She believes consumers should be as informed as possible when looking into debt relief companies. On her down time, she loves going to sci-fi conventions and listening to Eddie Money.
Perhaps you’re in debt, or someone you know is in debt. You’re thinking about what you might do to get out of debt and one of those solutions it to go to a debt relief company and seek professional advice. It’s a step many have taken before and more will take in the future. But wait! Before you drive or call that debt relief company have you checked out their credentials?
Do you have questions ready to ask them—not just about your financial situation—but about them. What are they going to do for you and how are they going to do it? Getting the upper hand and doing your research before committing to a debt relief company can save you a massive headache later, not to mention money, in the event that company isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
To start, you’ll want find a debt relief agency in your area. Make a list and look at the options. And don’t judge them by their location. One might be in a seedier part of town and another might be near a posh neighborhood. People are in debt everywhere.
Once you’ve found a few debt relief agencies in your area (which might include debt settlement and consolidation services), make a list so you can further research each option. And when you’re looking them up, don’t judge them by their location. One might be located in a seedier part of town and another might be near a posh neighborhood, but remember, people are in debt everywhere and there are plenty of reasons so many people are in debt.
The more options you can list the better, because it will make it easier for you as you do your research since they won’t all make the cut as you learn about each one.
Don’t forget to reference the Better Business Bureau. Look up each one and see what you can find. Keep in mind if you can’t find a company listed this isn’t an immediate red flag. Not all businesses apply for the BBB’s accreditation. If this is the case, there a couple of things you can do. One, you can ignore the agencies that aren’t listed.
Or, two, you can conduct an internet search and see what else you can find. If info is sparse, then, yes, it’s a good idea to move on to one you can find info on, whether it’s from the BBB or an secondary internet search.
There are many other resources available as well, such as Top Consumer Reviews. Or if you’re looking for more comprehensive resources, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) websites are filled with quite a bit financial and debt topics that will help put you in a knowledgeable place as you make decisions and pursue a debt relief company.
After you’ve done preliminary research and have a well-developed idea about who you might want to go with, it’s time to ask them questions. Now you can drive or call them and get more in-depth info. First impression will be everything. Are they pushy? Are they looking to immediately get you started with something (settlement, consolidation, or otherwise)? Walk away.
High pressure situations are a huge red flag. Another red flag can be upfront fees. It’s not always the case, but it can indicate where their focus is: on your money. In the end you want to find a business that has evidence of reliability, it could be through the BBB or through online consumer reviews, or better yet, both. They should be focused on helping you, not on making money off of you.
That’s a legit business.