How to Avoid Debt Settlement & Debt Relief Company Scams | Canada
Q: I keep getting telephone messages from a company that says I can get a 3 month break from paying my credit cards. They also say that I can settle my debts with my creditors and get out of debt sooner. It sounds great, but why would my creditors go along with this?
|Go with your gut instinct with debt settlement companies. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.|
3 Ways to Spot a Debt Settlement or Debt Relief Scam
There are 3 things to be wary of if you are considering using the services of a debt settlement company:
- They require you to pay most of their fees up front before any of your money is used to settle your debts.
- They make unrealistic promises without any understanding of your financial situation. The truth is they have little if any influence with creditors.
- They tell you to stop talking with your creditors.
Pay Attention to the Details of Your Debt Settlement or Membership Agreement
Make sure you read and review the agreements from these companies carefully and pay close attention to the breakdown of the payment schedule. Are the majority of your payments applied to their fees first, before accumulating funds to settle your debts? Reputable credit counselling companies don’t require you to pay their fees up front before delivering any tangible service.
As the saying goes, “there is no free lunch;” everything comes at a price. If you stop making payments on your credit cards, it will negatively impact your credit rating…for years. It could also cause your creditors to initiate collection or legal action against you. That’s a heavy price to pay for a 3 month break from making your payments.
How to Choose a Good Debt Relief Agency
If you want your creditors to work with you when you are experiencing financial problems, you need to keep the lines of communication open. Refusing to speak with your creditors will not help you to gain their understanding or cooperation.
My advice here is the same I would give you when choosing any service; do your homework and check this company out thoroughly before signing anything. Also listen to your inner voice, it’s usually right and knows when to walk away. I suspect that after doing your homework your inner voice will be telling you to run not walk away.
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