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Hi everyone, from a British Fool! I've just posted this message on the UK Fool Dealing With Debt board, but was advised to ask you guys as the debts involved are owed in the US.... Here goes:

Hi everyone,

<long post warning!>

I have a serious question for you, despite the light-heartedness of the subject of this post!

I've recently returned from a trip to New York with my parents to visit my Grandmother who has been living there for several years now. She is 70 years old and receives a piddling amount of a pension and medicare payments every month,(despite having worked well into her 60's) with which she is supposed to make ends meet. We (my parents and I) try to help out as well, but it's not much, admittedly.

So you can imagine our horror when after a lot of nagging)she admitted that she's got herself into a bit of a pickle with credit cards. At the last count she owed a total of £4000(approx. And that's GB pounds, not US Dollars!) on 3 credit cards (Providian, MBNA and Discover).

Eventually (inevitably) she found she was unable to make the payments and decided to pass it on to a debt management company called Genus to renegotiate the payments. All the cards have now been stopped and she makes a payment of $163/month to Genus who distribute it to the lenders. Obviously, it's going to take her years to clear these debts and, to be blunt, she's not getting any younger. She's already sick and the worry of this is making it worse. Therefore, my parents and I have decided to try and clear this for her.

I have spoken to Genus and they say that we can clear her debt by sending them a bankers cheque made out to USD and then letting them know how to distribute it between the 3 lenders.

I would like to speak to each of the lenders directly to ascertain exactly how much she owes them and then ask if they will accept a lesser amount in "full and final" settlement, just to clear the debt once and for all. (NB. This is an option which exists in the UK, but I don't know if you can do the same thing over in the US)

My question is , are they (the lenders)likely to agree to this, given the arrangement they have come to with Genus? Also, are there any other factors which I should take into consideration before I act?

Thanks in advance for your help

Kind regards

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