How do I know if Debt Settlement is the best option for me?
FREED’s Debt Settlement program is a great choice for people with high levels of unsecured debt, who are struggling with financial hardship due to a job loss, pay cuts, medical emergencies, etc. If you are behind on your credit card or loan payments and are struggling with your personal finances while the balance on your loans/credit cards keep growing, then our program could be right for you.
Debt Settlement is a disciplined and strategic approach to resolve the debts and while there is financial freedom at the end of this journey, but the customer has to be absolutely certain about his goals and be willing to walk the tight rope.
We strongly encourage you to ask yourself the following questions before you consider debt settlement:
- Do you have a real financial hardship and are you really committed to being debt free?
- One can get trapped in debt due to loss of income, medical issues, living beyond means or any other reason. These are legitimate financial hardships that can happen to anyone for little to no fault of their own, and any of these situations can cause turbulence in your financial life.
- Debt Settlement is not a walk in the park, it requires goal setting, resolution and discipline to get back your finances in track and regain your financial freedom. FREED offers you a fast and ethical way to become debt free.
- Are most of your debts unsecured, mostly from credit cards and personal loans?
- Most types of unsecured debts (without collateral) can be settled. If majority of your debt load comprises of personal loans, credit card debts, consumer loans, pay day loans, peer-to-peer loans, and education loans; you can expect good outcome from the debt settlement program.
- Do you have a monthly budget that you can set aside for the Debt Settlement program?
- You are required to build up savings for a Debt Settlement program. Your ability to quickly accrue funds in your special purpose account will determine how quickly you are able to eliminate your debt. We encourage our customers to aggressively contribute towards their settlement funds so we can help them resolve their debts in the shortest possible time.
What types of debt can you help me with?
FREED can help you with most of your unsecured debts/loans like personal loans, credit card debts, consumer loans, pay day loans, peer-to-peer loans, and education loans. We cannot settle loans backed by collaterals like home loans and auto loans.
How does Debt Settlement affect my Credit?
Our goal is to help you get out of debt as fast as possible by negotiating with your creditors to get them to accept significantly less than face value on your unsecured debts. Debt Settlement will negatively impact your credit in the short term, but your credit score starts to improve once you have completed the program and are debt free. If you are already behind on your payments, chances are that your credit score and rating has already taken a hit and the negative effects of our program on your score may not be as substantial. Besides, very few people with debt troubles have a healthy credit score. We often ask our customers if getting out of debt is more important to them compared to a short-term negative impact on their credit, in almost all the cases, we hear that being debt-free is more important.
The good news though, is that credit scores tend to improve quickly once a debt settlement program has been completed. By engaging in good credit behavior, anyone’s credit score could recover over time. Moreover, as set out on your path to rebuild your credit, you would rather like to see “Settled” against your accounts than a “Willful Default”.
How much will I save?
Settling your debt means that the high interest rates (18% to 40% annually) and penalty and fees (up to 3-5% monthly) that you have been incurring on your loans will cease. This alone will free up a lot of disposable money that you can save towards building a bright future for your family. Additionally, the fees we charge our clients for the Debt Settlement program are more than reasonable. Our clients can save up to 40-50% on their debts.
How much does debt relief cost?
FREED charges a flat rate of 15% on the total debt you enroll in the Debt Settlement program. The debt counsellors at FREED will quote you one monthly payment for your Debt Settlement program that includes all fees associated with the program. Our goal is to provide you with a 40-50% savings on your enrolled debt and get you debt free in the quickest way possible.
Will I be totally debt free, when I am done?
FREED’s Debt Settlement program is designed for unsecured debts (Credit Card debts, Personal loans, etc.). We cannot help with debt that is secured by a collateral (such as home loans or auto loans). However, once you have graduated from the program, the money that you had been paying towards settling your debts can now be used for paying off your secured debts and for building your financial future. The goal of this program is to drive responsible financial behavior and to build credit awareness among our customers. While, many businesses thrive on repeat business, at FREED we do not want to see any repeat customers.
Do you offer a money back guarantee?
FREED’s Debt Settlement program is backed by a Money Back Guarantee because we are absolutely paranoid about our service and customer satisfaction is a non-negotiable principle in our Organization. If we are unable to settle your debts, we will offer you a refund. It’s that simple, if we don’t perform; you don’t pay!
Can I continue to use my credit cards or take money out of my personal line of credit?
You will not be able to use your credit card or take money out of your personal line of credit for the accounts that are listed in the Debt Settlement program. Usually, Creditors will close your accounts after you have missed a few payments anyways. When you are negotiating to have creditors forgive half or more of the balance you owe, they will simply not extend more credit to you unless you pay off the entire balance and bring the account current.
However, at FREED we know it’s difficult to make do without at least one credit card for emergency expenditures. To that end, it may be advisable for clients to maintain one card account that has a clean payment history and preferably low outstanding balance.
Your Counsellor at FREED will help you decide the best plan of action based on your current financial situation
Should I keep paying my credit card bills?
FREED’s Debt Settlement program is for consumers that are burdened with debt and have a legitimate financial hardship. FREED will never advise you to not pay your debts. However, if you continue to make monthly payments to your creditors while being in the program, it is unlikely that the creditors will be willing to accept less than the full amount owed if you are payments are current.
Whether you settle your debt on your own or work with FREED, the most effective way to get creditors to negotiate is by showing them you are unable to pay your debt in full due to a financial hardship. Letting your payments go into default is a good way to do this. Once your creditors understand that you are unable to pay in full, they are more likely to accept a reduced amount as settlement. If you are able to save money in this program and make payments to your creditors at the same time, then you probably don’t actually have a legitimate financial hardship.
Do interest and late fees accrue on my accounts?
Once your loan and credit card accounts become delinquent, your creditors will continue to add interest and late fees onto your balances. Typically, your balance will increase until a settlement is reached. Bear in mind that the interest is going to accrue regardless of whether you make minimum payments or not. At FREED, our goal is to negotiate significant reductions on the total amount you owe, even after the interest and late fees have been added to your balance. We account for the additional fees and the interest loading on your balance when working out the repayment estimate for you. Even if your creditor charges extra fees and interest, the fee we collect to settle the debt will not increase.
Do you guarantee that you will settle all of my debts for a certain percentage?
No. FREED cannot guarantee a certain percentage on your settlements. Every creditor and account are unique, and we cannot predict as to how the negotiations will pan out. Furthermore, the success of our negotiations is highly dependent on you keeping your end of the bargain as well, by making regular monthly payments into your special purpose account. This is a teamwork and we need your full cooperation to achieve the best results for you.
Will debt collectors call me, will they harass me?
Your creditors will continue to call you to recover the debt. However, there are certain codes of conduct that the debt collectors must adhere to, and there are laws that protect you from collections harassment. To help, we offer tips and guidance on how to handle those interactions. To learn more about the laws and the codes of conduct that govern the debt collection practices, please visit this page – https://freed.care/know-your-rights-as-debtor/
Nonetheless, the fact is that most of the customers will some experience collection calls.
Can a creditor sue me?
Your creditors have the legal right to file a lawsuit for non-payment of a debt obligation, such lawsuits are rare and rather expensive, and creditors try to avoid them. Most creditors would rather work out a negotiated settlement than spend more money on a lawsuit with no definite guarantee of a timeline or outcome in terms of the collectability of the debt.
In an unlikely scenario that you get sued by a creditor, we have the experience and are prepared to handle these types of collection strategies. We are not attorneys or are licensed to practice law, but we have engaged a Consumer Advocacy Law firm that specializes in consumer debt litigation cases. If a creditor files a lawsuit, we will consult with the law firm to determine the best course of action. The cost of an initial legal consultation is included in the program and is available to all qualifying customers. The clients will be responsible to pay for the legal representation and other court fees, as applicable.
Can I negotiate on my own?
Yes, you can.
Debt Settlement is complex and time-consuming, also, many people may just not have the mental strength and the perseverance to haggle with the creditors. The average customer is on the backfoot when interacting with the creditors due to the embarrassment and shame he feels for having fallen back on the payments. Most people will find it difficult to deal with the pressure tactics, tricks, threats and traps used by creditors. Also, like any other business, there are tricks of the trade and leverage that a professional is able to apply to get the best results, this is where FREED comes into play. Our knowledge and experience give us the leverage and the strength to represent you to your creditors and negotiate the best settlement and outcome for you.
Is debt settlement legitimate/is it legal?
Yes, 100%. Debt Settlement is absolutely legal. Currently in India, there are no consumer-friendly options for people struggling with debt. FREED has been founded to solve this massive problem. The mission is to provide debt relief solutions and services and financial literacy to debt burdened customers to enable them to reduce and eliminate debt, build wealth and achieve financial freedom. Further, we have made the decision making easy for you by offering you a Money Back Guarantee on our service.
Who controls the account where my funds are held while I await settlement?
You do, we ensure that you are in control of the entire process, we want you to be on top of your game. The special purpose account is set up in your name, and the money in the account is yours. FREED fees are deducted from this account per a fixed payment schedule approved by you. The accumulated savings in the account are available to you anytime and it is only with your authorization that any movement of the money happens, for sending payments to your creditors for settling your accounts.
We love to engage with customers and are there to handhold you throughout this journey of financial freedom.
Should I include all of my credit cards and personal loans in the program?
If you have one credit card or loan with a low balance that you are able to pay down to zero, then we recommend keeping that account for emergencies and not enrolling that account in the program. It will be tough to negotiate settlement offers with your creditors if they see that you are settling on some accounts but not on others.
How long does a debt settlement stay on your credit report?
Once you settle your debts, your creditor will update the status of your account to Settled, or some variation thereof and the Credit Bureaus pick up that information and update your credit report. This status could stay on your credit report for up to seven years. However, an account that has been settled has far lesser impact on your credit when compared to a willful default or unpaid. By engaging your good credit behavior, you will be able to quickly build up your credit rating. While it is inconvenient to have a short-term decline in your credit score, it is any day a better and a more viable option compared to being mired in debt for years with high-interest debt that will crush you financially!