Six Questions to Ask Your Debt Consolidation Service

You can benefit from teaming up with a debt consolidation service provider IF you take time to choose carefully. Lots of businesses offer these services and while they all promise to help eliminate your debt, this doesn’t always happen. To ensure you’re teaming up with debt consolidation professionals who have only good intentions, don’t forget to ask these all-important questions.

1. Which of your services are offered at no charge?

Many debt consolidation service providers get you in their door by offering free consultations. These sessions usually include a review of your debt situation to help determine the best course of action. But oftentimes, that is where the free services end. Even non-profit debt consolidation services need voluntary contributions to continue operating so don’t be surprised if you’re asked for money at some point during your interaction with non-profits. Like any other service you seek, it’s best to know up-front how much and how often you’ll be expected to pay.

2. Can I get a written disclosure of all fees?

The fees you’ll be expected to pay should always be detailed in writing and made available for your review. Documenting fees in advance eliminates opportunities for confusion later on. If the company intends to offer debt consolidation services but won’t provide a clear, concise accounting of its fees, you’ll be wise to move on to another company.

3. Do you require payment of fees up front?

An answer of yes is a red flag, especially when large amounts of money are requested in advance, so proceed with caution. Many times in the past, funds paid up front were never applied towards bills. Instead, that money ended up in the bank accounts of those unscrupulous individuals who requested it, leaving debtors worse off. Don’t let this happen to you!

4. What type of licensing or accreditation does the business maintain?

Companies that keep applicable licensing and accreditation up-to-date are more likely to operate as legitimate businesses. It’s easy to confirm what you’ve been told so do it.

5. What, if any, complaints have been filed against the company and why?

This might be a question you have to research on your own, but it is worth asking. More often than not, you’ll have to rely on the responder’s body language to gauge whether you think the answer is truthful. Always double-check with the Better Business Bureau and the applicable agencies within your state for any documented complaints about the company before proceeding. Searching the company name on the Internet may also turn up some newsworthy information.

6. What type of consumer credit training do you require of your counselors?

You want to know that the people offering you advice on ways to remedy your situation are qualified to offer such advice.

As you ask these questions, pay close attention to the answers you get. If they are vague or generalized, or if the person tries to steer your conversation in another direction, don’t ignore this. Legitimate debt consolidation service providers are happy to give you all the answers you need to make the right choice!