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Finding Legitimate Debt Relief

Finding Legitimate Debt Relief

Hello, and welcome to Your Money 2.0. I’m Christopher Viale, president of Cambridge
Credit Counseling. In our recent webisodes, we’ve discussed
the negative effects that debt settlement services can have on your credit. In this episode, we’re going to focus on
how you can select a reputable organization if you, a friend or a family member feels
stressed by the debt they’ve accumulated. Debt settlement organizations use a variety
of advertising techniques to encourage participation in their programs. Most recently, they’ve used the images of
our president, as if to suggest that a government program exists to bail you out of debt. However, there is a long history of providing
misinformation in the industry’s advertising. Most notable is the declaration that such
services can help you to eliminate 50% or more of what you owe. This kind of misinformation has prompted many
consumer protection advocates to call for more effective government regulations, and
some states have slowly begun to respond. In the meantime, debt settlement ads have
become more and more prominent on radio, television and the Internet. The messaging within these ads embeds the
idea that it’s somehow okay for you to walk away from your debt. With the barrage of debt settlement ads on
television and radio, it almost seems believable that they can help you to make tens of thousands
of dollars of your indebtedness disappear. I hear this sentiment from consumers each
and every day. They ask me, “How can this not be true if
I see and hear these advertisements all the time?” I usually caution these individuals not to
believe everything they hear, because the fact of the matter is that in almost all cases,
working with such a company can yield catastrophic results. Therefore, it’s important to do your homework. Be sure that you always check out an organization’s
rating with the Better Business Bureau, and don’t stop there. When speaking to a debt relief representative,
ask if they have the necessary certifications and licenses to conduct business in your state. If they say yes, request the license number
and the address of an official state website to verify its legitimacy. If they hesitate, move on. A legitimate company would be happy to have
you see their credentials. Unlike some debt settlement companies, whose
salesman you might mistake for a legitimate counselor, a reputable credit counseling agency
will employ only accredited counselors, who must advise you in your best interests. When trained and certified by a national,
independent organization, counselors must adhere to a standardized Code of Ethics, and
regularly receive continuing education to help them provide the best advice possible. When contacting a certified credit counselor,
you should receive a comprehensive financial analysis that allows the counselor to identify
the options that suit your specific circumstances, helping you regain control of your finances. Granted, this is not a quick fix, and some
of the initial sessions can be lengthy, but the only way a plan can be customized is to
ensure that the counselor has the opportunity to completely understand your financial situation. In some cases, consumers may benefit from
the structured guidance of a debt management plan. It may not feel like it, but creditors are
willing to help – providing that you’re working with a legitimate company. Unlike debt settlement, debt management programs
are supported through the active participation of your creditors. These plans work to make monthly payments
to creditors more manageable, most often through concessions, such as a reduction in your current
interest rate and the elimination of any late or over-limit fees you may be paying. In return, you simply agree to close the account
with your creditor and maintain your monthly payment. In this scenario, creditors don’t experience
the disruption they go through with a debt settlement service. You are not walking away from your debt. You’re paying back what you owe, but with
terms that may be more manageable for your situation. For most people, there is nothing more stressful
than the thought of being overwhelmed by their financial difficulties. The only thing more devastating is being misled
by a service claiming to provide assistance. That’s why I urge you to be cautious when
seeking debt relief. Thousands of consumers every year are victimized
by the practices of bad debt settlement companies. They didn’t recognize that they were being
led down a gloomy road to financial ruin, but once they were there, they quickly discovered
that it’s something you don’t recover from very easily. That’s why you can’t afford to take the
easy way out. If you know of anyone who’s considering
a debt relief service, I urge you to send them to Cambridge’s YouTube page so they
can view our three-part series on the dangers of debt settlement, which include Do Debt
Settlement Programs Work, The Cost of Debt Settlement and the episode you have just viewed. It will be time well spent. Well, that’s it for this edition. As always, we welcome your feedback and ask
for your thoughts and suggestions by e-mailing us at [email protected] Thank you for watching. Until next time, I’m Christopher Viale for
Cambridge Credit Counseling.

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