Settling Credit Card Accounts with a Collection Agency After Charge Off

Credit card debts sent to debt collection agencies are mostly done on a contingency.
The amount of time your account remains with an assignee debt collection agency will vary. Let’s assume that the agency that has your unpaid credit card bill will only have the ability to collect from you for 90 days.

The typical debt collector working for your best buy credit card has two ways they attempt to get you to pay; your phone and your mailbox. There are other ways to collect, such as:

Collection calls to your job,
Debt collector calls to family members and friends (this does happen – it sucks and is embarrassing).

Lets focus on the most general efforts used by the debt collector who is collecting on your account just after charge off. When a debt collector gets assigned your account, you will often start getting collection calls (at a high volume). You should also get a collection notice in the mail within a week of the agency having contacted you by phone.

You do not have to pick up the collection calls if you are not ready to negotiate a settlement with the agency. My suggestions for speaking to a third party debt collector are not the same as picking up, or making calls out, to your original credit card lender. And you do not necessarily need to send a debt validation request in response to the collection notices you receive in the mail. That is often counter productive to your settlement goals.

Settling an account with a collection agency.

Some important details to consider:

  • You will have to pick up the telephone in order to learn about your options with the account. I typically recommend that you not limit yourself to written communications with collection agencies.
  • You will be speaking to someone who has been trained to push your buttons using the most effective and proven methods for collecting unpaid debt.
  • The agency can only work out arrangements for payments that your original creditor allows them to, or where the debt collector can go back to your creditor and get approval.
  • You will not be able to re-age the account when settling charged off accounts with debt collectors (the credit report damage is done by your credit card bank, the debt collector will have no control over that).
  • Avoid some of the nut job advice on the internet about handling this stage of collection.
  • In some ways, you have more payment term options you can negotiate with a collection agency than you would be able to with your bank.
  • The collection agency only gets paid if they can get you to pay them (that may not always be the case, but contingency debt collection is the most common model currently).

Charged off debts get reported to the credit reporting agencies.

When this derogatory credit reporting happens the damage to your credit is done. You do not get to re-age charged off accounts. The credit damage from not paying a charge off account can then only get worse if you are sued, followed by getting a judgment against you. The judgment then shows up in the public record section of your credit report. Also, another debt collection trade line may later show up on your credit reports, and this would be considered additional damage.

A debt collector may comment how you should be concerned with your credit report and credit score after the account they are collecting on gets charged off, but this is just a collection tactic. Collection agencies will have no ability to change how the original credit card issuer reports to Equifax, TransUnion or Experian that your account was charged off.

There are tactics and timing I share on this site, and when you want to work with me one on one, that will better prepare you for dealing with outside debt collectors. You can optimize your results by knowing:

  • How to negotiate a settlement deal that is timed with internal goals the collection agency has, and even that an individual debt collector may have.
  • When to pass on an offer to settle that is too high without being concerned your particular debt collection agency will sue.
  • What your bank will allow the collector to do (how low a settlement can get and what payment terms are common).
  • The tricks and tactics that will be used to get you to pay more than you may have needed to.
    Collection abuse tactics.

If you are struggling with several credit card debts that are past the charge off stage, you should learn about your options and identify resources for handling the accounts before they end up in more advanced stages of collection which can include being sued.

It is important that your next step to deal with your now charged off debt be the step you take to put the debt to rest before the situation can deteriorate further. If you are serious about resolving unpaid debts and want to develop a workable plan, getting started is easy. Just post more about your situation in the comments below, and lets go from there.

Office Depot, Best Buy Pull Kaspersky Products From Shelves

Both Office Depot and Best Buy have removed Kaspersky Lab products from shelves. The ban has been in effect since mid-September, and the two chains are offering existing Kaspersky customers replacement security software.

The first store to remove Kaspersky products from shelves was Best Buy, on around September 8. At the time, the FBI was pressuring the private sector to cut ties with the Russian antivirus maker, which was the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee on the suspicion it may be collaborating with Russian intelligence agencies. Kaspersky vehemently denied all accusations.

A week after Best Buy removed Kaspersky products from shelves, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Binding Operational Directive published ordering the removal of Kaspersky Lab products off government computers.

A day later, Office Depot announced a similar decision to ban the sale of Kaspersky products in its stores.

Best Buy, Office Depot offering replacement software
The two companies are running similar offers to have support staff remove Kaspersky products from customers’ PCs.

Best Buy also said it would allow customers with active Kaspersky subscriptions to replace it for free for another product. Best Buy customers have 45 days to take up the company’s offer. Interested readers should check with their local Best Buy credit card stores for the exact expiration date.

Office Depot is giving customers a similar deal until November 4. The difference is that customers will be able to exchange Kaspersky with a one year license for McAfee LiveSafe only, and not a product of their choosing.

Russian red scare in full effect
Last week, the Russian red scare reached its peak in the US, when a controversial Wall Street Journal article claimed that Russian hackers stole NSA files after identifying them using Kaspersky software.

The article — based on anonymous source — was torn to pieces by security professionals, who pointed out that the real problem was an NSA employee taking NSA malware home and storing it on his personal computer, where Kaspersky software was installed.

Many argued that the Kaspersky antivirus was only doing its job by identifying and flagging potential malware — in this case, NSA hacking tools — and that the real guilty party, in this case, should be the NSA, which still can’t stop contractors from walking out the door with sensitive cyber weapons. This leak comes after similar incidents such as Snowden, the Shadow Brokers, Harold Martin, and Reality Winner.

The US’ crackdown on Kaspersky also comes after Russian authorities have been banning or threatening to ban US companies, and have been forcing some to take source code audits before being allowed to sell products in Russia. For example, HPE recently agreed to allow Russia to audit the source code of the same security platform used by the Pentagon. Many fear that the source code audits may allow Russian intelligence to spot vulnerabilities it can weaponize against the US.

Experts say that Kaspersky, LinkedIn, and other companies are just the victims of rising political tensions between Russia and the US.