How to Identify Reputable Debt Settlement Companies

Debt settlement companies have gained a poor reputation over the years. If you are uncertain about which agency is trustworthy in your search for debt assistance, it is important for you to learn what to look for before deciding. Reputable debt settlement companies are out there, and they have specific characteristics. Consider the following information so that you can best choose the firm that is right for you and avoid scams.

Affordable Pricing

An expensive service may cause more harm than good. Make sure that the pricing is affordable. Many debt settlement scams will require hefty upfront fees and a no-refund policy. Monthly payment plans are common, so make sure that you budget for this expense. If the program seems too costly, you should move on.

Look for a Good Guarantee

Debt settlement companies should guarantee their services. If they agree to negotiate reduce interest rates of debt, they should produce results. If no results are produced, there should be no charge flat charge on a percentage of your debt. Some fees may be paid for attempted negotiations or other services outlined in the agreement, but any services not rendered should not be charged for.

Other guarantees could be bad. For example, if the agency promises to eliminate all of your credit problems or dramatically reduce your debt, it could be a scam. All advertisements should be straightforward and should not make unrealistic promises. It is not always possible to reduce debt by a specific amount and not all credit issues will be immediately rectified or erased from your credit history.

Bankruptcy Assistance

Some debt settlement companies will refund fees in the event that negotiations with your lenders are not successful. If you decide to file bankruptcy, a good company will refund some fees in order to cover the cost of your attorney, for example. This is a good sign that they are interested in helping clients and not just making a profit.

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC)

TASC sets the standard for good practices in the industry. It is prudent to consider only those companies who have a membership with this organization. They have a specific set of bylaws that each company must follow in order to be an accredited member. You can search the TASC website, www.tasc.org, to find out if a company that you are considering is an accredited member, a provisional member, or not in good standing. If the company is not a member at all, you should instead consider one of the many firms that have been accredited with this organization.


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