Anyone ever use these companies to help with credit card debt? How do you find a good one? My hours are super reduced at work and less money coming in. Looking for part time work to help. Meanwhile I'm covering bills but barely. Want to pay what I owe, but the interests are socking me, so the total is not getting reduced :-( BTW animals are not in want, they come 1st :-)
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Be VERY careful; quite a few of the debt relief companies are rip-offs; you will pay huge amounts up front to them (in the form of monthly pmts that could be going to lenders), and the bad ones don't get you any better of a deal than you could negotiate yourself. Don't be afraid to contact your credit card company yourself and see if they can offer any assistance; some do in the form of lower interest, graduated payment plans, etc.
There are a few good ones out there but do your research before agreeing to any type of contract with any of them, and make sure you fully understand their fee structure.
Where humidity isn't just a word, it's a way of life.
And I second reading up on Dave Ramsey; he offers real, workable solutions; not the "erase your debt" stuff, but how to budget and work through your debt and keep it from happening again. He also has a website and a radio show (it's my lunch break guilty pleasure!)
Several years ago, I went used one of the companies and it actually worked out very well and they were not a rip off at all. I'll have to check my records and see which company it was because I can't remember their name off the top of my head. I paid a lump monthly fee to them which was about half of what all my payments would have been and they negotiated with the cc companies for me. I do remember that I had to be at least 30 days behind on the bills and I couldn't keep any cards at all, every bit of unsecured debt had to be rolled into their program.
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4th Dave Ramsey. When it comes to bills like credit cards, call and talk to the companies yourself and see what they can do to help. They want to be paid so stand your ground. If you feel you have to go with a company for help, find one with a fantastic BBB rating. I used one once and it did help. Unfortunately, I also didn't do anything different on my end, so the help wasn't lasting. If you use a company ALSO check out Dave Ramsey (or any of the others) and stick to a budget so you don't end up in the mess again.
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Highly doubt that there is a 'reputable one' in the bunch. Go to the library and pick up Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover". Read it, make a budget, stick to it. It will change your life!
This, a million times over. My husband and I are both full time college students and, while we make decent money, we don't make a ton. We're doing better than many of our graduated or adult friends because we have a budget, savings, investments, and a PLAN! All thanks to Dave Ramsey......totally, 100% worth it!
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A friend of a friend went to one of the debt help companies, supposedly one of the good ones, and just talked to them about getting on budget and paying down debt. All these people did was talk to the company and fill out the prelim application that you had to use to even talk to them. The people decided that they could do a budget and pay down themselves, and did so. A few years later they wanted to buy a car, and were turned down. The debt people had reported the application that was never completed to the credit bureaus as a debt adjustment, and that screwed up their credit.
And many of the so-called non-profit ones are actually associated with another company you make the payments to, and they cost a bundle. If you need to pay down debt do just what others on here said, and make a budget, cut back on frills, and pay off the highest interest debt first. And if you have student loans pay them or it will ruin you financially forever. And never, ever cosign for anyone on anything. You can do this yourself, but just don't go back into debt again. Many people do this over and over, but you don't need to do that. Get rid of the debts one-by-one, and then stay on budget. I believe you can do this, and I know that everyone needs to learn this as they grow, so you will get through this, learn from it, and come out stronger on the other side. And never try the quick fix of payday loans, or title loans, the interest rate is awful, and many people never pay them off, but just do them over and over.
Have you seen the commercial about the Native American (supposedly, but I think it is on tribal land somewhere) that will give a 10,000 loan today? I figured out the actual amount of payback is over $60,000 including interest. I'm still laughing about that one, and I bet I can tell you at least three people I know that called for more information about it too.
If you decide to talk to each of your creditors separately, clarify how they will report your payment history on your credit bureau. You don't want them to just continue to show delinquent. Should show that you are making agreed upon payments.
Once when I was being pressured by one of these companies, I looked up their rating with the Better Business Bureau. They had a rating of F. The next day when they called to pressure me some more, I told them what I had learned. They were very embarrassed and started giving me all sorts of excuses as to why that would be.
I recommend you Google the name of the company you are considering.
And I recommend you join a forum called Credit Board. I got serious, free help there when I needed it. Be prepared to invest some time, though.
I second calling up the banks that hold your credit cards and try to negotiate a better rate or terms with them. Tell them that your income has been reduced and that you need to have them adjust their terms. If the customer service rep can't help, ask to speak to their manager or their "hardship" department. Most banks would rather reduce the interest rate or work out terms than risk having you not pay at all.
When I was laid off last year I did that and had some success with banks lowering their interest rate (not Bank of America, however, which I term the evil empire). One bank even reduced my rate to 0% if I closed the account! I happily agreed to those terms.