Questions to Ask Before You Pick a Debt Relief Service
Before contracting with any debt relief company or organization, you should ensure you know enough about the company to ensure they can be trusted with your financial future.
1. How long has the service been in business?
While it may seem basic, this is a valuable piece of information.
For many types of debt relief, it is important that the service has good working relationships with various creditors so that they can use that personal sway to your benefit.
2. How does this service make money?
There are a variety of ways that debt relief services make money.
It is important that you understand how the service makes money for a number of reasons.
Remember that just because a service says they are non-profit does not mean that they are free.
Many debt relief services make money from creditors. When this is the case, individuals must always remember that there may be a conflict of interest.
When creditors pay the debt professional, they are going to be most concerned with the benefits to the creditors rather than benefits to the individual consumer.
It is also important to understand what fees are assessed to you.
Find out how the debt relief service determines their rates so that you can compare different services and find the most attractive rate.
3. What is the service’s process? How does it work?
Even if you feel you understand how a particular type of debt relief works, it is important to ask the individual service about their process.
Any professional service should be willing to walk you through each step so that you are comfortable with how things will be managed.
This conversation should include information about how they will deal with your current creditors and how payments will be made.
4. Is the service willing to provide an offer in writing?
When a service is unwilling to provide you an offer in writing unless you sign a contract or pay a fee first, it is not a good sign.
A trustworthy company will be willing to supply you with all the details of their service in writing, including their terms and conditions.
There should not be a rush to make a verbal agreement over the phone; this is an important decision and an ethical debt relief company will want you to make a careful decision.
5. How personal is the service?
Find out if you will be working with a single representative or if the service has a general call center.
It is always preferable to have individual contact who can become familiar with you and your situation.
A direct contact that you have a relationship with is more likely to take a personal interest in helping you.
6. Does the service make unbelievable claims?
There are a number of debt relief services that claim that they will be able to remove negative items from your credit report. This is a big red flag.
While it would be nice to have negative items on your credit report disappear, there is not a single debt relief professional who has that authority.
This is an empty promise and it should make you wonder about what other things the company is not being honest.
7. Are there numerous complaints with the BBB?
Before you decide on a debt relief service, you should also research the company on the Better Business Bureau and on other consumer complaint sites.
Almost every debt relief service will have some complaints.
What you want to look for is a large number of unresolved complaints about a particular company.
Respectable debt relief services will show evidence that they work to resolve their complaints.
When selecting a debt relief service, it is important to consider your options and do some research.