Debt settlement is one of the trickiest areas about which to write. It is beneficial in many different ways, but if done improperly, it can be the quickest path to a bankruptcy. There are many state and federal laws regulating this industry, and very few companies comply with these regulations. In fact, debt settlement companies go out of their way in order to find loopholes in order to circumvent the state and federal laws that only exist to protect consumers. As a result, it’s important to be careful when selecting a debt settlement company. If you are looking at debt settlement as an option or you’re facing a lawsuit, the best way to deal with it is to call an experienced Ohio consumer law firm who can help you through this complicated process.
In short, debt settlement is an option when you are no longer in a position to pay your credit card debts, or other unsecured debt. If your accounts are in default, and you can no longer catch up on your payments, the credit card companies and other creditors might be willing to settle your debt for less than the full balance. Most debt settlement companies will put you on a payment plan whereby you are saving money every month for such lump sum settlements. Most debt settlement companies also usually take many of these monthly payments in upfront fees at the beginning of your program. Finally, most debt settlement companies will put you on a program that is designed to settle all your accounts within 36 to up to 60 months. YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY GET SUED. It is very important that you understand this part of a debt settlement program. If you are delinquent for 36 to 60 months, inevitably one or more of your creditors will bring a lawsuit against you to recover the outstanding balance.
For the above reason, it is best to use a reputable Ohio consumer law firm to negotiate your settlements. Even this is tricky as many “attorney model” law firms have begun lending their name to debt settlement companies. Most of these firms do not employ attorneys licensed in the State of Ohio, and in fact just have a list of “associated” attorneys in the states in which they work. These firms specifically disclose that they cannot provide certain legal advice and will NOT represent you in the very likely event that you are sued on one of the accounts on the program.
When selecting a law firm, you should consider the following criteria in your legal representation:
You should select a company or a law firm that does not charge upfront fees. If a debt settlement company is taking most of its fees prior to settling any debts, then you will not build any funds to make settlement offers for well into the first year. This is both illegal in many states and makes it even more likely that you will get sued.
Make sure any law firm you choose has an attorney licensed in the State of Ohio that actually works for the law firm. As stated above, most attorney model debt settlement companies will have a list of attorneys with which they are “affiliated.” but this attorney usually is not representing you and will not represent you in a court of law if you are sued.
Request to speak to the attorney. If you are thinking about hiring a law firm or an attorney, you should speak with them first before you decide to hire them.
Ensure the law firm is located in the State of Ohio. Most law firms performing debt settlement under the “attorney model” are located out of state.
Debt settlement can work for many consumers, but it must be handled legally and correctly. If handled properly, you might be able to settle your debts for far less than you owe in a much shorter period of time. Just be very careful, do a great deal of diligence in selecting your company, and make sure you will be represented if you do in fact get sued.