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Debt consolidation?

kdangel518

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Mar 5, 2009
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Hi all- MH was let go from his job this weekend, it's been a very tough year for us financially. He was not there long enough to qualify for unemployment.:(

We have been struggling with credit card debt for quite some time now and right now I am just trying to find ways to ensure we will make ends meet until he finds another job. I know that a lot of the Debt Management companies out there are not helpful- they dig the hole deeper and do not actually help you pay off your debt, but I know that there are some non-profit actual helpful agencies out there as well.

If anyone has had experience with a GOOD debt management/consolidation company could you please PM me with your experience? I am struggling at the moment to ensure we don't fall behind on our bills and would like to find a solution soon. Thank you.
 

ShellBeach

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Sep 5, 2008
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I think calling the credit card company directly is your best bet, unless it's Capitol One.
When you call, have an amount in mind that you can pay each month and ask for a lower rate.
 

kdangel518

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Mar 5, 2009
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Shell- Unfortunatley this hasn't gotten me very far, and we are already on payment plans with a few of our credit card companies which can't be altered.
 

esavvymom

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Sep 8, 2008
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I don't know if this answers your IMMEDIATE question- but I can tell you that it dramatically helped us and still does. THe book by Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) was a light-bulb reading! So many "ah-ha" moments, and my DH and I both read the book in 2 days (each). We just couldn't put it down. He offers very practical advice for handling debt- for example- if you can't pay the credit card company that month- but you've got your mortgage/food/utilities covered...that's OK! They'll get paid when you can! He explains it better than I can of course- but he lived it. He had a ton of debt, and lost it all, and he talks about his story throughout the CD and the books and what they did.

I learned SO MUCH about doing a GOOD and REALISTIC budget, and how to find the extra cash and free up money in our spending. He also has great stuff on debt and handling creditors. At some point, if you can scrape together the money to take the Finanicial Peace classes at a local church (there are several in your area) , or to buy the CDs (he has 4 of the CDs on sale for $39.95 on his online store) - it is SO WORTH it.!!! You will learn so much- from having an emergency fund to what to do with debt, then retirement and college, etc. I've done lots of programs, and this is by far one of the most comprehensive and realistic!

You can also find if he's on the radio to listen to in your area.
 

chefjeanine

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Jan 19, 2006
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Here's a link to a script that they offered on an Oprah show (maybe last year) to use when speaking to your credit card company.

http://static.oprah.com/download/pdfs/money/money_chatzky_script.pdf

I also encourage you to look at information from Dave Ramsey. There are several of us her at CS that are graduates of Financial Peace University -- a Dave Ramsey course. I'm not sure debt consolidation is your best bet; many of those companies are less than above-board.
 

pc_jessica

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Jul 13, 2009
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i too am also a vote for Dave Ramsey! His plan is lifesaver! and it is easy enough to follow as well! my DH and LOVE the DR plan!!
 

BadGirl

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Many years ago I had a great experience with Consumer Credit Counseling Service. I approached them with all of my credit/debt information, and they made contact with them to arrange for a lowered interest rate and lower monthly payments. I was able to pay off all of my debt within 2 years. I don't recall that CCCS charged me any money to go through them....although I am almost positive their services was strictly NO FEE.

You may want to contact them to see if you can participate with their service, and to confirm that whatever they do is NO FEE.

Any company that charges you a fee should be avoided at all cost (no pun intended!). You're supposed to be getting out of debt, not creating even more.

Good luck!
 

ChefLAM

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Jul 15, 2008
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I'm not sure if they are nationwide or not but we are going through Greenpath for our credit card debt. They have negotiated for us and it seems to be helping us. We've been doing this for a little over 2 years and we have paid off some this way and still have a few of the higher ones that we are working on but I can see the progress. Good luck to you!
 

Intrepid_Chef

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Nov 6, 2007
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Somebody referred me to CCS of Atlanta a while back. Ended up going with another local non-profit CCS. They had a handy directory of how low each creditor would go. Sadly, some of my creditors were local and not in their directory, and the amount they would lower their payments was not enough. In short, I was way, way, over my head. But their service is absolutely free so it's a welcome chance to go over the numbers with somebody who can offer helpful advice. It's also a necessary first step should you go to any other measures.
 

NooraK

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Feb 6, 2008
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  • #11
Another vote for Dave Ramsey. Check out his website to find out if he's on a local radio station and start listening right away. He doesn't generally believe in debt consolidation firms, but if you must go with one, he usually says CCCS, and I would second that (I have some good friends working there, and they wouldn't if it wasn't an honest business).

The first thing to remember is to make sure you cover the necessities first: food, shelter, clothing, lights, transportation. Everything else can wait. If you can't pay your credit card for a few months, so be it. It might not look good on your credit, but there's no reason to starve just so the unsecured debt gets paid. And that's what it is. Unsecured debt. They won't come take your stuff if you don't pay.
 

AJPratt

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Oct 11, 2005
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They won't come take your stuff if you don't pay.

You do have to be careful. I would talk to a lawyer. In NJ they can take you to court and even garnish your wages.

We are working with a company. There is a fee, but we also have legal representation. It is a reputable company. They have been able to settle out of court on a few matters and set up payment plans. Most of the creditor's calls will go to them, but you still have to deal with some.
 

AJPratt

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And, I wanted to say that I am truly sorry about the job loss. Dave's salary was cut by $5k a year, about $100 a week less. I don't know what we are going to do. I am just so tired of it all.
 

chefheidi2003

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Aug 18, 2007
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  • #14
I know that my sister went directly through our bank for a consolidation. And I am about to apply through them as well.
 

Sheila

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Mar 26, 2008
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Dang, I thought I posted, but I guess I somehow erased it. ???

I've never used the Dave Ramsey techniques, but I've heard great things about him in the past.

I can tell you what we use that works GREAT for us! I forced my husband to start using Microsoft Money. It took him several months, but he finally realized that a DVD here and there (10 TIMES A MONTH) really DO add up!!! And he saw how much he was spending on eating out. He cut back on those two luxuries and really started watching how much he was spending and found an extra $150 in his monthly budget. He jotted down all the debts that he had & then tackled the one with the least amount owed first. He applied the $150 to the minimum payment & paid of CC#1 in 3 months. Then he took the $150, the min. payment for CC#1 & mp for CC#2 & applied it to CC#2 until he paid it off. Then he took the $150, mp for CC#1 & mp for CC#2 and added it to what he was paying each month on our two car loans, paying off an 18 month loan in month #8!!! Before we knew it, our $150 extra was $1,250 extra each month!!! We quit paying "extra" for a couple of months and put that money back for vacation. We were able to pay cash for our trip to China. We were still paying the minimum payments, just not "extra" on the remaining debts. Upon our return from vacation, our plan was to start paying extra again. Hubby got a bit sidetracked. He did pay some extra money to the remaining debts, but he really likes the fact that he has much more to play with now & keeps buying new "toys" (PS3, etc.) here & there. He's currently tackling his student loans that were in default. After that, is my house in Texas. We are going to mainland Japan for 3 years when we are done here. Our goal for when we leave Japan in summer 2013 is to have my house in Texas AND two more rental houses in the states paid for & producing income for us. Hubby has 9 years left in the military. We hope to have a total of 10 rental houses by the time he retires. All paid for and all completely profit. Even if the rent's only $800 per month, that's still $8,000 income PER MONTH when he retires. Not too shabby, huh?

If you want help looking at how to start paying off debt I'll be more than happy to look at your finances & make a suggestion. I can't lower your monthly payments, reduce your debt or replace your husband's paycheck but I might be able to help you guys see where to cut back some and maybe help start the snowball effect of getting you out of debt faster. ;)

I would suggest though while your husband is searching for a new job that he should focus some on helping YOU too! He can be handing out mini catalogs, collecting contact info, etc. Any help he can provide to you will help you both.

For what it's worth, most millionaires admit to getting their "desire" to be an entrepreneur after getting a pink slip at work. Getting fired or laid off can be a great motivator!!! :D
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
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  • #16
Dang, I thought I posted, but I guess I somehow erased it. ???

I've never used the Dave Ramsey techniques, but I've heard great things about him in the past.

I can tell you what we use that works GREAT for us! I forced my husband to start using Microsoft Money. It took him several months, but he finally realized that a DVD here and there (10 TIMES A MONTH) really DO add up!!! And he saw how much he was spending on eating out. He cut back on those two luxuries and really started watching how much he was spending and found an extra $150 in his monthly budget. He jotted down all the debts that he had & then tackled the one with the least amount owed first. He applied the $150 to the minimum payment & paid of CC#1 in 3 months. Then he took the $150, the min. payment for CC#1 & mp for CC#2 & applied it to CC#2 until he paid it off. Then he took the $150, mp for CC#1 & mp for CC#2 and added it to what he was paying each month on our two car loans, paying off an 18 month loan in month #8!!! Before we knew it, our $150 extra was $1,250 extra each month!!! We quit paying "extra" for a couple of months and put that money back for vacation. We were able to pay cash for our trip to China. We were still paying the minimum payments, just not "extra" on the remaining debts. Upon our return from vacation, our plan was to start paying extra again. Hubby got a bit sidetracked. He did pay some extra money to the remaining debts, but he really likes the fact that he has much more to play with now & keeps buying new "toys" (PS3, etc.) here & there. He's currently tackling his student loans that were in default. After that, is my house in Texas. We are going to mainland Japan for 3 years when we are done here. Our goal for when we leave Japan in summer 2013 is to have my house in Texas AND two more rental houses in the states paid for & producing income for us. Hubby has 9 years left in the military. We hope to have a total of 10 rental houses by the time he retires. All paid for and all completely profit. Even if the rent's only $800 per month, that's still $8,000 income PER MONTH when he retires. Not too shabby, huh?

If you want help looking at how to start paying off debt I'll be more than happy to look at your finances & make a suggestion. I can't lower your monthly payments, reduce your debt or replace your husband's paycheck but I might be able to help you guys see where to cut back some and maybe help start the snowball effect of getting you out of debt faster. ;)

I would suggest though while your husband is searching for a new job that he should focus some on helping YOU too! He can be handing out mini catalogs, collecting contact info, etc. Any help he can provide to you will help you both.

For what it's worth, most millionaires admit to getting their "desire" to be an entrepreneur after getting a pink slip at work. Getting fired or laid off can be a great motivator!!! :D


That is actually Dave's program. It's called the debt snowball. And it does work!
 

Sheila

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Mar 26, 2008
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  • #17
Really? That's FUNNY!
 

Monty060609

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Sep 30, 2009
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  • #18
There are two ways to snowball debt, by balance (like Sheila did) or by interest rate. Both work the same way, I guess it just depends what kind of debt you have. It will definitely work if you are in a position to start it.

Kara- I'm not sure what your hubby does but if you need something ASAP so things don't get to bad, check out the package handlers (you know the one, I took out the name just incase) in Chelmsford. They are almost always hiring for at least PT package handlers because the job sucks. It really does suck and the money isn't great but it is something. And the benefits are awesome, fully paid, even for PT work. Let me know if you need a name, my hubby works there.
Also as far as debt consolidation, do not use anyone that charges you a fee. Debt consolidation companies make their money from the credit companies not off of you. sorry that isn't more helpful.
Good luck with everything!
 
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NooraK

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Feb 6, 2008
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  • #19
You do have to be careful. I would talk to a lawyer. In NJ they can take you to court and even garnish your wages.

We are working with a company. There is a fee, but we also have legal representation. It is a reputable company. They have been able to settle out of court on a few matters and set up payment plans. Most of the creditor's calls will go to them, but you still have to deal with some.

I suppose I didn't choose the best wording :) What I meant, is they won't come take your stuff today just beacuse you stop paying. If you go past due, the creditors can take you to court, and if it's a legitimate account, you will lose, and they can get a judgment to garnish your wages or reposess stuff and such. But it doesn't happen in 3 months. No matter how much they threaten, they won't spend the money until it's the last resort, and even then they have to go through the courts before they can garnish your wages. Many times it can be years before it comes to that because creditors will sell off old debts to collectors instead of doing it themselves.
 

kdangel518

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Mar 5, 2009
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Thanks for all your advice and kind words ladies. We are at the point now where I can say that we really have cut back, immediately, on non-necessities. I have put my gym membership on hold, cancelled my WW membership, etc. etc.

I am definitely going to put DH to work for me while he's home- he's such an awesome promoter of my biz to begin with that I know this is the perfect opportunity for him to help me even more.

I will definitely check out both the Dave Ramsey and the CCCS resources- at this point if we can get 1) a little more income or 2) a little breathing room in our bills we can go without consolidation.

Sarah- Thanks for the package handler suggestions, unfortunately DH has back problems and can't be on his feet for more than 15 minutes at a time and lifting is totally out of the question, but he's open to anything he can possibly take at the moment to help bring some more income in!

Funny thing is I was at a training even last night with Amy Neal from HO and Beth Jacobs, National Executive Director, was there. Her paycheck LAST MONTH was $40K!!!!

I came home and told my H "I WANT THAT!" That WILL be me someday...

Definitely the current situation (debt combined with pink slip) combined with training from Amy Neal and hearing about Beth Jacob's Sept paycheck was a catalyst for me to get MOVING in my biz!
 

AJPratt

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Oct 11, 2005
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I really hope everything works out for you, Kara. For us, its has been a long, hard road and if it weren't for Mary (DD), I don't think we would still be together. Tomorrow, we meet with our lawyer to discuss bankruptcy. I have more people suing me than I care to admit (credit cards, people from business, etc). It kills me to think that before I opened the cafe, we had $100K+ annual income, no significant debt except our mortgage, money in the bank, retirement accounts, and we were happy. I did this to us and I have to live with it. You are being smart by being proactive!
 

kdangel518

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Mar 5, 2009
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I'm sorry to hear that Anne, it is very frustrating to know that we did this to ourselves as well, with the cc debt. I hope all works out for you as well. It would be so wonderful to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning and not worry about $$!!
 

AJPratt

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Oct 11, 2005
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I'm sorry to hear that Anne, it is very frustrating to know that we did this to ourselves as well, with the cc debt. I hope all works out for you as well. It would be so wonderful to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning and not worry about $$!!

Thank you. We are working towards it. Thankfully, we have gotten our home out of foreclosure. Now, its everything else. I dread the mail truck coming down the street. I can hear it and I perch myself by the door, waiting for him. What will he deliver today? What summons or other threatening notice? And the calls... they just don't stop.

As for the company we are working with, the fee is partly a retainer for the lawyer working on our case. And, there is a guarantee that they will settle our debt for 50% or less of the balance. If they don't, we get money back. But, at this point, we may just have to forget it all and do the BK.
 

mmoran4pc

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Sep 5, 2009
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  • #24
Dave Rocks!!!!!!!
 

esavvymom

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  • #25
Funny thing is I was at a training even last night with Amy Neal from HO and Beth Jacobs, National Executive Director, was there. Her paycheck LAST MONTH was $40K!!!!

I came home and told my H "I WANT THAT!" That WILL be me someday...

Definitely the current situation (debt combined with pink slip) combined with training from Amy Neal and hearing about Beth Jacob's Sept paycheck was a catalyst for me to get MOVING in my biz!

My SED and SD just sent out copies of their commission paystubs from 2007 and 2008. My SED- in Nov 2008- made over $14k that month!...She only made about $850 in sales commission, she made over $13k just from her TEAM OVERRIDES! My Senior Director was similar in that her team overrides blew her sales commission away - she made $1100 in sales commission, and $2300 in overrides! Total for April 2007 was over $3400.


So yes, seeing what this business can do with real people, is motivation! Hopefully, you can get your business moving the way you want, while working the other suggestions. I pray you find the solution you need!
 

NooraK

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Feb 6, 2008
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  • #26
I did this to us and I have to live with it.

(((HUGS))) Try not to think of it that way. You didn't do it to your family. You didn't intend to not succeed. Failing is a part of the process, and it's just a stepping stone in your journey. You will turn it around. As Dave says "Poor is a state of mind, broke is just passing through." And as you said yourself, you're still a family. All of this will probably just make you stronger and better able to withstand things in the future.
 

pampcheflisa

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Jan 11, 2008
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Many years ago I had a great experience with Consumer Credit Counseling Service. I approached them with all of my credit/debt information, and they made contact with them to arrange for a lowered interest rate and lower monthly payments. I was able to pay off all of my debt within 2 years. I don't recall that CCCS charged me any money to go through them....although I am almost positive their services was strictly NO FEE.

You may want to contact them to see if you can participate with their service, and to confirm that whatever they do is NO FEE.

Any company that charges you a fee should be avoided at all cost (no pun intended!). You're supposed to be getting out of debt, not creating even more.

Good luck!

About 10 years ago, I worked for a large financial company and I dealt with a ton of consumer loans. I realize that things have probably changed ALOT since then. But, I remember back then, that if you had gone through CCCS, your account was flagged like a bankruptcy or foreclosure. This may not be the case anymore. My point is really that if you go this route, to really, really make sure and understand everything about it.
I'm sure whatever you decide Kara -you will make a well informed decision!
 

AJPratt

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(((HUGS))) Try not to think of it that way. You didn't do it to your family. You didn't intend to not succeed. Failing is a part of the process, and it's just a stepping stone in your journey. You will turn it around. As Dave says "Poor is a state of mind, broke is just passing through." And as you said yourself, you're still a family. All of this will probably just make you stronger and better able to withstand things in the future.

Thank you so much for your kind words.
 

pcchefjane

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Jul 23, 2008
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  • #29
Many years ago I had a great experience with Consumer Credit Counseling Service. I approached them with all of my credit/debt information, and they made contact with them to arrange for a lowered interest rate and lower monthly payments. I was able to pay off all of my debt within 2 years. I don't recall that CCCS charged me any money to go through them....although I am almost positive their services was strictly NO FEE.

You may want to contact them to see if you can participate with their service, and to confirm that whatever they do is NO FEE.

Any company that charges you a fee should be avoided at all cost (no pun intended!). You're supposed to be getting out of debt, not creating even more.

Good luck!

I went through CCCS as well many years ago and they were HORRIBLE! I found out that several companies refused their offers and would not accept the lower payments without continuing the interest until after CCCS claimed it was paid off. I ended up paying the interest off so that the places wouldn't blackball my credit. At the time, I was working at a job where I needed a security clearance. The one I went through lied to me a lot! Dave Ramsey is your best bet! My DD & SIL have also gone through Trinity Debt and it is a Christian-based legitimate organization that I have heard advertised on national WAYFM Christian radio.

Has your DH verified for sure he can't draw unemployment? I was out of work from September 2007 to December 2007 (drew unemployment) then worked a little less than 7 months and was still able to draw unemployment from June 2008 to April 2009! You may be pleasantly surprised!
 
Last edited:
Dec 13, 2009
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  • #30
So my hubby and I are currently in a debt management program. It is through debtwave.com. We pay them a flat rate on the first of the month, and they pay the credit card bills by the 15. They have an agreement with the creditors that we will no longer have any over limit fees or late fees. They add a $40 charge into our monthly amount to cover the cost of them doing the work. When I called Oct 2008, we have over $13000 in debt. The consultant I talked with said that we would be debt free in 3.5 years. As of my last statement (13 months from the first deduction) we owe just under $11000 (will be under $10000 in 2.5 months) I keep doing the math and in 2.13 years from now, we will be credit card debt free! It is nice to keep checking my accounts and see how much we have paid off....obv the card with the most debt is the one that shows the most improvement. We have paid almost $1500 dollars off on one card! They also work with the creditors to lower the interest rate. One of the cards had like a 22% APR, which they lowered to 9%, and with good payment history, the creditor lowered to about 8%!!!!!! debtwave.com will probably refer you to another company depending on your state, but it is all taken care by debtwave/chosen agency. Ours is Johnson Law Group.

I was referred to the whole debt program through a co-worker that is too enrolled in the same program! You also get money for referrals!!!

Good luck and you are in my prayers while you are in your situation.....we were in a similar (that is why we are in debt) :(
 

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