The short version….
As the result of a failed, long-term relationship, I was left responsible for a significant amount of credit card debt. My ex- boyfriend agreed to work with me to pay off the debt so we agreed to go through a Debt Settlement Company. After 1 year and several thousands in fees, only 1 account was settled. And the ex was no longer willing to take responsibility for his portion so I am left with all of the debt.
Needless to say, my credit is in shambles. Fortunately, I do have several older accounts with positive payment history and 4 active accounts all paid timely. However, my concern is about the accounts in collection. I stopped paying on the account based on the instructions from the Debt Settlement Company. I have not made a payment on the accounts in question since 2007/2008. I want to make this right but the balances reflect outrageous fees and interest. This makes the task of repayment all the more daunting and seemingly out of reach. Also, my accounts are sold from collection agency to collection agency. I am not sure who truly ‘owns’ the debt any longer.
I don’t believe CCCS is a viable solution at this point. In fact, I do not know if a reputable Debt Settlement Company can work with accounts that are older and already charged-off. Additionally, I believe if I make a payment to the collection agency, the clock starts over again on the 7 year negative tradeline. I think my best bet is to try to settle directly but I don’t know where to start. I am so concerned I will make the situation that much worse.
For reference, I am a resident of California.
Any suggestions how to handle older debt/accounts in collections?
Is Debt Settlement a viable option or should I try to manage myself?
If I pay the collection agency, does the 7 years start over and does that only apply to the collection account? What about the original credit which is also listed on my credit report?
Now that’s an interesting situation. The most important issue for me is if you have 30% or so of the current balance on hand to offer as a settlement right away? If you do then settling that one account might be the best thing to do.
Of course, settling the debt will not eliminate the negative marks on your credit report but with your current cards that helps to mitigate the damage a bit.
Let me know how much the current balance is and how much cash you have on hand to settle it right now and let’s take it from there.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.