If you’re currently in debt and are considering working with a debt relief firm, you’re in good company. Many people just like you are turning to debt relief firms to help them create and follow a plan for freeing themselves from debt. But why would you opt to work with a debt relief firm versus trying to attack your debt on your own? And if you choose to work with a debt relief firm, how can you find one that will do a good job? Let’s take a moment to answer these questions and more.
A Guide for Your Journey
Working with a debt relief firm means to you are no longer alone in your journey to get rid of your debt—you have a knowledgeable advisor that can alleviate much of the stress and headache associated with debt problems. A debt relief counselor will work on your behalf with your creditors to determine what options are available to you. This means that you won’t be personally calling your different credit card companies and seeing whether they’ll even offer a specific program to you, which can be a pretty time-consuming effort. Getting on a plan with a debt relief firm can make the process easier and quicker.
Additionally, there is the follow-up that a debt relief firm is able to do for you. This has the dual benefit of helping you stick to the plan much more than if it were self-administered where you must rely on your own willpower. In a sense, it’s like a Weight Watchers approach where you have the benefit of a support group around you helping you stick to the plan versus trying to keep to a plan on your own.
Tips for Choosing the Right Debt Relief Firm
So you’ve taken an assessment of your specific situation and have decided that following a more formal debt management program through a debt relief firm is the path you want to take. When exploring debt relief firms and their debt consolidation or debt management programs, there are a few tips you’ll want to follow:
Interview more than one company: Research debt relief companies, paying special attention to firms that have good Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings. Select two or three firms to explore further, and then set up a time to speak with one of their representatives.
Find out who’s giving the advice. When you interview each firm, ask them what the qualifications are for their debt relief counselors—who is the person that will be giving you advice? Are their counselors professionals who have passed the tests necessary to be certified? How long have they been in the debt management business?
Note their answers to these questions, and also make note of the level of service you receive during these interview calls. Do they give you direct answers to your questions or do they seem to beat around the bush? Were they prompt to return your phone call or respond to your email? Do they seem to be listening to your concerns or brushing them aside? The way that the debt relief firm interacts with you on a personal level is just as important as their counselors’ qualifications, so if you talk with a firm that doesn’t “feel” like a good fit, find another.
Confirm that the debt relief firm is a reputable organization. In addition to investigating the firm’s BBB rating, take a few moments to do a bit more research. Are they in good standing with various state regulators? Have they had complaints filed? Is it a quality outfit or does it have a “fly by night” feel to it? Perform your due diligence by searching online, talking to company representatives, and even asking close friends or neighbors if they’ve had any experience with the debt relief firms you’re considering.
Ask about fees. It’s important that you know up front, and without any confusion, exactly what fees the debt relief firm will charge, as well as how and when they collect them. Avoid a debt relief firm that cannot give you a clear picture of its fees and its policies.
Explore the community aspect. Some debt relief firms facilitate communities of customers who are currently or have in the past used their debt management plans, which can aid you along your journey. It’s helpful to get advice from people who have gone down that road and to be able to ask them questions about their experience.
Choosing to work with a debt relief firm is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Partnering with a debt relief firm can give you a greater chance of success by providing you with a level of support and help you wouldn’t have by attacking your debt on your own. By asking the right questions, finding out about fees upfront and becoming part of a larger community, you’ll be assured of finding a debt relief firm that will be a good fit for you through your debt management journey.