California GCFS Debt Settlement[yoast-breadcrumb]
How Does Debt Settlement Work?
Debt settlement involves working with creditors to settle your debts for less than the full amount owed. The process typically works like this:
- You stop making payments to your creditors and instead make monthly payments into a dedicated settlement account. This helps you save up a lump sum to make settlement offers.
- The debt settlement company negotiates with your creditors to settle debts, usually for 30-60% of what you owe. Creditors agree to settlements because they’d rather get a portion of the debt than risk getting nothing.
- Once a settlement is reached, the lump sum is paid from your settlement account to the creditor and the account is considered settled.
Debt settlement can seem appealing because it reduces what you owe. However, it also comes with risks, which is why California has specific laws regulating debt settlement companies.
California Debt Settlement Laws
In 2021, California enacted the Fair Debt Settlement Practices Act to establish consumer protections around debt settlement
. Here are some key things to know:
- No Upfront Fees: Debt settlement companies cannot collect any fees until after they’ve settled at least one of your debts. This prevents companies from taking your money without providing results
- Disclosures: Companies must provide you with detailed disclosures about the debt settlement process, risks and alternatives before signing a contract
- Monthly Statements: You must receive monthly statements detailing funds collected and settlements made
- Cancellation: You can cancel without penalty within the first 10 days, and cancel anytime if the company violates the law
These laws prevent many of the worst abuses by debt settlement companies. Always check that a provider follows California regulations.
What to Watch Out For
While there are legitimate debt settlement providers, many misleading companies still exist. Watch out for:
- Upfront fees – A huge red flag. No company can legally collect fees before settling debts.
- Overpromising – No debt relief method can guarantee results or make debt disappear. Beware unrealistic claims.
- Pressure to stop paying – Ethical companies let you decide when to stop payments. Don’t let a company damage your credit.
- Lack of licenses – Legitimate debt settlement companies must be licensed in California. Verify licenses.
- Unresolved complaints – Check the company’s BBB rating and online reviews. Many unhappy customers? Proceed with caution.
Protect yourself by thoroughly vetting any debt settlement company before signing up.
Is Debt Settlement Right For You?
Debt settlement can be a viable option for some California consumers struggling with unsecured debt like credit cards. It’s best suited for those who:
- Owe $7,500 or more in unsecured debt
- Have experienced a hardship and can’t continue minimum payments
- Have funds available to save for settlements
- Understand the credit score implications
However, it’s not a magic bullet. Your credit score will drop when you stop payments. And if you don’t save enough to make settlement offers, you may end up worse off.Alternatives like debt management plans or bankruptcy may be better options depending on your situation. As an impartial financial advisor, we’ll help you review all of your debt relief options to find the right solution for your needs.
Partnering With a Debt Specialist
Navigating debt settlement yourself is extremely difficult. At Delancey Street, our dedicated debt specialists have negotiated thousands of settlements totaling over $200 million in savings for our clients.We are fully compliant with all California debt settlement laws. We never charge upfront fees, and our average client saves 50% off their debt through our programs.If you’re struggling with high interest credit card balances or other unsecured debt, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll walk you through your options and help determine if debt settlement, debt consolidation, or another path is your best route to becoming debt-free.With customized debt relief solutions and ethical, compassionate service, Delancey Street can help you finally resolve your debt and achieve financial peace of mind. Don’t wait – reach out today and start your journey to freedom from debt.