How to avoid credit counseling fraud
Taking advantage of credit counseling services is one of the best ways to avoid years of high interest payments on credit cards and other debts. Professional accredited Credit counseling services can even help you avoid bankruptcy. Used correctly, these services are wonderful alternatives for people who find themselves mired in debt that has taken over their lives. However, as with any business field, there are some bad apples in the credit counseling services industry. To steer clear of them, here are a few warning signs to watch for as you search for the right credit counseling services company.
- First, if a credit counseling services specialist will not meet with you during the initial consultation for a minimum of one hour, keep looking. Credit counseling is not a one-size fits all answer. Someone facing debt problems in California is going to face a much different set of problems than someone from Pennsylvania. Your certified credit counsellor has to be able to take the time to figure out your particular problems and be familiar with the cost of living in your area in order to take that into consideration when helping you develop a budget during your debt management process.
- Next, there’s no reason why any of the credit counseling services in business today should be charging more than $100 to set you up in one of their debt management programs. Credit counseling services that are charging beyond that amount are probably providing poor service on the back end. They’re looking to make their money up front, then giving your situation scant attention beyond the initial contacts and workups. Look for companies that charge $50-$100 for their creditor negotiation and related services. Chances are, they’re looking to legitimately build longer term relationships with their clients.
- Finally, avoid any of the credit counseling services you encounter that want to take your money without a written contract that specifically details everything they will do on your behalf. There are unethical credit counseling companies out there that prey on vulnerable people who already feel confused and scared about their financial problems. Keep your mind focused on what’s at stake and choose carefully. Always get the full details in writing for your own protection.
Regardless of what part of the country you live in, you’re probably seeing signs of economic instability. If you think you might be having credit problems in the near future, now is the time to research a good consumer credit counseling service.