The company you hire to handle your credit card debt negotiations can make all the difference in the type of settlement you get. Therefore, take the time to research and evaluate different firms that offer settlement services.
Here are a few things to consider before signing on the dotted line and hiring a company to represent you during credit card negotiations.
Learn as much as you can about the company you are considering and whether there are complaints filed by past clients. Contact the Better Business Bureau and consumer protection agencies.
There should be few, if any, complaints that have been filed against the settlement firm. If you do find complaints, see if information is recorded about how the company addressed the issues and brought them to closure.
You can find insightful information by doing an online search to see if the name of the company and/or its representatives show up in user forums or on consumer watchdog websites.
Level of Expertise
When you conduct your background research, note the age of the company. You want to work with a settlement firm that has been in business for many years and has the experience to represent you effectively.
In addition, inquire about the education, skill-level and expertise of members of the management team, as well as the representatives with whom you will likely be working.
Services and Timelines
Set up a no-obligation meeting with the settlement company so you can get an inside view about how things actually work. Come prepared with a pen and pad to take notes.
Ask about the specific steps in the settlement process and for the timeline to complete your credit card debt negotiations. For example, when are your creditors going to be contacted? At what point will you need to send debt payments to the company and when will payments, in turn, be sent to your creditors? And, how long will the entire process take?
Find out exactly what the company will do on your behalf and
what you need to do to facilitate the process.
Get a detailed breakout of the fees you will be charged and when you are expected to pay. Note the openness of the representatives and their willingness to take all the time that is needed to answer your questions.
A settlement services company should not take upfront fees before services are provided. Moreover, fees should only e collect if and when your debt is settled at an amount significantly lower than your original balance.
Does the company representative readily offer you a copy of the firm's agreement to review before you make your decision? If there’s no written agreement, don’t hire the company.When you receive the agreement, take the time to read the terms. Make sure you are comfortable with them and they reflect the discussion you had with the representative. If you find something different from what you are told, look elsewhere for a firm to handle your credit card debt negotiations.
Heed these "Red Flags" that Something isn't Right
If during your research you come across any of the following, it’s time to move on to the next company and leave this one behind.
Also be aware that if a company calls itself "non-profit,, that doesn't necessarily mean that the services are free to you.
Making Your Decision
Once you have researched and met with different companies, review your notes. It may be helpful to make a chart to compare one settlement firm to another before making your final hiring decision.
It may be helpful to consider these questions during your evaluation.
For more information about credit card debt negotiations and selecting a settlement firm to represent you, click on the the article links provided below.