Choosing a debt counselor
by Scott Bilker
I am interested in finding out
about credit counseling...an overview of what it entails and how to
choose a person or organization. Questions to ask and what to look
for. I need outside, ongoing help with changing my habits in regard
to money. Your help is much appreciated.
Choosing a to use credit counselor is
serious decision. I always recommend self-help, however, I do
understand that this course may not be possible for everyone. My
feeling is that even if you are successful with credit counseling
you will be left with your finances to deal with on your own.
It is true that there are some good
credit counseling services, but it's also true that many can be
trouble! They may be able to get better rates from your creditors,
but not always. If you decide to use credit counseling you have to
monitor them frequently to make sure that they're doing their job.
Peruzzi vs. the Debt Counselors.)
payments and high fees. Costs of more than $50 per month. Of
course, it's fine to pay fees for counseling IF they can get
results that exceed their costs!
sure that "voluntary" fees are really just
sell. If they're reading from a script and aggressively
written plan. Your counselor should create a detailed plan for
your approval prior to starting their services.
|Finding a good counselor
|| Check with the Better Business
|| Ask for references.
|| Remember that "non-profit" status does not guarantee
quality service. And I, as well as the IRS, question many of these
companies so called "non-profit" status.
||Ask about privacy. Make sure your information isn't sold or
distributed to anyone.
|| Shop around. Talk to 2 or 3 agencies before signing up.
|| Don't sign up until you know that the counselor has contacted all
your creditors and what the deal will be when the counselor is
working with them. This should all be in writing.
|| Ask about how credit counseling affects your credit report or
score. Some creditors do disclose to credit reporting agencies
information about a customer's participation in a debt management
plan, this won't necessarily have a negative effect on your ability
to get credit in the future, but there is a chance that it can. Talk
with the counselor about these details.
|| Get referrals from people you trust! I do recommend a few
counseling agencies as long as I don't hear any complaints. I've set
up a feedback system to allow you to let me know how you're being
treating. This way I can keep my recommended counselors in check. I
have researched their backgrounds and feel that they can do a good
job. Of course, you should always shop around to make sure that
you're getting the service! You can find out more at the DebtSmart
Good luck and please let me know what