16 CFR Part 310 Telemarketing Sales Rule- Debt Relief Amendments #543670-00158

Submission Number:
543670-00158
Commenter:
J White
State:
HI
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 310 Telemarketing Sales Rule- Debt Relief Amendments
I have not had time to read the entire document; however, I would like to tell about my experience with a debt settlement company called Clear Debt Solutions. They did not call me; I found them in an online search. Trying to protect myself, I tried to do as much research on them as possible. Once I was satisfied, I finally made the call to them. I was very pleased with their customer service. They explained to me how everything would work. I would end up paying them a percentage of my total debt, but it was not all up front. There was only a very small portion up front, and the rest were made in installments. These installments were composed of a portion that went to Clear Debt Solutions and a portion that went toward my debt. Let me back up and explain the situation I was in. I was in graduate school and over the previous few years, I had fallen prey to the many "great" offers from credit card companies. I started off only using the credit cards for books, and I would pay them off right away. Then I started accumulating a balance as I started to live a little better life than a college student should. I graduated undergrad and went on to grad school. I continued to use the cards thinking "I will easily pay these off when I graduate and get a great job." My interest rates started out lower than 10%, but then they started increasing a bit. I had a total of five credit cards all with different bill cycle dates. On a couple of the cards, I accidentally missed a payment. It was not that I did it on purpose, it's just that time got away from me, and I forgot about them. Once that happened, my interests rates increased steadily. My other cards must have seen this and followed suit. Before I knew it, I had accumulated around $20,000 in debt, my interests rates were around 28-32%, and my minimum monthly payment was around $500!!! At this rate, I was barely paying off the interest that was accumulating, and I had to take out student loans just to get by. I was getting no where on the balances. I consulted a debt counselor at my college, and he agreed that there wasn't much else I could cut back on. I then consulted a lawyer about declaring bankruptcy. I really didn't want to do that, but I was sinking deeper and deeper into debt. I carried the $20,000 of debt for a few years (without further using the credit cards), and finally I decided I had to do something about it because it was putting too much stress on my life. This is when I called Clear Debt Solution. Once I entered the program, I was able to take care of my debt in about 1.5 years. I saved $8200 in the process. The best thing is that I didn't have to declare bankruptcy. Thank you very much for listening to my story. The thing I would like to stress is that the type of help I got should continue to be available to the public. If a company had called me to suggest this option, or if Clear Debt Solution would have wanted all the money up front, I never would have went with that company, but some people are not as cautious. All companies should be required to operate as legitimately as Clear Debt Solution.