Dealing With a Judgment on Your Credit Report

When trying to move about in the land of credit, those among us with checkered repayment histories will often find their travels to be rather arduous. There are many components to a credit file, and whenever one of those falls into disrepair, it behooves the individual to see what he might be able to do in order to rehabilitate that item and resume functional access to all that good credit provides. As this column has noted before, in addition to the more obvious benefits well-served by having good credit, it can now make the difference in what rates you pay for insurance, and even if you can land that job for which you’ve been desperately vying. The fact is that one’s credit history has, over time, become a yardstick by which to measure personal integrity, fair or not, so it is essential that you do everything you can to ensure that yours is as “pure” as it can be.

This said, there is one type of credit report entry that can prove especially troublesome to address – the judgment. Although the presence of judgments are generally subject to a seven-year time limitation, they are severe enough in appearance that many people would like to find a way to make them disappear more quickly; plus, because judgments can typically be renewed by creditors (the specifics of this will vary by state), there is always the chance that a judgment will re-appear on your credit after the original seven-year clock has wound down. Although there are things that can be done more readily to directly mitigate, even remove, other kinds of items on a credit report, judgments are a particular nuisance… so is there anything that can be done?

What differentiates judgments from “garden-variety” collection items on a credit report is that a judgment is representative of a court action, which means that the judgment becomes a part of one’s file not out of deference to the creditor who initiated legal action, but at the behest of the court. Once a collection matter moves from being a two-party issue (the debtor and the creditor) to a three-party issue (with the court added), the court becomes the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The only way to get a judgment removed from a credit report is to go through the legal process necessary to have it vacated, and that takes the help of an attorney, which also means time and money – plus, having a judgment vacated is simply a tall order.

So what are the options? Other than waiting for the judgment to eventually fall off of the report (and hope that it does not reappear), you might want to see about settling it… or paying the amount due outright, if that’s small enough… in exchange for a satisfaction of judgment. It is up to the creditor to file the satisfaction with the court, so before paying anything, be sure you have the creditor agree in writing that the satisfaction will be filed as a condition of your payment. In the case of paying a judgment, even a small one, it is smart to involve an attorney – even though it is not necessary, and will cost you some additional bucks to have one help you with the process, the benefit and weight of legal representation in the creation and review of the settlement agreement, as well as in pressuring the creditor to live up to the terms of the agreement, if necessary, can certainly be worth the money.

The information contained here is for general information purposes only. Bob Yetman disclaims responsibility for any liability or loss incurred as a consequence of the use or application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein. Nothing contained in this article should be construed as a solicitation or recommendation to engage in any financial transaction. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any changes to your personal financial profile.

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Credit Card Debt – How to Manage It

Before you can really start to make real money, you will have to deal with the debt you might have accrued through earlier borrowings. Most people get themselves into financial difficulties through, borrowings made on credit cards. This is the primary product used by the banks to create debt in peoples lives, the interest on the capital borrowed that this creates for the banks, can keep people in debt for their whole life. Injudicious use of credit cards is promoted by a constant bombardment through the media of a buy now pay later philosophy, A constant call to our egos, that stokes discontent within lives. If you don’t have money you cannot have respect, without these material possessions, the money,the girls, the cars, you are nobody. With this continual disparagement, we compare ourselves to others and begin to believe, that we deserve all sorts of things that others may have had to pay a heavy price to obtain.

To break this cycle of ever increasing debt the first thing that has to change is your mindset. You must believe you are worth something, that you are valuable, and are a special and unique person. This is not an easy thing to perceive, especially if you have had a life full of people telling you something other than this. To have an identity, to know who you are, is a place of contentment, If you are content, you will stop striving for things, if you are happy, it does not matter what you have or do not have. You are created in the image of God, allow Him to define you, God say’s you are fearfully and wonderfully made, he took his time putting you together, He thought about what your purpose was and gave you the tools to achieve that purpose. This God sent His Son who we killed, but that was part of the plan, because without His death the Comforter could not come, If you need some financial comfort, know that godliness with contentment is great gain, and that without a credit card, you immediately rid yourself of a source of credit card debt within your life, get the scissors out cut up all your credit cards and you put your self in a place where the debt generated by the credit cards cannot get any bigger. Freed from debt you are now free to earn money from the Internet.

You can start to address the debt outstanding, by changing the way you make purchases. Pay for all purchases with Cash or by Debit Card. This will give you a much greater appreciation of what you are spending, this takes a bit of getting used to, but the first thing you will feel is empowered, this will make you feel good about yourself, and will also give you a sense of control over where the money is being spent and what for.

To get an even tighter grip on the debt situation you will need to make a budget, fill out a budget planner, and begin to forecast future spending, but more importantly look to find areas where you can begin to save money. Once you are saving money, this frees you up to spend time earning money on the Internet. I told you this was not a get rich quick scheme, but do not bail out, all you need is an attitude adjustment, a new mindset, and I can help you with that.

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Pay For Delete – Does It Really Work?

When you read the forums on personal finance, debt and credit help, lots of people advise you should demand the collection agency remove your account from your credit report as part of the negotiation. This is called “Pay For Delete”.

In theory this sounds great. Pay less than what you owe and have all traces of this debt removed from your credit report. There are even dozens of sample letters available online to help you work the magic and make the collections account disappear. But how often does it really occur?

It occurs much less frequently than those forum posters make it sound like! According to Allie Johnson at CreditCards.com, only about 10% of collection agencies will agree to a Pay For Delete. So for every successful story of a Pay For Delete there are nine other stories of rejection.

Why such a small percentage of success? Let’s look at this from the standpoint of the credit bureaus and the collection agencies. The collection agencies are paid members of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). All members of the credit bureaus promise contractually to report accurate credit information. Whether positive or negative data.

If you were a member of a credit bureau and you were considering loaning money to someone, wouldn’t you want to know the whole story about the person wanting to borrow your money?

The credit bureaus expect 100% honest reporting from their members. When a collection agency deletes negative information falsely (technically a Pay For Delete is a lie) it risks its membership being terminated by the credit bureaus. No collection agency wants that to happen.

Then why do some Pay For Deletes occur? The agency needs to collect money to remain in business. They either are splitting whatever they collect with the original creditor (an assigned debt) or they paid money and bought the debt from the original creditor (a purchased debt). In either case money needs to come in to keep the doors open!

So if you have a large debt (say $2000), the agency might risk an angry call from the credit bureaus if you were to pay them $1000. After all, cash talks! But if you have a $100 debt, it is doubtful that any agency would risk its membership if you offer $50 for the Pay For Delete.

Your chance for a successful Pay For Delete can increase if you can prove that you never got the bill. For example if you have a medical bill which was mailed to an old address and you can prove you were at a new address when the bills were sent out, then there is a legitimate reason for the collection agency to delete your account from the credit bureaus once you pay.

Pay For Delete was a popular trade many years ago but is very rarely accepted today. Collection agencies and creditors are required to remove inaccurate data from credit reports. But they are not required to remove accurate, negative data from credit reports.

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Climb Your Debt Mountain One Step at a Time

Charlie Linville lives here in Boise. He is a US Marine Corps veteran who lost his right leg in 2012 when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. He returned home last night after becoming the first combat amputee to climb to the top of Mount Everest.

This was his THIRD attempt to scale the mountain. An avalanche shut down his attempt in 2014. An earthquake shut the mountain down in 2015.

He succeeded this time, but still had to fight the battler against freezing temperatures and 60 mph winds.

Mr. Linville did not just wake up one morning, catch a plane to Nepal, throw a backpack on and start hiking. His successful ascent in 2016 took him away from his family for FOUR MONTHS. So on top of all the training he did here in the USA before leaving, he had to plan, adapt, change plans, etc to complete his dream. It was not a one day shot!

When we look at a mountain of debt in front of us, it can appear to be as tall as Mount Everest. Most people believe they have to climb it in one straight shot. So few start the climb and even fewer make it to the top. The majority quit after a short time.

You have my permission to take your time to climb your debt mountain! Making it to the top is infinitely more important than how you get to the top. We all have different paths to get to the top.

Each of us has unique circumstances to work with. Single or married. Kids or no kids. Where you live and the cost of living. So making a statement like “spend less than you earn” is meaningless without putting it into the context of your life.

I have two “tools” for you to put into your climbing backpack. These are the compass and map for you to use on your ascent. Without these you may fall into a crevasse!

You cannot climb without a map or a guide. Your credit report will show you what debts are delinquent, which are in collections, if you have any judgments against you and if you have any errors reporting which need to be fixed.

Order one free report from Free Annual Credit Report. You get one from each credit bureau free annually so I would save the other two freebies for later in case you need them.

The credit report will also show you your delinquency dates which you will need for your next tool.

If you have some old debts, they might be too old for you to be taken to court for. This is where the statute of limitations comes in. Your debts are always collectible but each state has a law setting the maximum time for which you can be sued over them.

Go to¬†NerdWallet¬†and see what your state’s SOL is.

A compass tells you which direction you are heading. If a debt is too old to go to court, you may direct your attention to pay a newer one first. You have control over your plan!

Once you have these two tools, then you can create your plan and timetable to pay off those debts. You will know how to allocate your income and determine if you can trim any expenses.

Retired Staff Sergeant Linville demonstrated the awesome task of climbing Mount Everest could be accomplished despite numerous setbacks and months away from home. You can successfully conquer your debt mountain if you climb it one planned step at a time.

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