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Question By
Meekosmommy

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What is the best way to handle a debt for which I've received a court date?
I have received a "Notice of Claim" that a collection agency has filed against me in small claims court. I am to appear in court the end of May. I've read many questions concerning paying off creditors, and the responses mostly state that if I pay it off, whether in full or with a settlement, it is going to drop my score and reflect poorly. They go on to say that the only way this won't happen is if I ask for a pay for deletion. Most of these say that if they won't agree to this, just wait until it falls of the credit report. Since I have to appear in court over this, I don't have the option of waiting until it falls off because once I have a judgement against me, I will run the risk of having my wages garnished. I would like to settle these negative things on my credit, but want them deleted as well, which I can request for those not already taking me to court. However, this one, which is a credit card amount for $961.94, I would like to offer a settlement along with having it deleted, but how do I go about this? Do I wait for the court date? How much would a reasonable settlement amount be for them to not only settle for less money, but also delete it from my credit report?

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Couple things...

Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

Is the debt ACTUALLY yours?   If not, you can dispute this ahead of time as well as at the court

Is the debt within the Stature of Limitations in your state?  You'll have to look this one up, but many states are less than the 7 years that a debt can be reported on your credit report.  If this debt IS yours, the date of first deliquency is older than the statute of limitations, you can dispute on this alone.  

Many debt collectors hope that you don't appear in court.  It is much easier to get what they want in a default (you didn't appear) judgment than it is to actually prove their case.

If this debt IS yours, and the debt IS within the SOL you will want to attempt to settle.   This might be a payment plan, this might be settling for less (but with a lump sum payment), this might be asking for a "Pay for Delete".  These options dissappear once the court date happens.  Only let it get that far if you have a winnable case.  Otherwise, you'll be on the hook for court costs and lawyer fees as well.

Reply by
Meekosmommy

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Thank you for the advice!

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