How can I get a credit card company to agree to a repayment plan that we can afford?
My stepdad passed away last fall, and as family stepped in to help my aging Mom, we discovered that they had accumulated about $35K of credit card debt. They were supplementing their fixed Social Security incomes by using credit cards and so-called “convenience checks”. When my stepdad was alive, they were just able to keep up with monthly payments by combining their incomes.
Now, my mom has two accounts each with two different companies. One company, Chase, agreed to a debt liquidation plan with a 0% interest rate and equal payments spread over 5 years, for both of the cards my Mom had with Chase.
I have repeatedly called the other company, Capital One, but they have refused to make any kind of allowance or propose any other repayment plan, aside from waiving a late fee due to “hardship”. The interest rate on one card is 24.9% (!), and the other card is 14.9%, so it’s hard to make a dent in the balance when so much of the minimum monthly payment is going toward interest charges. In fact, my Mom’s fixed income does not allow her to make even the monthly minimums on these two accounts.
How can I convince Capital One that we’d like to repay the balances, but on more favorable and realistic terms? I have called repeatedly, and they just don’t seem to care.
I’m not shocked or surprised. People are always surprised when I say that the hardest thing you have to deal with when in trouble is getting a creditor to accept a reasonable payment arrangement. It is actually hard to get creditors to accept payments you can afford.
The only legal way you can force a creditor to accept a repayment plan is by going into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It is a legally enforced repayment agreement dictated by a bankruptcy judge.
But based on your mother’s age and situation I think she should really consider a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge the debt. If she feels compelled to makes payments for her own reasons after bankruptcy, she can.
I seriously doubt that any minimum payment approach in her situation will ever result in the debt being eliminated in her lifetime and if she has to use Social Security money to make payments then she definitely needs to go and talk to a bankruptcy attorney. I would suggest that you schedule a free bankruptcy consultation and go with her.