When you are deep in debt, it sometimes feels like you are willing to try anything to get your finances in order. Debt relief entities such as consumer credit counseling program and debt settlement companies are a great help for people with a lot of bills because they offer ways to help you reduce your debt and pay it off your creditors in a reasonable amount of time. They work with credit card companies to try to get your interest rates lowered and set you up with affordable monthly payments so you can avoid getting your account sent to a collection agency.
While these debt relief companies can provide excellent solutions to your money problems, it’s important to research the companies carefully before choosing to work with one. Some of these companies make offers that seem too good to be true because they are only interested in scamming you out of your money. Victims of these scams can end up in worse financial situations than they were before contacting a debt relief company.
To ensure you are choosing an honest and legitimate company, look out for the following red flags:
You are asked to provide a payment up front. – Debt relief companies should not ask you to provide any sort of up-front down payment. Instead, they should ask for pertinent information, such as your current debts and income, and use those figures to see what you can afford to pay.
You are unable to get any free information from the company. – Additionally, the company should not require you pay for information, nor should it tell you that the information they promise to send is free only if you provide your bank account information. You should be able to get a feel for how the company works and have your questions answered without being asked to open your wallet.
You are guaranteed fast and easy results. – Unfortunately, debt relief is not that quick or easy. Although working with a third-party debt relief company can help you get back on your feet, it doesn’t mean you will have an entirely painless journey. It will probably take several years to pay off your bills, depending on how much you owe.
You are told that you will be protected from all creditors. – You may not be able to avoid calls from creditors or collections agencies, especially if your debt has gotten far enough behind to warrant collection action from credit card companies. Hopefully, once your payments have been set up you will be able to provide satisfactory proof to creditors that you’re working to reduce your debt.
You are told that you will avoid all negative credit consequences. – If you are in debt and unable to pay your bills in a timely manner, your credit will be negatively impacted. This impact will show up on your credit report for seven years. There is really no way to avoid this situation. The good news is that your credit can be positively impacted by the work you do to rebuild it, and you will still be able to apply for credit cards and auto loans or mortgages.
It’s important to remember that not all debt relief companies are looking to scam people. Many are reputable places that will keep your best interests in mind. You can protect yourself by thoroughly researching a company before deciding to work with them. You might even want to talk to an attorney and make sure the company you plan to choose is legitimate.
As consumer law attorneys, we have the education and experience to help guide you in the right direction. Call our Ohio consumer debt lawyers right away at (888) 726-3181 to find out how we may be able to help.