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Baltimore Consumer Protection Law Blog

Proceed carefully when using debt settlement for credit card debt

Marylanders know that making a purchase with a credit card is relatively easy. However, repayment can be difficult if credit card payments are not timely. This debt could be considered unmanageable, prompting the debtor to clear the balances using savings or liquidating other investments. In certain cases, even after exhausting all available liquid resources, the debt may not be cleared, and the person may face additional hardship due to the loans. When facing huge credit cards debt, it is wise to slow down and consider various options available to repay the loans.

One of the options available for repaying credit card companies is debt settlement. A debtor may negotiate with the credit card company to pay a lesser amount and also set aside a specific amount every month to make these payments. Often, a payment settlement may not be monthly but a negotiated lump sum amount.

Which ways of coping with health-related bills are effective?

When a Marylander is hospitalized, he or she must first concentrate on returning to good health. But often, worries about how to pay for excessive medical expenses may be troubling and impede recovery. Although a patient may have health insurance, some medical expenses may be inadequately covered by medical insurance plans such that these bills become unmanageable. However, there are creative ways to deal with medical debt.

Sometimes, the extent of the bills may cause so much stress that a patient may forget to check the bills in detail for any inadvertent errors, such as charges for an extended room stay, second charges for the same medication or charges for a treatment that was not provided. The medical care provider should be notified immediately of the discrepancy. Always cross-check insurance payments against all treatments covered under the policy. Sometimes the insurance company may deny a claim. In this case the patient may be able to appeal the decision and submit evidence to show why the treatment should be covered.

What to do when faced with insurmountable debt?

Even though debt may have been incurred due to unforeseen or emergency events, Maryland residents know that debts not paid in a timely manner can become problematic. Debt can affect securing a job, promotion or add to insurance payments. However, all is not lost if debt relief is handled correctly.

Debt reduction first requires assessing finances to judge how much can be paid to creditors. Once a comfortable payment amount is identified, a debtor may be able to negotiate an affordable repayment plan with creditors. Also, keeping an account of day-to-day expenses to evaluate, if any of those amounts can be directed towards debt payment, can also help reduce debt levels.

Medical debt relief by challenging denied insurance claims

The high cost of medical care is a concern for Baltimore, Maryland, residents and all fellow Americans. Sometimes, it's difficult to meet medical expenses out of pocket, so medical insurance is very much a necessity. However, having insurance may sometimes offers no assurance that expenses incurred will be paid, because insurers often deny coverage for a number of reasons.

This scenario causes the average American to face the scary specter of medical debt, which can seem impossible to overcome and can become a cause for contemplating bankruptcy. However, one provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare," allows those denied benefits to appeal an insurer's decision. Such an appeal can involve just the insurer or, as an alternative, a separate external agent.

Foreclosure activity increases in Maryland

Homes are the most valuable possessions of many Marylanders. They are not only an important investment, but they have powerful memories attached to them. Sometimes, people use their homes as collateral for a loan and then find that they cannot make the payments. The lender may then initiate foreclosure proceedings on the house in order to recover their money and the homeowner may, in turn, lose the home.

According to a report, in the first half of this year, 613,874 properties had foreclosure filings in the United States. This indicated a 23 percent decrease from the same period last year and a 19 percent decrease from the last six months of 2013. The report also stated that June 2014 saw the least number of foreclosure filings, one in 214 houses, since the housing bubble burst in July 2006.

Studies explore reasons for credit card debts

Consumers in Maryland often utilize credit cards. Although these can be helpful tools to establish and uild credit, it could also be a negative tool that could put them in the hole. It is important to keep a healthy financial life, but there are events in life that might cause consumers to over use their credit cards.

The statistic from a survey conducted the National Foundation for Credit Counseling stated that three times more people were more embarrassed by their credit card balances than their weight. Another study conducted recently shows that people who have to carry forward the card balances every month often experience resentment or even rage.

Agencies to abide by laws while collecting medical debts

The majority of people living in Maryland or elsewhere in the country have probably had to visit a hospital at some stage of life. Once a person reaches the age of 18, if uninsured, the person is responsible for personal medical expenses. Following treatment, a hospital will typically itemize the bill by sending statements detailing the procedures, medications and tests that were given. If the patient does not pay the medical charges to the healthcare providers within a stipulated time, the debt may be sold to debt collectors.

There are various options to deal with medical debt. The person may pay all the medical bills, offer a settlement or seek a repayment plan. In certain cases the person may negotiate with the collection agency to reduce the amount of medical debt. This may help the person clear the debt by paying a lesser amount. The debt remains on a credit report for seven years, after which time it no longer appears.

Maryland plagued by higher than average student loan debt

The average federal student loan debt for Maryland collegians who earn a degree is almost $28,000, a figure close to the national average. Student loan debt is scaling new heights in the United States, and the federal government is trying hard to counter the increase with helpful mechanisms to cope with the debt. Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to increase government programs offering debt relief. A limit on monthly loan payments of 10 percent of total household earnings is a part of the plan.

Maryland announces settlement in response to foreclosure abuse

Recently, the attorney general of Maryland announced a multimillion dollar state and federal agreement to help Maryland homeowners receive help with home loans and better service from SunTrust Mortgage Inc. The purpose of this $550 million settlement is to prevent, among other things, foreclosure administrative abuses by the lender. An independent federal supervisor has also been established to implement and oversee the standards of mortgage servicing agreed to in the settlement.

Hundreds of property owners in Maryland have loans that have been or are being serviced by SunTrust and nearly 1,200 lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2013 due in part to loan servicing abuse. Borrowers have also experienced unfair banking practices when their income proved to be inadequate to cover mortgage payments.

Debt-consolidation loans: answer to credit card debt?

Credit cards are common amongst Maryland's residents. They offer a convenient way of buying goods and getting services without having to immediately pay for them. Many people, though, rely on these cards to get by, oftentimes because of unemployment or a medical condition. As a result, these individuals accumulate credit card debt that cannot be paid off with their current income. Delinquent payments can then harm consumers' credit ratings for the future and may lead to creditor harassment and wage garnishment.

One of the solutions available to a person facing huge credit card debt is a debt-consolidation loan. This involves the debtor taking a low-interest loan to pay off their high-interest credit card debts. The amount he or she pays for this new loan will be lower than the combined amount they would pay for the smaller, higher interest credit card debts, but one needs to know all the detailed information about debt-consolidation loans before taking them.

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