You’ve seen the ads claiming to offer easy solutions to your debt problems. If you’re struggling, they may even be hard to resist. But pursuit of these offers often just serves to waste your limited resources and jeopardize whatever measure of stability you might have left.
Companies specializing in debt management, debt settlement, debt consolidation, and debt negotiation – they go by many different names – often make it hard for you to understand what they are actually going to deliver. Their real motive usually is to talk you into debt consolidation loans with high interest rates and hidden fees. In addition, these contracts often contain security clauses that could put your home and financial stability on the line.
Another thing to watch out for is unlicensed salespeople claiming they can eliminate your debts by initiating a bankruptcy. More often than not, these filings are done incorrectly, making it harder for you to ultimately get the debt relief you really need.
The sales pitches promise to get your creditors off your back and have them accept much less than you owe. But frequently you just get stuck with exorbitant fees and hope that some of your money gets to your creditors. Instead of helping you obtain debt relief, these intermediaries may leave you in more trouble than you started with – additional black marks on your credit report and collectors hot on your trail.
These organizations supposedly offer a better solution to your debt problems than you could achieve on your own. In most cases however, this is not true. In fact, consumers who deal directly with their creditors honestly and in good faith often achieve better debt settlements on their own at a lot less cost. There truly is a better way.
Negotiating with creditors to change the terms of your agreement or get more time to pay is not that difficult. In general, creditors like to hear from people who expect to have problems paying their bills – prior to missed payments. They are much more willing to work with you while your account is still current. Try to find a way to at least make the minimum payment when trying to negotiate. Contact your creditor as soon as you realize you’re going to have trouble paying your bills.
The fact is, especially if you have been a good customer in the past, most creditors want and need your business. They know that many are experiencing temporary set backs right now, but eventually things will turn around. They want to be poised to capitalize when that happens and often are willing to help you through your difficulties.
So avoid all those so-called “experts” promising easy debt relief. Develop your own debt management strategy by anticipating potential problems and taking proactive steps before things get out of hand. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you can accomplish on your own.
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