Whenever you see the term "debt settlement" it creates some type of controversy - either "its a scam" or "I tried it and it made my problems worse" or some ad promising "get out of debt and save 50% or more".
Lets set the record straight: debt settlement is a legitimate debt relief option for certain situations. It's not an easy way to get out of paying what you owe. It's not an easy way to reduce your debt just because you went crazy with the credit cards. But for those who are getting way behind in their payments, it's potentially a very real way to avoid bankruptcy and save you from financial ruin.
But there's a problem.
Most of the companies out there don't tell you the truth. They just try to sign up anyone with some debt. Then start charging outrageous fees. Don't explain to you how debt settlement really works. Then when the process starts causing you some pressure, you back out.
By then, they've got their money. And you've got nothing but more debt.
It doesn't have to be that way. There are debt settlement companies that won't rip you off. But instead they will properly educate you. And will help you get real results. If you really fit the profile of someone who can benefit from settling your credit card bills.
So, how do you find honest advice about debt settlement?
As I state over and over again, do your homework!
- Ask lots of questions
- Get everything in writing before you send in any payments
- Actually read what you are signing (and ask more questions if you don't understand)
- Check references, check the BBB rating
- Shop around and compare companies & their fees
- Above all, realize that this is NOT an easy way to get out of debt and avoid paying what you owe
If you choose not to do any research, prepare yourself for a very stressful experience!
SERIOUSLY NOW - Are there really people out there who think there's some easy way to get the banks to ignore the $48,000 in debt they've built up over the last few years and just say "Hey, it's ok Bob, we'll just forget how much you owe us and let you pay if off for only $16,000 and save 66%, just because you're a nice guy". I guess so.
Sadly, stories like these don't get any good publicity. All you read about are the stories about poor old Bob from some little town who got ripped off.
P.S. Shameless plug: Here's one of the pioneers of the debt settlement industry, a true expert in the field - Charles Phelan, owner of ZipDebt.com. Read for yourself the results he's helped consumers achieve the last few years.
If you've had success with another company, let us know in the comments below.