because there is nothing to dispute or you don't want to put the credit card company on notice that you're playing offense.
  7. After 180 days of non-payment, the original creditor writes off the debt and sells or assigns the debt to a debt collector.
  8. The debt collector sends a dunning letter giving you 30 days to dispute the debt. You should always respond with a dispute and verification and validation request, even if is has been more than 30 days.
  9. You assert your rights under the FDCPA and keep detailed records of all calls and correspondence—your goal is to collect violations under the FDCPA that you can use as an affirmative defense if you are sued. You can also use the threat of a federal lawsuit, or an actual lawsuit, to force the creditor to settle even before a lawsuit is filed.
  10. You begin credit repair.
  11. You decide at any point whether you would like to use the funds you have saved to settle the debt.
  12. If the creditor files a suit and you receive a summons, you immediately enroll in our Lawsuit Defense Partner Program or hire an attorney.
  13. You respond to the creditor's summons in a timely and appropriate manner; you never stick your head in the sand and fail to respond because, if you do, you automatically lose.
  14. You determine the worst-case scenario if a judgment is won against you. (Losing the suit may not have much of an impact, depending on your situation.)
  15. You review discovery with our Lawsuit Defense Partner or your attorney and devise a strategy. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
  16. You decide whether you want to settle or take your chances in court.
  17. You continue repairing any damage to your credit, both during the debt relief process and after.
> Mile Marker 1: Original Creditors