Standing on the precipice of bankruptcy with a mountain of unmanageable debt bearing down upon you is a terrifying nightmare no sane person desires. Unfortunately, in a society where "get now, pay later" is the norm, many people become ensnared in the trap of debt they simply cannot repay.
Debt settlement firms ostensibly exist to assist such people navigate the perilous path that leads from overwhelming debt to financial solvency. However, the United States Government Accountability Office publishes a 45 page document titled “Debt Settlement: Fraudulent, Abusive, and Deceptive Practices Pose a Risk to Consumers.”
The takeaway from this document is that most for-profit debt settlement companies use “fraudulent, deceptive, and abusive practices” that end up hurting their clients, putting them deeper in debt and, in general, make a bad situation worse.
However, not all of the debt settlement firms are snakes and tricksters. Some play by the rules and give you a fighting chance to avoid bankruptcy. In our estimation the best debt help firms are National Debt Relief, CuraDebt, and Oak View Law Group. We also have written articles about debt settlement to help you find your way financially.
Debt negotiation companies vary widely in what they offer and how they offer it. It is worth looking for a few key elements before deciding on a firm.
The best debt settlement businesses should help you do just that – settle your debts. Believe it or not you have to verify that. There are plenty of companies that have earned a reputation for taking consumers’ money and not doing much of anything to resolve debts. In this largely unregulated business arena there are plenty of settlement firms that can leave you in a worse situation than you were in before. We looked for companies that were most likely to really help you settle your debt and do it utilizing sensible and helpful methods.
We like firms that offer a range of options for resolving debts. Settlement really is a last resort. Offering advice and services for bankruptcy, managing debt and consolidating debt means a company can offer a legitimate opinion on what is best for you, not what is best for their bottom line. They can compare settlement to other options without bias because they offer those options as well.
While each person's settlement will be unique, we considered how much you are likely to pay in a given situation, whether it involves upfront fees, a percentage of your total debt or some other method of payment.
Ease of Use
You’ve already had some problems with finances. Shelling out more of your money to a settlement agency is likely to be painful. If you’re willing to do it you are likely too busy to try and negotiate with your creditors yourself. You should be able to expect your firm to do the leg work for you, leaving all your time for earning the means to get out of debt. Once you sign on you should not have to spend a moment worrying about your negotiation process. You also should be able to access your information easily and securely online.
We considered whether the respective agencies belong to professional organizations. These groups require a certain standard of ethical behavior. Some of the weight of belonging to these groups is debatable since many are organized by folks in the industry with a vested interest in helping debt settlement thrive, but they can offer at least some peace of mind. We especially like entities that are affiliated with unbiased associations. The best debt settlement companies have affiliations with groups we trust. We also like companies that have been in business long enough to have a good reputation. It is difficult to put your faith in months-old companies. Privacy and security features are also a must.
Help & Support
A good debt negotiation firm should make the entire process as painless as possible with great customer service and guarantees. Friendly and helpful people should be available to customers by phone, email and chat.
Even the companies who offer a debt settlement program will usually admit that settlement should be low on a list of bankruptcy alternatives. If you are considering negotiation you have seriously weighed debt consolidation, debt management and negotiating settlements on your own. Let us help you find the service best suited to resolving your finances.
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