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    In Need of some Help ... seriously

    Hey guys,

    New user here! Would love some input as I am not sure how to go about this situation. Long story short:

    The wife and were in Dallas as students. I am Dutch, she is Brazilian. We both attended university. We were international students. I did my masters(MBA), she her bachelors (Psychology). As Internationals we were very limited as to what work we could legally do, so our families were helping us pay for the tuition. Now in our last semester, my wife’s family suffered a very serious medical emergency and could no longer afford to pay. My family the same. Terrible timing! We talked to the university and they were very gracious. The told us that since we were both almost done, they’d let us complete our studies and pay them off gradually. (Obviously we’d get the diplomas once the balances were cleared).

    Now. Right after completing our studies I was able to find a full time job at a church. It didn’t pay well at all. But they wanted to bring my wife and I on staff full time and long term (I was able to do this legally as it was an OPT job). During our OPT year we got pregnant (total surprise) and we were paying around 150-200 dollars a month. Fast forward to the end of the opt year when the church was supposed to apply for a visa change for us, they never did. And having our current visas on the verge of expiration we decided to leave the country as we refused to do any illegal under the table work. Not that the church was advising us to do that, but the fact that they drug out the visa application process that long meant that when our current visas expire we'd have to wait 10-11 months for the new one during which time we would NOT be able to legally work. At that point we had a 4 month old baby and yea, I was not going to do any illegal work, nor did I have cash to live off of during that time because we depleted our saving to BE there those 4 years.

    So we moved to Curaçao where I am from. (Dutch territory in the Caribbean). Took me almost a year to find a job. We were not able to pay towards our school balance during that meaning it was sent to collections . My balance of 10.000 was sent to Williams and fudge. Hers was sent to CCA(4000). We want to clear the balance in the next 10 months. This is our only debt. Salaries here on the island really are not very great (and I have a pretty good job). We want to clear this debt once and for all so we will be living with family rent free for 10 months during which time we plan to attack this balance with a vengeance. The problem is that I think the max we can probably come up with is around 650-800 a month (totalling 6500-8000). Bear in mind that my take home income converted to US Dollars is right around $2000 a month.

    Is this a reasonable amount that we could offer these collectors?

    So to summarize:

    1. We are NOT U.S Citizens. We do NOT live in the U.S.
    2. Total Balance Owed = approx 14000 (10000 with W&F and 4 with CCA)
    3. We've had no contact from the collection agency whatsoever
    4. Its been sent to collections over a year ago
    5. We have a 10 month window in which we want to clear the debt
    6. Probably can only come up with 6500-8000
    7. This balance is NOT a Student LOAN. It's just an open standing balance (International student do not get student loans)
    8. How do i approach the collection agencies / What strategies

    If you've read all of this I THANK YOU!

    Hoping to hear from you all!

    #2
    I wouldn't pay anything unless I got something in writing showing the exact amount owed, and some form of confirmation once the debt is settled. It's odd that no one has contacted you at all assuming they have the correct contact info for you. That seems fishy. Collection agencies are normally all over people with delinquent debt.
    Brian

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
      It's odd that no one has contacted you at all assuming they have the correct contact info for you.
      I thought that too but I wonder if the fact that they are out of the country has something to do with it.
      Steve

      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

      Comment


        #4
        Well, the university has my contact info. I've been in e-mail contact with them fairly regularly during the past year and a half since I left the U.S. Now, the Collection Agency MIGHT not have my New Number. But they must at least have my e-mail. I want to get the debt out of the way as we want to move on from it. I'm just debating on HOW I contact the Collection agency as I doubt they will be reaching out. Everyone I know in the U.S is telling us to offer well below 50% of whatever the balance is now with the collection ( after fees).Especially since they probably bought over the balance from the University for pennies on the dollar. Like do I call them and be like " Oh Hi, The balance is 17000? The best I can do is 6000-7000 over 9-10 months" ....

        And like i said, we are moving in with Family next month, for 10 months during which time we want to clear this thing.

        Comment


          #5
          DO NOT contact the collection agency! Let them contact you. When they do, yes, try to settle for 25 or 30 cents on the dollar, but only when you are actually prepared to pay that amount in a lump sum. Don't try to negotiate a payment plan. You want this done all at once and not until you have IN WRITING that the payment will satisfy the debt in full.
          Steve

          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

          Comment


            #6
            Once you have negotiated a settlement amount, pay by money order or cashiers check. Do not give them electronic access to your account in any way.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
              DO NOT contact the collection agency! Let them contact you. When they do, yes, try to settle for 25 or 30 cents on the dollar, but only when you are actually prepared to pay that amount in a lump sum. Don't try to negotiate a payment plan. You want this done all at once and not until you have IN WRITING that the payment will satisfy the debt in full.
              So what you're saying basically is to the save up the money. Do NOT contact them. And when they do offer them 25-30 cents on the dollar. Man I wanted this thing done by the end of these 10 months. What if I saved it up and then contact them, with and offer towards the end of the year. Thing is with me being out of the country I'm pretty sure they won't contact me. AND the school won't release my diploma until I settle with them. Kinda need that MBA Diploma lol

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by debtfee View Post

                So what you're saying basically is to the save up the money. Do NOT contact them. And when they do offer them 25-30 cents on the dollar. Man I wanted this thing done by the end of these 10 months. What if I saved it up and then contact them, with and offer towards the end of the year. Thing is with me being out of the country I'm pretty sure they won't contact me. AND the school won't release my diploma until I settle with them. Kinda need that MBA Diploma lol
                I suppose you can contact them once you have the money to offer them. The withholding of the diploma is a complicating factor here.
                Steve

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Overall, I don't disagree with the suggestions above, however, if you ever want to return to the US, I would think paying your debt accrued here would be important. I think I would call the collections and find out what your balance is and how you can pay. I might not give them my contact information and I definitely would not give them access to a bank account that had money in it that I didn't want them to have. I might put $X in that account for easy payment but only the amount agreed to in writing. Always get the information in writing. This is a legitimate debt you took on, and it is right to pay them.
                  My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by creditcardfree View Post
                    Overall, I don't disagree with the suggestions above, however, if you ever want to return to the US, I would think paying your debt accrued here would be important. I think I would call the collections and find out what your balance is and how you can pay. I might not give them my contact information and I definitely would not give them access to a bank account that had money in it that I didn't want them to have. I might put $X in that account for easy payment but only the amount agreed to in writing. Always get the information in writing. This is a legitimate debt you took on, and it is right to pay them.
                    I totally agree. You need to settle this. I certainly don't mean to suggest otherwise. But I would reiterate not to contact them until you are prepared to make a reasonable offer because if they say yes, you can't say, "Well I won't have that money for a few months." You need to do the negotiating when you actually have the cash in hand.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      @creditcardfree , i couldn’t agree more. I have no intention to attempt to walk away from this. And I don’t think that’s what was being suggested either. Considering what I’ve read here I think I will save up as much I can these next 10 months. And THEN contact the collections place to begin negotiating at 25-35 cents on the dollar.

                      I was was about ready to contact them to start 10 month payment plan. Lol

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If the collection agency has already purchased the debt from the school, how do you know that paying them off will result in the release of your diploma? It isn't as if the collection agency got your diplomas with the debt. I'd be more inclined to call the school and try to work something out with them directly.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by riverwed070707 View Post
                          If the collection agency has already purchased the debt from the school, how do you know that paying them off will result in the release of your diploma? It isn't as if the collection agency got your diplomas with the debt. I'd be more inclined to call the school and try to work something out with them directly.
                          I was sorta wondering the same thing. How does this play into your diploma being released? Technically, the school has no affiliation to your debt anymore. You don't legally owe them anything. I would want to see something in writing that the ability for you to get the diploma is based on you paying this debt. Don't assume they will release it. Get it all in writing to be sure this is all clear.
                          Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you're stupid and make bad choices.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            So I JUST hear back from the school again and they're saying that the account was not sold. They said that they have a contractual relationship in which they collect balances on the school's behalf.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by debtfee View Post
                              So I JUST hear back from the school again and they're saying that the account was not sold. They said that they have a contractual relationship in which they collect balances on the school's behalf.
                              That’s what I was assuming. That makes more sense. In that case, they may not be willing to settle for a lot less since they didn’t acquire the debt at a greatly reduced rate, but you can still try.
                              Steve

                              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                              Comment

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