Can I Erase My Debt With a Piece of Paper?

29 Jan Can I Erase My Debt With a Piece of Paper?

When people are desperate, they can fall prey to con-men and scam artists.

Recently, I’ve heard about a scam circulating around the country that has apparently taken in thousands of people each year. The people pushing this claim that credit card obligations really aren’t debt, you don’t have to pay them, and if you knew the SECRET that “they” don’t want you to know, all your debt can be wiped out.

Sounds too good to be true? It is.

In exchange for lots of money–typically a couple of thousand dollars–you receive a document you are instructed to give to your creditors that supposedly shows you don’t owe them anything. The document might be called a “Redemption Certificate,” an “Exchange Bill,” a “Discharge Bond,” or some other fancy legal-sounding name. It looks good and sounds good.

However, the one thing that all of these documents have in common is that after you give these documents to your creditors…absolutely nothing happens. Every creditor will ignore them. They have no legal significance, and will not prevent creditors from writing, calling, suing or garnishing. They are a completely worthless piece of paper that you paid a lot for, and they do absolutely nothing to relieve you of your debt.

Look at it this way: if you were able to wipe out your debt simply by giving your creditors a piece of paper (that doesn’t have “Federal Reserve” printed on it!), don’t you think everyone–especially the lawyers–would be doing it?

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.
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