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DIY Debt Settlement for Those Interested in Do It Yourself Debt Settlement – Podcast

By on March 7, 2011
DIY Debt Settlement for Those Interested in Do It Yourself Debt Settlement – Podcast

Here is this weeks podcast where Damon Day, from DamonDay.com, and I talk about a number of debt industry issues including:

If it is possible to settle your own debt.

How to begin to approach do it yourself debt settlement.

Hiring a debt settlement company is a smart thing to do if someone does not want to do it themselves.

We discuss the process on how to settle your own debt and what happens as you fall further and further behind.

DIY debt settlement is not magical, it’s just a process and we talk about how the process works.

Why sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing.

We talk about how to deal with creditors when they call. What to say and what not to say.

How to get ready to settle your debt and what to ask for when you do.

Why you should be eager to open the mail from the creditors.

And we talk about the worst things you can do.

If you are thinking about DIY debt settlement, get comfortable and listen to the entire show.

Have questions and want to settle your own debt? Visit the DIY debt settlement section of the forum.

Did you like this show and want to hear more? That’s easy to accomplish. All you have to do is just subscribe via iTunes, or subscribe to the free RSS feed or email from the GetOutOfDebt.org site. You’ll find the links for all of this on the right hand side of the site, so just visit GetOutOfDebt.org.

And if you have a question you’d like to ask, visit GetOutOfDebt.org and follow the links to ask your question online or the instructions on how you can call in to leave your question for an upcoming show.


READ  Debt Buyers, Getting Sued by a Creditor, and Debt Relief Scams to Avoid - Get Out of Debt Podcast

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

150 Comments

  1. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks, Mike. Best wishes for your continued success.

  2. Mike Reilly

    March 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    you’re right Charles but now it’s out of my system, It’s nothing but my passion for the industry speaking.

    My apologies to all.

  3. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Apples and grapes? Sounds like *sour* grapes, to me. :-)

  4. Mike Reilly

    March 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Andy,

    I agree with you completely regarding the shorter terms but what I can also tell you is, and this is something I have learned over time, is that people get motivated and situations change. I may sign someone up to a 36 and that same person is done in 22. The goal is to get them saving. I’m also a big believer in the power of positive thinking, when my clients are thinking positive and feeling good knowing we’re there, something strange happens…they become motivated to complete the program.

    This is the third time I will say this, this one’s for the record, I cool with DIY it has its place just like all the other relief options. What I look for, just like most on this site is fair game, nothing more nothing less. DS is not easy work, what I do is not easy and for some (which is how this started) to make light of it like it’s simple, in fact so simple a caveman can do it rubs me the wrong way, more importantly, in my opinion misleads consumers. Is that not what this sites all about, informing consumers?

    I am confident that most in the industry work very hard at what they do; I can tell you that when I’m done for the day, I’m done. You will not find omissions or outlandish claims on my site, what you will find is the truth about what we do, the options available to you, how we do it, what we charge (probably an industry low) what you can expect, what you should expect and zero pressure.

    Best in the industry…you will never hear me make that claim…even if it was true

    Comparing apples to grapes is what Charles is trying to do, comparing Full service DS to DIY is the same thing. We in full service debt settlement cannot drop facts from claims but others can? Are you ok with that because of a friendship or ???

    One minute it’s 33.1% with zero disclosure them 36-37% then add the fee 1.3-1.6% add the drop-outs blah blah blah…. it’s all good.

    Very subjective!

  5. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks, Joe.

  6. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    LOL, Mike, as I said, I took offense on behalf of my clients, not myself. Based on your reactions to some of these posts, you may be the one who needs a thicker skin. :-) Anyway, my stats are real. After 14 years in this industry, I’m not so stupid as to publish statistical data that can’t be backed up if I am required to defend it to regulators. Believe my data or not, I really don’t care!

    And to answer your question, NO, I would *not* accept money from Joe Blow if I thought he was not a good candidate for settlement. That, in fact, is a key factor in my business model. (See my blog post on the ZipDebt Prime Directive — April 2009.) On a daily basis, we turn away people that are not a good fit for debt settlement due to inadequate resources. And although it’s increasingly rare these days with so many folks legitimately out of work or under water with real estate, we also occasionally find someone who is literally in too good of shape to do settlement. We don’t take them on either.

    What you are missing is that *I* have to do the work of coaching people, and my prices are based on the assumption of SUCCESS. Someone trying to game the system is pretty obvious to most creditors, and they are a pain in the butt to deal with as a client too. So I don’t want them any more than I want the person who has to stretch it over multiple years.

    As to the folks I lost contact with, I remind you that it’s a “do it yourself” program. It doesn’t say anything one way or the other about the intentions or character of those individuals. I hear back all the time from people way past expiration on their coaching privileges. The email usually starts with, “I settled all my debts using your training course. Thanks! You saved me a ton of money. Now I have a question on rebuilding my credit.” :-)

  7. Joe_debt_jr

    March 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    oops sorry i must of overlooked it. i thought it was 1200 clients with a total of $16.2 mil worth of debt that needed to settle. i read your articles plenty of times and very impress with your results. Keep up the great work and i hope to share your info to others aswell.

  8. Mike Reilly

    March 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Charles I thought you had thick skin? Are you trying to tell me people don’t beat the system?

    I would be willing to bet anything, I can get my hands on one of your programs to beat the system inside of two week if I really wanted to. And I don’t even know your policies! Are you telling me that if Joe Blow offered up the $$$ you would’nt sell the program?

    Come on, what about the 500+ people you lost contact with between 2006 & 2009 is this really out of the relm of possibilities? How would you know?

    Listen, like I said earlier, I get it, and we have had people enroll in similar positions with assets to liquidate or money to borrow but, no where near that high of a percentage.

    All I can say is, maybe it’s your marketing message, 33.1% average settlement is truly unbelievable!

  9. Andy Faria

    March 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Mike,

    My thoughts on debt settlement have changed a lot over the past year. I am now under the belief that ds programs beyond 18-24 months, don’t work for the most part. Let’s face it, being a consumer in a ds program sucks, and I don’t feel comfortable or have the desire to subject the people in my great state of MA to wallowing in debt any longer than they need to, only so I can make a couple bucks. I have become a huge fan of BK and anyone that can’t put together 50% of their debt within 18-24 mos NEEDS to speak with a BK attny, and I find almost all of them never return after speaking with one.

    I don’t think that Mr Phelan’s averages are suspicious. In fact, I believe the exceptional settlement averages are a direct result of the consumer not having to pay settlement fees to the full service provider.

    Why are you hating on DIY? It works for those that have the ability to do it. I would think it would be in your best interest to get to know either CRN or Mr. Phelan’s program’s better. If you were able to identify those that are better suited for DIY, you would be providing a great service to them by pointing them in a direction that’s a better fit. Doing the right thing by people, even when it may not be in your best interest, ALWAYS leads to more business in the future … my dad taught me that one.

  10. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Joe, it’s 1,193 settled *accounts* for 2010, not clients. Big difference! See my blog posts on success rate tracking for actual client count stats. Again, it’s all reasonable if you do the suitability analysis with clients on the front end. Also, let me point out something that should be obvious to anyone trying to poke holes in my stats, but apparently has been overlooked. Why would the *banks* have agreed to settle the $16.2M of debt with my clients if those clients didn’t need to settle? You all know how it works — clients don’t get settlements (DIY or traditional) unless they appear to the creditor to be in bad enough shape to justify a settlement.

  11. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

    “Fountain of youth?” “Suspicious?” “Folks trying to beat the system?” Look, Mike, it’s very simply, really. The clients I work with tend to be high-balance debtors facing a protracted Chapter 13 bankrutpcy scenario. They have income and/or major cashflow shortfalls, and can no longer sustain their monthly “nut” and continue with the regular payments. Job loss, business failure, whatever the cause, they can’t continue on the minimum payment trap or all remaining assets will get liquidated and then they will be in worse shape. The resources for settlement come from dwindling 401(k) or IRA accounts, family loans, sale of property or vehicles, cashed-in whole life policies, coin collections, you name it. Once people get the idea that they don’t need to take 2-3 years to do settlement the painful way (or 3-5 years under Ch. 13), the light bulb goes on and they start figuring out where the private assistance will come from. It has nothing to do with “beating the system,” and I *do* take offense at that implication — not for myself, but on behalf of my clients. If we encounter someone we think is trying to game the system, we do not take them on, period. You need to get over your denial here and realize that there is more than one way to serve the marketplace. You don’t even have to take my word for it. Read my client testimonials and the story will become clearer to you. The simple fact is that, unlike most settlement firms, I work extra hard to screen people and only work with those that are a good fit. It’s called “suitability analysis,” in case you are not clear on the concept. :-)

  12. Charles Phelan

    March 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. Most industry people are skeptical when they first hear about my methods and results. Glad to hear you support the DIY approach too.

    Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should note that the training course that CRN provides its clients is a customized version of my recorded seminar.

  13. Joe_debt_jr

    March 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I would think there would be more to the coaching and inside information provided. According to Charles stats with 1200 clients with $16.2 Million debt solved would equate to $13,500 debt amount per client so it does sound reasonable?

  14. Mike Reilly

    March 11, 2011 at 9:54 am

    None at all Andy, just a thought, no big deal.

    I was just thinking about some of the stats discovered in this back and forth and when I do some basic math and I will lay that out in a moment things just don’t add up. It seems to me that this type of program could be geared to folks trying to beat the system.

    Andy if you had a potential client interested in your solution and after a complete financial analysis you discovered that over the next 120 days they have the ability to lay out more than 35% (in the case of a client with 100k in debt) or 35,000 when the minimum payment at 3% is only $3000 would you find that a little fishy? And then the majority of those looking at your solution fall in the same category large debt amts, 8-10 accts, all on a fast track of 3 months, 90% done?

    That’s like the fountain of youth, no?

    I get it there are clients that have the ability to lump in (some) funds but this is a little suspicious. We tell our clients that can make the payments…and make ends meet…make the payments, snow ball the debt.

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  15. Steve Rhode

    March 11, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Mike,

    You can read all about the new DIY services and section that will be provided by reading Where the Site is Headed and What is Coming Up. Free, Free, Free..

    Not sure why a “content” provider would bail? Actually I’m not sure what you mean when you say a “content provider.”

    Steve

  16. Andy Faria

    March 11, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Mike, I’m not exactly sure I understand what the problem would be if this site directed consumers that want a DIY option, to a top-notch DIY program.

  17. Mike Reilly

    March 11, 2011 at 7:50 am

    This site and some who participate come off very subjective, I base this on the last 10 or so posts. I have seen many here jump all over those who make unrealistic and deceptive claims, I don’t think the discovery here uncovered anything malicious by no means but it is what it is and at best the end result is still nothing more than a guess.

    I hate to be controversial but, I guess that’s ok.

    My dad use to say “if you jump in the pool with your mouth open expect to get water in it”.

    Steve I think taking an affiliate approach to DIY you’re going to lose a lot of content providers, but, then again maybe not… that’s just a guess.

    Good luck to you!

  18. Steve Rhode

    March 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Funny you should mention that Andy. This site will soon start offering access to the DIY debt settlement course offered by Consumer Recovery Network which has a close relationship with Charles.

  19. Andy Faria

    March 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Wow, Charles Phelan.

    Mr Phelan, you’re a legend in the debt settlement world. When I decided to expand into the debt settlement industry, a client of mine had turned me on to your site, and he was a huge fan. At first I was skeptical, but I studied your business model and had to agree, you’re the real deal. Since then, I’ve actually learned a lot from your course. It’s good meeting you here.

    DIY debt settlement is an awesome concept and I’m under the belief that if a consumer has the ability to do it themselves, they should. I’ve learned that it’s not brain surgery and consumers (with the ability) would be better off saving the fees. I’m a DIY guy myself, and if it were my debt that needed to be settled I would probably opt for one of the cool DIY programs available out there today.

    Damon earlier mentioned Consumer Recovery Network run by Michael Bovee. They offer a very cool DIY program similar to Mr Phelan’s at Zipdebt. Both would be excellent options for any consumer looking to get out of debt on their own.

  20. Andy Faria

    March 11, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Wow, Charles Phelan.

    Mr Phelan, you’re a legend in the debt settlement world. When I decided to expand into the debt settlement industry, a client of mine had turned me on to your site, and he was a huge fan. At first I was skeptical, but I studied your business model and had to agree, you’re the real deal. Since then, I’ve actually learned a lot from your course. It’s good meeting you here.

    DIY debt settlement is an awesome concept and I’m under the belief that if a consumer has the ability to do it themselves, they should. I’ve learned that it’s not brain surgery and consumers (with the ability) would be better off saving the fees. I’m a DIY guy myself, and if it were my debt that needed to be settled I would probably opt for one of the cool DIY programs available out there today.

    Damon earlier mentioned Consumer Recovery Network run by Michael Bovee. They offer a very cool DIY program similar to Mr Phelan’s at Zipdebt. Both would be excellent options for any consumer looking to get out of debt on their own.

    • Steve Rhode

      March 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Funny you should mention that Andy. This site will soon start offering access to the DIY debt settlement course offered by Consumer Recovery Network which has a close relationship with Charles.

      • Mike Reilly

        March 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

        This site and some who participate come off very subjective, I base this on the last 10 or so posts. I have seen many here jump all over those who make unrealistic and deceptive claims, I don’t think the discovery here uncovered anything malicious by no means but it is what it is and at best the end result is still nothing more than a guess.

        I hate to be controversial but, I guess that’s ok.

        My dad use to say “if you jump in the pool with your mouth open expect to get water in it”.

        Steve I think taking an affiliate approach to DIY you’re going to lose a lot of content providers, but, then again maybe not… that’s just a guess.

        Good luck to you!

        • Andy Faria

          March 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

          Mike, I’m not exactly sure I understand what the problem would be if this site directed consumers that want a DIY option, to a top-notch DIY program.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm

            None at all Andy, just a thought, no big deal.

            I was just thinking about some of the stats discovered in this back and forth and when I do some basic math and I will lay that out in a moment things just don’t add up. It seems to me that this type of program could be geared to folks trying to beat the system.

            Andy if you had a potential client interested in your solution and after a complete financial analysis you discovered that over the next 120 days they have the ability to lay out more than 35% (in the case of a client with 100k in debt) or 35,000 when the minimum payment at 3% is only $3000 would you find that a little fishy? And then the majority of those looking at your solution fall in the same category large debt amts, 8-10 accts, all on a fast track of 3 months, 90% done?

            That’s like the fountain of youth, no?

            I get it there are clients that have the ability to lump in (some) funds but this is a little suspicious. We tell our clients that can make the payments…and make ends meet…make the payments, snow ball the debt.

            Michael Reilly
            Emerge America

          • Anonymous

            March 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

            I would think there would be more to the coaching and inside information provided. According to Charles stats with 1200 clients with $16.2 Million debt solved would equate to $13,500 debt amount per client so it does sound reasonable?

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm

            Joe, it’s 1,193 settled *accounts* for 2010, not clients. Big difference! See my blog posts on success rate tracking for actual client count stats. Again, it’s all reasonable if you do the suitability analysis with clients on the front end. Also, let me point out something that should be obvious to anyone trying to poke holes in my stats, but apparently has been overlooked. Why would the *banks* have agreed to settle the $16.2M of debt with my clients if those clients didn’t need to settle? You all know how it works — clients don’t get settlements (DIY or traditional) unless they appear to the creditor to be in bad enough shape to justify a settlement.

          • Anonymous

            March 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

            oops sorry i must of overlooked it. i thought it was 1200 clients with a total of $16.2 mil worth of debt that needed to settle. i read your articles plenty of times and very impress with your results. Keep up the great work and i hope to share your info to others aswell.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

            Thanks, Joe.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

            “Fountain of youth?” “Suspicious?” “Folks trying to beat the system?” Look, Mike, it’s very simply, really. The clients I work with tend to be high-balance debtors facing a protracted Chapter 13 bankrutpcy scenario. They have income and/or major cashflow shortfalls, and can no longer sustain their monthly “nut” and continue with the regular payments. Job loss, business failure, whatever the cause, they can’t continue on the minimum payment trap or all remaining assets will get liquidated and then they will be in worse shape. The resources for settlement come from dwindling 401(k) or IRA accounts, family loans, sale of property or vehicles, cashed-in whole life policies, coin collections, you name it. Once people get the idea that they don’t need to take 2-3 years to do settlement the painful way (or 3-5 years under Ch. 13), the light bulb goes on and they start figuring out where the private assistance will come from. It has nothing to do with “beating the system,” and I *do* take offense at that implication — not for myself, but on behalf of my clients. If we encounter someone we think is trying to game the system, we do not take them on, period. You need to get over your denial here and realize that there is more than one way to serve the marketplace. You don’t even have to take my word for it. Read my client testimonials and the story will become clearer to you. The simple fact is that, unlike most settlement firms, I work extra hard to screen people and only work with those that are a good fit. It’s called “suitability analysis,” in case you are not clear on the concept. :-)

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm

            Charles I thought you had thick skin? Are you trying to tell me people don’t beat the system?

            I would be willing to bet anything, I can get my hands on one of your programs to beat the system inside of two week if I really wanted to. And I don’t even know your policies! Are you telling me that if Joe Blow offered up the $$$ you would’nt sell the program?

            Come on, what about the 500+ people you lost contact with between 2006 & 2009 is this really out of the relm of possibilities? How would you know?

            Listen, like I said earlier, I get it, and we have had people enroll in similar positions with assets to liquidate or money to borrow but, no where near that high of a percentage.

            All I can say is, maybe it’s your marketing message, 33.1% average settlement is truly unbelievable!

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm

            LOL, Mike, as I said, I took offense on behalf of my clients, not myself. Based on your reactions to some of these posts, you may be the one who needs a thicker skin. :-) Anyway, my stats are real. After 14 years in this industry, I’m not so stupid as to publish statistical data that can’t be backed up if I am required to defend it to regulators. Believe my data or not, I really don’t care!

            And to answer your question, NO, I would *not* accept money from Joe Blow if I thought he was not a good candidate for settlement. That, in fact, is a key factor in my business model. (See my blog post on the ZipDebt Prime Directive — April 2009.) On a daily basis, we turn away people that are not a good fit for debt settlement due to inadequate resources. And although it’s increasingly rare these days with so many folks legitimately out of work or under water with real estate, we also occasionally find someone who is literally in too good of shape to do settlement. We don’t take them on either.

            What you are missing is that *I* have to do the work of coaching people, and my prices are based on the assumption of SUCCESS. Someone trying to game the system is pretty obvious to most creditors, and they are a pain in the butt to deal with as a client too. So I don’t want them any more than I want the person who has to stretch it over multiple years.

            As to the folks I lost contact with, I remind you that it’s a “do it yourself” program. It doesn’t say anything one way or the other about the intentions or character of those individuals. I hear back all the time from people way past expiration on their coaching privileges. The email usually starts with, “I settled all my debts using your training course. Thanks! You saved me a ton of money. Now I have a question on rebuilding my credit.” :-)

          • Andy Faria

            March 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm

            Hi Mike,

            My thoughts on debt settlement have changed a lot over the past year. I am now under the belief that ds programs beyond 18-24 months, don’t work for the most part. Let’s face it, being a consumer in a ds program sucks, and I don’t feel comfortable or have the desire to subject the people in my great state of MA to wallowing in debt any longer than they need to, only so I can make a couple bucks. I have become a huge fan of BK and anyone that can’t put together 50% of their debt within 18-24 mos NEEDS to speak with a BK attny, and I find almost all of them never return after speaking with one.

            I don’t think that Mr Phelan’s averages are suspicious. In fact, I believe the exceptional settlement averages are a direct result of the consumer not having to pay settlement fees to the full service provider.

            Why are you hating on DIY? It works for those that have the ability to do it. I would think it would be in your best interest to get to know either CRN or Mr. Phelan’s program’s better. If you were able to identify those that are better suited for DIY, you would be providing a great service to them by pointing them in a direction that’s a better fit. Doing the right thing by people, even when it may not be in your best interest, ALWAYS leads to more business in the future … my dad taught me that one.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm

            Andy,

            I agree with you completely regarding the shorter terms but what I can also tell you is, and this is something I have learned over time, is that people get motivated and situations change. I may sign someone up to a 36 and that same person is done in 22. The goal is to get them saving. I’m also a big believer in the power of positive thinking, when my clients are thinking positive and feeling good knowing we’re there, something strange happens…they become motivated to complete the program.

            This is the third time I will say this, this one’s for the record, I cool with DIY it has its place just like all the other relief options. What I look for, just like most on this site is fair game, nothing more nothing less. DS is not easy work, what I do is not easy and for some (which is how this started) to make light of it like it’s simple, in fact so simple a caveman can do it rubs me the wrong way, more importantly, in my opinion misleads consumers. Is that not what this sites all about, informing consumers?

            I am confident that most in the industry work very hard at what they do; I can tell you that when I’m done for the day, I’m done. You will not find omissions or outlandish claims on my site, what you will find is the truth about what we do, the options available to you, how we do it, what we charge (probably an industry low) what you can expect, what you should expect and zero pressure.

            Best in the industry…you will never hear me make that claim…even if it was true

            Comparing apples to grapes is what Charles is trying to do, comparing Full service DS to DIY is the same thing. We in full service debt settlement cannot drop facts from claims but others can? Are you ok with that because of a friendship or ???

            One minute it’s 33.1% with zero disclosure them 36-37% then add the fee 1.3-1.6% add the drop-outs blah blah blah…. it’s all good.

            Very subjective!

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm

            Apples and grapes? Sounds like *sour* grapes, to me. :-)

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

            you’re right Charles but now it’s out of my system, It’s nothing but my passion for the industry speaking.

            My apologies to all.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm

            Thanks, Mike. Best wishes for your continued success.

        • Steve Rhode

          March 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm

          Mike,

          You can read all about the new DIY services and section that will be provided by reading Where the Site is Headed and What is Coming Up. Free, Free, Free..

          Not sure why a “content” provider would bail? Actually I’m not sure what you mean when you say a “content provider.”

          Steve

    • Charles Phelan

      March 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Most industry people are skeptical when they first hear about my methods and results. Glad to hear you support the DIY approach too.

      Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should note that the training course that CRN provides its clients is a customized version of my recorded seminar.

  21. Joe_debt_jr

    March 10, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    lol

  22. Anon | nona

    March 10, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    skinny

  23. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    u the man

  24. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Enjoyed the exchange, thanks Mike. Agreed. Performance claims are dangerous unless they are true and accurate and can be backed up by data. Consumers deserve nothing less than full disclosure.

  25. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you Charles, you’re a gentleman, I wish you the best and be careful withn those claims on the blog, know one is safe out there.

  26. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Ya, then he went on to get arrested…

    I don’t care if you back off or not. If you want to keep asking questions that you are not going to like the answers to. Go for it.

  27. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Since we settle 90% before charge-off, with many of those settlements coming as early as 120 days late (some even earlier), balance inflation is nowhere near the factor it is for clients in 24-36 month programs. Allowing for inflation after starting the process, average settlement would be in the range 36-37%.

  28. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Damon you know what I’m after, a fair shake, is that to much to ask for? Did you see the movie A few Good Men when Jack said “you have to ask me nicely first”..do you really want me to back off?

  29. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    How skinny is this thing going to get?

  30. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Words of wisdom from my pal Randy Travis…

    I’m diggin’ up bones,i’m diggin’ up bones
    Exhuming things thats better left alone

  31. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Mike, no problem, happy to answer.

    1. I work on a “Fast Track” basis, meaning we aim for settlements before charge-off, with about 90% of the $16M settled in 2010 falling in that category. We often have 1-2 accounts remaining for clean-up after c/o, so a typical Premium client is with me for 12 months. If they are not fully completed at that time, they can renew for another 6 months, but those tend to be the exception. The folks who purchased the $397 level get 6 months of coaching, and can then renew for $300. So often they are on board for 12 months too, but it gives them a way to start for less out of pocket and then renew if needed. Often, as I reported on my blog, they feel confident enough after 6 months of coaching to move forward from there on their own. This is why I track 3 separate categories for success.

    2. I don’t have any reason to track that particular stat, so I’ll have to guess and say 8-10, probably not too different from what you see with your own clients. My case loads tend to be higher debt loads, so it’s not uncommon to see a file with 12-15 accounts. I believe the record is something like 44. :-)

  32. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I’m sure you do Charles, so taking into effect balance inflation, what would you say the average settlement % looks like from the time the consumer engaged your service?

  33. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Yes, balance inflation is an extremely important factor that DIY (and traditional) settlement clients must fully understand. I do cover all this in the training CDs as part of the program.

  34. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    getting more interesting by the minute

  35. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Ha ha, maybe. It has been interesting I must say.

  36. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    10-4 as a service provider we (meaning DS providers) need to make that crystal clear.

    Thanks

  37. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Sorry charles but just two more question if you would…if not that’s ok too

    1. would you mind sharing the graduation timeline with us so that I might get a fix on how long you stay engaged with a typical client in each catagory, IE. the Premium Program at $777. is that 12 mths, 24 mths less or more?

    2. can you tell us the average number of creditors your clients come to you with?

    Thanks

  38. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Mike, the 33.1% is based on balance at time of settlement.

  39. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    lol, you do make me laugh…i’ll give you that damon..

    tea bag, I’ve heard you say that a few times now..is that something you like to do?? damon i don’t come to this site for referrals and you do not have any affect on my bottom line, just like i have no effect on yours. Based on the millions in need of help if you where signing up 500 a month it wouldn’t make a dent, so let’s not kid ourselves.

    Smack down…are you a wrestling fan… maybe Emerge doesn’t really exist and i do this just to distract you..lol

  40. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Charles is the settlement percentage (excluding your fee) based on the debt amount at the time the client engaged your service or at the time of settlement?

  41. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Mike, you just can’t help but take pot shots at me. Why are you so afraid of what I tell consumers?

  42. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Ha ha, ok, if you don’t think this is PR, then there is no need to waste any money paying someone for advice that you are not going to understand or implement.

    To each his own, best of luck to you though.

  43. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Well, for me, a large part of my business is bringing consumer awareness to various issues in the debt help space. So this is how I work and play :-) If I spend some time tea bagging a company that is ripping off consumers, that could potentially educate thousands of people to not hire that company. So spending time discussing issues on blogs is actually a great use of my time and allows me to reach as many potential victims as possible.

    As I mentioned before though, I don’t think Mike runs a bad company that consumers should stay away from. However from our back and forth over the last few weeks, I personally could not trust his program to give unbiased advice to a client of mine and that is an issue. He seems to dislike anything that doesn’t drive a consumer to his front door and that is worrisome to me. Other than a difference of opinion on some things you may have also noticed when he apologized to you he couldn’t resist taking a jab at me as being “Naive,” I guess was his point.

    So the sad thing is that instead of me taking the time to go after people that should really go out of business, Mike seems to go out of his way to make me put the smack down on him. Maybe he just enjoys it, I am not sure :-)

  44. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    PR this is not PR Damon…500 clients a year doesn’t even begin to dent the surface of the problem out there…know one on this board is at threat to anyone of us, including me, so don’t think your all that and a bag of chips. Free would be the only advice from you I would listen to, but not necessarily take :P

  45. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    No problem, Mike. I didn’t take offense. My skin is a bit thicker than that after 14 years in this industry. :-)

  46. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    This is a blast, but how do you guys get any *work* done?!

  47. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    you answered my question great, unlike Damon i don’t believe everything i read. almost 50 years on this earth I’ve read and seen a lot…especially on the internet.

    my apologies if i offended you Charles

  48. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Yes, that’s right. For a quick calculation, let’s assume someone with $50,000 of debt chose my Premium Program at $777. That is approximately 1.6% of their debt, so added to the 33.1%, the total would have been 34.6% including program fee. Most clients under that debt level ordered the $397 plan, so taking a $30k client, it’s about 1.3%, same result.

  49. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    beep…beep…beep…Slowly backing the truck up. Good move.

    And yes, I do have fun, although as I said before, I would prefer it be at the expense of someone I really want to put out of business for hurting consumers.

    Not sure why you keep inserting yourself into things that will not score your business any points.

  50. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Mike, remember that free advice I gave you about two weeks ago about letting someone else handle your PR stuff and you focus on doing the things you do well? I really was trying to look out for you.

  51. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    if i did that Damon i wouldn’t be having all this fun…the net net is, the proof is always in the pudding. What would you say to me if i told you my firm was averaging settlements of 29%? I know what i would hear…prove it…right?

    Again i have nothing against DIY… I think it’s cool …like all the relief options, there not for everyone!

  52. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Clearly there is no disrespect. You are calling him a liar, why would he think you are being disrespectful?

    And yes it is very obvious you are happy he is doing well for his clients. Anyone can see that by reading your comment.

  53. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Mike, I track my “impressive stats” by having my clients fax me the settlement offers for review. Then I input the data to a spreadsheet. Excel does just fine for this purpose. :-) For backup, I have either a copy of the settlement letter or an email from the client reporting the figures. My data would withstand audit by an independent or neutral party.

    As to Jimmy Woo and Carlton Sheets, not sure what you are on about here. I was never aiming for volume, if that’s what your dig was meant to infer. You won’t see me on any infomercials anytime soon.

  54. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Yep, you were right ha ha.

    Apparently the new theory is that your clients must have just been lying to you, and they didn’t really save that money. I give points for desperate creativity on his response for sure.

  55. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Hey Damon,

    Thanks, but somehow I doubt this will be the last discussion on the merits of DIY vs. traditional settlement. :-)

  56. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Seriously??? Mike you should get a hobby. I would offer you a shovel, but it seems you already have a few going.

  57. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Charles, very impressive stats, can you tell me other than “clients report” which I picked up off your blog, how you track all this impressive data? I think the settlement percentage is great also, do you have the settlement letters/agreements and payouts to back that up? I would suspect you do, right? Let me finish with this…ask a friend who went to Atlantic City or Vagas how they did…. for some strange reason the answers are always the same… I made a few bucks or broke even… never a looser in the crowd!

    You too can be like Jimmy Woo… and Carlton Sheets and all the rest of them…

    No disrespect, I’m happy you’re doing well for your clients!

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  58. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Hey Charles,
    Great to see you on here. I would certainly consider Charles the pioneer of teaching consumers to negotiate their debts directly with creditors. The funny thing is when I read Mr. Reilly’s post about wanting to hire me as his negotiations training manager, I was going to recommend he call you or Michael Bovee over at CRN if he was truly interested in learning how you can teach a consumer to negotiate with creditors if it is something the consumer is open to learning.

    I guess you just put the final nail in the coffin of this back and forth and I appreciate it :-)

  59. Steve Rhode

    March 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Pretty impressive results.

    What would you say the results were when you factored in program cost. I would imagine it is spread over a number of debts making the final number marginally higher.

    Steve

  60. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Steve,

    When properly coached, consumers get better deals, especially when you take into account fees. The average reported settlement for 2010 was 33.1%, exclusive of program cost (either $397 or $777). This was based on approximately 1,200 reported account settlements representing $16.2 million of settled debt. Virtually all of the major creditors and collection agencies are included in this mix, so I feel it’s a good representative sample of what can be accomplished by a small but very dedicated coaching staff.

    My blog post summarizing the 2010 settlement data is located here:

    http://www.zipdebt.com/blog/de

  61. Steve Rhode

    March 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Hey Charles,

    Good to see you in here.

    It might be helpful if you could share some reference for people to understand what the average results are when people settle their own debt? Do they get the same deals, better deals, or worse deals?

    Steve

  62. Charles Phelan

    March 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Charles Phelan of ZipDebt here. I generally don’t post on industry blogs, simply because I don’t have time — I’m too busy coaching my DIY clients. :-) Honestly, I don’t understand what the controversy is about in this discussion. I have been coaching clients successfully since 2004 to settle on their own. As far as I know, I was the first to take this approach as my exclusive business model. I have a 74% success rate, 94% if I count people who saved more on their initial settlement than they paid for my coaching and training. This approach works BETTER than traditional settlement if handled correctly. Traditional settlement firms have to push most (if not all) settlements beyond charge-off, whereas my clients settle 90% before charge-off. My clients simply don’t experience legal action with anything like the frequency clients of traditional settlement firms do (even the good ones).

  63. Mike Reilly

    March 10, 2011 at 6:49 am

    No, not at all, those who believe they have the skill can certainly give it a shot however, what I would recommend is some mandatory reading and role playing before attempting the process. The most important information that I believe was missed I mentioned in an earlier post, is Term Settlement and how to structure them properly to keep the consumer in a mode of savings, unless of course there’s only one creditor. How does the consumer know what terms are acceptable by the creditor, hence, based on the savings in hand when do they make the offer? Another thought worth mentioning is the fact that we as negotiators after laying out a devastating hardship are often asker to provide a financial statement, consumers should be aware of this and many other factors…

    Another mandatory item is a term settlement calculator, without it, term settlements on the fly are a disaster. Also, the relative card has been played and played and while it still works, just like the BK card, there are many more cards in the deck that are equally effective.

    I guess my point here is, trying to teach someone the in’s and out’s of the roll of negotiator is not as simple as it came across (to me) in the audio. Effective negotiation skills are honed over time and mistakes are costly and that is one disclosure I didn’t here. When you know something it’s never really “rocket science” but, tell that to a young food store clerk or factory worker and his wife, in over their heads and worried sick and I say, you or anyone else trying to sell this is taking them for a ride!

    Are you telling me that for a few hundred bucks (as you put it in the audio) you can turn a novice (a consumer with no formal training) into a negotiating machine? If so, I would like to hire you as my negotiations training manager.

    I know that time was a factor and by no means did I expect a full blown DIY kit with 5 audio CD’s, workbooks, templetes and calculators. My comments are based on what I heard listening as a consumer, nothing more!

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  64. Damon Day

    March 10, 2011 at 3:53 am

    So, just so I understand, the information you feel that I missed in the interview specifically about how to settle your debt directly with your creditors, is that consumers should not attempt to negotiate directly with their creditors?

  65. Mike Reilly

    March 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up Damon, Just want folks to know, that’s all. Oh, DIY….I’m a big fan…I do most things myself, of course, you have to learn it somewhere first, even then, most will make mistakes depending on what you’re dealing with.

    Negotiation…now there’s one I wouldn’t want to foul up, could be costly.

    How about this little tidbit of info for those DIY students…

    I dug up a couple of old newsletters I subscribe to, some excerpts

    This from a Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

    Adapted from “The Stressed-out Negotiator,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
    Conventional wisdom, not to mention the popularity of no-haggle car buying, suggests that many people anticipate important negotiations with the same dread they reserve for root canals.
    Unfortunately, stressed-out negotiators tend to be less effective than their calmer counterparts, according to research by Kathleen O’Connor of Cornell University; Josh Arnold of

    Or this:
    Too often, negotiators consider only the information that is most obvious about the negotiation—specific information relevant to the bargaining task at hand. Meanwhile, critical information lies outside their awareness. New York University professor Dolly Chugh and I refer to the common and systematic failure to see readily available and important information as bounded awareness.

    An overly narrow focus can limit negotiators.

    By contrast, effective negotiators include broader sources of information in their field of vision. As a result, they more fully understand the implications of their actions and expand their awareness of the negotiation.

    And finally this:

    Improv differs from negotiation in important respects, of course, so its rules and techniques can’t be borrowed uncritically. Members of a comedy troupe have the common goal of entertaining an audience; they share guidelines about how to relate to one another. By contrast, negotiating parties may seek agreement but have conflicting ideas about what the outcome should be. And diverse backgrounds or experiences may lead negotiators to very different views of what’s appropriate behavior and what’s not. Yet these differences make improvisational skill all the more relevant to negotiation. After all, the less parties know about each other, the harder it is to script the process.
    Discovering how to engage and persuade the other side is a process of trial, error, and adjustment.

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  66. Damon Day

    March 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Ya, I don’t get it either.

  67. Andy Faria

    March 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Watching you two go back and forth reminds me of Tom & Jerry.

  68. Damon Day

    March 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Mike,

    Steve called and asked me if I would share some of the steps and information consumers would need if they wanted to negotiate their debts. That interview was not designed to be a course on everything you need to know if you want to negotiate your debts, but hey if it doesn’t jive with your business model, why would I be surprised that you don’t like the information?

    I provide honest information and let the consumer decide what is best for them. I understand you would prefer consumers not really give very much thought to this option and instead hire your company, but then again that is the difference between calling me for advice vs calling you. There are very good reasons to hire a good debt settlement company to negotiate your debts, and there are also reasons why a consumer may instead chose to work with their creditor directly. As bitter as that pill may be for your bottom line, that is reality.

    Funny how you asked if you could share your thoughts without it being perceived as an attack. I guess the readers can see why your thoughts normally are perceived as such.

  69. Mike Reilly

    March 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Damon, this is something that interests me greatly, why would you call me “such a victim”?

  70. Mike Reilly

    March 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Well, I thought I would’ve had a response by now.. DIY debt settlement with a coach.. Interesting, so correct me if I’m wrong, this is like puppet/puppeteer? I’ll tell you what’s good and bad, what to tell your creditors, when to hold’em or too fold’em and take an hourly consultation fee in advance of the consumer deploying the advice.

    I would set up a package fee based on hours because those with multiple creditors will become a handful. Not much in that audio on the subject of term settlements and keeping the client in savings mode while satisfying the agreement or staying off legal actions and court dated, but I guess all that can be learned over several hours of consultation? $$$

    I guess you have been away from this for quite sometime.. just a little note..I deal with law firms everyday and I would bet that every DS firm on this board will back up that statement. Creditors, collection agency’s and debt buyers are in the know and monitor the debtors credit, payments or lack there of…own a home and make your payments…well that changes everything…

    I do think there were some ok points to the interview but missing a great deal of disclosure, you make it sound very simple with little risk…kind of like 50 cents on the dollar and your debt free. This was an advertisement on the internet right?

    Just a few of many thoughts on this post.

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  71. Damon Day

    March 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Oh Mike, you are such a victim. Feel free to add whatever you would like.

  72. Mike Reilly

    March 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

    What is the possibility of commenting on this without it being perceived as an attack? I realize that the time was limited to 40 minutes but some key elements where missed and certain strategies discussed that I think are behind the times. Maybe a follow up in text to finish or elaborate on certain rushed points is in order?

    Michael Reilly
    Emereg America

  73. Steve Rhode

    March 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Truth be told, with time so limited, I just slapped the original intro and outros on and did not bother to record the overdub on the new format intro. So when you hear porn star, think lazy.

  74. Damon Day

    March 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks Andy,

    Ya, I was a little long winded. But Steve said here is a small amount of time and try to tell consumers everything they need to know if they want to settle their own debt. That is a lot of information in a short amount of time and my big concern was that I was only giving consumers just enough information to be dangerous.

    So I spent extra time trying to qualify everything. But I just listened to it, and although very fast paced, I think it went well.

    Now I know why we went so long between shows. Steve was working on the intro and outros ha ha

  75. Steve Rhode

    March 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Andy,

    Sounds like a porn star, I love it.

    You so funny! I love you long time.

  76. Andy Faria

    March 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Holy cow Damon, you can talk man, you gotta be tired after that power-hour of advice.

    Is it just me or does the opening female voice becomes more and more “pornstar-ish” with every episode? I love it, wouldn’t change a thing.

    … and a big word-up to Damon’s advice of telling the creditors that the cash to settle will be borrowed from someone else. We use this all the time and it works well.

  77. Andy Faria

    March 8, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Holy cow Damon, you can talk man, you gotta be tired after that power-hour of advice.

    Is it just me or does the opening female voice becomes more and more “pornstar-ish” with every episode? I love it, wouldn’t change a thing.

    … and a big word-up to Damon’s advice of telling the creditors that the cash to settle will be borrowed from someone else. We use this all the time and it works well.

    • Steve Rhode

      March 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Andy,

      Sounds like a porn star, I love it.

      You so funny! I love you long time.

    • Damon Day

      March 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks Andy,

      Ya, I was a little long winded. But Steve said here is a small amount of time and try to tell consumers everything they need to know if they want to settle their own debt. That is a lot of information in a short amount of time and my big concern was that I was only giving consumers just enough information to be dangerous.

      So I spent extra time trying to qualify everything. But I just listened to it, and although very fast paced, I think it went well.

      Now I know why we went so long between shows. Steve was working on the intro and outros ha ha

      • Steve Rhode

        March 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm

        Truth be told, with time so limited, I just slapped the original intro and outros on and did not bother to record the overdub on the new format intro. So when you hear porn star, think lazy.

      • Mike Reilly

        March 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        What is the possibility of commenting on this without it being perceived as an attack? I realize that the time was limited to 40 minutes but some key elements where missed and certain strategies discussed that I think are behind the times. Maybe a follow up in text to finish or elaborate on certain rushed points is in order?

        Michael Reilly
        Emereg America

        • Damon Day

          March 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm

          Oh Mike, you are such a victim. Feel free to add whatever you would like.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm

            Damon, this is something that interests me greatly, why would you call me “such a victim”?

        • Mike Reilly

          March 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm

          Well, I thought I would’ve had a response by now.. DIY debt settlement with a coach.. Interesting, so correct me if I’m wrong, this is like puppet/puppeteer? I’ll tell you what’s good and bad, what to tell your creditors, when to hold’em or too fold’em and take an hourly consultation fee in advance of the consumer deploying the advice.

          I would set up a package fee based on hours because those with multiple creditors will become a handful. Not much in that audio on the subject of term settlements and keeping the client in savings mode while satisfying the agreement or staying off legal actions and court dated, but I guess all that can be learned over several hours of consultation? $$$

          I guess you have been away from this for quite sometime.. just a little note..I deal with law firms everyday and I would bet that every DS firm on this board will back up that statement. Creditors, collection agency’s and debt buyers are in the know and monitor the debtors credit, payments or lack there of…own a home and make your payments…well that changes everything…

          I do think there were some ok points to the interview but missing a great deal of disclosure, you make it sound very simple with little risk…kind of like 50 cents on the dollar and your debt free. This was an advertisement on the internet right?

          Just a few of many thoughts on this post.

          Michael Reilly
          Emerge America

          • Damon Day

            March 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

            Mike,

            Steve called and asked me if I would share some of the steps and information consumers would need if they wanted to negotiate their debts. That interview was not designed to be a course on everything you need to know if you want to negotiate your debts, but hey if it doesn’t jive with your business model, why would I be surprised that you don’t like the information?

            I provide honest information and let the consumer decide what is best for them. I understand you would prefer consumers not really give very much thought to this option and instead hire your company, but then again that is the difference between calling me for advice vs calling you. There are very good reasons to hire a good debt settlement company to negotiate your debts, and there are also reasons why a consumer may instead chose to work with their creditor directly. As bitter as that pill may be for your bottom line, that is reality.

            Funny how you asked if you could share your thoughts without it being perceived as an attack. I guess the readers can see why your thoughts normally are perceived as such.

          • Andy Faria

            March 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

            Watching you two go back and forth reminds me of Tom & Jerry.

          • Damon Day

            March 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm

            Ya, I don’t get it either.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 1:30 am

            Thanks for clearing that up Damon, Just want folks to know, that’s all. Oh, DIY….I’m a big fan…I do most things myself, of course, you have to learn it somewhere first, even then, most will make mistakes depending on what you’re dealing with.

            Negotiation…now there’s one I wouldn’t want to foul up, could be costly.

            How about this little tidbit of info for those DIY students…

            I dug up a couple of old newsletters I subscribe to, some excerpts

            This from a Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

            Adapted from “The Stressed-out Negotiator,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
            Conventional wisdom, not to mention the popularity of no-haggle car buying, suggests that many people anticipate important negotiations with the same dread they reserve for root canals.
            Unfortunately, stressed-out negotiators tend to be less effective than their calmer counterparts, according to research by Kathleen O’Connor of Cornell University; Josh Arnold of

            Or this:
            Too often, negotiators consider only the information that is most obvious about the negotiation—specific information relevant to the bargaining task at hand. Meanwhile, critical information lies outside their awareness. New York University professor Dolly Chugh and I refer to the common and systematic failure to see readily available and important information as bounded awareness.

            An overly narrow focus can limit negotiators.

            By contrast, effective negotiators include broader sources of information in their field of vision. As a result, they more fully understand the implications of their actions and expand their awareness of the negotiation.

            And finally this:

            Improv differs from negotiation in important respects, of course, so its rules and techniques can’t be borrowed uncritically. Members of a comedy troupe have the common goal of entertaining an audience; they share guidelines about how to relate to one another. By contrast, negotiating parties may seek agreement but have conflicting ideas about what the outcome should be. And diverse backgrounds or experiences may lead negotiators to very different views of what’s appropriate behavior and what’s not. Yet these differences make improvisational skill all the more relevant to negotiation. After all, the less parties know about each other, the harder it is to script the process.
            Discovering how to engage and persuade the other side is a process of trial, error, and adjustment.

            Michael Reilly
            Emerge America

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 8:53 am

            So, just so I understand, the information you feel that I missed in the interview specifically about how to settle your debt directly with your creditors, is that consumers should not attempt to negotiate directly with their creditors?

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

            No, not at all, those who believe they have the skill can certainly give it a shot however, what I would recommend is some mandatory reading and role playing before attempting the process. The most important information that I believe was missed I mentioned in an earlier post, is Term Settlement and how to structure them properly to keep the consumer in a mode of savings, unless of course there’s only one creditor. How does the consumer know what terms are acceptable by the creditor, hence, based on the savings in hand when do they make the offer? Another thought worth mentioning is the fact that we as negotiators after laying out a devastating hardship are often asker to provide a financial statement, consumers should be aware of this and many other factors…

            Another mandatory item is a term settlement calculator, without it, term settlements on the fly are a disaster. Also, the relative card has been played and played and while it still works, just like the BK card, there are many more cards in the deck that are equally effective.

            I guess my point here is, trying to teach someone the in’s and out’s of the roll of negotiator is not as simple as it came across (to me) in the audio. Effective negotiation skills are honed over time and mistakes are costly and that is one disclosure I didn’t here. When you know something it’s never really “rocket science” but, tell that to a young food store clerk or factory worker and his wife, in over their heads and worried sick and I say, you or anyone else trying to sell this is taking them for a ride!

            Are you telling me that for a few hundred bucks (as you put it in the audio) you can turn a novice (a consumer with no formal training) into a negotiating machine? If so, I would like to hire you as my negotiations training manager.

            I know that time was a factor and by no means did I expect a full blown DIY kit with 5 audio CD’s, workbooks, templetes and calculators. My comments are based on what I heard listening as a consumer, nothing more!

            Michael Reilly
            Emerge America

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm

            Charles Phelan of ZipDebt here. I generally don’t post on industry blogs, simply because I don’t have time — I’m too busy coaching my DIY clients. :-) Honestly, I don’t understand what the controversy is about in this discussion. I have been coaching clients successfully since 2004 to settle on their own. As far as I know, I was the first to take this approach as my exclusive business model. I have a 74% success rate, 94% if I count people who saved more on their initial settlement than they paid for my coaching and training. This approach works BETTER than traditional settlement if handled correctly. Traditional settlement firms have to push most (if not all) settlements beyond charge-off, whereas my clients settle 90% before charge-off. My clients simply don’t experience legal action with anything like the frequency clients of traditional settlement firms do (even the good ones).

          • Steve Rhode

            March 10, 2011 at 8:19 pm

            Hey Charles,

            Good to see you in here.

            It might be helpful if you could share some reference for people to understand what the average results are when people settle their own debt? Do they get the same deals, better deals, or worse deals?

            Steve

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 8:42 pm

            Hi Steve,

            When properly coached, consumers get better deals, especially when you take into account fees. The average reported settlement for 2010 was 33.1%, exclusive of program cost (either $397 or $777). This was based on approximately 1,200 reported account settlements representing $16.2 million of settled debt. Virtually all of the major creditors and collection agencies are included in this mix, so I feel it’s a good representative sample of what can be accomplished by a small but very dedicated coaching staff.

            My blog post summarizing the 2010 settlement data is located here:

            http://www.zipdebt.com/blog/debt-settlement-zipdebt-2010

          • Steve Rhode

            March 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm

            Pretty impressive results.

            What would you say the results were when you factored in program cost. I would imagine it is spread over a number of debts making the final number marginally higher.

            Steve

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

            Yes, that’s right. For a quick calculation, let’s assume someone with $50,000 of debt chose my Premium Program at $777. That is approximately 1.6% of their debt, so added to the 33.1%, the total would have been 34.6% including program fee. Most clients under that debt level ordered the $397 plan, so taking a $30k client, it’s about 1.3%, same result.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm

            Charles is the settlement percentage (excluding your fee) based on the debt amount at the time the client engaged your service or at the time of settlement?

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

            Mike, the 33.1% is based on balance at time of settlement.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

            10-4 as a service provider we (meaning DS providers) need to make that crystal clear.

            Thanks

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 12:25 am

            Yes, balance inflation is an extremely important factor that DIY (and traditional) settlement clients must fully understand. I do cover all this in the training CDs as part of the program.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 12:34 am

            I’m sure you do Charles, so taking into effect balance inflation, what would you say the average settlement % looks like from the time the consumer engaged your service?

          • Damon Day

            March 11, 2011 at 12:45 am

            Words of wisdom from my pal Randy Travis…

            I’m diggin’ up bones,i’m diggin’ up bones
            Exhuming things thats better left alone

          • Damon Day

            March 11, 2011 at 12:45 am

            How skinny is this thing going to get?

          • Anonymous

            March 11, 2011 at 3:36 am

            lol

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 12:50 am

            Damon you know what I’m after, a fair shake, is that to much to ask for? Did you see the movie A few Good Men when Jack said “you have to ask me nicely first”..do you really want me to back off?

          • Damon Day

            March 11, 2011 at 12:57 am

            Ya, then he went on to get arrested…

            I don’t care if you back off or not. If you want to keep asking questions that you are not going to like the answers to. Go for it.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 12:53 am

            Since we settle 90% before charge-off, with many of those settlements coming as early as 120 days late (some even earlier), balance inflation is nowhere near the factor it is for clients in 24-36 month programs. Allowing for inflation after starting the process, average settlement would be in the range 36-37%.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 12:57 am

            Thank you Charles, you’re a gentleman, I wish you the best and be careful withn those claims on the blog, know one is safe out there.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 1:06 am

            Enjoyed the exchange, thanks Mike. Agreed. Performance claims are dangerous unless they are true and accurate and can be backed up by data. Consumers deserve nothing less than full disclosure.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 11, 2011 at 1:07 am

            u the man

          • Anon | nona

            March 11, 2011 at 1:10 am

            skinny

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 11:39 pm

            Sorry charles but just two more question if you would…if not that’s ok too

            1. would you mind sharing the graduation timeline with us so that I might get a fix on how long you stay engaged with a typical client in each catagory, IE. the Premium Program at $777. is that 12 mths, 24 mths less or more?

            2. can you tell us the average number of creditors your clients come to you with?

            Thanks

          • Charles Phelan

            March 11, 2011 at 12:38 am

            Mike, no problem, happy to answer.

            1. I work on a “Fast Track” basis, meaning we aim for settlements before charge-off, with about 90% of the $16M settled in 2010 falling in that category. We often have 1-2 accounts remaining for clean-up after c/o, so a typical Premium client is with me for 12 months. If they are not fully completed at that time, they can renew for another 6 months, but those tend to be the exception. The folks who purchased the $397 level get 6 months of coaching, and can then renew for $300. So often they are on board for 12 months too, but it gives them a way to start for less out of pocket and then renew if needed. Often, as I reported on my blog, they feel confident enough after 6 months of coaching to move forward from there on their own. This is why I track 3 separate categories for success.

            2. I don’t have any reason to track that particular stat, so I’ll have to guess and say 8-10, probably not too different from what you see with your own clients. My case loads tend to be higher debt loads, so it’s not uncommon to see a file with 12-15 accounts. I believe the record is something like 44. :-)

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm

            Hey Charles,
            Great to see you on here. I would certainly consider Charles the pioneer of teaching consumers to negotiate their debts directly with creditors. The funny thing is when I read Mr. Reilly’s post about wanting to hire me as his negotiations training manager, I was going to recommend he call you or Michael Bovee over at CRN if he was truly interested in learning how you can teach a consumer to negotiate with creditors if it is something the consumer is open to learning.

            I guess you just put the final nail in the coffin of this back and forth and I appreciate it :-)

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm

            Hey Damon,

            Thanks, but somehow I doubt this will be the last discussion on the merits of DIY vs. traditional settlement. :-)

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 9:38 pm

            Yep, you were right ha ha.

            Apparently the new theory is that your clients must have just been lying to you, and they didn’t really save that money. I give points for desperate creativity on his response for sure.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm

            Charles, very impressive stats, can you tell me other than “clients report” which I picked up off your blog, how you track all this impressive data? I think the settlement percentage is great also, do you have the settlement letters/agreements and payouts to back that up? I would suspect you do, right? Let me finish with this…ask a friend who went to Atlantic City or Vagas how they did…. for some strange reason the answers are always the same… I made a few bucks or broke even… never a looser in the crowd!

            You too can be like Jimmy Woo… and Carlton Sheets and all the rest of them…

            No disrespect, I’m happy you’re doing well for your clients!

            Michael Reilly
            Emerge America

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm

            Seriously??? Mike you should get a hobby. I would offer you a shovel, but it seems you already have a few going.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

            if i did that Damon i wouldn’t be having all this fun…the net net is, the proof is always in the pudding. What would you say to me if i told you my firm was averaging settlements of 29%? I know what i would hear…prove it…right?

            Again i have nothing against DIY… I think it’s cool …like all the relief options, there not for everyone!

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 9:46 pm

            beep…beep…beep…Slowly backing the truck up. Good move.

            And yes, I do have fun, although as I said before, I would prefer it be at the expense of someone I really want to put out of business for hurting consumers.

            Not sure why you keep inserting yourself into things that will not score your business any points.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

            Mike, I track my “impressive stats” by having my clients fax me the settlement offers for review. Then I input the data to a spreadsheet. Excel does just fine for this purpose. :-) For backup, I have either a copy of the settlement letter or an email from the client reporting the figures. My data would withstand audit by an independent or neutral party.

            As to Jimmy Woo and Carlton Sheets, not sure what you are on about here. I was never aiming for volume, if that’s what your dig was meant to infer. You won’t see me on any infomercials anytime soon.

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

            Mike, remember that free advice I gave you about two weeks ago about letting someone else handle your PR stuff and you focus on doing the things you do well? I really was trying to look out for you.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm

            PR this is not PR Damon…500 clients a year doesn’t even begin to dent the surface of the problem out there…know one on this board is at threat to anyone of us, including me, so don’t think your all that and a bag of chips. Free would be the only advice from you I would listen to, but not necessarily take :P

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm

            Ha ha, ok, if you don’t think this is PR, then there is no need to waste any money paying someone for advice that you are not going to understand or implement.

            To each his own, best of luck to you though.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm

            you answered my question great, unlike Damon i don’t believe everything i read. almost 50 years on this earth I’ve read and seen a lot…especially on the internet.

            my apologies if i offended you Charles

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm

            No problem, Mike. I didn’t take offense. My skin is a bit thicker than that after 14 years in this industry. :-)

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 10:04 pm

            Mike, you just can’t help but take pot shots at me. Why are you so afraid of what I tell consumers?

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm

            Clearly there is no disrespect. You are calling him a liar, why would he think you are being disrespectful?

            And yes it is very obvious you are happy he is doing well for his clients. Anyone can see that by reading your comment.

          • Charles Phelan

            March 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm

            This is a blast, but how do you guys get any *work* done?!

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm

            Well, for me, a large part of my business is bringing consumer awareness to various issues in the debt help space. So this is how I work and play :-) If I spend some time tea bagging a company that is ripping off consumers, that could potentially educate thousands of people to not hire that company. So spending time discussing issues on blogs is actually a great use of my time and allows me to reach as many potential victims as possible.

            As I mentioned before though, I don’t think Mike runs a bad company that consumers should stay away from. However from our back and forth over the last few weeks, I personally could not trust his program to give unbiased advice to a client of mine and that is an issue. He seems to dislike anything that doesn’t drive a consumer to his front door and that is worrisome to me. Other than a difference of opinion on some things you may have also noticed when he apologized to you he couldn’t resist taking a jab at me as being “Naive,” I guess was his point.

            So the sad thing is that instead of me taking the time to go after people that should really go out of business, Mike seems to go out of his way to make me put the smack down on him. Maybe he just enjoys it, I am not sure :-)

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

            lol, you do make me laugh…i’ll give you that damon..

            tea bag, I’ve heard you say that a few times now..is that something you like to do?? damon i don’t come to this site for referrals and you do not have any affect on my bottom line, just like i have no effect on yours. Based on the millions in need of help if you where signing up 500 a month it wouldn’t make a dent, so let’s not kid ourselves.

            Smack down…are you a wrestling fan… maybe Emerge doesn’t really exist and i do this just to distract you..lol

          • Damon Day

            March 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm

            Ha ha, maybe. It has been interesting I must say.

          • Mike Reilly

            March 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm

            getting more interesting by the minute

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