Managing Debt

We want to help you get control of your debt. Get advice from our experts on strategies for paying down your debt without hurting your credit score, negotiating with lenders, and managing interactions with debt collectors. We also explain bankruptcy options, your rights as a borrower and what you can and cannot do with student loan debt. Also, get inspiration from other readers who have managed to go debt-free.

Debt Collector Sentenced to Over 14 Years in Prison

Debt Collector Sentenced to Over 14 Years in Prison

Debt Collector Sentenced to Over 14 Years in Prison

How’s this for a nightmare scenario: A Minnesota man was busted and sentenced to prison for stealing identities while working as a legitimate debt collector. Khemall Jokhoo, 36, is the kind of guy who gives debt collectors a bad name: He was sentenced Aug. 20 to 14 1/2 years in federal prison on 33 counts… Read More

The $47 Cellphone Bill Nightmare

The $47 Cellphone Bill Nightmare

The $47 Cellphone Bill Nightmare

There are countless stories — some of which Credit.com has told — about how a small unpaid bill can make a mess of your credit standing. While there are some big balances that sometimes go to collections before you know about them, like medical bills, there are also seemingly insignificant amounts that cause more trouble than… Read More

How One Man Learned to Fight Back Against Debt Collectors

How One Man Learned to Fight Back Against Debt Collectors

How One Man Learned to Fight Back Against Debt Collectors

When his mother, already distraught from her father’s recent death, received a phone call from a debt collector early this year, “Roger” (a pseudonym) was angry. “I saw her get the call at the funeral,” he said. The debt collector was trying to tell Roger’s mother she owed a medical bill she thought had been paid… Read More

The $2,400 Debt That Wouldn’t Die

The $2,400 Debt That Wouldn’t Die

The $2,400 Debt That Wouldn’t Die

Eduardo Austin spent the summer of 2010 watching hundreds of dollars get sucked out of his paycheck every payday by the clerk’s office of the State Court of Fulton County, Georgia. Back in 2004, Discover card had won a $2,401 judgment against him for unpaid credit card bills. The money finally started coming out of… Read More

How to Create a Get-Out-of-Debt Strategy

How to Create a Get-Out-of-Debt Strategy

How to Create a Get-Out-of-Debt Strategy

Collection agencies, banks, personal loans — it might feel like reminders about your debt are everywhere. If you find yourself struggling for a repayment system, you may feel like you will never get out of debt. The first step in managing debt is understanding what you owe and how you should begin making the necessary payments…. Read More

5 Times People Went to Jail for a Debt

5 Times People Went to Jail for a Debt

5 Times People Went to Jail for a Debt

A 1983 Supreme Court ruling made it unconstitutional for judges to send people to prison because they were too poor to pay court fines, but Americans continue to find themselves in jail for unpaid debt. Actually, debtor’s prisons have been outlawed in the U.S. for more than 200 years, but local news and jail records… Read More

Payday Loans or Parents: Who Do I Ask for Money?

Payday Loans or Parents: Who Do I Ask for Money?

Payday Loans or Parents: Who Do I Ask for Money?

A new survey suggests that for Americans, telling families that we need a loan is just about the last thing we want to do. That choice (at 8%) trailed far behind the favored options — credit card debt (34%), a bank loan (21%) or a payday loan (19%). The study, conducted by coupon website Vouchercloud,… Read More

Can I Be Sued Even If I’m Trying to Pay Back a Debt?

Can I Be Sued Even If I’m Trying to Pay Back a Debt?

Can I Be Sued Even If I’m Trying to Pay Back a Debt?

Every day, across America, hundreds of lawsuits are filed against consumers who owe debts they haven’t been able to pay. Consumers who learn they are being sued sometimes scramble to work out a payment arrangement in the hope of keeping the matter out of the courts. Does it work? Not always, as one of our… Read More

Can a Friend Send a Debt Collector After Me?

Can a Friend Send a Debt Collector After Me?

Can a Friend Send a Debt Collector After Me?

A reader wrote to us, worried that a former friend of her daughter’s might take her daughter to collections over some manicures that had been done out of friendship — before the relationship soured. Misunderstandings about money between friends are common. Should dinner at the expensive restaurant your wealthy friend suggested have been her treat? (You… Read More

Can a Debt Collector Call My Friends?

Can a Debt Collector Call My Friends?

Can a Debt Collector Call My Friends?

Have you ever experienced that gut-wrenching fear that a secret you shared with someone you thought you could trust would be leaked? Or maybe it actually happened and you felt betrayed, embarrassed or ashamed. While it’s sometimes tough to know who you can trust with confidential information, one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is… Read More

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