Credit counseling agencies specialize in helping individuals who are financially over-extended. They will help the consumer analyze his or her debts and spending habits and work together with the consumer to work out a plan to change their habits in the future.
These agencies also act as debt management companies. They will help the consumer to work out a debt consolidation, management and repayment plan. They will help the consumer negotiate with creditors to reduce their overall amount of debt in various ways, including lower interest rates and reversing late charges.
This might sound promising to a person deep in debt, there are a few bad apples in the debt counseling industry that takes advantage of their clients. Protect yourself by using the following tips to select an agency that actually have your best interest in mind:
– Make sure the agency you are considering does not only offer debt management. Debt counseling play an important role to help you understand your spending habits and how to change them.
– Check the better business bureau for information about the credit counseling company. Stay away from any company that gets a low overall grade.
– Check that the organization has a real telephone number and address. Beware when they only give you a post office box number, or you unable to reach a human on the phone. That might be a sign of a fly by night operator, who is here today and gone tomorrow.
– Study any agreement that a counseling agency require you to sign. Ensure that you know what is expected of you, what the costs will be and exactly what services the company is offering.
– If you find items that seem to good to be true in the contract or agreement with the agency, ask questions. An example of this may be that they promise to fix your credit, you may think your credit rating change from bad to good, while they mean that they will negotiate with creditors to not show your accounts as past due, which won’t necessarily change your overall credit rating.
– Be careful when an agency promise that they can remove bad notations from your credit record. Items like liens, bankruptcies and repossessions will remain on your credit record until you take care of it, or until they drop off after ten years.
– When you are asked to make “contributions” instead of payments, ask exactly what that means, how much is expected and whether services will no longer be offered if you fail to pay the contribution.