In 2017, joy filled our lives with the arrival of our newborn daughter. My wife happily said, "Ghar pe Laxmi ji ayi hai" (Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, has come home). However, the initial happiness faded as expenses grew, leading to financial challenges. Working in a college administration team, I lived from one paycheck to the next. When it was time to enroll our daughter in school, I turned to a credit card for a quick solution. It felt good initially, enjoying the convenience without considering the consequences.

As EMI payments piled up, I resorted to personal loans. Reality hit hard after a few months - drowning in debt, missing payments, and a falling credit score. Collection agents' calls became a daily reminder of the financial mess that I was in. Worried about this situation, my wife suggested moving back to her mother's house. While scrolling through Facebook that day, I discovered an ad that led me to FREED's website. Taking a leap of faith, I connected with their counselor, and after 23 months, I emerged debt-free, a weight lifted off my shoulders.
Everything was going well in my life until I hit a mid-life crisis when I was laid off by my last company due to the recession in the market. I have a family of six, and I am the single earner. I also had multiple personal loans to repay. I felt hopeless until one of my friends at the office suggested I reach out to FREED. I had serious doubts because it was a significant personal issue. However, when I contacted them, they quickly understood my situation and expressed their willingness to help. For me, FREED was like a companion who not only assisted me but also provided valuable financial advice based on my needs and goals, enabling me to lead a debt-free life. As I write this, I have no outstanding debts, and I've even secured a new job. I give all the credit for this transformation to FREED, and I mustn't forget to mention my friend who recommended reaching out to them.
3 of my friends were planning a trip and wanted me to tag along. I had no idea how to finance it. One friend reminded me of the credit card that I had received when I got my salary account opened. I didn’t know if I should use it or not, but just like any other innocent newbie, I wanted to test out new waters. I was able to finance my entire trip with this credit card. Initially, I was very happy and I got multiple credit cards to sponsor my wanderlust aspirations.
When salary day came, I somehow was able to pay a chunk of the credit card bill. After I exhausted my monthly salary, my friends were planning a party and wanted me to join them again. I ended up spending a large amount of money straight from my credit cards on this event as well.
From then onwards, I had no money left and every month, I was paying only the bare minimum amount on my credit cards. I had to stop hanging out with my rich friends and find a way to shield my salary from getting zapped away on bill payments. At this point, I came across FREED and with their smart budgeting and loan consolidation strategy, I was able to reduce my interest heavy monthly EMI payments. I’m so glad I got FREED! I’m never going to hang out with such extravagant friends anymore!
I realized the problem when I finally couldn’t make my credit card payment. Paying my credit card minimum due for 17 months made me think my credit card bill would be much lower. It is my fault for not being vigilant. I thought at least I was doing my best and staying current. But why would my credit card company care about that? When I finally couldn’t make the minimum payment, I decided to check the credit card statement. My principal had hardly reduced. I had been paying the credit card fees and (sometimes) late charges all this time. My life had been stuck from paycheck to paycheck and sometimes even more credit lines. I had survived an abusive husband and in-laws but I wasn’t sure if I would survive this credit card debt that I had accumulated. I had taken out the credit card when I finally decided enough was enough and moved away from my husband and his parent's house. The divorce took so much of my happiness and even more savings. I was drained by the end of the divorce being finalized. It’s funny to think that the divorce felt like my lowest when I was being absolutely crushed under credit card debt and didn’t even know that. My lawyer told me about how many lawyers offered settlement services for people with debt like mine. I tried to reach out to a few and then gave up when one lawyer almost scammed me for money. Surprise surprise, that scammer wasn’t an actual lawyer but would take advantage of people who wanted to get their debts settled. How he could do such a thing to somebody already hopeless about money is beyond my understanding. Coming across FREED was a total coincidence but it changed my life. The debt that I thought I would be paying for the rest of my life was resolved within months. It won’t be a lie if I said I breathe better and walk lighter now.
I’m sure you have received calls about personal loans that you’ve been pre-approved for. I did too. The mistake I made was accepting the loan. I really did not need a personal loan but getting that call hearing, “Sir, aap 10 lakh tak ke personal loan ke liye pre-approved hain (Sir, you’re pre-approved for a personal loan of up to Rs. 10 Lakh)” made me feel like I could actually use it. By the time my emergencies knocked at my door and I actually needed that personal loan, I had spent most of it on other household items and my kids’ education. Losing my job during the second lockdown made me realize that wasting the loan I had taken out on a whim would maybe make my family homeless. I moved back to my hometown to my parents’ house. That helped because I no longer had to pay rent but it was not nearly enough. Over 5 months of joblessness and calls from rude and disrespectful collection agents made me hopeless. I get scared even thinking about the state of mind I was in. All I wanted was for the collection agents to leave me and my family alone, no matter what it took. Thankfully, my wife cornered me one day. She cried and told me that she couldn’t even recognize me anymore. She meant it. I wasn’t just mentally in turmoil but also physically looking more ill as the days passed. That shook me up. I told her about everything. This amazing woman held my hand and told me she was ready. She was ready to support me and help me find a way to get rid of all this debt. That gave me a lot of hope. I started looking for a solution and came across FREED. I am still not debt free but my savings have made me hopeful that I will be within the next few months. My freedom from debt is within my reach for the first time in almost 5 years and I haven’t been more stress-free.
I had created two realities within my world. One was right in front of me, my children laughing in the living room. And the other was on my phone, the collection agent’s call. He was calling me names. Told me how worthless I was and how he would come to sit in my living room with my kids till I paid up. By the end of that call, I was ready to send my children to their Nani’s house indefinitely. Honestly, I don’t even remember how I came across FREED at that point. I hardly remember anything from the constant stress. But I remember what happened once I enrolled with FREED. I vividly remember that same collection agent calling me one morning at work. I decided I’ll let the FREED team handle it. And they did.
It still took me over a year to become debt free, but the day FREED took that collection agent’s call I was finally free from the constant harassment and stress.
My business shut down during Covid. But whose didn’t, right? I had spent all my life savings on it in 2018 and it was finally giving me some returns when the first lockdown happened. I tried my best to budget whatever little savings I had. My wife kept telling me it’ll be okay and the lockdown will soon be over. Then she got the virus and left me with our two kids. By the time the lockdown was lifted, I was broken and had a huge debt load due to my wife’s medical treatments. I spent the next few months trying to pay one credit card bill with another. When I found out about FREED from a friend who had seen them on social media, I was lost and thought no one could help me. I had nothing to lose but they promised me a debt-free future. I started the journey with some hope. Things really started changing for me when my first debt was settled 5 months into the program. Today, all my debts have been paid and I am now saving up for my kids’ college. I know my wife would have wanted that.
I used to think farmer suicides because of debt were an overreaction. I was so wrong. With over Rs 10 Lakh debt, I started thinking of doing the same myself. That was the point when I realised I needed to get help. Being a fighter and not giving in to my situation has always been something I was proud of. This was the lowest point in my life. I would spend so much time on google trying to figure out how to manage my finances to get rid of this debt and the stress. No answer seemed good enough till I came across FREED’s website. It was like a lifeline was thrown at me. My decision to not give up had been rewarded. I reached out to the FREED team and told them my situation. The support and validation I received blew my mind. For the first time in many months, I felt like somebody acknowledged my efforts to make things right.
They walked me through my payment plan and all the other challenges that were going to come up once I was enrolled in their program. I have been making payments regularly since then and my future finally looks so much better than it was looking a few months ago.
It was my second day at FREED. I was listening in on a sales call. Just a part of the regular training procedures at the organization. The debt counsellor I was shadowing received a call from a man who had much lower debt than what qualifies for the program. Many other factors could have disqualified him. But there were a few things that showed this man was resilient and determined to get free from debt that had stressed him and his family for a good while now. He was the kind of man you root for in a movie. The kind that will get more jobs than the hours in his day just to provide for his family. I was rooting for him and so was the debt counsellor. I saw the debt counsellor go to bat for this customer. He convinced his senior to enrol him.
This story doesn’t end here. It will still take a few more months for him to become debt free and get his happy ending. But his voice made me realise, that having hope was enough for him to keep going strong and fighting for his family’s and his financial future.
It was getting harder to even pay the minimum dues on my credit cards every month. I kept thinking it would get better as soon as I got my promotion but I still had time and I was already drowning in my expenses. But every month, I would pay the minimum due, without fail. I never got that promotion. Even worse, I actually got a pay cut because my employer decided working from home calls for a salary cut for all. This pay cut became the final wave that pulled me under. I spent the next 5 months dodging calls from collectors because I had missed every single payment since then. When I saw FREED’s ad on Facebook I thought what do I have to lose? That day when I called the office at almost 7 PM, which is their closing time, I was placing a bet on myself, If they pick up my call, then it was a sign they can help me. And they did! They picked up the call and helped me too. I think it was just a matter of a year and a half before all my credit cards were paid off. You don’t know the feeling of getting that salary credited message and not having to pay an EMI until you have gotten out of a debt trap.
It might be a stupid idea to give money to help loved ones especially when you end up using credit cards yourself. I had helped almost every family member and friend during covid out of love but that meant I had to start using credit myself. When I came to FREED I was on the brink of bankruptcy. Eventually, I couldn’t keep this in and told my fiance about it. She was shocked and almost broke off the engagement. I wanted her to talk to my FREED relationship manager so that she could understand that I was going to get out of this. That a debt-free future was possible for us. But she refused initially. When the relationship manager explained the timeline of my debt getting paid off, my fiance told me she was happy for me but will stick to her previous decision of leaving. I can’t thank my relationship manager enough because even though she didn’t have to, she stayed on the call with my fiance and asked her why. My fiance was feeling betrayed, which anyone would in her shoes. The relationship manager talked us through so much that day. The girl at FREED could have hung up after doing her part of stating the facts to my fiance but she almost became a marriage counsellor to us. That made me realize what I had done. I realized that my actions hadn’t protected my fiance but made her feel like I didn’t trust her. That call with the relationship manager was the first of many long and heartfelt conversations my fiance and I had. Debt was killing my bank account and my secret was killing my relationship. Thankfully I saw that. I became debt-free 4 months ago and am getting married next month.
I think I would have survived the lockdown very comfortably had I not switched jobs right before the lockdown was announced. I put in my resignation and I had some savings that would have helped me get through the next 3 months, two months' notice and one for the final salary payment, without cash inflow. What I hadn’t planned for was for my new company to hold off the new hires. If I had any idea the lockdown would extend, I would have left Delhi and gone back to my hometown even earlier. My final payments from the previous organization came in and became my only savings. Mom fell ill back home and all my remaining savings went to her medical bills. My only hope was my credit card. I kept thinking, this will be over soon and I’ll pay off my credit card bill. I had to accept a job which paid half of my previous salary. That meant using more credit cards. Slowly I started paying less and less on my credit card bill until I couldn’t even afford to pay my minimum dues. This is when a colleague told me about debt settlement and the companies in India that offered them. I talked to representatives from all companies, but FREED was the one that made me realise I was not a criminal for not being able to pay my dues. I was just a person who might have made some financially irresponsible decisions but still wanted to do the right thing. They helped me budget my finances and even gave me a timeline of how my debts will be settled. Hearing that I would be able to get rid of all the stress and at half of what it was going to cost me was unbelievable. I was able to save extra in my account for a few months and my debts were cleared even sooner than they had predicted.
Constant calls from collection agents and their threats of going to my house and getting the money from my mother started giving me nightmares. I would constantly spend hours at work wondering if today would be the day people go to my house and torment my mother. I had already talked to people at FREED before and hadn’t gotten enrolled. The promises they were making seemed too good to be true. Or maybe the collection agents had made me believe I didn’t deserve any relief from their harassment. But when they threatened to harass my mother, that was too much. At this point, I decided, ‘What do I have to lose?’. So I called them and got myself enrolled in their program. They actually were serious about each and every promise they made before enrolling me. The client relations at FREED would talk to the collection agents harassing me every time they called. I remember a hilarious call when the collection agent was abusing me non-stop and the guy at FREED kept saying ‘same to you’ constantly. They never even abused but still managed to handle these rowdy collectors. I recently settled my second last debt account with FREED’s help. Just one more to go, but this journey wouldn’t have been stress-free if it was not for FREED.
I work as a collection agent for auto loans. My colleagues and I have impounded many vehicles in the past when people were unable to pay their EMIs. I have heard some harsh words being said to delinquent customers but had never imagined collection agents for credit cards could be as rude as they were to my wife. A friend of mine talked about this new company in the debt settlement industry, FREED. I checked their website and saw a few reviews by people who were being harassed by collection agents and how FREED helped them. When I told my wife about it, she called the number on the website right away. After explaining the program our debt counsellor started explaining the Creditor Harassment Protection Program. It was like music to our ears. They promised to take all the calls from collection agents. I remember one specific call. A collection agent called my wife’s colleague and was talking in Marathi. This lady collection agent was especially rude and called my wife’s colleague names and asked her to pay on behalf of my wife. We immediately called the FREED office and their CHPP representative got on the call. He couldn’t understand what the collection agent was saying so he called another one of his colleagues, who was fluent in Marathi. This man supported my wife and handled the rude collection agent in her own language. He even explained to us what our rights against this harassment were and how our friends and family can be safe from this in the future. I can’t thank FREED enough for taking us out of that mess of constant abuse from collection agents.
The pandemic took a lot of things from people. Peace, jobs, and worst of all their loved ones. When my husband passed away leaving me with two young kids, a 4-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, our families came in to help. But people can only help you so far when even they have limited financial resources. I had a job to support our little family but going from two incomes to one was hard too. My husband had some savings that helped us but even those were spent after a few months. I never even got to grieve him properly because all I could think of was putting food on the table and a roof over my kids’ heads. I used up two credit cards and the bills were getting larger each month. I kept making minimum payments but every time I saw the outstanding it looked the same if not higher than before. Soon, making minimum payments wasn’t an option anymore. I think it had been 6 months since I made my last credit card payment when I enrolled with FREED. Where I had been struggling to make a minimum payment even for a single credit card, the FREED Program helped me settle them both in just over a year. Nothing can replace the security and safety that my husband provided my family with. But not having collection agents after me and being able to live and take care of my kids with the money that I make is much better than what I was going through before. I took my kids to meet their grandparents (my husband’s parents) in their home town last week to celebrate getting rid of my debt. Don’t worry, I'm spending responsibly, it was a very affordable trip to help us celebrate a good start to this debt-free life.
Buying a house is everyone’s dream. It was mine too and I spent just a little over my budget when doing so. After all, property is an investment. The problem started when every other bill started piling up. After we moved into the new house, a lot of maintenance that we weren’t told about had to be done. With my home loan EMI already draining my bank account, I had to take out a personal loan to pay for some of these extra repair costs. It wasn’t a huge loan and when I was unable to keep up with the EMI after a few months, I thought I will be able to catch up soon. I missed one EMI and decided, I will pay the next one. Then my child got sick. The hospital bills kept increasing and I missed another EMI. Before I knew it, the charges and interest on the loan had gotten so high that I couldn’t even afford the minimum payments. That’s when I reached out to a few friends and family members asking for help. Some of them had already helped me when I bought my house, and the others came up with excuses. One of my cousins came up with FREED. He told me about the concept of debt relief and how FREED had helped one of his in-laws who had loads of debt. But I didn’t want my personal loan settled. What if I needed a loan again, settlement would have made my credit score plummet. When a few more months passed by, my debt amount had almost doubled and I started getting the nastier collection calls. The ones where they humiliate and threaten you with no limits, I finally had no choice but to call FREED. My debt accounts are yet to be settled but a few things have changed my mind about a settlement so they might help you too. First, your credit score can be repaired and I will be doing so after I settle my existing debt. Second, debt settlement through FREED cost me less than half my outstanding amount even with their fees. Third, and most importantly, they didn’t just settle my debt but also helped my fear of collection agents. They helped me understand that all of these collection activities were harassment and that the police could protect me against them. I might not be debt free yet but I am at least stress-free.
I hope you never have to take your child out of a good school because the fees are too high for your budget like I did. This has been the biggest regret of my life. Compromising on my child’s education. He cried, got angry and fought with us when we gave my son the news of his moving to a different school. We had already been enrolled in the FREED debt relief program for a month by this time. Now that I had a little more savings, I could make more of a contribution toward settling my credit card. I might have made some financially irresponsible decisions but was very serious about getting debt free. The day I received the settlement offer from the bank will never be erased from my memory. It was even lower than the amount I had saved up. I asked my relationship manager what would happen to my remaining savings and he told me, ‘that is your hard-earned money sir, consider it your reward for being so determined to settle your debt on time.’ Having a starter amount for my savings account was an added bonus to being debt free. For anyone interested, my child starts his next school year in his previous school soon and is very excited to get back to seeing his friends every day.
I was living on a Rs. 50,000 salary and had a Rs.15 lakh loan. It seemed impossible for me to be able to ever pay that off. My loan was for Rs. 7 lakh. The additional charges made my loan amount rise to Rs. 15 lakh in no time. Every month, my salary would run out in three weeks or less because of the large EMI I was paying. I ended up depending on early salary apps and slowly paying their dues became an issue too. Then I started noticing my whole salary going toward paying bills. I started running out of money within the first two weeks of getting my salary. I didn’t realize it then but I had downloaded many early salary apps and after paying each one, I would run out of my salary even sooner than before. When I got rejected for a credit card due to the amount of debt I already had, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to make the payment due for most of my early salary apps. I had to resort to taking out another small personal loan with a very high rate of interest just to pay these app loans. After that, my finances only got worse and I couldn’t make my loan payments anymore. I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. A man that lived in my locality, and I knew personally, showed up at my door one day and came in to sit. He then refused to leave till I had paid him the money I owed on my personal loan. This man knew the situation my family was in. He had even visited my dad when he had been sick and I had to take out the loan for his treatment. He was still willing to threaten me and treat me like a criminal. That day I realized, running from my debt will solve nothing. This man and others like him will find me and come for the money. Fortunately, I read this news about FREED and how they were offering something called the Debt Resolution Program. I had no idea what it was but my desperation made me ready to try anything that could get me out of debt. I’m happy I was desperate enough to try something that went over my head. Nobody is helping people the way FREED is. They guided me throughout the program and would even talk to the guy who had shown up at my door. After multiple failed attempts at getting into my house due to FREED’s intervention, he started calling and threatening me. FREED’s team even talked to him and helped me avoid the stress of listening to his abuse. They helped me settle my debt but truly helped me settle my tensions also.
I spent the majority of my life trying to save up money and be responsible with my savings. I had done everything right and had no loans or credit cards. This was until the day somebody took all my savings and ran away with them. He did this to a lot of people. We had all invested our savings in his amazing scheme which turned out to be a complete fraud. The police told me upfront, ‘Sir, ye sab log se paisa wapas nahi milta kabhi. (Sir, you can never get your money back from such people)’. I was heartbroken but did not let this betrayal break me. My daughter fell ill just a year after this event. I had managed to save a little bit by then, but it was not enough. In the next two years, we spent almost 5 times the money I had saved, on her medical bills. I took out huge loans and used the whole limit on my credit card to save my little girl. When she got better it was the biggest relief I had ever felt in my life. Then came the next problem. I had not realized the amount of debt I was in till the day I wasn’t even able to make the payment of the minimum amount due on my credit card. After a few months of missing the payment on my credit card and I started getting calls from collection agents. It felt like I was getting punished for something I had done wrong. First, all my life savings were stolen and now I was constantly getting abused by collection agents on the phone. One day I saw my daughter playing on a swing near our house. This little girl, who couldn’t even stand for two minutes a year ago, was swinging and running around the park. It was all the motivation I needed to make sure I got rid of my debt and started saving for her future as soon as I could. I had spent three days searching the internet for debt relief for three days when a friend shared a Facebook post with me because he knew I was in a lot of debt. The post was FREED’s and I called them almost right away after seeing it. The man who picked up was the first person in a long time who said my debt could be paid off if I really wanted to. He told me it will be a difficult journey but he and FREED will be by my side for it. Within a year of enrolling in their program, my debts were settled. I was debt free and could finally save up for my daughter’s future. Because somebody helped me when I was at my lowest, I will be able to give my daughter the life she deserves.
When I got my first credit card delivered to my house, I had no idea how unprepared I was for it. I did not even have to apply for a credit card, the bank I had my salary account with offered me one. The first month went by great. I was a little too generous with my spending and paid for a few outings with friends and family all by myself. What I did not realize was my salary would still be limited no matter how much my credit card limit is. I think we all forget this about credit at some point. Seeing the first bill on my credit card was a huge shock. But it was not a problem. I paid off the bill and got more careful about using the card. When I got sick and couldn’t work anymore, I relied on a mix of my credit card and some savings to get me by. I kept thinking everything will be on track once I got better and started working again. That, however, took longer than expected and the bills kept piling on. This was a low point in my life. Any of us who have been at rock bottom know how difficult the idea of getting back up can be. There came a point when I was only making payments with my credit card for my treatment so that my savings could be used for basic amenities like food and rent. When I finally started working, I even had to get cash from my credit card to help me pay rent for that month. By the time some income finally started coming my way, I had maxed out my credit card. I spent a few months making the minimum payments as I had to also pay off a few friends that had helped me during my difficult time. After about 5 months, I finally had paid off all my friends and saw that my credit card outstanding was way more than I could pay. I went back to making minimum payments which kept increasing every month. It got to a point where my minimum payments were also too much for me to afford. After missing out on two of those payments, creditors started calling me daily. They were persistent and would not let me cut the phone for hours. If I dared cut the phone, they would keep ringing it again. You might think I had it better than those getting abused, and I did sort of, but the sheer volume and duration of the calls from these creditors were enough to keep me awake at night. One day I decided to search the internet for ways to pay off my credit card debt. I found many ideas and was hoping someone could tell me exactly what to do but after reading multiple blogs about money management and more companies than I can count offering me top-up loans, I finally came across FREED. I noticed they were the only company offering debt settlement but not asking for fees before the settlement happened. I had nothing to lose so I filled out a form and waited for their call. That call, 8 months ago, changed my life. I got debt-free last week. The amount I paid to get my debt settled including the fees was even lower than what the debt expert had calculated. I will now use the remaining amount in my savings account to buy a few stocks I have heard are performing well. I can finally invest in my future and move on to better things.
I started my journey to a debt-free future before I ever came in contact with FREED. I was trying to budget and save every penny I made so that I could pay all my monthly dues. A few years ago, I got mixed with some shady people. I was spending all my income to match their lifestyle. I got my wake-up call one day when one of my drinking buddies died of a heart attack at a very young age. I won’t lie that I changed my lifestyle that very day, but I did my best. By this time I had no savings and had borrowed a lot of money from local loan sharks to pay for my monthly expenses. I had been living a lifestyle way beyond my means and the local loan sharks were finally catching up to me. I decided to get a personal loan to pay them back. These local loan sharks could seriously hurt me and a personal loan would have given me some time to pay back the amount slowly. The first year of paying the EMI on my loan went by smoothly. I made payments on time and everything was working well. Then one of the loan sharks I had paid off decided I needed to pay more interest on the amount I had already paid him off. I got a credit card this time and converted it to cash just to pay him. This is where my trouble began. My monthly EMI plus the credit card bill was a little too much for my income but I was budgeting every month to make sure I was paying the banks. When the pandemic hit, my company cut down our salaries. They said since we were working from home and business wasn’t doing as well, we had to take a 20% pay cut. This pay cut threw off my whole budget. I couldn’t make any payments anymore. Just the EMI on my personal loan was now over 50% of my income. When the calls from collection agents started coming in, it felt like I was back in the old days when the loan sharks would threaten me for money. I tried to go to the bank for settlement. I wrote letters explaining my problems and they asked for a huge amount upfront. This made me look into debt settlement companies. I even got scammed by one, but that is a story for another time. Then I came across FREED. The fact that they did not ask me to pay thousands for their program fees before even settling my debt was enough for me to give them a chance. And I’m glad I did. It took me 2 years in the program with FREED, but I am finally free of the painful reminder of some dark days which was my debt.
Right after I finished college, I started working at a “temporary” job. I write it like that, “temporary”, because that’s what I thought it would be. I had to stay close to family and this job was letting me do that, unlike the high-paying job my college was placing me at. My decision was based on my father’s declining health. I thought I would spend a few months in my hometown and then move to Bangalore and get a real job in my field of study. Those few months turned into 3 years and ended with the devastating loss of my father. My mother had passed away when I was a young boy and now it was just my sister and me. I moved to Bangalore with her. I had found a low-paying job in my field but was determined to make it. Bangalore was expensive. It took me another 2 years to get to the salary level that someone in my field would receive right after graduation. The gap in my portfolio had taken a toll on my salary. For the past two years I had accumulated so much debt that even with an increased salary, I was living paycheck to paycheck. When my sister told me she wanted to study further, I decided the stress of another personal loan was worth it. All my debt had been to give my sister the opportunities that would help her lead a good life. But my good intentions meant nothing when the due date would come up every month. It didn’t surprise me when I wasn’t even able to afford the minimum payment on my credit cards. I was still paying personal loan EMIs but my credit cards had been unpaid for over 2 months. One day my colleague heard me talking to a bank collection agent. That’s when he told me about FREED. Hearing him talk about his relative who was able to get rid of all his debt made me believe it might be possible for me too. I reached out to FREED and their expert told me upfront, “Sir, this will be a difficult journey. But if you are determined to become debt free, I can help you do that.” It sounded like music to my ears. I enrolled and started saving to get my debts settled. Two of my credit cards have already been settled and now I’m left with just two personal loans. Ironically, my little sister, who started a well-paying job a few days ago has made me promise that I will let her help me in getting rid of this debt. She says that we got into debt together. I guess in the end, we’ll get out of this debt together as well.
I had always dreamed of having my own restaurant. I’m not a chef but my love for food makes up for it. I spent a lot of time researching the restaurant business and found the best team of cooks I could afford. You might have heard people talk about debt being good if can help you generate wealth. I had planned to start a restaurant business with my loan and generate income from my credit. You could guess when my troubles started if I tell you that I started my business in late 2019. With the pandemic almost coinciding with my business launch, I ended up with a lot of debt and no income. As the first lockdown came to an end, I started looking for a job and found one quite quickly. By this time I already had a huge loan and very few savings. I used the last bit of my savings to pay off some of my loans early and spent a good chunk of my monthly income on paying the EMIs. Lockdown after lockdown I had to switch jobs as companies would lay off the new hires. By the time I had a somewhat stable job, I had an added credit card outstanding due and BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) EMIs. My life was basically BNPL. Thankfully I did not have any huge medical expenses unlike a lot of people during the pandemic. Things were still really tight on the financial front. Had I waited a little while to start my business, I could have taken the pandemic into account and not taken out that huge loan. With the addition of the credit cards and BNPL accounts, I was hardly able to make any payments. Each month, their would be at least one account on which I would not make the payment. It’s not even like I was making complete payments on other accounts. I had almost never made more than the minimum due payment on my credit card. Finally, I got fed up with keeping these accounts current by skipping alternate monthly payments. Choosing FREED was easy. My credit score was dropping already when I came to FREED. At least, with FREED I could finally settle all of my debt and start working on becoming creditworthy again. My dream of opening a restaurant did not die. I decided I would try again, but this time I will save up for a good chunk of the capital instead of taking out a huge loan.
I have always been a car guy. So when I got a job, I thought buying my dream car second-hand would be a great idea. I saved up for two years and bought my dream car second-hand. I did not want to pay any EMIs so I paid everything upfront from my savings. Sometimes the worst financial mistake is going for something cheaper. I ended up spending almost as much as it would have cost me to buy a new car just to repair the second-hand car I bought. Initially, I would pay cash for all the repairs but eventually, the repairs started costing more than I could afford. Also, turns out that the brand of car that I own didn’t always take kindly to CNG kits. It was also my only mode of transport so getting the car repaired as needed was my only option. After trying to pay the credit card bills from these repairs for months, and making additional payments in cash to cover some of the repairs, my situation got worse. Now, every month I had two major expenses. The first was my credit card bill, which was so high that my only option was to make partial payments. The second was more car repairs which were again eating into my salary. I even moved to a cheaper apartment to help me afford my monthly expenses. One unplanned emergency after the other led to me barely making rent and food every month. Eventually, I was not even making the minimum payment on my credit card. I work next to the FREED office in Gurgaon. One day I ran into an employee and started talking about their work during the break. I spent two good weeks figuring out if their debt relief program could work for me. During this time I had actually become break buddies with that FREED employee. I finally told them about my financial problems and they helped me enrol in their program. Let’s just say, it was a good trade-off for me. I got to get rid of my debt and gained a great friend in the process.
It’s been two months since I settled my last credit card. On random days I still wake up feeling like I am in debt. Then I realise the truth and get the biggest relief and smile. My whole family has been happier and we have had many nights of enjoying our time together. I and my wife now play games and watch movies with our kids every weekend. Just two months have made me realise how great my decision to reach out to FREED to pay off my debts was. Eight years ago I took out a loan to get married and pay off some of my father’s debt. I also had several credit cards over the past eight years. Some of those cards I had taken to pay off the others. I was earning well, so it never occurred to me that rotating credit was the first sign of a debt problem. As the years progressed and we had kids, the expenses grew more than my salary. I realised I had a problem when I got declined for a home loan. I was skipping payments once in a while and that really dropped my credit score. No bank wanted to give me a home loan. Those who did offer the loan were packaging it with a very high-interest rate. I had missed the payments on my cards for the past two months, and that was only dropping my credit score further. I had no hope as I knew my outstanding dues will not be paid that month as well. I kept thinking about my kids, my wife, and how we might never own a home. My wrong decisions were now taking a toll on my family. Every time I and my wife would start talking about our finances, we would end up fighting for hours. Our kids saw this. Sometimes, we made the mistake of scolding them too just because we were stressed out and they made a small mistake. This had to stop. Our family was falling apart because I was so heavily in debt. I had to start looking for my options. My wife came across FREED and we talked with the debt expert for over two hours. I did not know then how different my life will be once I finally get debt free. I still can’t buy a house because of my low credit score, but at least, now I can do something to increase it and hopefully buy my family their home in a few years.
My family’s financial situation had never been great. There had been times when my mother would cry during the festivals because we had no money to celebrate them. My father passed away when I was very young and my mom did odd jobs to keep us afloat. When I was 16, I saw my mom crying once again because my brothers had asked for new clothes for their birthday. We all might fight with our parents, and I did too, but seeing her cry made me decide one thing. I was going to make sure that my mother got all her wishes when I started earning. I took out a student loan for college so that I could get a better job than those around me had. I got placed in a good company and started paying off my student loan almost immediately after college. I thought my family had finally been rewarded for all those years of hardships. Oh, how wrong I was. The coming years became some of the most difficult years of my life. I had to put two brothers through school. I had made my mother give up all her jobs, and don’t regret that for a moment, but it meant all the financial responsibility came on to me. The biggest mistake I made was not budgeting and getting credit cards instead of cutting down on a few expenses. When I finally realized that my debt was way too high for me to be able to pay off, I couldn’t even reach out to my family and tell them about it. They would have been crushed. I had managed to pay off my student loan by this time but now had two more student loans, for my brothers’ education, and heaps of credit card debt. I had to send my family back to my hometown because collection agents had started showing up at my house. I came to the conclusion that I needed to settle my debts. I had reached out to a lot of banks for new loans to pay off all my current debt but had no luck there. Which is why debt settlement was the only option for me. FREED’s program helped me pay off these loans much quicker than I could have ever imagined. From feeling like I would never be able to pay off my debt to living debt free and safe in my home, FREED has helped me come a long way.
Call it a weird butterfly effect, but my debt cycle started when I got mugged on my way to work. I have no idea what exactly happened that day. All I remember was walking into an ATM and coming out with most of my accounts empty. I went to work and started crying. I knew I was probably never going to see that money again. I had worked hard and saved up quite a significant amount. To be honest that amount might not be ‘significant’ to a lot of people but it was for me. It was the beginning of the month which meant I had to rely on friends to help me get through to the next month. I then applied for a credit card to help me pay for necessities. Cutting down on expenses due to this mishappening was difficult but I got through somehow. Sadly, the credit card I got had a shorter cycle. Which meant I had to pay late charges when I finally got my next salary. The cycle of having to pay a huge chunk of my salary to this credit card kept made me dependent on it since every month my salary would run out quickly and I would have to borrow from the card again. After a few months, I bought my family a large gift with my credit card. Don’t judge me yet. I bought the gift because my promotion was almost set in stone and I wanted to celebrate with them. Huge mistake because my company underwent huge pay cuts and layoffs. I was fortunate enough to not get laid off but now I had a huge credit card bill. 15 months of this cycle and extra charges got me to a point where I was looking for any way to get rid of this debt. It was really stupid but I even thought of just skipping payments forever and putting up with the abuse I got from collection agents. Then I saw this story of a man who got out of debt with the help of a debt settlement firm in the US… that made me curious and I started looking for one in India. My time in FREED’s debt relief program really gave me a sense of control over my life. After finally settling all my debt I actually cried for a good half hour. I hadn’t realized the toll my debt had been taking on me mentally but I was finally freed.
My family is greedy and I always knew that. But their greed and selfishness reached new heights when I found out what they had done to my finances. A few years ago, I cosigned on a personal loan for my father to set up his business. That was the only loan that I was aware of and the only one I agreed to cosign on. My father then took out an unsecured education loan for my younger brother, a personal loan to set up my brother’s shop, and another personal loan for my sister’s marriage. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t fraudulently cosign as me on these loans. Oh no! They straight got these loans issued in my name. Don’t ask me how. I come from a small village in Madhya Pradesh and the banks there aren’t like the metros. I would have never found out if I hadn’t wanted to get a loan to get married myself. The problems arose once I found out and confronted them. Till now they had been paying off the loans little by little. As soon as they realized I knew they stopped making payments altogether. The only thing keeping them current was the fear that I would find out. I cut them off completely and started paying off the loans on my own. This was the least I could do for my mental health. My friends suggested reporting them to the police but I couldn’t get myself to do that. They might have used me but I had always loved them. For the first few months, I lived in fear of becoming homeless. I could hardly make my rent and buy groceries. My friends paid for a apportion of my rent for two months. He then came to me one day and told me he wouldn’t be able to do that again. He told me he didn’t want the money back but he couldn’t afford to pay my rent partially another month. I appreciated him a lot. He didn’t have to do as much as he had already done. I stopped making the loan payment because I simply couldn’t afford them. I started looking at lawyers and even talked to some. This friend accompanied me everywhere. He then told me about FREED. He had been researching debt settlement companies in India and found FREED to be the most credible. He had even talked to the debt expert and handed me the phone. That was another testament to his friendship. My being debt-free today is majorly the doing of this wonderful human. I lost my real family to greed and debt but found my family in him and many other friends who banded together in my time of need.
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