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Successful settlement story and a settlement company review

Submitted by tincan on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 11:21

(Admins, if this is in the wrong spot, I apologize! I wasn't sure if this is an OK place for success using companies, or only personal efforts.)

This board was where I started my research into debt options (I made a few guest posts as Cruithne), so I thought that now that I am debt-free I would come back and return the favor of sharing my experiences. If this is as much a review as a story, that is because I remember how starved for information I was when I was trying to research the different settlement companies. If you have any questions that my rather verbose post doesn't cover, I'll be happy to answer here or in PM.

Short Version:

Cards settled: BofA (20%), the dreaded Citibank (50%), and State Farm Bank aka Chase (55%), all of which were current before I started
Time it took: ~6 months (all pre-chargeoff)

Total debt at start of program: ~35.3k
Total debt right before charge off (because of yucky fees): ~38.5k
Total settlement amounts: ~12.2k (about 30%)
Total amount saved including fees paid: ~20-23k (depending on whether you count the interest and fees)

Company I used: aka "sifxpert"
Fee structure: 20% of what you are saved for each settlement, with a $500 retainer fee at the start
My Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

Based on my experiences, I can recommend without reservations the settlement company I used. If I had to do it all over again and if he were no longer in business, I wouldn't even try settlement. Tooo many things that can go wrong. The fee structure of other companies is scary in comparison, and no one has impressed me with their skill and character as much as James Lombardo of has.

Long Version

A year ago (fall 2006), I was a day late paying my BofA bill because of...well, I don't remember. Probably just busy or trying to juggle the in and out-flow of money down to the day like we often have to. Or maybe I was just too close to my limit. They've given me a hard time about that too. In any case, they took my apr up to the ungodly 30%+, making it impossible for me to pay my minimum balances. And nothing I could do would talk them down.

So I found myself here, and I learned about settlement. I had never been more than a day late in any payment, so as I learned more of the "dark side" of settlement (that I would have to stop paying bills, or no one would settle), I was pretty worried. I was originally talking to the company that was popular here at the time (I don't know if they still are), but their payment plan really worried me. Because of the up-front fees and because of my low income, it would take years to settle my debts through their setup.

At first I thought that was the only option, so I was this close to signing up, but then through my various googlings to find other opinions about them, I learned about the company now known as (aka sifxpert aka James).

I was intrigued by the idea of working with someone who participated in the community he served (a different one, not this one), so after talking with James on the phone and sending countless emails (I'd gotten pretty jaded and suspicious of the whole debt correction industry by this time), my husband and I decided to enter his program. I was won over by how smart the guy was, and how very not-pushy he was. I knew that settlement was possible, but only if the person doing the negotiation was very clever and knowledgeable. I felt he was.

We stopped paying our bills in...March 2007 I think it was? And by September we were debt-free.

I can't say it was the easiest thing I've done. While he did what he could to stop phone calls, it wasn't foolproof. It helped that I had a cell phone as my main phone that could be set to only accept #s in my address book. And of course nothing can help the guilt if you are someone who has always paid your bills.

But it worked. All three of our cards were settled before charge-off. And I can now gladly give my wholehearted recommendation that James and his team at can do the job.

The Good:

1) The fee structure ($500 retainer, then 20% of what he saves you from each settlement) is *sane*. It's what everyone should be doing. It meant we actually had the money to settle, since we hadn't paid most of our savings into fees to the settlement company.

2) He believes in settling before charge-off. Avoiding charge-off was very important to us, so we needed to know that the negotiator would fight for that.

3) He is not only smart and good at what he does, but he respects and cares about his clients. Yes, it is a business (and possibly a very lucrative one, given how many of these companies are out there), but I honestly think the guy gets a high from helping people.

The Bad:

Some things could have been improved on. In a perfect world the calls would have stopped completely. I don't know if it is possible or not these days.

And as others have mentioned, he can be hard to get ahold of. It is better than it was earlier this year and in the last 2-3 months he's always replied to emails within 24 hours. Still, when you are doing something like settlement you really want to be able to reach your negotiator quickly. With so many fraudulent and irresponsible companies out there, not being able to reach them by phone relatively quickly can make you start to imagine all sorts of terriying things.

Fortunately this doesn't appear to have hurt anyone yet besides generating some worry. I've read folks being frustrated that it took them a little too long to reach him, but I've never read anyone complain about settlement results. If he'd messed up or screwed someone over with a bad negotiation, we'd hear about it here or on one of the other debt settlement online communities.

So despite the above negatives, if I had to do it all over again, I'd still sign on with him.

P.S. Being debt-free and paying everthing with awesome. OMG. I randomly break out into a sh*t-eating grin at the oddest moments.

I've been reading alot of recent feedback about sifxpert and every one has been very positive. I have not read any praises about other companies like this. From what I have gathered, most companies are only out to get your money. If I decide to go this route, after all the shopping around I have done which has made me too nervous to sign on with anyone at this point, I would hire sifxpert. I spoke to him for close to 1 hour about a week ago and not once did I feel pressured into signing up or that I was hearing a sales pitch. He tells it how it is and quite honestly, made me realize things I never would have known without speaking to him. If I could get over my fears, I would not think twice about retaining his services.

Submitted by on Wed, 11/14/2007 - 16:02

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Ok, I know this may be hard to believe but after reading this post, I called Sifxpert to hire him for help with my debts. I had 3 cards with approx. $15,000.00 in debt. I was all ready to sign up with clear debt solutions or my other choice was Superior Debt. I like Superior Debt since they have a credit repair program but my problem with both companies was that their fees were all paid up front. I did not feel comfortable paying over $2500.00 to anyone before they did anything for me. After reading this post and many alike, I decided to hire sifxpert. One thing that was also a major turn off from others I spoke with was that they hounded me more than the collectors were. Literally, I must have had 5 calls per day from Superior. Anyway, I then contacted Sifxpert and the guy declined me. I figured there must have been something wrong since all these other companies were absolutely begging for my business which my debt was not that much they all seemed so desperate why the hell would sifxpert turn me away?

I did not read his email thoroughly so I went back and in his rejection letter, added, if I wanted to settle he could provide me with info on how to do on my own. I requested this information although I found it extremely odd. He responded with 3 phone numbers, 3 peoples names and extensions and the amount to offer for each settlement with brief instructions on how to handle the calls.

In agreement with the original post, sifxpert was very difficult to speak with on the phone but emailed almost immediately. I was very skeptical on calling any of the numbers but figured what the hell I will call on my smallest account and see what happens.

Within a 5 minute phone conversation, I had a fax come over my fax machine for a 35% settlement. I then called the other 2 numbers and sure enough, 2 more letters recieved via-fax. I could not believe how other companies would have charged me over $2500.00 to do what I did on my own investing a few hours of reading and finding the right person.

Sifxpert is the only honest business person in the debt consolidation industry. His reason for giving me the information was because I had too little debt for his program and I quote "I just can't take people's money in good conscience when I know that a) they need it more than I do and b) it will take you all of 10 minutes to do on your own."

What business do you know of that would not take $2500.00 from someone willing to pay?

Lastly, once I contacted him to thank him for the incredible advice, he then forwarded me a file containing templates to dispute my accounts with the credit bureaus. The letters are all very straight forward all that needs to be entered into these templates is your name address etc. and your accounts. Superior Debt uses their "Credit Repair" as a way to lure people in saying that once we settle, we then fix your credit for you blah blah blah...and how no one else can do what we can do but in the end, I know I did better than they could have ever done. Superior also tried selling me into a program for 36 months. For $45.00 per month, 36 months would have been another $1620.00. Thieves.

Submitted by on Sun, 02/17/2008 - 23:24

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Hello, 'debt free 4 Free'.....can you please give me some ideas, on the advice, given to you, and how to deal with CA's? Thanks. Sounds like Sixpert REALLY wants to help people.." won't take your money for 'little' debt?" And..STILL helps you out? PM me please and let me know.

Submitted by sdchargers_63 on Tue, 02/19/2008 - 09:31


( Posts: 1798 | Credits: )

I tried to contact sixpert today. Havent heard back from him but he will prob decline me to since I only have $10500 in debt. Was it really that easy? what if you dont have funds iavailable to settle right away?

Submitted by on Mon, 06/30/2008 - 20:30

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It's funny how things change. James Lombardo, Debtxpert, Sifxpert or whatever he calls himself today has totally screwed up a lot of peoples lives because of STOLE not only a lot of their hard earned money, but also stole part of their lives. Many clients that signed up during the last 3 to 8 months read all of these great reviews and jumped on ship with this thief. Now that he had dissapeared for over 3 months and closed his forum, he has ran out of people to convince to write those reviews. I have spoken with several people that told me James convinced them to write flowering reviews for him on this site and others. It just boils down to educating yourself about the system and doing it yourself and not trusting anyone else to do it for you. As important as this process is for most of us and how it's affects will influence our lives for many years to come, don't trust anyone to screw it up for you.......just do it yourself. We got ourself into the mess and we should pay the dues (educating ourselves in the process) to get ourselves out of it. Good luck to all of his X-clients.

Submitted by on Fri, 07/25/2008 - 20:23

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Thanks for the recommendation of I've just sent him an email with all my pertinent information. We'll see what happens. It feels good to have a little bit of hope!!!


Submitted by on Mon, 10/13/2008 - 16:05

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