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Do NOT Copy

Tough Decisions

I'm not sharing this information to make people feel sorry for us, so please don't. We got ourselves into this situation and we will find our way. I thought it would be nice to share my financial nightmare with others who may be going through a simialr situation and to let them know they are not alone. I am also looking for you opinions on the two options I have narrowed us down to. If you are willing, please read on and let me know what you think.

I was planning on just toughing this financial blunder we have found ourselves in out, after all we did incur the debt and I feel responsible to pay it all back. We have hit yet another hitch though which has made me look into debt settlement as our option, bankruptcy is not a viable option for us.

What happenened to make me change my mind? Well I have several credit cards that we charged our daily expenses to while we were trying to sell our house and pay both mortgages. We have been doing well paying them for the most part. One of the cards was at a fixed 4.9% interest rate until I paid the balance off. It started out at over $12,000 and we now have it down to just about $7,000 I had high hopes of clawing our way out of this hole. Our total credit card debt currently stands at about $26,000.

Do you remember when the bank stole all of our money when I mistakenly thought both our first and second mortgages were on our foreclosure and they weren't? The closing of that account made me briefly take my credit card accounts off of auto pay during the transition. My payment was forgotten and ended up being a week or so late. Because of that not so little mistake, my interest rate has now gone up to 29.99% and my minimum payment has more than doubled. I can not afford that. They refuse to work with me either and told me if all of my payments were on time for the next 9 months they will review the rate then. WHAT? Okay, so they KNOW I can't afford that. Are they trying to loose money? I mean if they were even reasonable at all they could get all of their money back plus double the interest I was paying, but no. They are being extremely stubborn and it sounds like they would rather I declare bankruptcy than work with me as an individual.

I know many of you would probably tell me to screw them over because they're jerks and they deserve to be treated the same way that they treat their customers. Part of me agrees, but I just know I couldn't live with myself if I sunk down to their level. Besides that, the type of bankruptcy we would qualify for is expensive and time consuming. Debt consolidation is also not an option since we couldn't afford the payments required, so debt settlement seems to be our only option.

So what's the decision to be made? I have been looking for a good debt settlement company to help us out of this mess we have found ourselves in. I am torn between two of them and Cheesehead hasn't sounded too willing to discuss his thoughts with me. I want to make our decision soon so we can head on our way to recovery.

Company 1 called right away. I am to fill out a form outlining our hardships that got us to this place and send copies of my current credit cards debts to them. They thought they may be able to negotiate about $10,000 off of our debt and we would be out of debt in about 40 months if everything went as he planned. He did not outline the costs of the plan with me and I didn't think to ask him when he called so quickly. This plan would require us to close all credit card accounts included in the plan as well, which isn't a big problem for me.

Company 2 called the day after I submitted my inquiry. It is a non profit organization and after hearing my credit card company's names he told me a letter of hardship would not be required. He was very straight forward with me about the costs of the plan and advised me to only include two of our credit cards in this plan because the interest rates I'm at are better than any rate he can get. He told me the interest rates I would be paying as well and while I would have to pay my entire debt I would have everything paid off in 53 months.

Both hold good standing with the BBB and have the ability to negotiate for Winsconsin residents. Apparently many places don't have that ability for some reason. I am leaning toward one company, but I want more input and maybe you have some questions I haven't thought to ask. Please help me make this decision for my family.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave me a message. I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

There are good companies out there but make sure to check them out before you commit, is there something local so you can go in and sit down with them. That would be my advice. You are not alone in your situation, there are so many but you can learn from your experiences and perhaps teach others what not to do. :)

Have a wonderful day,
Kathi :)

Frances said...

Hi Cinj, I would agree with what Kathi said. Make sure they are legitimate companies without a trail of unhappy customers in their wake. The second non profit sounded more honest, if that is any help. I wish you well. We know about the credit cards and two mortgages when we moved to Texas. Then we moved back to TN and the debt piled up even higher. We were able to take a loan out to pay off the credit cards and finally paid the loan off too, last year I think. It is very easy to get into that situation, especially when moving without selling the first house, we know. Anything you do will follow you though, so don't think about *screwing* anybody, it isn't in your own best interest. Good luck with either company.

Kathleen said...

Hi Cinj. I don't have much advice but it sounds like Frances and Kathi are helpful. I like to watch the Suze Orman show and I know she takes e-mail questions. I wonder if e-mailing a professional like her would help? Especially if the advice was free?? The best of luck making your decision. I know you've been struggling with this for a long time now and it would be so good to get something resolved and out from under it so you can move on.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I think all three of the ones above have good advice. Just don't sign anything until you're absolutely sure. Once you get it all paid down, you'll feel so much better. I hate it that credit cards can hike interest rates so high for just one late payment. I made a mistake once and had that happen too. It took some real talking and throwing a fit, and they reduced the rate after two months back to normal. They are hurting all of America with these exorbitant rates.

My heart is with you.~~Dee

Gail said...


Good luck with this issue...I would go with a not for profit if it has a good reputation. After my mom passed away we began getting demand payments from her credit card company. Until the court released her bank accounts we could do nothing.Our attorney said not to pay the debt from our family account. Eventually the credit card company turned it over to a collection that point I made an offer to the company and they accepted it. A friend told me that I should offer 10 cents on the dollar but that seemed unfair. She did accrue the debt. I finally offered to pay 50% and they agreed. This worked because there wasn't going to be a credit report hanging over my mom.

Have you ever come across Dave Ramsey's books on financial peace? It might be helpful. I hope this is settled quickly for you guys. Gail

Skeeter said...

I wish I could add to the given advice above but cant as I dont know much about this type thing. I will be praying for your family to work this out and one day be debt free!

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

It looks like you were given some good advice here Cinj. All I can do is send my wishes for a resolution to all of this. My best to you, Cinj!

lisa said...

I'd lean toward the one that costs less, if both reputations are equal. I've been through some bad financial times as well...hang in there and remember that stressing won't help. If the bill collectors are calling a lot, be aware of your rights...there are certain things they cannot do/say when they contact you. (I know they can be real bullies sometimes.)

Cinj said...

Thank you all for your words of wisdom, kindness, and advise. We did choose to go with the not-for profit organization since I wasn't looking to get out of paying back the money I owed. I simply needed a lesser rate. They also required much less work and were much more straight forward with us.