23 June 2021
By Roger Jones
You’re pretty sure debt settlement is the answer to your burgeoning debt woes. Indeed, the financial strategy has helped scores of consumers get on the right track. But before you enroll in a program, you need to be certain of the option as well as the legitimacy of the company of interest. Here are key questions to ask a debt settlement company.
Is the Debt Consultant Certified?
Be sure you’re dealing with a debt consultant – and not a salesperson — who is certified by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators. Such certification means the individual has been trained in credit counselling and debt solutions.
If the person you’re dealing with is not a debt consultant, he or she may be a salesperson who will likely put commissions over your best interests.
Do You Receive a Commission?
You do want to know this since such a person may exaggerate or omit important info to clinch the deal.If the person is in sales, you should dig into their assertions instead of taking their word for them.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
In this industry, in which fly-by-night scam companies usually don’t last, even as other ones crop up, experience is everything. The fact it, some companies spend little time settling debts, and have gotten into trouble because of it. When explaining their results, firms are required by debt relief rules to base their claims on ALL program enrollees — not just a few of their best examples.
If you can’t get proof of experience, or the company’s success rate smells fishy, do your own research.
Do You Belong to the American Fair Credit Council?
Membership in the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) is not required, but if the company you’re interested in is not a member, ask why. For example, there’s no Freedom Debt Relief scam, since the debt settlement company is a council co-founder and has been in business since 2002.
The AFCC and a third-party firm regularly audit members to see whether its standards are being followed. Thus, the sole reason not to be a member is because the company doesn’t wish to be held to such standards.
Can You Legit Do Business Where I Live?
Debt management companies are beholden to state restrictions and requirements. A credible debt relief firm will be aware of your state’s regulations. If the company you’re interested in can’t confirm it’s licensed to work in your state, take a hard pass.
Will All My Creditors Work with You?
In some situations, debt relief firms will lay low until your credit card issuers or other creditors charge off your debt and sell it to a debt collection agency. The company will then work with the collection agency. In these cases, you may not be able to negotiate an optimal rate, and you may even get sued by your creditors. If the company swears beforehand that all your creditors will work with it, be wary.
How Much Do You Charge?
As dictated by law, debt settlement companies may not charge you upfront for services. Your first fee may not be charged until a debt is settled. Ask for a full, written explanation of expected fees. If that isn’t produced, the company may be hiding something.
How Long is Your Program?
If the firm you’re interested in can’t give you an expected time frame for settlement of your debts – or guarantees it can help you within a specific timeframe – steer clear.
Now you know some questions to ask a debt settlement company before signing on the bottom line. Debt relief IS a viable option, just make sure you choose the right firm. Get started on that today.