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Credit Cards: Debt Relief

WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED RELIEF FROM CREDIT CARD DEBT
WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED RELIEF FROM CREDIT CARD DEBT

These are difficult financial times. You are not alone: so many of us have been hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are unprecedented times where unemployment rates are staggeringly high. If you need relief from mounting credit card debt, you have options. Here are some resources you can use if you are struggling to pay back credit card debt and need help.

 

There are several things you can do to deal with mounting credit card debt during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You can work with a debt settlement company to negotiate a lower, consolidated payment plan for you. There are often fees and costs involved, and you need to make certain you are working with a reputable company and not being scammed. Before you work with any debt settlement company, make sure to check with your State Attorney General and your local consumer protection agency to verify the company’s record and reputation.

 

You also could: negotiate directly with your credit card company and specifically ask them if they have any programs aimed at helping people with their payments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, work with a good credit counselor, or consider filing for bankruptcy to discharge your debts.

 

Often the best place to start is to talk with your credit card company directly. You can find the telephone number on your credit card or your statement. If you call, keep records of when you called, who you talk to, your request and their response. Your goal is to work out a modified payment plan that sets payments at an amount you can afford. Be persistent and polite. Try speaking to more than one person. It is important to reach out proactively before you fall too far behind in your payments.

You can also write a letter to request your payments be modified. It makes a written record that you formally requested a modification to your payments and that you tried to work with your credit card company. This letter is the place where you can express your financial troubles in more personal terms, and it gives you the opportunity to explain how your health, finances, or job situation has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and ask for help. 

 

​If you don't pay on your debt for 180 days, traditionally what will happen is that the credit card company will write your debt off as a loss, and your credit will suffer. ​However, you might be able to take a temporary deferment of forbearance (negotiate a set period of time when you do not have to make payments, without extra interest accruing) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Moreover, most lenders are interested in working with you, even after you have fallen behind or if they have written your debt off as a loss because collections activities are expensive and time-consuming. Still, they need to know they will be paid if they come to new terms with you. That is why you should explain that while you need help right now due to circumstances arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you are not trying to avoid paying the debt.

 

The main thing for you to know is that you have rights. You have rights to request relief and rights not to be harassed about repayment. 

 

Sometimes you need more help because going it alone is not working or is too overwhelming. You have rights and you have options: you can get reputable credit counseling, get someone to negotiate with your lender for you, or even consider filing for bankruptcy to discharge your debts in their entirety. If your credit card company is calling you outside of regular business hours, calling you after you have requested that they stop, threatening you, or otherwise being aggressive about collecting on your debt, a lawyer can explain your rights as a consumer, and take stapes to make the harassment stop.

 

If you find yourself in that situation, Court Buddy can help. We have experienced lawyers nationwide who can help you with your personal financial situation; they can talk with you to better understand your situation, help you understand your rights, provide you with advice and counsel, make a plan and negotiate for you and your family. There are many ways for you to get out of debt, secure a brighter financial future, and peace of mind.

FAQs 

Do I Pay My Credit Card Bills?
Yes, pay your credit card bills (at least as much as you can) on time.
What Happens If I Do Not Pay My Credit Card Bills?
If you do not pay your minimum credit card bill, your credit score might go down, you will most likely incur late fees. The problem with credit card debt is the more you owe, the more your debt will grow each month. If you do not pay for an extended period of time, your lender can send your debt to collections, meaning you could face a lawsuit or wage garnishment. However, some credit card companies have COVID-19 related debt relief programs. And you have the right not to be harassed by debt collectors.
How Do I Get Help?
The first thing to do is let your credit card company know. They might allow a temporary deferment or restructuring of your debt. You should explicitly say if you need COVID-19 related relief. If you need to consult with a lawyer, Court Buddy can help.
Here you can find sample letters to request debt relief:
Here are resources and contact information for the major credit card companies:
When you have credit card debt, you also have rights. Here are consumer protection agencies and resources that you should know about:

Court Buddy Cares and is here to help! Please call us toll-free at (866) 653-3017 for assistance. 

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