1. 1993 – I get a credit card, my first and only (Cap One).
2. It’s fine for several years.
3. 2003 – Divorce, followed by scary major illness; unable to work. Disaster. Balance creeping up.
4. More disaster. Long irrelevant story. I use the cc to pay the rent. Keeping the roof over the kids’ heads.
5. I Struggle with the balance a couple more years.
6. I regain my health. Victory! Time to look for work.
7. 50+ yo female, homemaker since 1993. Apparently unemployable in this economy.
8. Another hit to my income. I stop making payments altogether.
9. May 2012 – last payment I made: $250 on a $4,477 balance. (limit $4,500)
10. Ex-husband, an attorney, offers to settle and pay the acct., since his actions partly caused the situation. I authorize him to negotiate on my behalf. He stalls for several months, then reneges.
11. Unable to promise any consistent payment, I avoid the situation, doing nothing.
12. I begin receiving voicemails from an unnamed collection agency. I ignore them.
13. Feb. 2013. I receive a settlement offer from United Recovery Systems. They offer to settle for $4,510.60. They say my balance is $5,306.59. The offer was good for 10 days. I don’t open their letter until today.
14. Never say die! I start a small business. I work as an independent contractor and have the great blind luck to make some outstanding connections and even meet someone well respected in my field who personally mentors me. Finally something is going right.
15. Just in the nick of time. The last of my spousal support payments will be next month. Hopefully I can gear up my income fast enough to not have a period of homelessness when the support payments end.
16. Even though I will be unable to make significant progress on this debt until probably early next year, I want to make a payment plan with Cap One. If they can accept a tiny token payment each month for the rest of 2013, I believe I can pay the whole amount over the course of 2014.
– Is my plan a good one? What would be a better plan?
– Can I negotiate directly with Cap One and leave United Recovery out of it?
– Will they take a token pmt of $10/mo. or so until my income gets off the ground?
– I need to move fast, before a lawsuit is filed – correct?
– What do I need to know/understand before I make the call?
– What should I say/ask?
– What should I watch out for?
– Can I get this done in one call? I hear a lot of stories about negotiations going on for months.
– Also, THANK YOU!
Thank you for being a tough champion.
I think if you are not making payments to Capital One at this point then we need to rethink your small payment strategy. Making token payments does nothing to stop anything.
If you wanted to try and settle these accounts yourself them you should read:
Debt Settlement Advice
You have some options here. The first thing I would focus on is getting yourself back to a point where you are saving money before you commit to tackling the debt.
If you get sued you can always then consider bankruptcy as a way to stop the suit and discharge the debt.
But if this is your only debt let’s just focus on the wait and save strategy as the preferred route out.
It’s not clear if United Recovery is the new debt owner or acting as a third party collector and agent for Capital One.
If you have not made a payment for the last year, your account would have charged off six months ago and Capital One may have sold it to a new debt owner. In that case, dealing with Capital One would be pointless,
How much cash on hand do you have saved up and available in a savings account?
And then once we deal with this debt we need to get you back to rebuilding exceptional credit again.
Credit Score / Credit Repair Advice
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.