If you’ve come to the conclusion the best solution for resolving your debt is settlement, your next concern should be how to find a legit debt relief partner. While debt relief is indeed a workable solution from which many people have benefited, the industry has had its share of charlatans. Consider the following elements before signing a contract to avoid becoming ensnared in a scam.
The American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) is the most prestigious organization watching over the industry. High marks from it will usually signal you’ll be in good hands. The Better Business Bureau is another trustworthy resource in this regard. You want a company with accreditation by the BBB.
Check with the Office of the Attorney General in your state to see if customer complaints have been logged against the company. If they exist, take a minute to find out what they were about. The industry is known to have misinformation circulating about some of its top players too, so do your own due diligence as well. Another resource to consult in this regard is the Consumer Protection Agency.
You’ll also want make it a point to do some research for information such as this Freedom Debt Relief review. Drawing comparisons with other major companies can give you a good idea of the nature of an organization in which you have an interest.
The law forbids debt relief companies from asking for payment until they’ve successfully negotiated and executed an agreement with a creditor on your behalf to lower the cost of debt. In other words, they aren’t supposed to get paid until they’ve actually helped you clear up a debt. If a company is asking for money up front—that’s a red flag.
Information Willingly Provided
A reputable company will be able to give you basic pricing information. It should also be forthcoming with time frames—keeping in mind they will vary according to the amount of debt with which you’re dealing as well as how long it will take you to accrue an adequate settlement fund. The organization should also be up front about the damage to your credit report, tax consequences and the fact that you’ll still be subject to collection calls, emails and text messages.
Consultations Include A Situation Evaluation
The best companies spend some time getting to know your circumstances before offering solutions. In other words, they don’t automatically assume you’re a candidate for debt relief. In the case of debt relief, you might be offered an invitation to consolidate your debt with their Consolidation Plus program, which could accelerate your settlement program.
However, anyone guaranteeing they can settle your debt should be regarded with suspicion. Creditors decide how they will respond to negotiations on a case-by-case basis. There’s always a possibility they might decide against working with you. Further, truly legitimate companies will tell you stopping your payments to your creditors will initially result in some uncomfortable experiences.
How The Payoff Fund Is Protected
You will make cash deposits to settle your debts as part of the program. Ask where that money will be kept. The answer you’re looking for is an FDIC-insured third-party escrow account. Further, funds are not to be disbursed from that account until a debt is to be settled—with your approval.
If you’re careful to base your choice of a debt relief partner upon these criteria, you will find a legitimate agency with which to work. Things are tough enough already if you’re in need of debt relief. Do yourself a favor and do everything possible to find an honest group. Ultimately, you’re looking for one that is sincere about helping you resolve your situation.