What is better when I am in debt, a debt settlement company or a bankruptcy attorney?
May 5, 2012 Leave a comment
The answer to this question is easy. A bankruptcy attorney is better than a debt settlement company and bankruptcy is almost always better than debt settlement if you wish to do it. If you have debts but you don’t want to file bankruptcy for some reason then debt settlement through an attorney can be a good alternative.
I often settle debts for my clients who don’t wish to do a bankruptcy. We look at the client’s situation, evaluate the debts and the amounts owed, and we propose a settlement. This settlement is forwarded to the creditors and in the settlement proposal we state that everyone must agree of my client will go bankrupt and the creditor will get nothing.
Creditors usually realize that bankruptcy attorneys will file a bankruptcy without a problem and they usually come around and agree to some type of settlement. It does help though to have money to settle with as getting the creditors to accept payments is tough. They want to settle the entire account if they are to take a reduced amount. Remember that the collection agencies have bought this debt for pennies on the dollar so a definite reduced amount is far better than an uncertainty or nothing at all.
Debt settlement companies that say they specialize in settling debts (the ones that you see advertised constantly) are probably not a good option in my opinion. These companies are very expensive, take a long time, and you get no legal protection. My clients often pay thousands of dollars to these companies and sometimes they get few or none of their debts settled in the end. (See my article on my website about debt settlement companies).
Clients come to me after having been sued by one of their creditors that was supposed to be taken care of in the settlements. The client then often decides to go bankrupt anyway. When we examine the contract the client signed with the debt settlement company we find that they are indeed paying thousands of dollars to have these people “settle” their debts. The client then discovers that the settlement companies always put in their contracts that the companies don’t provide any legal protection if a creditor decides to sue.
And the creditors will sue. These settlement companies work by charging you a large monthly fee which mostly goes to pay them in the beginning. Then when you get done paying them they start putting money away for the creditors so they can offer them settlements one by one. There is no assurance that the creditors will accept the settlement and the creditors who are last in line often sue anyway.
That is when we bankruptcy attorneys are called when it is too late to save you the money. We can file the bankruptcy and get you out of the debts but if you had called us first we would have saved you the thousands you spent on the debt settlement company for nothing.
If you hire an attorney in the first place you would not only save money but by law the creditors would have to call us and not you. Creditors are unlikely to sue once you engage an attorney because they know they must cease all contact with you by law and if they do file a lawsuit then we bankruptcy attorneys can immediately file your bankruptcy case and stop their lawsuit in its tracks. The creditors would then lose all their filing fees and attorney fees and the underlying debt.
You can see that the creditors are thus very motivated to settle once a bankruptcy attorney enters the picture. Call a bankruptcy attorney if you are thinking about settling your debts. The attorney can file a bankruptcy or get you the best deal on a settlement probably far cheaper than a debt settlement company.
I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney. Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics. Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!
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