As America and the world continue to struggle against inflation and rising interest rates, many are finding their debt piling up. In some cases, household debt is already at the point of being unaffordable. What does one do when they can no longer afford their debt? One approach is to seek professional help from a debt relief company. A reputable debt relief company can assist you in getting out of debt faster, but how do you separate reputable companies from the scam artists?
What is a Debt Relief Company and what do they do?
A debt relief company is someone who you hire to negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. The company will attempt to reduce the debt you owe or try to get your outstanding debt canceled. Some companies offer debt counseling, debt management and debt consolidation plans as well.
The Importance of Finding A good Debt Relief Company
According to several sources, financial and money issues are the number one cause of stress and a top five cause of divorce in the United States. Most people do not deal with worrying or stress very well. Stress quickly turns into a weakened immune system and serious health issues, like heart attacks, heart disease, and other long-term health problems, soon follow.
It is imperative not to delay until your debt is mounting and it becomes untenable. Do your research and find the help you need today.
How to Find a Reputable Debt Relief Company
Most people will find themselves with financial difficulties during their life and have been where you find yourself today. Therefore, one of the best ways to find a reputable debt relief company is to ask friends and family whom you are comfortable speaking about financial matters with for a referral.
If you are uncomfortable speaking to family and friends about your finances, jump online and begin your search. Turn to any review website you trust and search for debt relief. Google Reviews, the Better Business Bureau, and Trustpilot are great places to start.
Dig further than star ratings and read a selection of individual reviews. Be mindful that companies cannot please all people all the time, and some debt situations are irreconcilable.
What to Look for in a Debt Relief Company
One key area to look for in a debt relief company is transparency. You will want to make sure the company is transparent in the services they offer and the fees charged for said services. It is very important that expectations are clear about what the company can do for you and the timeline it will take to complete the process. Debt relief does not happen overnight, so get the timeline upfront.
Customer service should also be at the top of your priority list. Financial hardship is hard enough without having to deal with poor customer service from the debt relief company you hired to assist you through the ordeal. Not to mention, debt relief can take months or years, so you want to enjoy dealing with your selected debt relief company. Or at the very least, not be stressed out dealing with them.
Further, you want to make sure the company offers the type of debt service you require and explains all the options available to you, with the pros and cons of each option. You don’t want to find yourself in a lawsuit down the road because you chose a less than ideal option, not knowing all the consequences of that option.
Common Problems and Red Flag
One of the biggest red flags you will come across in your search for a debt relief company will be a lack of transparency, especially with fees. If a company requests payment in advance, your alarm bells should be ringing.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), “Avoid doing business with any company that promises to settle your debt if the company: charges any fees before it settles your debt, represents that it can settle all of your debt for a promised percentage reduction, guarantees it can make your debt go away,” amongst others.
Add-on fees are another red flag that should cause concern, as is a fast turnaround time, or short timeline. As mentioned earlier, debt relief often takes months or years to resolve.
If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Over-promising is another red flag to be aware of. Beware that debt relief does not mean all the negative items on your credit report will immediately be wiped clean.
If you are reading this article, you are on the right path. Education is the best path forward from financial woes; continue to seek knowledge. Learn what rights are available to you through the CFPB and the American Fair Credit Council. Explore all your options before choosing your path. Remember to dig into both the pros and cons of each decision you make. When seeking help from a debt relief company, do your due diligence. Read reviews, check the Better Business Bureau and talk to friends and family.
When choosing a debt relief company, speak to several of them and make sure the one you choose is the best fit for your situation. Don’t undervalue your relationship with the debt relief expert you hire. Make sure they are a person you want to deal with over a long period.
Freeing yourself from debt is not fast or easy, but you’re on your way to a better financial future. You are armed with the information you need to make the right choice of debt relief companies.
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