Debt Negotiation – Secrets to Successful Bargaining With Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies will voluntarily reduce your debt balances – if you present the right offer at the right time. Before you make that first offer, however, you need to understand the factors that motivate delinquent debt supervisors at the credit card companies.

In my law office, we often counsel potential bankruptcy clients to hold off on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bill consolidation, and to try to negotiate lower balances and to avoid bankruptcy. Here are some of the techniques and strategies we have learned over the years.

First, you need to realize that to the credit card company, you are a number – an entry on a spreadsheet. Although you may be stressed out because of your credit card balance, no one at the credit card company’s collection office knows who you are or cares about your financial hardship.

The bill collectors employed by the credit card company are trained to use psychology to scare you and intimidate you into paying. Interestingly, the most powerful consumer protection law – the Fair Debt Collection Procedures Act – applies primarily to outside collection agencies, not to in-house bill collectors. This means that in-house bill collectors can use much more aggressive techniques to squeeze you for payment.

Therefore, the first rule for negotiation is to recognize the intimidation psychology and to ignore it. Remember, you have something they want – money – and if they want your money voluntarily, they will have to work with you.

Second, recognize that credit card company collection practices are driven by business models. Mathematical analysis shows that slightly overdue debt is likely to be paid, whereas the older your unpaid account becomes, the less likely that the credit card company will see payment.

As a practical matter, this means that the credit card company will not negotiate with you at all until your unpaid balance is at least three months old. Once a debt falls into the 90 day past due column, the collection percentages go way down. This is generally the ideal time to start your negotiations.

If you let your account go much longer than 90 days unpaid, you run the risk that the credit card lender will turn it over to an outside collection company or send it to a lawyer for lawsuit. These options may or may not impact your negotiation strategies, but they add complications and unknown elements. You can always start new negotiations with one of these new account owners later – at the outset it is best to negotiate with the actual credit card company.

A collateral technique that we have used with some success is to send small payments every 6 weeks or so. The purpose of making these payments is to permit your account to age even more, while keeping it in house. Not every credit card company will hold off on transferring the account but some will.

When you approach the credit card company to negotiate a settlement, your best chance for success will be to have a lump sum equal to about half the balance available. Very few credit card companies will accept payment terms in negotiated settlement. At our law firm, we generally advise against raiding a retirement plan to come up with the lump sum since retirement money is usually considered an “exempt” asset in a bankruptcy and not reachable by any creditors.

If you don’t have the full lump sum, you may be able to work a deal where you break up your payment into two smaller lump sum payments – one paid now and the second in three months.

So, as you start the negotiation process, you will most likely have success when:

1) you step back from any emotional issues you may have with the outstanding balance

2) you treat the negotiation as a straight financial transaction – blame or guilt is not part of the equation

3) the best timing for your negotiation is when your account is at least three months past due, but not yet turned over to a lawyer or outside collection agency

4) you have access to a lump sum equal to about half of the outstanding balance

Beginner Article Marketing – Advertising Your Home Business Online For Free

Are you starting your own home business online and wondering how anyone will know about it? You could spend money advertising, but why? Use article marketing–a totally free way you can gain traffic, build a list, establish yourself as an expert, create back links to your web site so you raise your Google rank, and make money.

Phew! That’s a lot of heavy lifting. Sounds hard, doesn’t it?

It’s not. Can you write a grocery list? You can write an article.

To start with, you need good keywords. Your grocery list has keywords. Milk, bread, cat food. Those are broad keywords, generic notations instead of specific brands you grab because you know what you bought before and liked.

If you write Sealtest Rocky Road ice cream, that’s a long tail keyword. It’s more specific. If you wrote a pint or half gallon, that’s more specific yet.

That kind of long tail keyword is similar to a phrase that enters your customer’s mind when she has a problem and Googles for a solution. Your job is to be a step ahead of her. Write an article (or more) for each keyword, give her good information she needs, then provide a link to your business for the complete solution to her problem.

Easier than falling down a hill, right? Here’s a specific example:

If she types “speed up Windows XP” and you sell a registry cleaner, you want YOUR article to pop up. If it contains her keyword phrase, it will. If it has a great title she can’t resist, she’ll read it. If it tells her some steps to speed it up and suggests she click your link for a fast, easy clean up, ta-da! You just got traffic and maybe even a sale.

Now make a grocery list of article titles with keywords for your product or service. Pick one, write your first article and submit it to EzineArticles.com. Congratulations! You’ve started advertising your online home business for free with article marketing.

Visual Information in Presentations

Offline communication and presentation give a range of possibilities to deliver your ideas in the most efficient way. On the one hand you can’t rely on your personal intonation or appearance, but you can make visitors like your web-site, using some specific techniques.

By visual channels we don’t talk about means for delivering video or a sequence of frames, but the channel of perception. It is the way you get the information. There are 5 main channels that deliver you the data about the world around: visual, tactile, olfaction, audition and taste. There are only 2 of them that can be affected through the web.

The essential fact about the web is that the key role is played by the visual information. As we know, the information theory of visual communication encompasses the following aspects:

1. Image gathering – the capture of the radiance field.

2. Signal coding – encoding of the acquired signal for the further transmission and/or storage.

3. Image restoration – transforming digital representation of the scene into a continuous.

4. Human vision – image systems assessment (information rate that the eye of the observer conveys from the displayed image to the higher levels of the brain).

In the real world more than 75% of the information is received through the visual channel. You can also implement audio effects, nut there are plenty of shortcuts of using sounds online. Actually, it is not recommended.

For example, when making a presentation, we’d rather use slides and video, than just keynotes without any slides. A set of slides is an effective part of a talk, that represents a visual channel complementing the audio channel (spoken words).

Be sure, that visual elements you choose match your words. Visual channel needs to make the same point, but in a different way. The same thing is also relevant for photos – they should tenuously go with the talk. Images not only make your presentation more vivid, but also serve as a source of important information.

Use simple diagrams and info graphics that help to illustrate, and thus better explain, your word through their visual positioning.

As for motion, it’s not uncommon to use animations on slides, but do not overestimate the capabilities of the presentation software. You can practically always use fancy 3D cube rotation animation and flash animation for semantically rich visual channel.

So, use visual effects that are not only eye-candy, but also help communicate the point you are making. Use your voice as the main audio source when making a presentation, but avoid sound on your web-site.