Do you have any question?
These are our frequently asked questions:
It’s important that you not only know what our fees are but that you also understand how we earn them.
No Upfront Fees
First, you should know that we do not charge ANY UPFRONT FEES, and we never have. By law, no debt settlement company is allowed to charge upfront fees. Unfortunately, many companies, even those claiming to be “law firms,” still do. To make matters worse, these companies take all of their fees upfront before they have even settled a single account. Unfortunate Clients were paying hundreds of dollars a month into a program, believing that their hard-earned dollars were being accumulated for settlements. Yet, their payments, in some cases for the first two years of the program, were all going to pay fees to the company before they performed any work! This is illegal and highly unethical, and many, many, debt settlement companies were put out of business because of this.
The Gershfeld Law Group, P.C. never has, and never will, charge any upfront fees. All our fees are earned, and charged after we perform!
No Hidden Fees
The Gershfeld Law Group, P.C. also has NO HIDDEN FEES. As we must, we are 100% transparent in how we conduct business. After companies that charged upfront fees were penalized and shut down, the ones that were left standing became creative and found tricky ways around the laws. We know this because many consumers come to us after making the mistake of going with other debt settlement companies. After these Clients come to us, it is our custom and habit to review the agreements with these other companies. What we have shockingly found is that almost ALL of them continue to charge upfront fees as hidden fees they call “maintenance” fees or “administrative” fees.
This is how many shady companies trick people into signing up with them. They have lower, visible, “performance fees” ranging from 15-20%, but everything else is hidden in these other misnamed fees. So, in actuality, the fees consumers were paying were much higher, and they were taken before any work was performed.
The Gershfeld Law Group P.C. operates on a strict contingency basis, which means if we don’t perform our job, we don’t earn any money! Our fee is a 29% contingency fee on the amount of debt you enroll in our Legal Debt Resolution Program. If you enroll in a total debt amount of $10,000.00, the most that we can ever earn on your account is $2,900.00. However, we can only earn that money as each debt is settled.
When we reach the best possible settlement with Creditor Number 1, we will present that offer to you. After you have approved the settlement and instructed us to start making payments to the Creditor, we will have earned our fees on that settlement with that creditor. Once we settle another account with Creditor Number 2 and again obtain your approval, we will then have earned our fees for successfully settling with Creditor Number 2. Basically, we have to do our job, and do it well, before we have earned a fee on any account.
While there are other companies that claim to work on a contingency and charge a smaller percentage than we do, our experience demonstrates that is simply not the case. We urge you to please read the fine print and ask a lot of questions about the additional “maintenance fees” and “administrative” fees. Ask when and how the fees are taken and don’t stop asking until you get the truth. If you need help, please feel free to call us. We will be happy to review the agreement with you free of charge!
More important, remember this: like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Have you ever heard of the saying “I’m too poor to buy cheap?” This means when you buy something cheap, you’ll end up spending much more money in the long run because you’ll constantly have to replace the items you bought or get better service to fix the mistakes of the cheaper service.
Do your due diligence and make sure you get “the benefit of the bargain.” We are here to answer any questions you may have!
Let’s get the facts out of the way:
Will you ever get sued? The most truthful answer is, you MAY.
There is no rhyme or reason as to why some Clients get sued and others don’t. There is also no way to predict with accuracy who will get sued and who won’t. Some Clients never get sued, and some Clients can have more than one lawsuit over the course of the program. Our most recent data shows that about 4% of all enrolled accounts end up getting sued upon.
Will you get sued on all your accounts? Highly unlikely.
The more important question is: what happens if you are sued? As a law firm, we are going to do our best to keep you safe and out of harm’s way. If you ever do get sued, we will have your back, and be by your side, every step of the way! While lawsuits seem scary, they really are not. Not to us certainly, because that’s what we do for a living. However, because lawsuits sound scary to our Clients, we want you to understand what a lawsuit really means.
What do you think a Creditor wants when they sue a Client? They want money. Great! That’s what we want to give them! The only question is how much? They obviously want as much as they can get, and we can only give them so much based on your hardship. When a Client gets sued by a Creditor, our strategy is to settle it as quickly “as possible for as little as possible,” just like with any other account.
We do our best to settle the lawsuit BEFORE our attorneys even have to respond to the lawsuit. Worst case scenario, if despite our best efforts we can’t settle the matter before our attorney has to file an answer, we will respond to the lawsuit and/or appear on your behalf in Court, and then settle later down the road.
Understand that these lawsuits are not complicated lawsuits with complicated legal issues. They are actually quite simple and straightforward. Some Creditors want priority over other Creditors so they sue to get first in line. We treat the lawsuits as the priorities they are, and all efforts go towards successfully resolving that legal account. We ultimately resolve them just like we do any non-legal account. They may settle for slightly higher percentages (because now there are attorneys involved on the other side), but they do settle!
Bottom line: We are always going to act in your best interest, and we are going to do all the work to properly represent and defend you. All you have to do is make sure to notify us if you ever do get sued, and then make sure to respond to our communications in a timely manner. Everything else we will take care of!
There is a lot of misinformation about credit. One of the top reasons people are afraid to ask for help with their debt is they are afraid to ruin their credit. Many think they are guarding their credit by continuing to make minimum payments. Many think that credit is the single most important thing they have, and they try to preserve it as much as possible.
We are not here to tell you good credit is not important, because it is. We do, however, want to go over what credit is and what credit is not. The more relevant question is: what are you trying to preserve and is it helping, or hurting, you now?
For starters, many people are trying to preserve something they don’t actually have. We know that sounds crazy, but many people we talk to think they have good credit when in actuality they do not. Many don’t realize that their credit has already been affected by delinquencies and charge offs on their report, so it’s really a non-issue.
On the other hand, those that are current on their accounts simply don’t understand that just because they have a good payment record it does not mean they are not in trouble with their finances, and it certainly does not mean they are creditworthy in the eyes of a lender.
Many consumers are on this credit card merry-go-round. They use their income to pay credit cards and other debts. They then live off the credit cards. This works until their credit card utilization rates are high or, in other words, when they have reached their credit card limits. At that point, many are suckered into doing “balance transfers” with deceptively low, temporary, interest rates. This allows them to continue piling up debt while living off new cards. Sooner or later they reach the new credit card limits and can no longer continue “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.”
While credit card companies look mostly to your payment history (because that’s all they care about), reputable lenders, such as mortgage companies and automotive lenders, pay close attention to your income as it relates to your debt. If your “Debt to Income Ratio” is too high, even if you are making your minimum payments and are not delinquent, they will not be willing to approve you for a loan. If they do approve you, the interest rates will be super high.
If you have too much debt relative to your income, what do you think is the BEST way to improve your creditworthiness in the eyes of the reputable lenders? You guessed it–get rid of your debt!!!
Legal debt resolution, through a reputable and experienced law firm, is the BEST way to get out of unsecured debt as quickly as possible for as little as possible. There is simply no better way to get out of debt faster and save money in the process! After completing the program, and even while you are in the program, your score should start improving. At a minimum, your debt is reducing. Upon graduating from the program, you will THEN be on a firm foundation to begin rebuilding your credit and your life.
The truth is credit is good for one main thing, and that is to get into more debt. It’s simple. We need credit to get more debt. We ask our Clients that are struggling with debt one important question: “At this point in your life, are you looking to get into more debt, or are you looking to get rid of the debt that is stressing you and your family out?” Most Clients immediately shift their perspective when asked that simple question because they realize the key is to becoming debt-free and getting the debt behind them once and for all. It is not about credit repair or credit score maintenance. They realize the debt is only hurting them now, and once they are out of debt, they can rebuild their credit on a firm foundation.
Most clients that come to us for help with their debt are already delinquent due to various hardships they are enduring. If you are struggling to stay current, let us explain how that is actually hurting you.
If you are just making your minimum payments, all of your money is going to interest and none of it is going to reduce the principal debt amount. This is what is keeping you stuck in the vicious debt cycle. You keep paying but the debt isn’t going down. That is what the Creditors want. Minimum payments forever so they can keep you entrapped and make billions off the interest!
When the minimum payments stop, the Creditors start to get nervous. At first, they will try to get you to resume your payments. At some point, they will realize that they are losing money on you. You are no longer a performing asset for them. They also realize that pushing you to pay may push you into bankruptcy, in which case they won’t get any money.
Eventually, the creditors will “charge off” your account. That basically means they will take your account off of their accounting books because they assume they will never get paid. They consider it a loss and remove it from their balance sheet so that it’s not carried on their books as an asset.
Creditors have a legal obligation to charge-off accounts when they are a certain number of days past-due. That time frame varies depending on the Creditor and the type of debt, in addition to other factors. All Creditors will, at the latest, charge off accounts that are 180 days past-due, and some creditors will charge off accounts as early as 90 days past-due.
There is a misconception that once an account has charged off, you are no longer responsible for the debt. That is not accurate. Creditors charge-off accounts for their benefit, not yours. You still owe them the money. However, once an account is charged off, that is the best time to settle it! The Creditor already wrote it off as a loss, so they are now willing to accept much less than what is owed. Also, many creditors will, at this time, sell the debt to collection buyers and collection agencies, who, themselves, are willing to settle for pennies on the dollar because they paid pennies on the dollar for the charged-off debt.
Do you see? The only way to stop the vicious cycle is to cut it off where it hurts and where it starts—with the minimum payments. Creditors simply won’t negotiate if you are continuing to make the minimum payments. Why would they? They have you exactly where they want you. Indebted to them forever.
Debt settlement is a strategic financial strategy that stops the vicious cycle and gets you out of debt once and for all. Call us for a free consultation so we can see if you qualify.
The decision to pay or not to pay is yours and yours only. No one can make that decision for you. All we can do is explain why continuing to pay is not going to get you out of debt. Continuing to make the minimum payments is simply not working. It’s actually keeping you indebted for a very, very long time.
It is up to you to decide to end this situation RIGHT NOW and go “On Strike” from paying these exorbitant fees and interest! Debt settlement is not easy, and it’s not for the faint-hearted. It is an aggressive financial strategy that works. Think of it like financial rehab. It’s not painless but it saves your life in the end! It’s also the only strategy that actually stops the vicious cycle!
Our Clients are all hard-working, conscientious, Americans that want to do the right thing. We totally understand and respect that. We’ve all been taught to be responsible, pay our bills, and pay on time. We agree. That’s the way it should be. Except when you’ve been trapped in a bad deal!
Think about this: Who are you trying to do the right thing for? Your-self and your family? Or the credit card companies that got you trapped, to begin with? When you put everything in a proper perspective, you will see that the credit card companies could care less about you and are actually harming you and your family!
Also, if you do the math, you have probably repaid the amount you borrowed. You just don’t see it because your money has been going to interest, not to reduce the principle. You may have even paid double what you borrowed at this point!
We know this is not an easy decision, but we believe it’s the right one. Just ask yourself this: am I going to continue being a loyal slave to those that entrapped me, or will I take a stance to better my life, and that of my family? You decide.
Your creditors are likely to call you as they will not be happy with you going delinquent. Before they decide to “Charge-off” the accounts as discussed before, they are going to try to get you to pay again and collect the money that is owed. If anyone tells you they can stop the Creditor Calls, you should run. This is simply untrue. Here are the facts.
Most of our clients owe money. They simply can’t pay because of various hardships. For those Clients whose debt can be validly disputed, we will fight and defend them. For the majority of our Clients whose debt is valid, the Creditors have the right to collect as long as they do so legally and compliantly.
There is a law called The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, better known as the FDCPA, that is designed to protect consumers from harassment by debt collectors. The FDCPA applies to third party debt collectors. Third-party debt collectors are those that are collecting a debt owed to another person or entity. An example of a third-party debt collector is a collection agency or law firm collecting on behalf of another creditor.
The FDCPA does not, however, apply to an “original” creditor or the entity that extended you the credit in the first place. An example of an original Creditor is Bank of America collecting on their own behalf. Since they are not subject to the FDCPA, they have more rights and can call you and/or write to you.
Even the collection agencies can call you. They just can’t harass you. However, under the FDCPA, they can’t call you if they know an attorney is representing you. That’s why one of the first things we do after you become our client is to send your creditors a Power of Attorney, by which we notify the Creditors that we represent you.
The Creditors will eventually stop contacting you, and they will be dealing only with us. Please be patient and know that we are going to be by your side every step of the way. If you can screen your calls, we always advise our clients to do so. If, however, a creditor happens to reach you, just tell them that you are being represented by the Gershfeld Law Group with respect to your finances and give them our client services phone number.
You have to remember that your family comes first. Intimidating phone calls cannot deter you from becoming debt-free! All of this will be behind you. You just must be determined to stay the course. Remember, this debt didn’t happen overnight, so it will take some time, effort, and discipline to make it go away.