Since stories of fraud and scams have become quite common in the industry, the Federal Trade Commission, creditors and debt reduction centers alike have become more active in publishing guidelines and help articles to protect consumers. The message is clear: making the most out of a debt management program starts with asking the right questions and looking beyond the flashy advertisements and 100% guarantees.
Getting straightforward and no-nonsense explanations is an indication of integrity from a debt reduction law center. Fraud, scam artists and dodgy organizations will be less willing to address your concerns and will likely place higher priority on pressuring (and sometimes scaring) you into enrolling in their programs. You’re not helpless, though – there are ways to avoid being a victim of fraud.
The Debt Resolution Attorneys Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page echoes the FTC’s take on questions to ask debt analysts and counselors before enrolling in any debt reduction program. Make sure to keep these‘SEVEN BASIC QUESTIONS TO ASK DEBT MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS’ in mind whenever you decide to take on services related to debt help:
Consultation and information regarding debts, debt relief plans, loan modification, foreclosure proceedings and bankruptcy are always free. Dependable debt management centers offer these counseling services for free and will never charge you just for asking questions. If an organization asks for compensation in exchange for information about Debt Management Programs (DMPs) and other finance-related counseling, look for another debt specialist. Just as well, avoid counselors who ask you for payment or your credit card details for information regarding their process or the nature of their business.
Before obtaining any form of debt settlement program or service from a debt reduction firm, make sure to ask them if they are licensed to practice in your state, as most firms are not. Find out what the requirements for negotiators are in your state and ask the firm what their and their attorneys’ certifications are. As much as possible, hire experienced analysts with adequate technical know-why and know-how. Teaming up with lawyers and legal specialists from a law center that specifically specializes in Debt Settlement Law such as the Debt Resolution Attorneys can be an added advantage to your situation. Unlike regular debt settlement agencies, a law firm is licensed under United States law to provide you legal representation in court through their attorneys, and affiliated attorneys pf the law firm, should there be a need to do so.
When you are asking a settlement firm is they can represent you in a legal dispute, please avoid settlement firms that tell you that “they have attorneys that work for them.” This is an evasion and akin to having someone ask you if you can fly a jet airplane and your response to that person is, “Don’t worry; my next door neighbor is a jet airplane pilot.” This is a disingenuous dodge designed to evade a direct answer and designed to mislead you. Bluntly put, if you do not sign a retainer agreement retaining a licensed law firm in your name for a debt settlement service, then the simple fact is that you have NO legal representation and in a legal dispute, you will be left on your own to find (and pay) for one… which, if you think about it, is pretty tough to do when you are trying to get out of debt.
Before entering any debt reduction plan, ask for a written and signed statement of all verbal promises, guarantees, and other terms. You can easily avoid debt reduction law center fraud and scams by reading through their proposed terms and a breakdown of relevant fees. Never sign any document unless you fully understand its contents and purpose. If a debt relief company pressures you into signing with them by telling you that immediate response is required, you might want to start looking for other debt reduction firms. Only agree to commit with a law center after all fees have been discussed with you in detail. Ask how frequent you need to make payments, for how long, and if the quoted price includes setup and all other fees. Never trust a debt consolidation agent or specialist who cannot discuss costs of the program with you to avoid fraud and scams involving hidden fees.
Anyone offering you a ‘100% guarantee’ is probably trying to “sell you,” as no one can offer such a thing without very tiny print in their contract. Frankly, no attorney or law firm will offer you such a thing, as attorneys know better than anyone that such guarantees do not exist in the practical world and offering you such a thing will only expose an attorney’s legal liability. The fancy advertisements will give you a clue as to that company’s motivation when you ask yourself… “Who is really paying for these? It costs a company a great deal of money to pay for these ads and that has to come from somewhere… which, end the end, will be in the fees that you pay them and, generally speaking, not in the service they look to provide you.
By law, no attorney or law firm would ever consider offering you one, they would immediately have their law licenses revoked. The reason for that is that the FTC considers these programs to be considered fraudulent and a “scheme.” In today’s environment, most ‘Debt Elimination’ programs have been closed down, but some are still being offered, so please be sensitive to these schemes. Mostly, they are fairly easy to identify, as they fly in the face of your good common sense; defy your “Gut Feelings” and get you to ignore the age old adage that if something is too good to be true… it probably is just the opposite.