Credit counseling is by far the most popular debt relief option approached by millions of households who are facing debt problem. However, not all credit counseling services are legitimate; there are even bad companies who provide little or no actual “counseling”; instead, they are in business just to make money from debtors who have suffered financially by getting them to sign up with a debt management plan that comes with huge hidden costs, make their debt situation worse.
Therefore, if you are deciding to approach a credit counseling service to help you in resolving your debt problem, here are a few tips to help in your selection:
Tip #1: Move on if you are asked to sign up a debt management plan right away
When you approach a credit counseling service, a credit counselor will be assigned to work with you. He needs to get understanding on your debt situation and your budget first before he proposes a solution that fits your financial situation. If it is not the case, instead, the credit counselor wants to sign you up right away into a debt management plan without first understanding your debt & financial situation, then move on.
Tip #2: Read the contract carefully before signing up
Don’t put down your signature onto the dotted line of a contract before you really understand what have been written inside, in details. You have right to ask the credit counselor to provide with copies of the contract and bring back home to read the contract thoroughly before signing up. When you go through the contact, make sure you understand all the fees involved, such fees may include enrollment fees, monthly fees and extra fees per account. These hidden fees can add up to big lump sum and may cause your debt worse.
Tip #3: Make sure the credit counseling service works with all your creditors
Although a credit counseling company works with many creditors, but there are creditors excluded from their list. Therefore, make sure they work with all the creditors on your list so that a debt management plan can cover for all debts.
Tip #4: The service is not totally free
Many credit counseling services are operated under the name of non-profit organization with the purpose of educating and advising debtors on how to resolve their debt issues in proper way. However, don’t be fooled by the “non-profit” status and think the service is totally free. Although it may be free in counseling and education portion, there is always a monthly fee if you choose to and you always advise to enroll into a debt management plan. In fact, it might involves a sign-up fee and other costs, so be carefully to read the terms and conditions before you sign up a debt management plan.
Tip #5: Check the company with Better Business Bureau
Although credit counseling and DMP enrollment can be done online, it is a good idea to visit the company and talk to the credit counselor face-to-face. Make an extra precaution step by checking the company with Better Business Bureau to see if there are complaints filed against the company.