Having to get rid of those credit cards, for one reason or another.
The high interest rates that tack on monthly to many consumer's credit card debts can slowly add up to be one of the most crippling factors to an individual's or family's cash flow.
Think vacation, entertainment, leisure -- these items slowly become further out of reach as you dip deeper into the checking account each month to pay off the banks' exorbitant interest rates on top of your monthly statement invoice. To say nothing of food, clothing and shelter.
Some consumers have taken the hit once or twice and then learned their lesson, cancelling high-interest cards and using debit cards or the like in the alternative, thereby ensuring that their cash flow is consistent and self-regulated, or at least more so than when using high-APR cards.
For many Oregonians, however, the mounting debt on a card (or cards, more commonly) can be (and is) an ongoing burden that has perhaps already become too big to deal with or that will seemingly just continue to seemingly spiral out of control...
But, there is a solution. (In addition to getting rid of those cards altogether!)
Collecting on a consumer credit card debt can be a tricky proposition for debt collectors. Sure, they can send you increasingly demanding letters and can ring your phone regularly, but if you're unable or unwilling to pay, ultimately they're likely going to have to file a lawsuit to get anywhere.
Once (read: if) they've done so and you've been served with a Summons and Complaint from an attorney or a debt collector, the ball is in your court.
Doing nothing in response to being served will surely lead to a default judgment entered against you, with ongoing costs and fees potentially tacked on, as well as continuing annual interest (9% in Oregon). But contacting and retaining an attorney once you're served allows you the opportunity to fully evaluate your options and thoroughly analyze what responses you might have.
For some consumers, bankruptcy is certainly an option. For others, defending the lawsuit or pursuing counter-claims may make sense. But for ALL consumers, pursuing the option of debt settlement should always be on the table.
Because of the risks inherent in proceeding with a lawsuit, creditors are often amenable to reaching settlement agreements with debtors. The details of what an agreeable settlement may be can vary considerably, as the facts of your specific situation are never the same as the facts of someone else's.
But when utilizing an attorney, it is not uncommon to negotiate a settlement at 75%, 50%, even 25% off of the principal debt -- not a bad deal considering the high fees and interest you probably paid to the bank in the first place.
Each option in responding to a debt collector's lawsuit has certain costs and benefits that go along, and each should be considered with an attorney who can properly advise you as to how your specific circumstances might be best addressed.
Regardless of how you respond to a debt collector's lawsuit, though, remember that it's always best to consider what is in your wallet currently, and then take steps to avoid letting that card(s) get to a similar point.