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Regarding debt settlement, are you asking about the credit card debt only, or also about the mortgages?
In general, credit card companies will not settle for less than the balance on the card unless the debtor has missed one or two payments. Once a payment is missed, the creditor will typically start calling immediately and will in a short time make a settlement offer of 50 - 60% of the outstanding debt.
If there is no settlement agreement, and if the debt is still not being paid, most credit card companies will then sell the debt to a collection agency for "pennies on the dollar". A collection agency will also typically allow the debtor to pay around 50% of the outstanding debt.
Neither the original creditor nor a collection agency will settle for 10-15%.
The risk involved is the reduced credit score that will result from the missed payments, and also from a settlement. Also, you may have to pay income tax on the amount that is forgiven, as you will be issued a 1099-C for the forgiven debt.
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