If you’ve spent any time on the Internet looking for a debt relief program, you know there are literally dozens of alternatives. In fact, if you search Google as I did recently on the term debt relief program, you’ll probably find more than 50 pages of results. So how can you choose the best debt relief program? Here are some tips that could help you select one.
One of the first things to look for in choosing a debt relief program is how much it will cost you. The best debt relief companies charge no fees upfront and will take a percentage of what they can save you. This means that they will cost you nothing unless they can save you money.
Known by the company they keep
The best debt relief companies usually belong to associations such as the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and the United States Chamber of Commerce. They often have the BSI Certificate of Registration showing that they provide debt settlement services in accordance with all the requirements of the Best Practices For Accredited AFCC Members Checklist. And most of them belong to the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
The debt relief company you choose should have experienced counselors who have good working relationships with the credit card and personal loan companies. This helps them quickly negotiate good settlements that can save their clients thousands of dollars.
How long has the company been in business?
There are definitely some fly-by-night debt relief companies – especially ones you find on the Internet. A good debt relief company will have been in business for at least five or maybe even 10 years. You can probably learn about a debt relief company’s history by checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If you learn the company has been in business for only a year or less, you might want to avoid it.
Too good to be true
The best debt relief companies don’t make claims that are too good to be true. If you talk with a debt relief company that promises to resolve all of your debt issues in just a few months, don’t trust it. Debt relief is not something that can be done overnight. As a general rule, an honest and reliable debt relief company will provide you with a payment plan that will take anywhere from 24 to 48 months to complete – depending on how deeply you are in debt. The plan should be affordable so that you can make the required payments without busting your budget.
What happens to your money
The best debt relief companies won’t offer you just one solution. They will have a variety of choices available so that you can choose the program that will best fit your needs. With good debt relief companies, the money you send it each month will be put into a trust that only you can manage. That way you know your money will be safe until it is used to settle your debts.
Before you select a debt relief company, you should search for customer reviews. The best debt relief companies will have mostly positive reviews though almost every one has some negative reviews due to the nature of the business.
Ask for estimated costs
The best debt relief companies will give you upfront estimates as to what their fees will be. They will also give you whatever information you request in writing, including the contract you will be required to sign. The contract should be easy to read and understand. There is an old adage in the advertising business that “the big print giveth and the small print taketh away”. If you are presented with a contract full of fine print and that’s not easy to understand, be cautious about signing it. You might want to take it to an attorney for review. This may cost you a few bucks but could save you a lot of money in the long run.