Everything we could think of that you should know about ZipDebt’s services in an easy question and answer format

How does your training seminar differ from all the other do-it-yourself debt-related eBooks, books, or reports?

There are several important differences between our Do-It-Yourself Debt Negotiation Training & Coaching Program™ and competing do-it-yourself debt-related eBooks, books, or reports.

• Although the training seminar (Step One of the overall Program) covers all the available debt program options quite thoroughly, it focuses on Debt Settlement as the most logical and flexible choice for most consumers seeking to avoid bankruptcy. The course contains information you simply won’t find anywhere else.

• The author is a former executive in the debt industry, so the information provided is truly from an insider’s perspective.

• Much of the “do-it-yourself” material out there is really intended to solicit new clients for enrollment into a third-party debt company program. In other words, they provide enough information to get you interested in Debt Settlement as a viable approach, but then encourage you to hire a professional firm to handle the negotiations.

• For learning these techniques and gaining the confidence necessary to proceed, the recorded audio format is far better than simple printed material, and far more convenient. (You can listen to the audio tracks while commuting to work, during gym workouts, cleaning the house, etc.)

• Most importantly, our Do-It-Yourself Debt Negotiation Training & Coaching Program™ simply blows away the competition when it comes to follow-up support. Tactics and practices are constantly shifting in the debt industry, and every person’s situation is unique. From a practical perspective, entering into a do-it-yourself debt settlement program without support from a knowledgeable professional is rather like trying to learn how to pilot an airplane by reading a book. There is simply no substitute for experience. With our Do-It-Yourself Debt Negotiation Training & Coaching Program™, you get full disclosure on the do-it-yourself tactics and techniques, PLUS professional advice, all for a small fraction of what it would cost to hire a professional firm.

What is the difference between the Basic Program and the Enhanced Program?

The Enhanced Program includes a subscription for 6 months of Unlimited Personal Email Coaching plus Document Review. (Note: Coaching subscriptions may be renewed for only $300 per 6-month extension period.) Otherwise, the contents of the seminar are exactly the same between the two programs. The Basic Program is offered for the benefit of those individuals who are truly strapped for cash, but want to learn about the different debt options and how Debt Settlement works. However, the Premium Program version is strongly recommended for debt loads exceeding $30,000.

What is the difference between the Enhanced Program and the Premium Program?

The Enhanced Program includes a 6-month subscription for Personal Email Coaching and Document Review. (Note: Email coaching subscriptions may be renewed for only $300 per 6-month extension period.)The Premium Program includes a 12-month subscription for Telephone & Email Coaching and Document Review. Telephone Coaching makes the Premium Program a great choice for people with debt loads exceeding $30,000. (Note: Premium coaching service may be renewed for only $350 per 6-month extension period.)

Can I order the Basic Program now and upgrade to the Enhanced Program to get the coaching later?

Yes, but the cost to upgrade to the Enhanced Program will be $300, in addition to the original $197 purchase price for the Basic Program. Instead, if you are on a tight budget, a better choice would be to split the cost of the Enhanced Program into two equal payments of $209. During the checkout process, just choose the 2-pay option for the Enhanced Program. Your initial outlay will be just $209, and you’ll have instant access to the downloadable seminar files. You will also be entitled to receive coaching immediately upon making the initial purchase. After thirty (30) days you will be automatically billed the second payment of $209 via the same payment method (credit/debit card or PayPal invoice).

Can I order the Enhanced Program now and upgrade to the Premium Program later?

Yes, but the cost to upgrade to the Premium Program will be $500, in addition to the original $397 purchase price for the Enhanced Program. Instead, a better choice would be to split the cost of the Premium Program into two equal payments of $399. During the checkout process, just choose the 2-pay option for the Premium Program. Your initial outlay will be $399, and you will have instant access to the downloadable seminar files. You will also be entitled to receive coaching immediately upon making the initial purchase. After thirty (30) days you will be automatically billed the second payment of $399 via the same payment method (credit/debit card, or PayPal invoice).

How does Debt Settlement work?

Debt Settlement works by reducing the balance owed (principal) on your unsecured personal debt accounts through the time-honored process of creditor negotiation. This is different from simply reducing the interest rate as with Debt Consolidation and Credit Counseling, which do not affect the total debt balance. By reducing the debt balance itself, Debt Settlement provides a much faster means of becoming debt-free. Most creditors are willing to accept 50%, 35%, sometimes as low as 20% of the balance owed in order to close out an account rather than lose the entire amount in a bankruptcy proceeding. From a business perspective, it is a matter of the creditor receiving something rather than nothing, as would be the case in most bankruptcies. Of course, different creditors have different policies, but as a rule, discounts of 50% or greater are routine in the industry. As a consequence of this approach, money that was previously wasted on endless minimum payments (most of which went toward interest charges) goes toward reducing the actual debt balance. That’s why Debt Settlement through negotiation is the fastest debt elimination method short of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Will the Debt Settlement strategy work for me?

While the Debt Settlement approach is not suitable for everyone, its flexible nature makes it applicable to a wide range of financial circumstances. For individuals and families seeking an alternative to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is simply no better option to get out of debt. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine whether or not Debt Settlement is something you should consider:

• Do you have a legitimate financial hardship condition?
Most debt problems are caused by loss of income, medical issues, or divorce/separation. These are legitimate financial hardships that can happen to anyone through no fault of their own, and any one of these situations can wreak havoc on a household budget. The important point here is that the Debt Settlement system is not a “free lunch” for people who don’t feel like paying their bills. If you are over your head due to a hardship circumstance, and you’d prefer to work things out with your creditors rather than declare bankruptcy, then Debt Settlement can provide an honest and ethical debt relief alternative.

• Are your debts primarily from credit cards?
Most types of unsecured debt can be negotiated, including medical bills, lines of credit, signature loans, repossession deficiencies, financing contracts, department store cards, miscellaneous bills and more. The deepest discounts, however, are usually obtained with credit card debts. The results are far more predictable with credit card accounts than with other types of obligation, so if the majority of your debt load is comprised of credit card debt, you can anticipate good results from the Debt Settlement strategy.

• Are your financial resources up to the job?
All the best intentions in the world won’t help if you have nothing to offer your creditors. A good rule of thumb is that your monthly savings goal should be at least $200 for every $10,000 of debt. So if you owe, say, $30,000 total, then your monthly budget should be $600 or more. Keep in mind that this number may be well under the current total of your monthly minimum payments. This aspect of the debt settlement approach is what makes it so attractive to many consumers–it allows you to back off on your monthly commitments while still handling your debts honorably and ethically, and without bankruptcy. However, it is very difficult to complete a debt settlement program based ONLY on monthly savings, simply because it usually takes too long to get everything settled that way. Most successful debt settlement clients are able to supplement their monthly savings with other financial resources. Sources include funding from 401(k) retirement accounts, IRAs, annuities, cash-value insurance policies, real estate equity, borrowing from friends and family, or the sale of unneeded vehicles or household items.

What happens to my credit?

Your credit score will decline during the program itself. How much it will decline will depend on your original circumstances. Some of the accounts are likely to “charge off,” which will reflect negatively on your credit. However, once a debt is settled, the settlement is reported to the credit bureaus. Settled accounts are positive compared to unresolved delinquent debts or bankruptcy. After all the debts have been settled, your credit score should begin to improve since the negative items have been resolved.

In addition, your debt-to-income ratio (an important measurement made by potential lenders that is not directly reflected in your credit “score”) will greatly improve, since you will be debt-free. There are also several useful techniques for self-repairing your credit later on. Of course, credit is an important thing to have, but obviously your first priority should be to clear up your debts and get back on your feet financially.

Are there any tax consequences?

Banks are required to report canceled debts exceeding $600 to the IRS and you are supposed to report the same as income on your annual tax return. However, the IRS permits you to write off any “income” from canceled debts up to the amount by which you were “insolvent” at the time. So unless you have a positive net worth, which is unlikely if you’re deep in debt, then you ordinarily won’t have to pay taxes on the forgiven amounts. You should consult your own tax advisor for advice specific to your situation. Either way, if you owe tax it will be because you saved money off your debt balances, so you’ll still be ahead of the game.

What about creditor phone calls?

Creditor phone calls are an inevitable part of the collection process. Any debt firm (other than a bankruptcy attorney) who says they can stop all creditor calls is misleading you about the nature of their service. To begin with, it is a bad idea to refuse ALL telephone communication from your creditors, since this could trigger an aggressive reaction. However, you are entitled to your privacy and peace of mind as you work through your debt problems in good faith with your creditors, and there are several simple techniques for achieving this. Our Do-It-Yourself Debt Negotiation Training & Coaching Program™ includes detailed instructions on how to reduce nuisance collection calls to an absolute minimum without causing an adverse reaction by your creditors.

Can I be sued if I use this approach?

While creditors have the legal right to bring a lawsuit for non-payment of a debt obligation, such lawsuits are far less common than most people think. It costs money to sue someone, and a legal judgment is simply a piece of paper unless there is a way to collect money against it. The threat of litigation, on the other hand, is all too common, even though debt collectors are not supposed to threaten legal action unless they are specifically authorized to bring suit. In general, lawsuits can normally be avoided, provided you are willing to work out suitable arrangements with your creditors through the negotiation process. Contrary to popular belief, most creditors would rather work things out amicably in a negotiated settlement than spend more money taking a customer to court (with no guarantee of being able to collect on a judgment). That’s why thousands of litigation-free settlements are transacted every month all across the country. Creditors won’t admit it publicly, but this method works much better for them than forcing people into bankruptcy through overly aggressive collection techniques. The worst-case scenario is that a client might be required to pay a debt balance in full in the event of legal action by a creditor. This is little different from the starting situation most clients find themselves in, and again, it is a fairly rare occurrence.

Can my wages be garnished?

If you listen to some debt collectors, you might be fooled into thinking that they will seize your very next paycheck unless you make a payment right then and there. The threat of losing part of your income to a garnishment action is truly frightening if you’re already struggling financially. But this is mainly an intimidation tactic used by collectors to scare people into committing to a payment schedule whether or not they have the funds available. Actual garnishment actions are relatively rare, and do not happen without advance warning. Ordinarily, you will have plenty of time to react in order to avoid such an unpleasant result. First, a creditor must bring a lawsuit, obtain a judgment, and then take an additional step to obtain authorization for the garnishment. No one can take your paycheck without court approval, and you must be given notice of such court action through formal documentation. Under a worst-case scenario, you may need to negotiate a repayment plan on the full debt balance.

Are there debts that can't be settled using this approach?

Secured debts cannot be reduced via the Debt Settlement approach. This includes home loans, second mortgages or HELOCs covered by equity collateral, auto loans, and financing contracts tied to a specific piece of property that may be legally repossessed by the creditor. Federal student loans, although unsecured, must also be excluded. In addition, you should seek professional representation when dealing with Federal and State tax debts.

What if a creditor won't negotiate?

If a creditor refuses to accept a reasonable settlement offer at the time it is proposed, it is usually simply a matter of waiting for a different phase of the collection process. Some creditors are more inclined to play “hardball” than others, but virtually all of the major institutions eventually sell their accounts to debt purchasers in order to recover what they can on the account. Since the debt purchasers buy these accounts for pennies on the dollar, they are more inclined to accept reasonable settlement offers, which still represent profit on their purchases. ZipDebt’s Do-It-Yourself Debt Negotiation Training & Coaching Program™ will teach you how to handle the different phases of the collection process and how to time your offers to maximize your chances for success.

Will I still be able to use my credit cards?

No. Since the banks are giving up half or more of the money you owe, they will of course discontinue your credit privileges. However, you have the right to maintain good standing on one or two cards with small credit lines for emergency and/or identification purposes. This is another great benefit of the Debt Settlement technique versus other methods, which take an all-or-nothing approach to debt elimination.

It sounds too good to be true. Is this really legal?

Definitely! This is America . You have the legal right to haggle with your own creditors. However, Debt Settlement is not a “free lunch.” Once you negotiate a settlement with one or more of your creditors, then it is up to you to make good on that settlement arrangement. That’s why it doesn’t fall into the “too good to be true” category.

Why shouldn't I just hire a third-party company to negotiate on my behalf?

We recommend the do-it-yourself approach for several reasons: First, you’ll save $1,000s in fees by negotiating your own debts. Second, ALL of the major credit card banks react to the involvement of a third-party negotiation firm with immediate legal action or hardball tactics. Yet they will still settle directly with the customer. This means YOU will get better deals talking with the original creditor than ANY third-party debt settlement company! Finally, you can’t just place your debt problems in someone else’s hands and expect everything to be handled for you. You’ll need to be involved anyway, so why not save all those fees and simply do the job yourself? You know the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Our Do-It-Yourself Debt Negotiation Training & Coaching Program™ will give you all the tools and tactics you need to get the job done right and save a ton of money in the process.

Will creditors still negotiate now that the financial crisis has passed?

Yes, it’s still “business as usual” in the world of collections and Debt Settlement even with the “experts” telling us the economy is doing better in 2015. The simple fact is that the banks were settling before the crisis, and will continue to do so in the future. Settlements are what banks do to reduce their losses on a pending charge-off, or recover against a declared charge-off. The “bird in the hand” will always be worth two in the bush!