Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started?
Getting started is as easy as picking up the phone and talking to one of our experts. Your path to financial freedom is just one toll-free phone call away! Call us today: 1-800-983-6693.
How long will I need your services?
We recognize that each individual’s situation is unique. The length of time needed to resolve debts varies with each individual. The average client who sticks with our advice can resolve all accounts in about 36 months, depending on the individual’s financial situation.
How long does it take to complete the program?
We recognize that each individual’s situation is unique. The length of time needed to complete the program varies with each individual. The average client who sticks with their plan can complete the program in about 36 months, depending on the individual’s ﬁnancial situation.
How do your debt negotiations services differ from debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation programs combine all of your out- standing debt into one large new loan and sometimes require you to secure the loan with collateral of greater value (such as your home). You will still be required to pay the entire principal amount of your debt plus the interest on the new loan. If you fail to make payments, the lending institution can repossess your collateral. In contrast, debt negotiation uses techniques to greatly reduce the balance of your debt, allowing you to pay a smaller sum than what you are currently paying. Typically, debt negotiation takes around 36 months to complete, whereas consolidation can stretch out for longer depending on the size and terms of the loans.
What kind of team will I be working with to resolve my debt?
From day one you will be working with a team of the industry’s leading experts in debt settlement. Our dedicated credit advisors will guide you through every step of the process, and make sure you make informed decisions along the way to financial freedom.
Do I have to include all of my debts, or can I pick certain accounts to resolve?
We normally recommend resolving all unsecured debt to help you get on the path to ﬁnancial freedom quicker. Creditors are generally more willing to negotiate when they see that most of your accounts are delinquent due to your hardship. The decision to resolve all or some of your debt is totally up to you. We are here to help you decide what strategies are best for you. Keep in mind that we are a performance based company, our fee will be taken only at the time the ﬁrst settlement payment is funded to a creditor on the negotiated account.
What is so bad about filing Bankruptcy?
Everyone’s situation is different, but we have assisted many clients to become debt free without having to ﬁle bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy can have long term effects on your credit and can impact your ability to apply for new credit or in some cases, employment. Bankruptcy does not always go away after 7-10 years, as some bankruptcy attorneys may claim. For example, nearly all credit applications ask if you have ever ﬁled bankruptcy in the past. There are also costly court and attorney fees that accompany the ﬁling process. Finally, depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you qualify for, you may still be required to pay back all or some of your debt.
How does the IRS treat debt that is forgiven?
Financial institutions are generally required to provide a form 1099-C in the event that a forgiven or settled debt exceeds $600.00. Please understand that this does not necessarily mean that you owe taxes on the forgiven portion. In many cases, clients can legally and ethically exclude forgiven debt from their income through the “insolvency exclusion” provided by the IRS code. This exclusion means that your liabilities exceed the fair market value of your assets, or that you “owe” more than you “own”. We recommend that you consult a licensed tax advisor regarding your particular circumstance. We do not offer or provide tax advice.
Does CreditAssociates make monthly payments to my creditors?
No, we never make any payments to your creditors. Our goal is to resolve your debt for a lower amount than you enrolled with. You are responsible for the payments to your Special Purpose Savings Account which will be used to satisfy negotiated offers, as well as our fees.
Is it wrong for me to avoid calls from collectors?
No. The decision to speak with your creditors is completely up to you. We contact your creditors at the appropriate time, using the appropriate negotiation method. Our services begin working for you immediately. We will continue to communicate with your creditors to finalize negotiation discussions as your funds accumulate. It typically takes 6 months or more before we negotiate and obtain your first offer which allows you to accumulate funds to settle your first debt.
How will your negotiation program affect my credit?
That depends on what your credit looks like when you enrolled in our program. In general, if you do not make payments to your creditors according to the terms of your agreement with them, your credit will suffer while you work through and recover from your ﬁnancial difficulties.
What happens if I am unable to save funds for the program?
This is a savings based program, so if you are unable to accumulate funds then we will not be able to resolve your accounts. It is imperative to the success of your program that you continue to make your monthly savings commitment on time; any delay could negatively impact your plan.
Does CreditAssociates have control of my savings?
No, you are in complete and sole control of your savings. When you agree to settle an account, your payment will be funded through your Special Purpose Savings Account based on your authorization.
Do I continue to accrue interest and late fees while I am in the program?
Yes, late fees and interest typically continue to accumulate, however our experienced Negotiations Team will always attempt to settle your account with your original balance in mind.
Does CreditAssociates offer credit repair services once I complete the program?
No, we do not offer credit repair services and we are not a credit repair company. There are other ﬁrms that specialize in assisting consumers in getting their credit back on track, in addition to providing other services that will improve your credit score over time.
How will my debts be negotiated?
We have established relationships with most of the major creditor networks which allows us the ability to submit your accounts through our partnerships. This lays the groundwork for future settlement opportunities on your accounts, many of which you will receive before you have sufficient funds ready to fund settlement offers. Creditors are willing to offer discounts based on your hardship situation and you may receive fewer collection calls should your account be placed with one of our partners.
Could a creditor sue me?
Yes, although that is possible and does happen on occasion, it is not typical. However, your creditors will likely continue collection efforts on delinquent accounts. Such collection efforts will include, among other things, phone calls and letters to you, charging off an account, sending accounts to collection agencies or filing a lawsuit. In the event you are sued, please keep in mind you have not retained CreditAssociates to represent you in any court proceedings.
Does CreditAssociates contact my creditors?
Yes, we contact your creditors at the appropriate time, using the appropriate negotiation method. Our Negotiations Program begins working for you immediately. We will continue to communicate with your creditors to ﬁnalize negotiation discussions as your funds accumulate. It typically takes 6 months or more before we negotiate a settlement. Sometimes, you will need to communicate directly with certain creditors to resolve your debt.
What does it mean when an account “charges off”?
A “charge-off” is the point where your creditor writes the debt off their books and use other methods in collecting the debt. This typically takes place once the account has been delinquent for 180 days. A charge-off does not release you from the debt that is owed. The creditor may notify the three major credit bureaus that they are unable to collect and your ac- count may move to a 3rd party collection agency.
Does CreditAssociates charge a fee if they had no involvement in the settlement?
No, we do not charge any fee at all if we had no involvement in a particular settlement, such as if you receive an unsolicited 1099 writing off your debt for zero dollars. If we are involved in obtaining a settlement, we charge our normal performance fee. As always, you should understand our guidance, experience, advice, support and service surrounding the receipt of settlement offers is valuable and important.
Will I need to speak to creditors directly?
Yes, sometimes that will be necessary. Your active involvement in the process is very important. For difficult creditors or creditors who say they will not work with debt settlement companies at all (like Chase, Discover, American Express and Macy’s), your participation may be required to a greater extent. There may be times when you will be required to actively participate in, or even directly communicate with, a difficult creditor.
Should I change my billing address to CreditAssociates’ address?
No, you should never under any circumstances change your address to our address.
Should I ever misrepresent the facts to my creditors?
No, you should never make misrepresentations to your creditors. Always be truthful.
Can CreditAssociates guarantee results?
No, we cannot guarantee the results of any particular negotiation or that any particular creditor will negotiate with us. We cannot force a creditor to accept a settlement.
Do I need a hardship to use CreditAssociates’ services?
Yes, you are entering a program for individuals who must have a bona ﬁde ﬁnancial hardship. We are relying on your certiﬁcation you have a hardship. You must work with us both before and after enrollment to substantiate and prove your ﬁnancial hardship.
Does CreditAssociates charge any advance fees for its services?
No, we do not charge any advance fees. We only charge a ﬂat performance based fee each time a settlement is reached that you approve and fund. We will not charge you any fee at all if we have no involvement in a particular settlement, such as when you receive an unsolicited 1099 writing your debt off to zero dollars.
Will CreditAssociates provide me with a separate and clear Disclosure Statement?
Yes, at the time of enrollment, we will provide you with and a clear and concise Disclosure Statement. Once you have enrolled, you should go back and regularly reread that Disclosure Statement and contact us if you have any questions.
How will my debts be negotiated through the Bulk Negotiations Program?
We have established relationships with many of the major creditor networks which allows us the ability to submit your accounts through our partnerships. This lays the groundwork for future settlement opportunities on your accounts, many of which you will receive before you have sufficient funds for settlement. Creditors are willing to offer settlements based on your hardship situation and you may receive fewer collection calls should your account be placed with one of our partners.