Many New Yorkers are feeling the pressure of the high cost of living in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester and Staten Island and a painful combination of some or all of the following: high mortgage debt, high credit card debt, high gas prices, high medical bills, student loans and other debts are exploring their options. Filing a personal bankruptcy case, whether chapter 7 or chapter 13, may or may not be the right solution depending on the circumstances. Bankruptcy is not a panacea (cure all) and should not be viewed as the solution to every personal or business debt problem.
In a series of 4 posts we will explore the most common alternatives to personal bankruptcy, which are (1) negotiating directly with creditors and/or collectors, (2) so called “debt settlement” or “debt consolidation”, (3) credit counseling, and (4) doing nothing (ignore problems and hope they will go away).
In today’s post we will explore negotiating directly with creditors and/or collectors.
Negotiating Directly with Creditors and/or Collectors
This is certainly an option that should be explored. One problem for many debtors is that they often have too much overall debt to work out a payment plan with each creditor individually. If a debtor has a compelling hardship (such as major injury, illness and/or death in family affecting income, natural disaster, etc.) creditors may be willing to work with a debtor in reducing debt or permitting payment over time. Even without a major hardship some creditors may be willing to grant concessions.
If the debt has been turned over to a collection agency you should be aware that collectors are very aggressive in seeking payment (that is basically the essence of their job). Debt collectors typically will not agree to much in the way of discount or to stretch out payments by very much. Bankruptcy clients of ours often say they tried to work out a deal involving small payments over a long time (such as $50 a month for 3 years) and the collectors they dealt with simply were not interested. However, each collection agency and collector varies.