How to Identify a Reputable Debt Settlement Company

Finding a debt settlement company can be challenging because there are many that will take advantage of your vulnerable position. Choosing to settle debt is often the last step before bankruptcy. It allows you to negotiate a one-time, cash settlement for lower than the remaining owed sum on the loan. Since most borrowers do not have the cash needed, a debt settlement company offers a high risk loan to needy borrowers. The company may even help you get a better deal on settlement if you pick the right organization.

Ask for Fee Disclosure

Debt settlement companies do not provide their services for free. Instead, they charge a premium on the assistance. Some will structure this premium based on how much money they save you through the settlement. Others will ask for a flat fee. There will be some that charge no penalty for the settlement but high rates on the settlement loan, if you take one. Make sure you ask up front exactly how fees are assessed. A company that is unwilling to show you their fee structure is probably hiding something from you. There are non profit debt settlement companies, and their fees tend to be lower. They will still charge for services, however.

Discuss Applicable Penalties

No settlement comes without a penalty. When you settle a debt, the lender is making far less than he or she expected on the loan. Further, settling a debt for less than is owed may even represent a loss. The lender dissuades you from this by charging you penalties and fees. A debt settlement company may disguise these fees, but you should ask to see what each lender is charging you. You will also find your credit score drops significantly as a result of the debt settlement process. A company that is unwilling to discuss this problem with you and offer advice is not reputable. Any good debt settlement company should give you a clear pictures of the advantages and disadvantages of entering settlement. It should also show you fees you would likely incur through declaring bankruptcy, which can at times be the smarter decision.

Question Loan Terms

Taking a debt settlement loan may be a necessary evil. At this point, you will be a very high risk borrower. High risk borrowers pay the highest fees for loans. Your debt settlement company will not excuse you from this high fee practice. Instead, they will be likely to assess very high interest rates on your future debt. You may find you are actually saving no money at all through settling with the new company. You should specifically be aware of variable interest rates on these loans. Many settlement companies will entice you with a low rate, and you will quickly learn this was just an introductory offer. The rates can adjust to double their initial levels within 5 years on many debt settlement loans. Always aim for a fixed rate loan in this situation to prevent unforeseen expenses and know the total cost of your choice before you elect settlement.

blog comments powered by Disqus