Credit counseling agencies are non-profits organizations that help heavy debtors to work their way out of debt. There are too many credit-counseling agencies in the market, while many are legitimate organizations that really want to help the debtors to solve their debt issue, there are scammers around who also call themselves credit counseling agencies, try to cheat your money and worsen your debt condition. If you are overwhelming with debt and looking for credit counseling service, then it is important for you to choose a legitimate credit counseling service. Here are 5 important questions to ask when you approach a credit counseling agency:
1. What services do you offer?
Most credit counseling agencies include services such as budget counseling, savings and debt management training. Try to look for an organization that offers a range of services so that you can get the counseling in all areas of personal finance that are necessary to help you effectively manage your money and resolve your debt issue. The counselor should first understand your entire financial situation before he/she propose a personalized plan to solve your money problems. Avoid organizations that keep selling their debt management plan as your only option before getting to understand in detail about your debt problem.
2. Are you licensed to offer your services in my state?
Most states required credit counseling agencies and the counselors to obtain license before they can offer their services in the states. Before you approach credit counseling agency, do some homework to understand the licensing requirements of a credit counseling services for your state. Do not accept credit counseling services that do not fulfill the requirements for your state.
3. Do you offer free counseling services?
If you can get it free, don’t pay for it. Most credit counseling agencies provide free counseling services to their clients, you just need to pay a reasonable fee if you agree to enroll into their proposed debt solutions such as debt management plan. Avoid getting services from credit counseling agencies that charge for “free” services.
4. Will I have a formal written agreement or contract with you?
Don’t enroll into a debt management plan (DMP) that does not have any written contract or agreement. Even there is an agreement for the proposed DMP, you must not sign the agreement in hurry, read all documents carefully to ensure all the terms and promises by the credit counselor are written correctly in the documents. If you are urged to act immediately, consider finding another credit counseling agency.
5. What are your fees? What are these fees for?
Get a detail price quote in writing on all fees involved and specifically ask whether the fees quoted cover all the necessary fees, this is to avoid any potential hidden cost charge by the agency after you have signup with their plan. If your current financial capability is not able to support the fees, try to negotiate with the agency to waive or reduce the fees. If the agency won’t help you to resolve the fees problem, look elsewhere for help.
You want to get a credit counseling service that can help to solve you in your debt problem. Hence, it is important you ask the right questions that can help you to identify the legitimate and responsiveness of a credit counseling service.