Question

I have 120 days past due with my GEMB/LOWES Card so they sold it to another lender who I am paying through a debt counseling co. GEMB/LOWES is reporting my PAY STATUS as 120 days past due although I have not missed a payment with the lender who bought my debt. Can I get this statement removed to read PAID AS AGREED?

My Response

It sounds like you’re using a debt settlement company to pay off your debts. The problem with debt settlement companies is while they will settle your debts (eventually), your credit gets destroyed in the process.

The way it usually works is that you basically setup a savings account with the debt settlement company and pay them an amount you can afford on a monthly basis. Once you have enough money in that savings account to settle debt, they will attempt to negotiate with the collector on your behalf for settlement. The problem is that the debt settlement company requires that you stop paying the debt to the creditor while you are paying them. This is what destroys your credit. I’m afraid that unless you take matters into your own hands and stop paying this company, your credit will only continue to get worse. Trust me, [name removed], you can do this on your own if you follow the steps outlined in my blog.

Take Home Point

Many people arrange for their debts to be handled by a debt settlement company falsely thinking that all of their credit problems are going to be fixed overnight and all they have to do is give the debt settlement company a small percentage of the amount successfully settled. The fact of the matter is that going this route is not easy –in fact, its painful because when you stop paying your debts directly to the creditors, the late payment entries pile up. Remember, the business model of debt settlement works by telling their customers to stop paying their debts and start saving money in a savings account with them. While this is good if you absolutely cannot afford your debt payments (the debt settlement companies will adjust your savings amount according to your affordability), they will not pay ANYTHING to the creditors until they think they can settle the debt.