by Stacey Carroll, Contributing Writer
I got lucky in 2008. I was working a good job after years of struggling to make ends meet. I was able to save between $300 and $600 a month on a regular basis, and since the job included bonuses, I banked my bonuses. This left me with more money in my bank accounts than I had ever seen, and that includes my college years when I was getting two loan disbursements a year.
Once I realized I had extra money, I had some very serious choices to make. I could keep the money and ignore my delinquent debts, or I could get a copy of my credit report and start making phone calls.
The first thing I did was talk to my dad, who is a certified CPA, and a friend who had gone through the same debt issues I was dealing with. They both told me to make the phone calls and see if I could negotiate a settlement amount to pay off the debts. I owed about $6000 to various credit cards and financial institutions. I wanted to spend about $2000 to pay off that debt.
I was warned, however, not to give too much information. The only thing they needed was the payment information. They didn't need to know where I worked, how much I made, my bank account information, or where I lived. If they had that information, they might try to garnish my wages to spite my willingness to pay off the entire debt right now. My dad even told me a horror story from his past when he went to pay off a delinquent debt. They didn't want his money right then, they wanted his employer information so they could garnish his wages. Needless to say, he didn't give them the information and kept calling until he found someone willing to take the payment.
I started making phone calls. The first creditor I called related to an old phone bill from 2001 when I thought I needed a landline. They settled the $100 bill for $60 dollars. The next creditor I called held an account related to my cell phone from when I changed phone numbers and tried to help out a friend by letting her get a cell phone on my account. Cell phone companies are notorious for double billing when you change your phone number. The collection agency was willing to settle the $500 bill for a little over $200. In my first two phone calls, I had saved $340. I was ecstatic.
The next creditor I called held the account of a credit card I had gotten in college. The bill was significant at $3250. I offered $1000 to settle the bill. They countered with $2700. I increased to $1500 if they would settle the debt right now. They refused to settle. I ended the call and looked at my credit report for the next creditor. While I was deciding who to call next, a debt collection agency called me and wanted to settle. It was a $2300 bill. They were willing to settle for 60%. I had just saved another $920.
After some quick math, I realized I still had $320 left out of my $2000 debt paying budget. I found an eye doctor that I owed $160. He was willing to settle for $100.
With $220 left, I was a little leery about calling another collection agency, but I found another credit card with a balance of $800. They were willing to settle for $400. It was over my limit, but I agreed.
All in all for a day's worth of phone calls, I paid off almost $4000 worth of debt for a little over $2000. It was well worth the time and money spent, and the increase to my credit score was astounding. I was no longer a terrible credit risk.
Stacey Carroll is the author of the thriller series - Avia. She also authors the paranormal erotica series - The Blooddoll Factory. Stacey grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. she went to college at Indiana State University (ISU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in aerospace in the professional pilot program. She has flown Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, the Pipe Seneca and the King Air. She also graduated with a minor in computer science that specialized in web design.
She has always been interested in reading and writing, and the first book she was ever read was the Grimms Brother's Fairy tales. From the ages of 6 to 11, she read the Nancy Drew series. By the age of 11, she had graduated to Stephen King novels. A few of her favorites include Carrie, Tommyknockers, The Dark Tower Series up to book 3 (That's where it stopped in the late 80s/ early 90s), Pet Semetary, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, It, Cujo, Christine, The Eyes of the Dragon and Thinner (Richard Bachman). In her teen years, she moved on to Anne Rice and got through about four of those books before they degraded. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know book 5 isn't readable. Stacey has read a couple Harry Potter books as she was introduced to them in the early 2000s, and she's never read or watched anything Twilight or 50 Shades. Sorry. I'm a vampire purist, and nothing needs to be said about the latter. You already know.
She is currently an author and freelance writer. She received an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2008 for a short story entitled The Field. In 2014, she was published in 13 Stories by Us by MacKenzie Publishing.
Other books by Stacey
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