Attorney Peter Daigle Talks With Katherine On “This Needs To Be Said” About Debt Settlement In A Three Part Series. Part One.

Katherine: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today on, This Needs To Be Said. Our friend, Attorney Peter Daigle, is here and he has a debt settlement conversation he wants to have with us so I just want you to definitely have your pen and paper out because this is going to be a three part series. So you won’t get it all today. Peter, how are you?
Peter Daigle: Great Katherine. Thanks for having me as always.
Katherine: As always, it’s a pleasure. So you have a debt… Is it a debt settlement program?
Peter Daigle: Right. Yes. Yep.
Katherine: Tell me about this.
Peter Daigle: So not everybody wants to file bankruptcy or can file, okay. Because either they’ve got assets that they can’t protect in bankruptcy. Or their income is greater than the minimum that… to be able to file. Okay so it’s the high income people and it’s the people that have assets like a home that might be, like your mother’s home, but it happens to be in their name. Or they might have like an annuity or something like that. What this does, this program allows us to do is to settle this debt outside of bankruptcy. In other words, not using the structure of a bankruptcy, which is very defined in what you could have for assets or what you could make. And sort of do it more with just working with our office to settle these debts.

So for the most part, these debts, they don’t age well from the creditor’s standpoint. Once people stop making payments, they charge off the debt and they sell them to collection agencies and ultimately the attorneys. And their right for settlement at that point. So even though it might be an emotional feeling that these people are calling and calling and calling. From a business standpoint, it’s right for us to be able to come in and try to settle these debts.

And what we, what we generally do is we set up on a payment plan, a monthly payment plan, and then we refund my account each month for whatever you can afford to pay.

So let’s do for a second, you can afford to pay 500 a month. And then instead of making the credit card payments, you’d fund our escrow accounts of 500 a month. And as the money builds out, then we go in and we call the creditors call Capitol One, call Citi Bank, call Bank of America. And we say, “Listen, we’ve got $2,000 for you. We understand your bill is 8,000. will you take the 2000?” And then we look at that point if to get a release. So as the money builds up, then we settled the debt.

And sometimes they’ll say, “We’ll take 2000 now and we’ll take $1,000 over, let’s say six months.” And then we signed a contract with that and then we make the payment each month of $100 based upon the money that we’re getting from the client. Okay.

Katherine: I have a curious question. Can I interrupt you for a second?
Peter Daigle: Go ahead. Sure go ahead, yeah.
Katherine: Because when we started talking, I was the first one talking. And I can read. I don’t want you to be confused that I can’t read and comprehend. But this whole time I was thinking debt consolidation.
Peter Daigle: No this is debt settlement.
Katherine: So are these two similar. Okay.
Peter Daigle: No, they’re completely different. What a consolidation is, so let me just tell you the difference. That’s a great question. And it was going to be one of the frequently asked questions that I have, but I’ll jump into.
Katherine: Well this proves that it is a frequently. This is proof.
Peter Daigle: All right. So what it is, is the debt consolidation means you pay off your debt. Okay. And most of the debt consolidation companies are run by the, actually the credit card companies themselves. So they say they’re nonprofits.
Katherine: Really?
Peter Daigle: But they’re established by the credit card companies. Yeah. And so all is really do is they’re soft collection agencies is what they are. So they go by the names of, they have different cute names that make it sound like they’re getting you out of the debt. But they’re nothing but the credit card companies with a different suit on. Okay. So, what we do is that means you’re going to pay it all off. And generally a lot of them get paid with interest too.

So the difference between debt settlement is, is that we don’t pay them off, we knuckle them down to settlements. Okay. And so, and if we don’t have the cash on hand to pay a lump sum, we do a structured monthly payment with them. And then at some point they’re ripe to settle and some point that it needs to bake a little bit before we can go back to them. So it could be six months, eight months, a year sometimes before we can actually settle it because we don’t have enough money in the accounts and settle it. Or because we can’t get ahold of anybody who really wants to talk to us. Because a lot of times these debts are in between they’re in the process of being sold or charged off or whatever. And there’s not anybody to speak to us at the time. Okay?

Katherine: Okay.
Peter Daigle: So that’s essentially how it works. So the program is, is that we fund either the lump sum payments, large amounts of you have it. You can take a loan from the 401(k), or cash in some stock and then give us a lump sum. Or you make payments to us monthly, and then we settle it a little over the life of the… we generally work on a five year plan, a three or five year plan.
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Katherine: Okay.
Peter Daigle: So in other words, the payments that you make would be over five year period, over a three year period. Depends how much debt you have and how much you can afford to pay each month. Okay.
Katherine: And I know you have more to share. And this is an alternative to bankruptcy. Is this something, if I came into your office, I can say, “Hey, and I guess I’ve listened to you on this needs to be said or I followed your blog. I know that I don’t have to file bankruptcy. Can I choose on my own to do debt consolidation… I mean debt settlement?” There I go again, debt settlement.
Peter Daigle: Yes.
Katherine: Oh, okay. Okay. Or is it something, and maybe this is yes too, do you recommend this to someone? You said, “Hey, we looked over everything and you would better be suited for debt settlement.” Is that how it goes or?
Peter Daigle: Well, so we have different options. Okay. And so we would look at the option of a chapter seven bankruptcy, chapter thirteen bankruptcy, and debt settlement. So we’d present you the three or four different options. Fourth option is do nothing. And then see what happens. But we would present you the different options that you would have. And then you’d make a decision, which be in your best interest. Okay.

But it’s really on individual need, individual basis. It’s not. I’m not able on the phone calls to be able to qualify people just looking, if this fits into this category, or that category you know.

Katherine: What you just said, and I was making myself a note, but since you have a break in conversation, I can tell you. It sounds like a team approach. I come to you, and you and I are a team to look at my issue to see what’s going to be the best route for it. As opposed to me just saying, “Okay, wipe it all out.” Or being over emotionalized by even having to file; or wondering if people are going to know, which we’ve covered that a couple of years ago with you on this show. You know that it’s a public record, but everybody doesn’t know.

But we get in here and we have this team conversation and you say, “Okay Katherine, here are your options. Here’s what we’re looking at.” And every time I ask you a question, you never make me feel less than smart, even though I know it’s not my area of expertise.

So I’m anticipating or in my head I’m thinking, I come to you and you lay it all out for me. And when I have a question and I need clarification, you always tell me it’s a great question, which is very polite of you to do. But you never treat me like, “Duh. Don’t you know anything?”

You always patiently say, “Oh, well let me tell you this. This is the difference between that.”

Peter Daigle: Thank you.
Katherine: So I’m just picturing coming into your office and one of these options is debt settlement, one of these options is bankruptcy, whether it’s seven or thirteen. But you and I are working together and you’re laying it out for me and giving me the information I need to make the decision, with breaking it down.
Peter Daigle: Right.
Katherine: Is that how it flows in your office?
Peter Daigle: That’s pretty much it. That’s pretty much it.
Katherine: Okay. That’s what I’m picturing in my head.
Peter Daigle: Yeah. And then now we’ll also discuss debt consolidation too. You brought up the question and we would certainly address it as to what it is. We have a debt consolidation calculator also with us, and so we can calculate. If you wanted to consolidate your debt and you wanted to go with one of the national firms, again the soft collection agencies with the credit card companies, you can go with them. And we can tell you what your payment would be. Okay. So either way we could give you some options. Okay.
Katherine: Okay.
Peter Daigle: Okay. So that concludes part one, which is just an overview. Okay.
Katherine: Okay. Well what we’ll do is wrap up here. Before we go, how do people get in touch with you outside of this interview?
Peter Daigle: Sure, Katherine. They can call our main number at (508) 771-7444 and we can schedule a phone conference. Or you can reach us on daiglelawoffice.com. Through our website you can order our book. You can read all about bankruptcy and debt consolidation on the website, the blogs. And also you can request your copy of the book that I’ve written. Okay?
Katherine: And it’s a great book. Yeah.
Peter Daigle: Yeah. Well, thank you. So either way through the website or the number that I’ve given you would be a way to get ahold of us.
Katherine: Absolutely. Well, thank you, Peter, again for being our guest, and until next time, have a super day.
Peter Daigle: Okay. Thanks Katherine. Bye, bye.
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