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Demystifying Debt Negotiation Brilliance
Episode 1530th August 2023 • The Miller Law Chronicles • Attorney James Miller
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Your host, Attorney Jamie Miller, I am thrilled to introduce Joe Coll on our next episode of The Miller Law Chronicles. Equipped with an extraordinary talent in debt negotiation, Joe doesn't just help you face debts but helps you win battles against them, while also stepping up your credit scores. If you're wrestling with debts or looking for bankruptcy alternatives, tune in - this episode might be your key to financial freedom. Don’t miss out on this informative week. See you there.


Atty. Jamie Miller: [:

And today I'm really excited to talk to Joe Coll. Joe has worked with us here at Miller Miller for a long time. He's a client retention specialist, debt negotiation specialist extraordinaire. He's the person behind the scenes if someone needs debt negotiation help to help get rid of a credit card bill, a medical bill, a private student loan.

ible for our clients. He's a [:

Despite his love for Philadelphia, he'll tell us. How great he is at debt negotiation, how, you know, we've helped clients in the stories that he has and how we're helping people get credit scores up to 720. I'm happy to present this podcast to you about debt negotiation as an alternative to bankruptcy.

And I think you'll really like this podcast. It's really important to me. If you take a minute to follow us on YouTube, if that's where you're watching us or on Google podcasts, Spotify, Apple, it would mean the world to me. If you click that follow or subscribe button, it helps us to continue to bring great content to you.

If you want to message [:

Hi, it's Attorney Jamie Miller, and I'm excited to welcome you to another Miller Law Chronicle podcast. Today we're going to spend some time with Joe Coll. Joe works with me here at Miller Miller as a client retention specialist and debt negotiation specialist extraordinaire.

Joe's been with us for a few years now and is really taking the lead in the firm in helping people get out of debt using debt negotiation. And it's become a very specialized area of the practice and something that we're really excited to offer. Our clients as an alternative to filing for bankruptcy.


Joe Coll: Thanks, Jamie. Pleasure to be here.

Atty. Jamie Miller: It's good to have you. And I think you got a Philly's hat on. Is that.

Joe Coll: Yes, I do. Yes.

Atty. Jamie Miller: How are the.

Joe Coll: National League East champions.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Yes. And how are they doing so far this year?

Joe Coll: Well on our way to going back to the World Series.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Yeah. You and I had a nice car ride last night, listening the other night, listening to a no, no, no hitter. And I think the pitcher was Lorenzen or something.

Joe Coll: Yes. Trade deadline pickup.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Yeah, and he got a no hitter in his, I think in his second appearance for Philadelphia against the, it was against the Nationals, kind of the, not such a great team, but a no hitter in the Major League Baseball is quite the accomplishment.

I wish you luck, hope that our Milwaukee Brewers get to meet Philadelphia in the National League Championship, which would be remarkably exciting.

Joe Coll: To see in a couple weeks too.

Atty. Jamie Miller: [:

But I really appreciate you joining me today for the podcast and tell me a little bit about your journey, how, you know, where you've worked before, where you're from, maybe a little bit, and how you ended up here at Miller Miller, and then kind of the you know, how we've built this debt negotiation area.

on law firm which I ended up [:

It's like to say, yeah. And when I got here I kind of fell into the debt negotiation because I was on the receiving end of it for so many years. So I kind of, it brought me a good perspective about, you know, what the creditors are thinking, what they need to hear in order to help to bring the balance of the debt down to a agreeable amount for everybody.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right. And it's you know, there's two different sides of the coin. When. People are having financial trouble. It's the creditor side, those that are trying to collect and then what we call the debtor side, the people that owe the money. And like you said, you were on the creditor side, which can be stressful.

hat debt negotiations are an [:

Joe Coll: Well, it entails, I mean, the black and white of it is just bringing the debt down to something that's affordable for them to, you know, to be able to pay off. What I find is a lot of people, they get debt consolidation and debt negotiation confused sometimes.

You know, debt consolidation is where your, the creditors are. You're trying to pay somebody out over time, and it's not always a negotiated lower amount. But it's not a quick process. So debt negotiation is, it's a little quicker and we try to I assess the financial situation. You know why number one, why couldn't they file the bankruptcy, which is, you know, a faster way out of it and cleaner.

the debt down, but it's the [:

Where they're just their current on everything and they, you know, they want to try to negotiate a seller and they couldn't file bankruptcy. And, you know, that's a little easier of a structure. Some of them are in the middle of getting sued some of them may be in the middle of getting garnished and you know.

It's different expectations apart for each level of where they are in the debt in the negotiation process because really you don't want to wait too long to get into it because once a creditor starts paying somebody to collect the debt, you know, it's at a collection agency they're losing, you know 15 or 20% right off the top goes to a law firm. They may be losing as much as 30 off the top which you know. It kind of starts to limit the you know, the reduction in the debt, but it doesn't mean that we can't, you know, but it, I mean, we always can, but it's just a matter of how low we can get it.

Right. And you had mentioned [:

Joe Coll: Well, what they're offering is longer term, but the problem with debt consolidation is creditors are not required. To work with that consolidation companies. So what happens is they have maybe 8 creditors. And next, you know, 4 of them are working with the debt consolidation company. The other 4 are suing them, garnishing their wages.

And, you know, it's not clean like ours. You know, when we get involved, you know, we stress who we are. Bankruptcy is an alternative and, you know, it gets their attention and, you know, they'll usually start working with us. And we get a little more, I feel we get a little more respect by being, you know, having a law firm name behind us.

very long time. There is an [:

It runs through the state court system. The key to that is the interest ops running. All right. When people are in these debt, they, you know, they see the, they keep, you know, they make their payments and nothing ever goes down. The balance never goes down. The chapter 128 freezes everything and you start seeing a reduction of that right now.

So that's the longer process. But you know, that did that negotiation. We like to get that negotiations done within 6 months. Is usually my goal to have it done. And sometimes, you know, we, you have kind of some options. We can set up a longer term payment plan on a settlement, or we can do a lump sum.

nger if that's what's needed.[:

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right. And what types of debts do you find the most success with as far as being able to get negotiated deals on them?

Joe Coll: The primary one that we negotiate, I think is credit card debt. Primarily probably the most successful too. Again, that's one of the kinds of debt that you have to catch it in the right, at the right time to get, you know, to get the most discount for the people. Another one we've had a lot of success in is private student loans.

Something that's not dischargeable in bankruptcy, but we have, you know, with the way the federal laws are starting to change relating to that, it's perking up the creditor's ears a little bit, seeing that there might be some possible discharge of bankruptcy with the private student loans. And, you know, in the last six to eight months, I really had a lot of success with the private student loans and then, you know, medical debt in general you know, the medical debt industry has changed a lot in the last couple of years with COVID and the credit reporting changes.

the board. I mean, the ones [:

A lot of times they have, we all know what a payday loan is, but there's a business version of that. And it's, I think it's even more brutal than the private payday loans. But there's a lot of that going on now too. You know, we were very successful with getting those done as well.

Atty. Jamie Miller: right? Yeah. I'm seeing a ton of the. I think they call them merchant cash advances. When you have a small business owner that has taken out that loan, just a ridiculous interest rate. They're often garnishing accounts receivable, taking money right out of the account. The interest rates are terrible.

There's a personal [:

Joe Coll: Well, I mean, it's been doable. A lot of it depends with medical debt on the insurance situation. If you hadn't, if you had insurance, the chances are this, we'll get a little bit of a settlement, but you know, insurance picked up a lot of it. And this is a balance that's left over after insurance.

So, you know, discounts may, you know, not very high, but then there's also somebody who was uninsured maybe at the time of the accident. In medicals, they might have had a lapse in coverage and just, you know, man plan, God laughs, but you get an accident in the two days you didn't have insurance. And the yeah, so there's a bill out there.


Atty. Jamie Miller: Right.

Joe Coll: Doable and now they're what I've noticed since covid because when I was in collections, we did it for freighter and Children's and medical college. So I have a pretty good knowledge about that. They have stopped for right now. They always wanted to stop suing people, but it seems like they have start, you know, they're not doing that as much anymore.

And, you know, it may be special cases, but they're not now. So I think that's going to help to open up that negotiation a little more because they're not taking money from anybody at this point.

So I think they're more open. That's not an avenue for them to collect. So now, you know, I see a lot of success for that in the future.

onal toll that this debt has [:

Joe Coll: Yeah, I have two different kind of takes on that, which I think, which. I think makes you do a good job. And number one, I spent so many years putting people in that situation, you know, from the collection side and running pressure on them and, you know, it's so I know what they're hearing when they're talking to their creditors.

ry to be empathetic and I am [:

There is a way out of this. And we're going to get you there and you have the right people on your side to be able to get you out of this. So, you know, take a deep breath and, you know, we'll take this journey together and you'll let me take that burden from you. I'll carry it and we'll get you through it.

And people seem to, they respond well to it and they, you know, you'll see my reviews on our website. People are very happy with that and they see that I present that to them. Well, and I do feel it. I really do. It's not, you know, it's not a line of anything. It's I just believe it. And since I've come over here working for you for years now, I've seen the results of it.

u and I think it was, they'd [:

Atty. Jamie Miller: And there's a lot of truth to that because You know, unless you can maintain that empathy and sympathy for the client, and then transfer that into aggressively representing the client, you really. It's hard to do a great job for them because, and that's one thing that you always do, which is remarkable despite you know, the hours that you put in and the hard work that you put in and the number of clients that you help.

t the best deal for yourself [:

And I appreciate that you push it. You just don't take that 1st offer. You have a number in mind that you feel that you've discussed with the client that you feel is reachable and you push for that number. And I, you know, I applaud you for that because it's not always easy to kind of keep up that positive attitude and that desire to, you know, always seek what's best for our clients. So thank you for that.

Joe Coll: I think we were talking about the other night. We're talking about an author that we read, maybe, I don't know if that was you, but it is an author and he has his main character is a detective and his name is Harry Bosch and he solves murders and his motto is, everyone counts or no one counts. You know, every client should be treated the same and fought with the same passion.

eah, yeah. And that's easier [:

Joe Coll: There was a gentleman eight year Iraqi war veteran. And came, came to us and he was really under a lot of stress and, you know, we teamed up and, you know, I told him, you know, let me take care of this for you and I so much appreciated. You know, what he did for our country and everything, and we got him taken care of.

And, you know, he said that on, in the review on our website, you know, he changed my life and got me out of a dark place. And, you know, it was a very proud to have been able to do that for him. Again, I'm very pro veteran and, you know, he's just amazing. And another, I'll tell you another story.

just came back into my life [:

She was scared to death. Started getting sued and was scared to death and worked with her over the course of about four months and got everything settled well under 50% of what she was owed or what was owed, what she owed. And she was so, she's cute, you know, and she was just, the end result made me feel probably one of the best that I ever felt after the outcome of the case.

a call from her two days ago [:

And I had a spreadsheet. I knew exactly when we paid it. I know who we paid. I have confirmation number and now we're going to make this little lady a little bit of money after we send our consumer rights attorney after the credit card company, because they should not. They should not have sued her.

It was right there. So it was nice. It's sometimes it's nice to see people circle back or they send a friend over or something like that.

Atty. Jamie Miller: There the referrals being a lot because that's the ultimate compliment when you've done a good job for someone is when they send someone else or they come back if they need more help and we see a lot of that.

n over bankruptcy or chapter [:

Joe Coll: For the veteran. He felt, you know, as a veteran would, a lot of times he felt an obligation to pay his, you know, to pay his creditors, but, you know, he, it got to the point he couldn't. I know he had a couple of kids coming on the way and he was, he's disabled. I won't get into why, but he was disabled and just felt like, you know, he should try to do the right thing, you know, but he also realizes.

And the fact of the matter is, you know, it's credit card debt. And the fact of the matter is, you know, they get overcharged, you know, you might have bought a $5,000 worth of product and they're coming after you for $10,000. Now they have a right to make money, you know, don't get me wrong. Everybody understands that.

o show you, maybe respect is [:

You're just taking a shot in the dark, but when you hire a firm like Miller Miller to work for you, they know that we know. And one of the advantages I have here, especially when it's down, when it gets to the legal end of it. I know almost all of the attorneys on the creditor side because we were competitors for years.

So that brings a certain amount of respect as well. But anybody, even a credit card company, once an attorney's office gets involved. You know, because the clients will say to me, well, they didn't offer me anything. I'm like, well, how are you going to get it? And they said, because you're coming to a professional, you have a problem.

assets to be able to file a [:

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right. And I think one of the values of kind of knowing about bankruptcy and debt negotiation chapter 128 is that when a client comes in and has a problem I. You join me in the view that it's really not our job to tell them what to do I think it's our job to empower them with as much knowledge as they can and then kind of shepherd them to the best decision that they can make to help them make the best decision that's best for them and their family.

And there's a lot of people, bank bankruptcy helps a ton of people and is a great solution for a lot of people. But for others, they may not have enough debt that doesn't make sense to file bankruptcy. They may just say, you know what, let's try debt negotiation first and see what happens. And you know, I think the results that we're able to get for people and also.

credit score, [:

Right? And, you know, so someone comes in and they have, you know, three credit cards, you know, all three total about $30,000. What kind of information do you need from them to be able to assess their case before you go to the credit or make an offer?

Joe Coll: Financial situation, you know, what is your income? How is it structured? That means, you know, sometimes people, you know, they're on commissions and, you know, it's not a steady income. So how's your income structured? Is the income. Protected income, like it's no security, you know, they can't take social security money.

children do you have? What, [:

And, you know, how much you got coming in, how much you have going out. And like when I present creditor, I have to present financial information like that. I have to tell the story, you know, and I get the information from the client. You know, I presented in a way where, you know, there's as much money coming in as money going out.

And, you know, there's a certain amount of money available. And, you know, let's try to fit that into that window. And you know, but that's the big part of it is telling the story for the client and being their voice because when they try to call the creditor, they weren't allowed to have the voice.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right.

Joe Coll: They get pushed around and, you know, personally, I'm not the kind of person that's going to get pushed around and we shouldn't be pushed around.

are professional as well. So,[:

You know, they want to, they just can't. And, you know, why can't you and get the story behind that and, you know, and present it in that way.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right.

Joe Coll: Just to touch on one thing when you were talking about when we first meet with people, yeah, people will either come in with a preset idea of what bankruptcy is and, you know, Oh, I don't want to do it.

There's a lot of bugaboos about bankruptcy, but it's really a myth, you know, a lot of it, and I spouted that myth and that's my creditor side. All I knew about bankruptcy was I wasn't getting paid and you know, there's all these, you know, these. Stuff out there about it. And I tell them that I also tell it to people.

tion and every consultation, [:

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right. That's very valuable information into the creditors, you know, like on credit card debt, are they looking for like financial statements? Do they, when you're calling, do they want to know what income is? Do they want to know what assets are? Or are they just, you know, debts two years old and they just want to get it settled? I mean, what do you see in there? Does it?

Joe Coll: Creditor side?

Atty. Jamie Miller: Yeah, I think what they're looking for.

Joe Coll: At the different levels of where it is in the collection process, you've heard of the phrase trust, but verify.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right.

Joe Coll: You know, there's a certain stitch, you know, certain stages of collections. Yeah, I got to provide bank statements and some other flat out information from, you know, showing the debt other times.

They call it up. What's the [:

What is the situation with it? Cause then I will know what I have to, you know, what I have to show and what I don't, you know, what cards in my hand I got to show and what I don't have to show.

Atty. Jamie Miller: Yeah. And then you know, what are the pros and cons, you know, like of hiring someone to do it versus trying to do it on your own?

Joe Coll: Me when you're trying to do it on your own, you don't really have a, you don't have a cudgel, you know, you don't have, you can say you have, Oh, maybe I'll file bankruptcy. But then, you know, they're not, it's not going to listen to it. They just want to know what's the case number. If you're going to file bankruptcy or, you know, they just push them around.

m and I did it for years and [:

Oh, maybe I can do that myself. And I welcome the opportunity for a couple of reasons. Number one, when they make the decision to come back to us. Then they know that they've, you know, they tried and failed. And the other reason is, I encourage it sometimes, is to talk to them and tell them. Look, I've been talking to a bankruptcy attorney.

mean, it solves both of the [:

Atty. Jamie Miller: Right? And it's all about leverage, you know, sometimes when a client calls and tries to settle a debt and maybe they have the income. To be able to resolve the debt, or maybe they submitted a financial application for that loan. And so the creditor kind of has a sense from that initial application of what the financial situation, but if someone's in a relatively decent financial situation, they still can qualify to file a bankruptcy.

And so the leverage that you have calling from Miller Miller, you know, a bankruptcy law firm is listen. Joe creditor, if we don't settle this debt, you know, we're not threatening you, but they kind of know that bankruptcy is a potential and you've built that leverage, you know, you've built your case before you talk to them.

ere as far as people? Or I'm [:

Joe Coll: Oh, absolutely. After bankruptcy, you know, we offer and we pay for a program called the seven steps to 720. It's designed for chapter seven bankruptcy to give you a 720 credit score within two years. And we offer that to our debt negotiating clients as well, because the idea is to clear the credit. So you have no debt.

And so you're in the same close to the same position you were in when you file it. If you file a chapter seven on the credit report, it will show is settled for less than full balance. But in the end, it's still, the debt's still and it'll be reported properly in the credit report if you don't owe the money.

t score. And a lot of people [:

More on the bankruptcy thing here, but more of the we tell people this when we sign them up is you got to stay out of the trap. When you want your debt free, you got to stay out of the trap. And that's because all the creditors are going to try to suck you back into debt, which is another reason we encourage you going to doing the 720 program after debt negotiation is done.

Stay away from that and you can build your credit through this. You know, do it the proper way with a good solid foundation. And there's no reason we, you know, it's the same after that settlement, as long as you're putting all your debt into it, you know, if you're leaving some stuff out, then that's your choice and that's another advantage of debt negotiation is you can keep, you know, if you want to keep a credit card, you can't, we're only dealing with what.

You know what you want us to deal with, but if you do the clean slate, which is what I always suggest, you know, getting all the debts settled, you'll be able to rebuild your credit the same way as you can after a bankruptcy.

experience that you want to [:

Joe Coll: Don't be scared. There's a solution out there for you. Maybe, you know, more than one and you know, don't be ashamed of your debt. There's nothing wrong with it. Labor handling can file bankruptcy. Okay. And if that happened, you know, or needed debt relief, I mean, he went the bankruptcy route, but don't be scared.

There's help out there for you. I went, you know, I used to be the big bad wolf at the door and now on the other side, and you know, there is help for you, you know, but you have to, you know, if you're in a debt situation, you have to do something. And you know, to come in and spend a half an hour with us, it doesn't cost you any money.

and you're just not getting [:

Like, I'm at that phase of my life right now, you know. I'm starting to think about what beach I want to be laying on when I'm, you know, 68 years old. And you start thinking about that. And if you keep doing that, if you don't address the situation, you're never going to sit on the beach, you know, and when you're in that credit card debt and you're paying the minimum things, I always refer to, you know, the mouse in the cage, he runs on the wheel and they, that piece of cheese dangles in front of the wheel.

If he never gets to eat the cheese, let's eat some cheese. Let's get you some cheese to eat and you know, you can get there, but it's ultimately that person's decision. We'll always be here no matter where you are in the process.

hing to have a conversation. [:

I really appreciate you, Joe. Thank you so much for taking the time. To talk with us today to our listeners. If you can we greatly appreciate you following us on YouTube. If you're watching this video on YouTube, click that Subscribe Button. You'll get updates on upcoming podcasts.

If you're on Google podcasts or Spotify or Apple. Please Follow or Subscribe. So we can continue to push out some really great content. Joe, thank you so much. Have a great rest of your day and we'll look forward to helping, you know, more and more clients in this debt negotiation world is the future.

oll: Well, thanks for having [:

Atty. Jamie Miller: So I did that on purpose. Even though you're not a huge Packer fan, I made you sit in a location where we see Brett Favre and Bart Starr lurking behind you.

Joe Coll: I can't think of two better.

Atty. Jamie Miller: We'll talk to you soon.

Joe Coll: Thanks guys.