Unpaid medical bills and unsecured debt can become a headache and make you think about practical solutions, like debt relief programs. Keeping up with monthly payments can be a hustle sometimes, so it is no wonder that debt management plans are a go-to solution for individuals seeking debt relief. Debt settlement companies have proven time and time again that their debt solutions offer a clear path toward a much better financial situation. Combining all of your monthly payments into one easy payment is convenient, but how do you know which companies are trustworthy and worth your time? If you entrust someone with handling your credit card debt or medical debt, you should make sure that they are honest and upfront with their business policy. Here are a few things you should know before picking your debt relief company.
Good and honest debt consolidation companies tend to stay in business a lot longer than the majority of their competition. If they have a productive debt consolidation program, they should have a lot of happy customers and a great reputation as a result. The first thing you should look for is how long have they been in business and whether their previous customers are happy with their services. Longevity, combined with a good reputation, should be a clear indicator that you are dealing with a great debt relief company. But this is just a start. There are a few more things to consider before making your final choice.
You want your debt settlement to be managed by professionals, so you should always look for accredited debt relief companies. Ever since October of 2010, the FTC has kept this industry tightly regulated, and as a result, companies with bad business practices have vanished from the industry. Accreditations have become a benchmark of quality, and the most important one you should look for is from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
There is a lengthy due diligence process involved before debt settlement companies can become accredited, during which the company and the owners are put through a thorough analysis to verify the integrity of the entire operation. This is why you should pay attention to accreditations when choosing your counseling agency.
Transparency and low fees
When choosing the best debt relief company, you have to pay attention to their transparency as well. Are there any upfront fees, hidden fees, or anything else that would raise your concerns about their legitimacy? Their website is always a great place for acquiring additional information. Ask about their debt management plans and try to understand how they can help you pay off your debt. Keep your options open and always try to find the offers that best fit your current financial situation.
Accredited debt relief companies usually offer free credit counseling, and you should not hesitate to use that service. Understanding debt consolidation and debt management can be very hard if you aren’t familiar with the subject. If the company of your choice offers great customer support, you should be able to get all of the required information from their counselors. They will walk you through many debt management programs and help you find the best possible solution for paying off debt. Having professional assistance during your debt consolidation process will make your life a lot easier.
Read the reviews and look for past user experiences
Most of these companies deal with many types of debt. This means that there is a chance some of their consolidation programs aren’t as good as the others. Go through some of the customer review websites offered online and try to find some more information about their legitimacy and credibility. A few crucial questions to ask:
- What is their Better Business Bureau score?
- How well did they handle the whole process with previous customers?
- Were there any fees involved that weren’t discussed in the initial agreement?
- What kind of debt do they work with? All of them will deal with credit card debt, but not all of them can help with student loans and medical debt.
- How long have they been in business?
- How long did their customers take to get out of debt on average?
Some of these were already mentioned, but they are very important to remember if you want to find the right debt settlement programs.
How to avoid scams
Even though regulations are tighter than ever, scammers will always find a way into the open market. Most of them will only want your money, but there is a good chance you could become a victim of identity theft as well. This is why you must take the initiative and establish contact with the company. By asking the right questions, you should be able to determine if they are worth your while or if you should move on to the next one.
A counseling session should come first before anything is agreed upon or signed. Feel free to discuss the fees and ask about the details. Ask about any possible requirements they may have and what happens if you can’t afford the fees. This is an essential part of doing your homework. In most cases, you will be getting free financial education that is more than welcome in your everyday life, so it’s not just a part of your research but a great source of knowledge as well.
The bottom line
Dealing with personal finance is definitely stressful, and if you ever feel like you need to contact a debt relief company, you should definitely do so. Exploring different debt relief options will give you a wide range of choices, but doing your own research should be mandatory. In case you have encountered a debt snowball, making quick decisions due to stress isn’t a good idea.
Take your time and talk to your credit counseling agency. Make sure that you understand every part of the process, and you should keep in mind that debt settlement requires time and discipline. There are many options available out there, but it is your job to do your own research. You can always start by requesting a consultation.