For some of us it can get to the point where the debts you currently have, outweigh the income you have coming in. This is called being insolvent.
For years people have been seeking solutions and debt relief options that would help them get themselves out from under the weight of their debt and back onto a track of financial freedom and responsibility.
For many years Bankruptcy was the fix all for debt. People would rack up large amounts of debt then file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and have those debt wiped away, only to start the process up again. The banks lobbied and finally got stricter regulations in place to prevent this from happening. In 2005 the bankruptcy abuse act was passes making it very difficult for people to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy but instead pushed people into a chapter 13 bankruptcy whereby people are forced into a repayment program, sometimes for 100% of the debt that they owe.
Next came the era of Consumer Credit Counseling as a debt relief program. These agencies popped up everywhere offering assistance to people looking to deal with mounting credit card debt. The process was simple because in many cases the credit card companies themselves either owned or had back room deals with the agencies who were “supposedly” working for you. As a result the programs came under scrutiny and the FTC passed guidelines that prohibited the way they could operate. The typical person who is looking for debt relief, is looking to lower their monthly expenses but with CCC you typically pay the same as your paying right now which does not help the person who cannot afford their monthly payments as it is.
This not being an option for most people, individuals turned to debt consolidation loans whereby they attempted to lower their payments by bundling all of their debt into one loan with a low interest rate. In many cases people had too much debt or too low of a credit score to qualify for another unsecure loan, so the banks wanted a security. In many cases this took the form of a Home Equity loan, or a remortgage. Most of us today are still feeling the repercussions from this. People were bundling all of their unsecure debt into secure loans and then realizing not too long after that they no longer could afford those payments, or they got themselves mixed up with a balloon loan or a variable APR loan. Now these people run the risk of not falling behind on their credit card debt, but losing their homes.
People then began to turn to an age old practice of debt relief called debt settlement. This is a process that a person attempts to negotiate with the credit card companies and agrees on a lower payoff to settle out the debt. Since this process is both time consuming and required a lot of experience in the art of negotiations, often times requiring long standing relationships with the creditors, people turned to companies who specialize in this process. A company that does this for the consumer is known as a debt settlement company.
What happed next was that many people from the failing mortgage and real-estate industry, seeing the amount of people turning to debt settlement, decided to jump on the bandwagon in the hopes to make a quick buck. This created a boom in the amount of debt settlement companies out there. What is also did was cause a number of scam companies to pop up, offering what looked like legitimate debt settlement but in actuality were scamming the people out of their hard earned money. Many of these debt settlement companies were charging the majority of their fees up front before any settlements or in many cases before any services were provided at all.
Seeing the amount of people that had horror stories of dealing with a debt settlement company that took them for a ride, the FTC decided to pass regulations and guidelines on how a debt settlement company can operate and charge its fees. First of all, if a company is charging its fees before a settlement had been reached, they do not have the client’s best interest in mind. It also shows that they do not have confidence in their own abilities.
No company should be charging you a penny until they reach a settlement. This ensures you that you know what you are paying for, and gives them the motivation to work hard on your behalf to save you the most they can. Any debt settlement company that is charging upfront fees are not only no doing you any justice, but may not be in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
If your looking for debt relief and are considering going with a debt settlement company, make sure you are choosing one where you don’t pay anything until you settle!
For more information on credit card debt help and to go over all of your options, click the link and speak to a debt analyst who can review your case and let you know which options might be best in your situation.