There is no shortage of credit card debt relief companies but not all are scrupulous. Before you sign up, make sure you’ve done the necessary homework. After all, it’s your money, and reputation.
One of the quickest ways to suss out a debt settlement company is with your local CPA or consumer protection agency and your state Attorney General. Within a matter of minutes, they can tell you if there are any filed complaints against the agency. The Attorney General will be able to tell you if the company needs a license to work in your state, and whether it in fact is.
You could also do a quick search online by typing the name of the company and “complaints”. You’ll be able to read what other people have said about it and see if there are any lawsuits for unfair practice against the company.
There are definite red flags to be aware of when considering a company. Avoid any that:
– Charges fees before settling your debt
– Talks about any “new government programs” to help get you out of credit card debt
– Guarantees to make unsecured debt “go away”
– Advises you to stop communicating with any creditors
– Promises to stop lawsuits and debt collection calls
There are other ways to settle your debts, rather than paying a company to do it for you. These include working with a credit counselor, negotiating with your credit card company or filing for bankruptcy. It’s worth weighing up your options to see which is the best one for you.
Debt settlement companies have their place, but it’s not a quick fix and definitely not a one-size-fixes-all solution. Talk to a financial expert or advisor openly and honestly about your financial situation so they can assist with a suitable plan.