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Debt Settlement Process

The first step in the debt settlement process is to provide any documents you may have regarding the debt. Your Fields Law debt attorney will advise you on the best method of settling and/or negotiating your debts based on several factors:

  • The number of debts
  • The amount of each debt
  • The age of the debts
  • Who currently owns the debts

Our debt settlement attorneys can negotiate with creditors, the law firms that represent them, and debt collection agencies that have purchased the outstanding debts.

Your attorney may negotiate to settle your debt for less than what is being requested by the creditor, arrange a payment plan for you to pay off the debt in smaller increments without accruing more interest, or help you to settle debts in one lump sum.

The Amount Owed On The Debt Appears Much Higher Than I Remember. Can I Dispute The Debt?

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), you have the right to dispute a debt. Your right to dispute is made up of three important sub-rights:

1. Right to receive notice of the debt: within five days of first contacting you, the debt collector must send you a letter containing all of the following information:

  • The amount of the debt
  • The name of the creditor
  • What you can do if you think there has been a mistake or that you don’t actually owe the money

2. Right to dispute the debt: within 30 days of receiving notice of the debt, you have the right to send a letter to the debt collector disputing the debt and requesting the name and contact information of the original creditor.

After receiving your dispute, the debt collector is required by law to stop all debt collection activities until it sends verification of the debt.

3. Right to receive verification of the debt: after receiving your dispute, a debt collector is required to verify the debt by providing you with enough information regarding the debt to enable you to determine whether you actually owe it. The type of information provided by the debt collector depends on the specific reason(s) for your dispute.

Most often, verification includes, at a minimum, the following:

  • Amount of debt
  • Date of debt
  • Name and contact information of original creditor

If your dispute is based on identity theft or mistaken identity, verification should include a copy of the original signed contract or note. If you are disputing the amount of the debt, verification should include information about payment history as well as interest and fees charged and/or waived.

Can I Dispute The Debt Over The Phone Or Does My Dispute Need To Be In Writing?

You can dispute the debt over the phone; however, disputing in writing is always preferable because written disputes require debt collectors to stop all collection activity and send a verification of the debt. If you only dispute over the phone, debt collectors can continue collection activity and will not be required to send verification of the debt.

Can I Still Dispute My Debt If 30 Days Have Already Passed Since I Received Notice Of The Debt?

Yes; however, the debt collector will not be required to stop all collection activity or send verification of the debt. If you want to take advantage of these legal protections, you must submit a timely written dispute. With that being said, if you have some legitimate defenses to the debt, it is in your best interest to submit a written dispute even after the 30 day time period has passed, attaching any evidence you may have that demonstrates that you do not owe the debt, i.e., a police report supporting identity theft or any letters or checks confirming that you previously paid off or resolved the debt at issue. If you provide the debt collector with proof that you do not owe the debt, any continued collection attempts will be in violation of the law.

Should I Still Dispute The Debt Even If I Think It Might Belong To Me?

It never hurts to dispute a debt, even if you do recognize it as belonging to you. The dispute and verification process exists to provide consumers with accurate information prior to making payment on a debt. By disputing the debt, you force the debt collector to confirm the amount owed and the original creditor. You just never know when a debt collector could be lying or misrepresenting the amount owed on a debt. Thus, it is never a good idea to take a debt collector at their word and make a payment without first submitting a written dispute to confirm the amount and original creditor.

Can A Debt Collector Garnish My Bank Account Or My Wages?

If you don’t pay a debt, a creditor or its debt collector generally can sue you to collect. If they win, the court will enter a judgment against you. The judgment states the amount of money you owe and allows the creditor or collector to get a garnishment order against you, directing a third party, like your bank, to turn over funds from your account to pay the debt.

Wage garnishment happens when your employer withholds part of your compensation to pay your debts. Your wages usually can be garnished only as the result of a court order. Don’t ignore a lawsuit summons. If you do, you lose the opportunity to fight a wage garnishment.

Can Federal Benefits Be Garnished?

Many federal benefits are exempt from garnishment, including:

  • Social Security Benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
  • Veterans’ Benefits
  • Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits
  • Military Annuities and Survivors’ Benefits
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance

Federal benefits may be garnished under certain circumstances, including to pay delinquent taxes, alimony, child support, or student loans.

Call our debt settlement attorneys today if you have questions about the debt settlement process. We can help you understand your options and how to settle your debts, regardless of how many debts you have or how much you owe. Contact Fields Law today for a free, no-obligation debt case review.

SETTLEMENTS AND RECOVERIES IN ALL CASES DEPEND ON SPECIFIC FACTUAL AND LEGAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO EACH CLIENT’S CASE. PAST CASE RESULTS ARE NOT A GUARANTEE OR PREDICTION OF SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES WHICH THE FIELDS LAW FIRM AND ITS LAWYERS MAY UNDERTAKE.

READ OUR CLIENT REVIEWS

John Kelley
John Kelley
21:38 16 Oct 18
I was having issues with an insurance company and I hired fields law firm. The people there are amazing and always quick to answer questions even a couple times on the weekend. I worked with Blake amazing person and very informative on my case. I would highly recommend this firm to any of my friends.read more
Michael Frazier
Michael Frazier
23:58 10 Oct 18
I had the pleasure to work with Michael and Annie on my LTD case. When my claim was denied by the insurance carrier, Michael didn't hesitate to take them on with an appeal. He worked diligently on the appeal and ultimately won this for me. Mind you, this wasn't a huge case but he treated me like it was and as if I was the only case he was representing. He kept me abreast of vital information, it was clear that he knew his stuff and wasn't afraid to take on the big insurance company. Michael was much more than I ever expected given that our relationship was entirely remote, handled by telephone and email only. Not only is he a strong lawyer, he treated me with compassion and respect. I am beyond pleased with him and the Fields Law team. Michael cares about his clients and he gets the job done for them because he knows how impactful an injury can be to both a person's well-being and their financial security. I highly recommend Michael and Fields Law whether you are local to their Minnesota offices or out of state like myself.read more
Melanie Eason
Melanie Eason
20:12 29 Aug 18
Fields Law Firm is great. Patrick Kramer, my lawyer, is fantastic. He and his legal assistant Samantha K. have handled my case for several years. They have kept me informed every step of the way. They are both easy to contact. I have both of their phone numbers and email addresses and they respond promptly to any messages I leave. Without their help I would not have been able to get the disability company to fulfill their promises. It is a relief to leave all the dealings with the disability insurance company in their hands.read more
Jeannie Kerr
Jeannie Kerr
23:37 15 Sep 18
My experience with Merrick Williams of Fields Law Firm has been truly above and beyond satisfactory. His knowledge and professionalism have guided me through a very difficult time. He and his assistant Angela were readily available to answer any questions and address my concerns. I highly recommend him as an attorney and will use his services again if necessary in the future.read more
ebon jordan
ebon jordan
19:51 27 Sep 18
Field Law Firm was great my lawyer Zach Schmoll was more than I could ask for. He always kept me in the loop and explain everything perfectly, got back to me whenever I called less than 24 hrs and was a extremely nice guy. This guy is young and knows what he is doing so please don’t let the age fool you. I had a wonderful experience with Field Law and will refer anyone with legal matters to them.read more
Edward Johnson
Edward Johnson
23:11 31 Oct 18
I highly recommend Fields law Firm if you need some no nonsense attorneys to represent you. I was treated courteously and efficiently each and every time by Mike and his associates. They settled my Long Term Disability case in a timely fashion. and was pleased with the results. Thanks again Mike and Fields Law Firm. You are the best!read more
Jeffrey
Jeffrey
19:19 09 Nov 18
Fields Law Firm is simply the very best when it comes to representing you & fighting for your rights! They are a "10 Star" Law Firm hands down! Michael Kemmmitt & Sarah Christensen were simply outstanding to work with. They took over my long term disability case after I was being denied my benefits & gave me the moral support & law experience that I needed to win my case. They were supportive throughout my case & they will fight tooth & nail to assure your rights are not being denied. It is so rare to find a law firm that treats you like YOU are the most important person to them. I HIGHLY recommend Fields Law Firm. They are truly advocates for justice.read more
Ben Chadwick
Ben Chadwick
23:20 12 Nov 18
Michael and Samantha were always giving me updates in a very timely manner. They were very good at getting back with me if I had questions, and they didn't have the answer at the time of our discussion. They were very thorough in their handling of my case, and we received a positvie ruling due to their efficiency and expertise. Thank you very much Michael and Samantha, I appreciate all that you did to help me with my case. I would definitely refer people to you, as well as use you in the future. Benjamin Chadwick.read more
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