Alongside the ongoing collapse of the American economy, with lender after lender filing for bankruptcy protection and real estate markets crumbling at the nation’s feet, there is, at least, one industry that continues to rise in both popularity and productivity. Yes, our debt management firms have shown exponential growth over the last few years, and, with the larger financial picture unlikely to change any time soon, consumers shall continue to flock to every company that promises a reduction of payments and interest rates for the debts that accumulated back in the good old days. You are, we’re sure, at least familiar with the notion of debt management.
From billboards to television commercials to soft-sell magazine articles highlighting the various approaches, debt management has become a buzz word for all segments of the economy whether or not you’re trying to get out of a negative equity residence or simply trying to erase a few thousand dollars of credit card debt whose minimum payments you can no longer maintain. In the greater sense, for most borrowers, undertaking the process of debt management will be to your advantage regardless of the path you choose. While there are obvious drawbacks to Consumer Credit Counseling (FICO score wreckage resembling that of Chapter 7 bankruptcies) and home equity debt consolidation (incredibly dangerous in a time of tumbling property values), there remains a number of debt management forms – debt settlement negotiation, which can reduce borrowers’ balances by as much as fifty percent with a few phone calls for relatively low cost to the pocketbook or credit report, chief among them – that have demonstrable value to even the most dubious debtor.
Of course, at the same point, for every good and legitimate debt management firm, there are others who are simply out to make the fast buck regardless of their client’s well being. In this article, we would like purely to highlight some of the more egregious complaints our correspondents have reported when attempting debt consolidation with the hope that you would be able to sniff out a malfeasant business and select one that truly has you and your family’s best interests in heart. Obviously, there is a good deal more investigation that needs to be done well before you even meet with a specific company.
Considering all of the different approaches to debt management available, you have to make sure that you have a full and complete grasp of each one, from debt settlement to Consumer Credit Counseling and beyond, before even looking at the different possibilities in your area – or, these days, on the internet. Ask yourself: is it possible to pay off your credit cards and unsecured loans through traditional means in a reasonable amount of time? How important will your credit rating be to your plans over the near future? Do you plan to buy a house or refinance your current residence in the next few years? Do you want (or, even, need) to 破產 maintain some lines of credit available during the process of debt management? These are questions for another essay, we shan’t possibly have the space to outline every potentiality (nor, obviously, could we pretend to know your own specific financial scenario), but you can do so much of this sort of fact finding with just a little bit of research about debt management and all that the programs entail.
Still, once you have decided upon a specific approach to follow, there are a number of warning signs to look out for when selecting your debt management company, and we would merely like to delve into a few of these threats. For one instance, you should always ensure that whichever firm you have considered working with requires all of the following data before they offer any sort of estimate: identity of each lender, the interest rates of each accounts, minimum (and, under unusual circumstances, maximum) payments requested from each lender, past and current late payments as noted (or about to be noted) upon your credit report, and, as well, any significant account activity which may include balance transfers or relatively greater purchases in recent years. If the company happily provides a quote without such information, this should seem highly suspicious to the borrower.
Even after a cursory analysis of the household’s financial information, legitimate debt management companies should be loathe to give much more than the vaguest of quotes – certainly not a complete good faith estimate – and, whenever businesses blithely pretend to know how much their services will cost before looking closely at all possible difficulties – red flags should dance before borrowers’ eyes. By all means, if the debt management professional begins to talk about your eventual payments and what they would hope the interest rates would be during the initial consultation, feel free to gather your paperwork and walk away.
At the same point, of course, while it is necessary to offer this information to your prospective debt management company during the application process, one shouldn’t just hand out your most personal financial data before making absolutely certain that the company is one to be trusted. Even beyond the question of honesty – as happens, many debt management companies will share such information with bill collectors and predatory credit card companies all too ready to shove near fraudulent balance transfer offers down the debtors’ metaphorical throats – there’s a separate issue of experience and competence.