Hi there, this is Jonathan Ginsberg, and I’m
a bankruptcy attorney in the Atlanta, Georgia area. What I’d like to talk
to you today about is your ability to negotiate, or actually your attorney’s
ability to negotiate, balances due in Chapter Seven cases when you
owe money to electronics stores, appliance stores, and the like. I recently had a case where I had a client
who owed about $2400 to one of the big box electronics stores. Included in
the balance was an old camera, there were a couple of laptops, a printer,
and things like that. It was all two or three years old. The lender had an attorney appear at the 341
Meeting, the creditors hearing, and they brought us a reaffirmation
agreement that said $2400. They wanted $250 a month. My client says,
I can’t do it. So, the opposing counsel, who I know pretty well, said here’s
a number. Call this number. Call the law firm. It’s out in another state.
See what you can work out. So, I did. They immediately went to $1200.
They immediately dropped their demand in half. We went back and forth probably
six or seven times. But, at the end of the day after about three weeks
of this I was able to settle this account for $400 cash. So, my client
had the option of either $400 cash or $500 at $100 a month for the next
five months. We were able to take a $2400 balance and knock it down to $400
in cash. That’s because we asked. There’s no reason
to pay much more than these electronics are worth. As you probably know,
computers, cameras, camcorders, and all that stuff loses value
immediately. The creditor is going to ask, but don’t feel you have to take
it. One of the things that I always do when I’m
looking in Chapter Seven and my client wants to reaffirm a debt and keep electronics
or small items like that, I always negotiate. I’ll even try to
negotiate on cars. It doesn’t always work, but every once in a while I’m
able to get a deal. Houses, not so much, but cars sometimes and electronics
almost always. If you are going into Chapter Seven and you
owe money to a big box electronics store, or to anybody that’s not
a car lender or a mortgage lender but it’s secured, there’s a security
interest involved in it, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be
able to negotiate some sort of a deal, get much better terms, or some sort
of a cash payout… even better, when you go into Chapter Seven. You’ve
just got to ask is what it boils down to. I hope this has been helpful. I hope you enjoy
the Bankruptcy Law Network blog. Any questions, feel free to contact
any one of us. Again, my name is Jonathan Ginsberg. I’m in Atlanta. I hope
this has been helpful, and we’ll talk to you soon.