BBB Debt Settlement Companies

There’s a lot to consider when researching debt settlement solutions. One of the most common items to review is to narrow your selection to only BBB debt settlement companies, so you know you are working with a trusted provider. Most consumers are surprised to learn that until relatively recently, debt settlement companies could not even be granted accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. The reason was a complete lack of regulation over the industry; anybody, regardless of credentials and qualifications (or lack thereof!) could set themselves up in business as a “debt resolution” firm. Of course, this opened the door for an appalling number of scam operations. Complaints peaked early in 2010 as Attorneys General from across the nation were investigating several major “debt settlement companies.” This sad state of affairs was the primary reason that at that time the BBB would not even grant debt settlement firms BBB accreditation.

Even now, the BBB warns consumers to beware of debt settlement companies, particularly those making promises to quickly and easily reduce – or even eliminate – credit card debt.

Today, in order to become a BBB debt settlement company, a firm offering these services must go through a rigorous process and meet much higher standards than those of other types of companies. The process includes going before the state Attorney General and submitting to an exhaustive review of the company’s fee structures as well as any claims made on websites and in advertising. The principals of the company must also undergo a thorough investigation.

BBB Accredited Debt Company A+ Rating with BBB

The fact is that while there are hundreds of debt settlement companies across the U.S., only a small handful have met the standards of honesty and ethical practices that have enabled them to receive BBB accreditation. Trident Debt Solutions is pleased and proud to be among their number. The fact remains that BBB debt settlement companies are those most likely to have their clients’ best interests in mind and make the best choice for trust.

 

 

 

 

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Get Started on a Debt Free Life Today

Do you want to get of debt? If you have at least $30,000 or more in outstanding credit card debt you may qualify for services by which you can lower your balances by up to 50% and get it paid off in as little as eighteen months, without filing bankruptcy.

If you are unable to pay your debts when they come due, the other major option is bankruptcy. If you file a bankruptcy under Chapter 7, your debts are discharged, giving you a clean slate and the creditors nothing.

Debt Free Denver

Creditors understand this, and usually would rather get half a loaf rather than none at all. Therefore, in order to avoid having these accounts discharged, they are often willing to negotiate a settlement and allow the debtor to pay between .65 and .50 on the dollar. The key to these negotiations is to have representation from a legal professional who has experience in the areas of finance and bankruptcy.

To get started on a debt-free life today, contact Trident. If you are suffering from financial hardship, have savings or liquid assets equivalent to 50-60% of your total outstanding debts (or can raise that amount within 18 months) and are able to make monthly payments of at least 2% of the total, chances are good that you will qualify for our program.

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Credit Card Debt Consolidation – What You Need to Know

With interest rates at historic lows, taking out a loan for credit card debt consolidation is tempting – but there are some serious downsides to be aware of.

One of the most popular ways to get out from under credit card debt has been the home equity line of credit (HELOC). There were two major selling points, here: one, the interest on a HELOC is tax deductible under most circumstances, unlike credit card interest (this deduction was eliminated by Congress in the 1980s). The second was based on the assumption that home values would continue to rise. Of course, the latter did not happen; many homeowners who did encumber their homes in this manner now find themselves owing more than the home is worth. Furthermore, because the loan is now secured, if circumstances take a turn for the worse and the debtor defaults on the loan, the bank that holds the loan can seize the property.

Another strategy that can backfire is to transfer balances to a low or no-interest credit card. Understand that these rates are invariably “teasers” used to entice consumers to switch to another card – and those rates will go up (sometimes dramatically) after six or twelve months. Furthermore, if you are late on a payment, that introductory rate goes out the window. These companies also use “hidden” fees and other miscellaneous charges that can negate any savings.

Debt consolidation loans are often tempting as well; instead of having to pay several different creditors, you need only make one large payment to a single creditor. The problem is that it is very difficult to get a loan for credit card consolidation without giving collateral such as your car title or mortgage. It is generally ill-advised to convert unsecure credit card debt into a secured debt because if you are unable to make payments you can lose your car or home.

In many cases, credit counseling and debt negotiation may be the best solution. Those who qualify may be able to settle their unsecured debts by as much as 50% within as little as eighteen months. Understand that there are fees as well as penalties here, as well; since you would be paying less than the total amount due, it would count as a negative on your credit report. It is however preferable to bankruptcy, which will stay with you for ten years.

Contact us today to learn more about your options.

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Getting Started With Debt Reduction Help

If you are struggling with unsecured credit card debt, it can be overwhelming. The situation you are in is not hopeless, debt reduction help is available, so if you need help it would benefit you to take the time to review your options and decide whether debt reduction services from Trident Debt Solutions may help you.

Did you know unsecured debt could be negotiated and reduced greatly? Creditors would rather get something than nothing. On the other hand, if you wind up declaring bankruptcy, unsecured debts are discharged. While you face a ten-year credit report impact, they wind up taking the loss. Debt reduction through settlement is better for all parties involved.

Debt Reduction Help in DenverThe key to successful debt settlement is having representation from a professional who is an expert in financial laws and regulations. You may have heard that you can negotiate with credit card companies on your own. This is true; however, with an experienced legal and financial professional representing you and looking out for your interests, you are much more likely to get more favorable terms. The reason: such representation gives your case a great deal more credibility. A lawyer who has experience in bankruptcy and financial matters can also make certain you understand your rights – and that those rights are protected.

Understand that short of bankruptcy, there is no instant way to eliminate all your unsecured debts. However, if you meet certain qualifications and are able to come up with an appropriate lump sum – or commit a certain percentage of your income for the next two years toward paying off your creditors – it is possible to settle your debts for as little as 50% of what you owe. When it comes to debt reduction, help is available – contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

 

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Tips on Managing Your Credit Cards

The “Devil” is often depicted as a horrifying-looking monster with cloven hooves, horns and a tail – but truth be told if there was a Devil, he would more likely appear as a nice-looking, well-dressed, slick-talking salesman.

What has this to do with credit cards?

Consider all the wonderful incentives being offered by credit card companies these days, designed to lure in new customers – and get them hooked for life (and beyond). Reward points, frequent-flyer miles, cash back and more are being used aggressively – particularly since Congress, in a rare instance of doing something to actually help consumers, passed that CARD Act, limiting the amount of fees these companies can charge.

But, as the old adage goes, “the Devil is in the details.” These “rewards” credit cards usually carry a higher interest rate as well as fees that are hidden in the fine print. It’s important to read the terms and agreement carefully. Keep in mind that if you are carrying a balance, the interest will most likely negate any benefits of the “rewards.

Now, if you are already in trouble with credit cards and are looking for a way out, the first step is to acknowledge the situation. Once you have taken ownership of the problem, it’s time to sit down and crunch the numbers. What is your income vs. outgo? This can be painful, but sitting down and itemizing every single cent and looking at exactly where it is going can give you a much clearer picture of where you are, financially – making it easier to determine where you need to go.

Once you have a handle on this and know exactly what you can pay every month, the next step is to contact your creditors and negotiate a payment plan. You may want to consider hiring a professional negotiator. When it comes to the kind of unsecured debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy, those who hold this debt would rather receive something rather than nothing – and are thus often willing to negotiate some type of settlement. In many cases, if you can demonstrate hardship and that you are making a good-faith effort to meet your obligations, a creditor will be willing to reduce the interest rate – or even accept less than the total of what is owed.

The financial and legal professionals at Trident are in a strong position to assist you in negotiating with your creditors as well as coming up with a realistic payment plan that can get you free of your unsecured debts within eighteen to twenty-four months. Do you owe more than $30,000 in credit card or medical debt? Can you raise a lump sum equal to 50-65% of this amount in the next year and a half? Can you afford monthly payments equal to 4% of the outstanding balance? If so, you may qualify for  our program. Call Stephen T. Craig at Trident today for a consultation.

 

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I have more credit card debt than I can handle but I don’t want to declare bankruptcy. Are there any other options?

Yes! While bankruptcy is a legitimate means of obtaining debt relief in certain situations, it is one that many people prefer to avoid if at all possible. Even if your circumstances are such that filing for bankruptcy is a viable option, you may be able to resolve the problem through alternative means, such as debt settlement. With debt settlement (also referred to as “debt negotiation” or “debt resolution”), your creditors agree to accept less than the full amount you owe them in a negotiated settlement of your debt. Debt settlement can be a good option if you have more than $40,000 in debt but also have assets that can be liquidated for the purposes of negotiating with your creditors.

At Trident Debt Solutions, we will work with you to explore all your alternatives and determine which option is best for you. If you choose to pursue debt settlement, our expert debt settlement attorneys will negotiate with your creditors to reduce your debt as much as possible—in many cases, by as much as 50%.

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What is the difference between debt negotiation, debt settlement and debt resolution?

They are really just different terms for the same thing. Whether it’s called debt settlement, debt resolution, debt reduction, debt negotiation, debt arbitration or debt management, we’re really talking about a non-bankruptcy means of dealing with your debt. Debt settlement (and these other terms) refers to working with your creditors to reduce the amount that they are willing to accept to eliminate your debts with them—usually about 50% of what you owe them.

The nice thing about debt settlement is that you work privately with your debt settlement provider.  Your budget, your income and other financial details are never opened to the public.  Whereas the opposite is true in a bankruptcy filing—all of the details of your financial life are laid bare for the public to see.  Another benefit of debt negotiation is that you are reaching a compromise with your creditors to pay something back.  This probably feels better to most than filing a bankruptcy and not repaying your creditors at all.  In this way, debt settlement is a nice credit card debt elimination plan.

Another reason you might look at a debt settlement plan is if you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  In order to qualify for Chapter 7, you must have income below the median income for your state for your household size.  Also, you must have assets that fit within your state’s bankruptcy exemptions.  If you have some land in the mountains that has no mortgage on it, for example, you may not want to file a chapter 7 because that land would likely be sold to pay creditors.  Any good debt relief plan will be built only after knowing all of your options and the pros and cons of each.  You should consider consulting a bankruptcy attorney to make sure you have been advised of all of your bankruptcy options.  With Trident Debt Solutions, you will meet with attorney Steve Craig and he will advise you of all of your bankruptcy options as well as debt settlement.

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What happens if I don’t make my credit card payments?

If you are still accumulating debt and have not initiated either bankruptcy or non-bankruptcy options, then making no payments at all will, at the least, cause your debt to grow at an alarming rate. For one thing, the bank will start charging you late-payment fees each month that you miss a payment. Those fees will be added to the principal and interest will be assessed on the new, higher amounts. Interest that goes unpaid gets added to the principal and in turn accrues more interest. You can see that the impact on the overall amount you owe can be very significant, very quickly.

Avoid Credit Card Problems

You also face the risk of your creditors filing suit against you, in which case you would be liable for not only the existing amount of your debt but also attorneys’ fees, court costs and, if the court deems it appropriate, additional damages. And of course late payments, missed payments and lawsuits will all show up on your credit report, potentially worsening your overall financial position.

If a creditor sues you for lack of payment on a debt, chances are very good that they will obtain a judgment. Once they have a judgment their available remedies vary according to the laws of the state in which you live. Generally speaking, remedies include garnishment of bank accounts, garnishment of wages and placing a lien on any real estate you may own in that state. In Colorado, for example, a judgment creditor can garnish 25% of your take home pay from wages, your bank accounts and lien your real estate.

Seek Credit Card Debt Counseling

With that said, however, there may be times when it can actually be to your advantage to stop making payments. For instance, if you are planning to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the near future, the full amount of that unsecured debt will be discharged, including the extra amounts that accumulate from fees and interest, as well as judgments that may have been issued against you in the case of creditor lawsuits. Another time when it might be advantageous to not make payments on your credit card debt is when you are close to reaching the statute of limitations on the debt. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for debt collection is six years—so if you have a debt that is five years old and you can avoid being sued for another year, that creditor will no longer sue you for the money since six years will have passed since the debt was incurred .

One thing to keep in mind is that you will still be under pressure from your creditors. Just because you have decided to do nothing, it doesn’t mean that they have! But on average, only about one in two creditors will bring suit against you, and you may be able to settle those debts out of court. If too many of your creditors sue you, you can always file bankruptcy as a last resort.

Your best option is to have a plan for moving forward, rather than just letting things happen to you. With proper planning you can design a debt relief plan where you can settle debts with creditors for 50-60 cents on the dollar, including all fees- and not be sued by creditors.

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Colorado Debt Settlement Attorney Discusses Tax Implications

Debt settlement may have tax consequences, but usually will not. A creditor can issue a 1099 form reporting how much of your debt was forgiven, but the IRS takes the position that these monies are not taxable income if the debtor was “insolvent” at the time of the settlement. “Insolvent” basically means that you had more debt than assets. If you are “solvent,” that is, if your assets exceed your debts, then debt settlement may not be the right answer for you because you could end up with a tax liability.

So that’s the punch line- generally it is not.  But here is more detail:

Claiming Settled Debt on Taxes

Generally, if your debt is canceled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest to you, you must include the cancelled amount in gross income for tax purposes.  If a financial institution forgives debt of $600 or more, you will receive a 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt.  The amount of debt cancelled is shown in box 2.  If the debt is a nonbusiness debt, report the canceled amount on line 21 of Form 1040.

There are exceptions, though, to this general rule.  These exceptions are detailed in IRS Publication 225.  We suggest you review these exceptions with your tax advisor.  In order to claim an exclusion on your income tax return for a canceled debt, you will need to complete and attach Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness.

Consult Your Tax Lawyer

One specific exemption deals with insolvency.  In determining if this exemption applies, calculations involving the fair market value of your assets and your total liabilities must be made.  You are insolvent to the extent your liabilities are more than the fair market value of your assets immediately before cancellation of the debt.  You can exclude canceled debt from gross income up to the amount by which you are insolvent.

There is another, less known exception for deductible debt.  The rule is this:  You do not realize income from a canceled debt to the extent the payment of the debt would have been a deductible expense.  Here is an example the IRS uses:  You get accounting services for your business on credit.  Later, you have trouble paying your business debts, but you are not bankrupt or insolvent.  How you treat the cancelled debt depends on your method of accounting.  Cash method– You do not include the canceled debt in income because payment of the debt would have been deductible as a business expense.  Accrual method– You include the canceled debt in income because the expense was deductible when you incurred the debt.

At Trident Debt solutions, for every debt settlement client we have, we discuss tax implications prior to enrolling anyone into a debt relief plan.

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How will debt settlement affect my credit?

Is Debt Settlement the Best Option for You?

When it comes to credit of any kind, the only way to keep your credit rating high is to pay your debts in full, on time, all the time. There is no doubt that your credit rating will be adversely affected by debt settlement. But if you are already behind on your bills, your credit may already be bad. Different debt relief options will have different effects on your credit rating, and debt settlement probably falls on the less-damaging end of the spectrum. Getting rid of your debt through debt settlement is a first step toward rebuilding your credit. Once your debt settlement is complete, if you make your mortgage and car payments on time and follow certain credit rehabilitation principles, you should be able to regain good credit within just a few years.

Being Debt-Free is Within Sight

As a practical matter, what we have seen is that if your credit is very good, and you have a mortgage and a car payment that will be continued to be made, your FICO score will drop between 100 and 150 points in the first six months of the program. Then, as settlements are made, the FICO score begins to rise at about month 7. My clients tell me that their FICO score is back to within about 50 points of the original score by the time all the debt is settled (at Trident, our maximum plan is 2 years in length). As a general rule, you can regain your FICO score entirely within 18 months of the time you are debt-free.

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