The debt relief field is riddled with scams and companies who are more interested in taking your money than helping you get rid of debt. How do you actually find a debt relief company who can help you?
Follow these tips and you’ll have a much better chance of finding a great debt relief program to work with.
Work with a Non-Profit Debt Relief Company
Non-profit debt relief companies are much less likely to be just out to make a buck. In fact, many of them were founded because they wanted to create a more helpful system than the ones that currently existed.
Keep in mind that just because the company is not for profit does not mean it’s free. You still have to pay for their services. They still have to make enough money to pay for their staff, their facilities, and other operational costs.
Make sure you either ask the company to see their 501(c)(3) certification or call the IRS directly to verify their 501(c)(3) status.
There are several debt consolidation companies that aren’t non-profits who claim to be so. Don’t take non-profit claims at face value without verifying it.
Research Complaints and Accreditations
Check the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, and the American Association of Debt Management Organizations to see if the company you’re considering is accredited.
If they’re not accredited by any well-known organization, you should probably stay clear of them.
Also research the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website. If you can’t find anything on their business, try giving the BBB a call.
Look on RipoffReport to see if anyone has filed a report on the company.
Finally, Google their name for terms like “Name + review” or “Name + scam” or “Name + results” to see what kind of feedback other people have.
Examining Their Fee and Program Structure
Examine what kind of fee structure they’re asking for. Is there an upfront payment? Is there an additional monthly fee on top of the interest percentage?
Compare at least two to three companies to get a good sense for what kind of consolidation you can qualify for.
Remember to do your own math. If a company claims they’re only charging 8%, but when you do the math it comes out to 13%, that’s something you should know before you sign any paperwork. There are plenty of interest calculators online that can make the math very simple.
Picking a debt relief company is not a simple or easy process. Your financial future, as well as your credit report, is on the line. Compare several companies, do careful research, and at the end of the day you’ll come out ahead.