Can a client set up partial payments?
What you can do is set them up on bi-monthly/split payments – the details (the amounts, draft dates, etc) will need to be establish by the sales rep). In other words, to fit the client’s needs, we can set up their draft so that half comes out on a specific date of the month and the other half comes out on another date of the month. For example, the client’s draft would normally be $600/month. Client can have draft set up as $300 on the 1st of every month and $300 on the 15th – whatever dates you choose needs to be consistent throughout the length of the program. If 3 months down the line the client needs to change his draft dates, he can arrange that with our office.
Do I need to get the full account numbers for each of the client’s debts when I submit a new deal for approval?
You need to get at least the last four digits of each account. It is preferable, however, to get the actual statements if possible.
If a client wants to cancel, what procedures are in place to ensure that our clients are getting the proper attention to help try to save the client?
If the client wants to cancel before their first draft pulls, this will go back to the sales rep to salvage. If it is after that point, one of the client service reps will try to salvage the client by, first off, finding out why they would like to cancel and if it isn’t a legitimate reason (such as, “My family just paid all of my debt for me”), they will try to convince the client to stay on the program. If they are unsuccessful, the head of client’s services will talk to the client and really ensure that that client has a plan in mind to handle their debt – doing this usually “brings it home” to the client that they need to stay on. Other methods are used…such as… “you’ve already paid such and such fees and these are not refundable per the contract – so let’s figure out a way to keep you on so that we can help you”…. And “let’s see what we can do to make this program work for you,” whether that means lowering their draft amount or putting them on hold for a bit until they can get things straight on their end.
Can we enroll clients with a summons in hand?
No. We cannot accept accounts with a summons or judgment attached. This doesn’t mean we cannot take the client at all, but we cannot take that account.
What are the guidelines for enrolling a client?
See the Minimum Acceptance Standards
Can I enroll a client with only one debt?
No. There are no exceptions to this.
Why can’t the contract say the program can take less time or cost less, instead of it may take longer and cost more?
You can! I agree that certain parts of the agreement could be a little better said (I didn’t write it…), but that’s part of selling this apparently “ugly” thing called Debt Settlement. It’s only ugly because the attorney generals and the BBB say it is. The thing is you’re not selling a porcelain toilet…. Or rather, like I say… you’re not selling a back massage. You’re selling a lengthy, somewhat uncomfortable, very involved program. Really, you’re advising these people to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR DEBT. So it might take a bit of an adviser role to do it. But you know that already. To the point – we have to be up front with these people (which are why the contract isn’t entirely “warm and fuzzy”). But, can tell them, we have helped hundreds of people with this service. And we can tell them, if you really work with us… and really work at putting as much into your program (not necessarily just money… also effort and attention), you may finish in LESS time and pay LESS.
My client is already enrolled with a credit counseling company. Are there any repercussions to them joining a debt settlement program?
There are no repercussions for the client signing up with a debt settlement company as long as they cancel the agreement with the credit counseling company.
My client has a car loan with the same bank he has another debt to. He wants to add this unsecured debt to the debt settlement program. Is that allowed?
Yes, as long as they stay current on their car loan.
I have a prospect that is retired but is still involved in his business. He has a credit card used for his business that has his social security number only, not the business ID#. Will joining our program affect his business credit at all?
It could affect his business credit if he has his social security number is connected up in any way with his business
What percentage of clients gets sued by creditors?
We cannot predict exactly what percentage of clients will get sued by creditors, as there are many different factors which could affect this (such as, the client’s assets, state of residence, and what creditors the client has). Currently, we average 1% of our clients in “legal” (meaning, they have been sued) at a time.
Do you continue to service the client if they receive a summons on any of their accounts?
Yes. We have trained legal negotiators that work under the law firm to handle these types of accounts.
If a client is going to be held responsible for taxes on money saved from a creditor (the lender reports it), do you offer a service to handle this?
No. It is recommended that the client get with their tax adviser at the end of the year. They can use a 982 tax form to prove insolvency.
Do we have any way of knowing or getting any kind of notice from the creditor that they will be filing something with the IRS?
No. Some creditors send the 1099 and some don’t as it is optional.
If a client has assets, are they asked to sell them off?
No, but they are encouraged to put as much into the program as possible to speed up their program.
Can a creditor seek information on any retirement / 401 K?
Not generally, but either way, they cannot touch it.
Is there a limit on how much debt you can enroll on an individual program?
Can you take time shares?
Yes, if the person no longer wants to use the time share, has defaulted to the point that it is not attached to the property, and now owes a deficiency balance.
Can you take federal credit unions?
No., they do not settle well.
Do I need to advise my client to close their credit card accounts when they enroll?
No, it isn’t necessary. They can if they want to, but there is no point.
If a client has a car loan with a credit union and wants to enroll a debt that he has under the same credit union, can they come after the car?
Yes. We can take credit union accounts ONLY if they are not attached to other accounts/loans. Reference: Min. Acceptance Standards.
How do I track the settlements?
Copies of settlement letters will be sent to your company at the beginning of each month for the previous month’s settlements.
Will getting a settlement better than 50% modify the client’s monthly payment?
No. The payment stays the same throughout the entire program unless the client needs help readjusting their payment.
What happens if the client has an unforeseen expense and can make their monthly payment?
Client should call Client Services and let them know about this no less than 5 days from when their payment is scheduled. Client Services can work with the client to either put them on hold or readjust their payment.
What happens if my client becomes unemployed and can make the installments?
Client should call Client Services and let them know about this no less than 5 days from when their payment is scheduled. Client services can work with the client to either put them on hold or readjust their payment.
Can you pay down the monthly installment by putting more $ into the account?
Yes, Absolutely. This is actually encouraged. The client does not incur any fees by doing this. They would have to call Client Services to arrange this though.
What does “forensic mitigation” mean?
Forensic – adj. – (1.) pertaining to, connected with, or used in courts of law or public discussion and debate. (2.) Adapted or suited to argumentation; rhetorical.
Mitigation – n. – The action of lessening in sincerity or intensity. Basically, using argumentation and rhetoric to lessen (mitigate) something (i.e. debts, financial problems, etc)
What if the client is currently in the middle of a bankruptcy?
If the bankruptcy has been dismissed (for example, if they missed a payment on their bankruptcy), they can enroll the debt. Or, if there was any debt that they didn’t include in the bankruptcy, it can be enrolled.
If the client has done a bankruptcy in the past and is now in debt again, can they enroll into the program?
What is the procedure for a client that wants to put in a lump sum of money to speed up their program?
If the client is already enrolled in the program, have them call Client Services. A Client Service Representative will work with them to set this up. If the client has not yet been enrolled and wants to put in a lump sum of money from the beginning, they must be first set up on at least a 12 month program (no shorter) and complete their QC call. After that point, they can work with the Client Service Department to arrange a lump sum payment.
My client would like to add or remove debt from her debt settlement program. What should I tell them to do?
Scenario One: If a client wants to add or remove debt BEFORE they have been approved (meaning, you sent in a signed contract and I sent you back an email that said “APPROVED”) … please make a new contract for the client in your office and submit the complete, signed contract.
Scenario Two: If a client wants to add or remove debt AFTER they have been approved (same meaning as above – this does NOT include “pre-approved” spreadsheets or unsigned contracts), we will do the change in-house. If client contacts you directly to add or remove debt, please have them call 877-000-0000 and speak to a Client Service Rep. Or, if the client insists on giving you the info, just email the info (please include all details – for example, include the creditor name(s), last four numbers of each account number, and an accurate debt amount of whatever the client wants to add or remove. One of our client service reps can call the client and put together an amendment for the client. If their payment needs to be adjusted to accommodate for the change, this will be done with a Client Service Rep. DO NOT MAKE A NEW CONTRACT FOR THE CLIENT AND RESUBMIT IT FOR APPROVAL.
If my client puts extra money into their program, how are the fees distributed?
This depends on how the client wants the money distributed. If they want a certain portion to go towards fees, then it can be setup that way. Otherwise, all of it will go toward their savings and settlements.
How do I explain the program to a client who lives in a state that says “no negotiations” next to it?
Certain states have laws that may prohibit negotiations on behalf of clients represented by an out of state firm. If a creditor refuses to allow us to negotiate on behalf of the client based on their interpretation of state law then we council the client through the settlement process. This may include writing letters for the clients, which would then go to their creditors, or working very closely with them to work out a settlement directly with their creditors.
What if my client is enrolled in the military?
This is actually covered in the client contract itself and is stated as such: “RISKS CONNECTED WITH CERTAIN TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT – You understand that if you default on any obligation or have poor credit scores either of which may happen in connection with participation in the Program, some types of employment could be negatively impacted. For example, persons in the military could lose a commission and persons working in the financial sector, with a government clearance or in law enforcement or defense could lose a job and/or clearance. If you fall into one of these categories, you will not be permitted in the Program without a disclaimer acceptable to the law firm and you agree to discuss the situation with your superior before signing any form of declaration.” Basically speaking, the client should discuss the situation with their supervisor before enrolling to avoid further issues.
Typical Objections from clients regarding Debt Settlement are:
When the service for debt settlement is being negotiated the company is not responsible and does not make recurring payments to the client’s creditors. This causes the potential for lawsuits to be filed. It is a common practice to have a large onetime payment in order to negotiate a settlement in lieu of the balance with most creditors. Often it takes multiple months to accumulate enough money to satisfy the creditor.
Debt settlement does not fix credit reports, and actually will lower a client’s credit score while causing a negative item to reflect on their report. The information collected by lenders from credit bureaus determines their premiums and interest rates and may also affect the potential to be hired or jeopardize the client’s current employment situation.
Additionally canceled debts in many situations must be reported to the IRS as income. Please see IRS Form 982 for the requirements and limits.
One positive aspect of debt settlement while dealing with the IRS is that a client does not meet the criteria to report the settled debt as income. By being insolvent an individual’s debt to asset ratio is such that their debts are more than the amount of assets they own at the time of the settlement.
Having a debt for example of $5000 and a portfolio of assets of only $ 1500 will result in the client having an amount of $3500 that will not need to be claimed as income in the event of settlement. Anything over the $3500 mark will need to be applied to tax forms as income in this example.