You’ve been hearing about debt relief and have decided it would be an effective way for you to emerge from the crushing debt that’s impeding you from advancing in life. The problem is that you’ve also been hearing about the prevalence of unscrupulous types. While most companies are legit, there are indeed those who might purport to help you — but don’t have your best interests in mind.
With that said, here’s how to evaluate a debt relief company.
Explain Debt Relief
The financial strategy that’s also known as debt settlement entails enlisting the help of a debt relief company to see whether your creditors – usually credit card issuers – would be willing to permit you to pay just a portion of what you owe in exchange for having your debt marked as “settled.” Creditors usually go along because they realize that if they don’t, you’re likely to file bankruptcy, which may net them zero. The debt relief process takes between two and four years, by the way – way less than the time it would take you to clear your obligations on your own.
About Those Scams
It’s the sad truth that wherever money is involved, and emotions are high, scams usually abound. Yes, most debt relief companies are on the up and up, but that fact is little solace when you’re the one being ripped off or having your identity stolen.
And it’s somewhat understandable how one could fall victim. When a person is up to their hips in debt, it’s easy to see how they might be taken in by someone who “guarantees” to bail them out.
Some crooks will string you along while taking your cash and worsening your situation, while others will just take your money and skedaddle.
The good news is, there are ways to evaluate debt relief companies that will separate the credible companies from those that may be out to fleece you. For example, a quick online check will reveal the truth about Freedom Debt Relief – an accredited, experienced company with a successful track record – as well the negative records of wrong doers. Google “is Freedom Debt Relief Legit?” and see what you learn.
Look for These Qualities in a Debt Relief Company
- It’s quick to provide program details. Many bad actors won’t until you give them info like your account numbers and balances.
- It doesn’t seek payment up front. In fact, it’s illegal to do otherwise, although that doesn’t stop the scammers. A debt relief company may not seek to collect fees before it has settled at least one of your debts.
- Transparency. Before requesting program enrollment, a debt relief agency is required to tell you about services it will provide, how long it might take before your debts are settled, and what its fees are. It also must apprise you of any associated risks.
- Honesty. In fact, the FTT prohibits companies from making claims about its services that are untrue or unsubstantiated.
- It doesn’t make guarantees. As we say, debt settlement is frequently a winning strategy. However, by their nature, negotiations are unpredictable. Thus, there are no guarantees.
- Accreditation. Especially during this era of fly-by-night scammers, you definitely want an agency that’s accredited by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators and the American Fair Credit Council.
Knowing how to evaluate a debt relief company can make the difference between getting an agency that can help you — and hiring one that might hurt you. In the main, keep in mind that if the promises sound too good to be true, they probably are.