Finding a Debt Consolidation Company
Facing financial hardship is stressful enough without worrying about finding a legitimate debt consolidation company that can give you guidance. And when you research companies on the Web, the amount of information you’ll find is overwhelming. Even the advice you discover about debt consolidation relief can be confusing and conflicting. So how do you filter the noise to get the help you need?
Getting Started on Choosing a Reputable Debt Consolidation Company
Choosing the right debt consolidation company requires homework. Before you decide, you should contact several agencies and interview them the same way someone would interview you for a job. After all, you’re hiring the agency to help you, so you need to know whether it’s committed to doing a great job for you.
Remember to check with your friends or relatives for recommendations. Maybe they have worked with debt management companies and found some they liked. Gather as many referrals as possible, and add these to your list. Also interview each referral.
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) has compiled these additional tips to help you navigate the complicated maze of choosing a reputable debt consolidation company:
A legitimate debt relief agency is open and honest. It should be willing to provide you a clear, detailed description of its product and services. If the agency does not answer your questions or its answers are not satisfactory, go elsewhere.
A reputable consolidated credit counseling agency will give you truthful, useful advice on how to manage your money and use credit wisely. The agency will also help you establish a written budget and offer educational materials and financial workshops.
The fees charged by a debt consolidation company should be reasonable, meaning a maximum of $70/month for a debt management program. (Fees vary by state.) Free ongoing education on how to manage your finances should be available and accessible – even if you decide against entering a debt management program.
The agency should have been in business for at least seven years and be non-profit. The advantage of non-profit debt consolidation companies is that they can offer their services for free or low-cost since they are funded in part by contributions from creditors.
The Final Steps in Choosing a Debt Consolidation Company
The last, but most important steps, in selecting a reputable debt consolidation company are reviewing your interview notes and narrowing down the list. First, gauge your reactions to the information each company provided. How did you feel during your conversations with them? Were you comfortable? Were you unsure? If you were uncomfortable, cross off those agencies from your list.
By now, you should have a few final candidates. The next step is to narrow the list even further. To do this, contact the Better Business Bureau or your state’s Attorney General’s office to check on whether any complaints have been filed against each debt consolidation company. If there were complaints, find out how quickly the company responded and whether the complaints were resolved appropriately. Armed with this information, you can now select the best debt management solutions provider.