The debt occurred due to divorce, [mostly] child support. There are [also] a couple personal loans: [I’d] take out a loan to pay off a loan, take out another loan to pay off a loan. The next thing you know, you're way over your head. You're just kind of living off your credit cards. [I] couldn't afford to pay back those loans...the monthly payments just got too much, [and] eventually they all were defaulted for the most part. They're all in collection.
I got summoned with court documents. It was kind of like: I've got to do something now before they garnish my wages. I was making payments [to one credit card company, so] they used my payment information to freeze my bank accounts until they got all their money back.
I was going to do the bankruptcy route, but had second thoughts on doing that. [I] started the process, but as I got more into it... it [wasn’t] really practical for me to do it. It just got too complicated.
I read [about what Beyond does,] how they negotiate [debt]. I understood what they were doing. So I wasn't overwhelmed. [It was also] the right moment to say “okay I'm doing this. I'm going to be done with it. I'm just going to do it. I'll suck it up for a little while. It's going to be hard for a little while here. It's going to get a little bit better in a month or two.”
[The man I spoke to] explained how the program worked. It was just something about the way [he] spoke: it sounded like he was truly going to stick with it and keep me in line to keep the program going. He gave me several different options, timeline options, with different dollar amounts. He explained “if you do it this way, you can get it done in 12 months.”
I sa[id]: “I can't do that.”
He said “okay, you can do this in 24, or you can do this in 36, or you can stretch it out to 48 [months].”
I think I chose 36 months. It was something I [could] afford.
I feel good about it, I feel very good about them working in my corner. I mean, if I wasn't, I [could] opt out of the program, no problem.
Any time I've called, it's been really good. They've been helpful. They've given me the information I needed, or they've directed me [where I can find answers.]
I can see the money. I can see who they've settled with, who they haven't. I mean, I'm looking at the settlement offer right now... let's see, I owed $4,800 and they knocked it down to $2,400 so that's a good chunk of money.‡ Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.