Debt Settlement Agreement
A debt settlement agreement should do all of the following:
- Be in writing
- Release you from the remaining debt
- Be signed by you
A valid debt settlement agreement can be used to show that you do not owe any more money after you pay the settlement. This is critical and many creditors may not offer it without persistence.
Usually a debt collection lawsuit is is dismissed without prejudice by the creditor without paying them anything or settled with prejudice prior to the case being called to trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the case will go to trial and the judge may grant a full balance judgment for the creditor or a take nothing judgment depending on the evidence. If a case is dismissed without prejudice, the creditor may sue you again on the debt. Also the debt is still on your credit report and does not go away.
Must be in Writing
Technically you can have an “oral agreement” but nobody does this and it definitely not recommended. Settlement agreements must be in writing if you want any kind of assurance that the debt is going to go away.
Settlement may be beneficial for a number of reasons. Based on our experience, creditors will often accept a significant discount if you are working with a debt defense attorney. If you do not have an attorney on your side, creditors often seek the full balance with an agreed judgment or they simply move forward with a motion for summary judgment against you. It is best to avoid an agreed judgment if at all possible and work out a deal that does not require one.
Collection Agency Scams
Any settlement must be secured by a valid settlement agreement. We have extensive experience in negotiating valid settlement agreements. Often creditors will demand a settlement and claim they will “send you the agreement after you pay”. This is a common scam. Another pitfall is creditors who send agreements that allow them to sue you again or agreements that do not actually release the debt.
At Weston Legal will have extensive experience in resolving debts and lawsuit for consumers. We have fought over 5000 debt lawsuits. If you have been sued or you have debt that you need resolved, contact us now.