Credit counseling agencies of Texas, Florida and other USA states are the great source of valuable suggestions about how to deal with the debt before it grows significantly. You can get the needed financial education here along with personal assistance.
However all these benefits you can get only in authorized agencies with qualified managers. Turning to the fake agency you will just lose your money and time, making your financial situation even worse.
That is why the selection of credit counseling agency shall be really careful act even in big states like California or Georgia. Here are some advices you can use to ensure you entrust the debt into right hands.
- Visit several agencies
Take your time to visit chosen agencies and talk to their managers in person. Remember you will most likely spoil your credit history by turning to the wrong company, since your debt is going to grow.
- Do not trust the advertisement
It’s very important to review the real feedbacks and look for the licenses and other documents. The bad company might obtain the brilliant advertisement.
- Find several credit counseling agencies to compare
Look through the Yellow Pages available in Texas and other big USA states, or just dig through the Internet; rely on clients’ referrals and other information given in the form or feedback.
- Check the license
In most big states like New York or California the credit counseling agency must have the appropriate license, however in some places the license is not required or the company simply doesn’t have one. In this case you might get so-called “help” from inexperienced managers that will do you no good. Ask if the agency is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agency or National Foundation for Credit Counseling Agency. Check out the given information on the official site of either respected agency.
- Personalized or general services?
Some agencies offer the standard approach to their clients, separating them according to similar features and running the standard procedure. This is not effective, since each debtor has his own unique situation. The personalized approach might shorten your payment time while the general solution might get you straight to bankruptcy. However try to stay away from companies where managers work for the commission. Some of us go there craving for personal attention and end up with the handful of unneeded services.
The best result can be obtained with certified credit counseling agency. Do not hesitate to check out the data.
- Know what you’re paying for
Ask about the range of offered services; define if there are any educational courses and what classes are being held there. You shall know whether the counselor is going to create the personal debt management plan for you. Put the question about the possibility to discuss your financial situation with your manager in person.
- Security and privacy
Ask about possible assurances that the information you provide stays confidential. If you’re not comfortable with named rules, better look for any other agency.
- Write everything down
Do not believe any verbal promises, since after some time you will not be able to prove even a word – according to USA law only the written materials can be used in the court. Check out the contract for all agreements to be there in the written form. Be careful with terms and conditions. Be sure you understand everything before signing the contract.
- Any complains?
Check out the Internet for any complaint records concerning your credit counseling agency. New York or Houston citizens will find feedbacks easier than the people from smaller states. If there were complaints from clients and the agency didn’t respond, this is a bad sign. There’s a chance for you to appear among the unsatisfied debtors as well.
- The fund source of the agency
Define how the agency is funded. Most of agencies in USA are non-profitable organizations funded by creditors taking part in Debt Management Plans, since a lot of creditors are interested in supporting credit counseling agencies. If the company refuses to define the source of its income, look for the information on the site of the National Association of State Charity Officials. Remember that the credit counseling agency must pass to your creditors 100% amount you offer them in the repayment plan.
- Define the fees
Get the clear picture of all the fees you might be asked for. Each fee shall be explained; their total amount shall be no more than $75 as a set-up fee and no more than $40 as monthly fee. Be sure to get explanations about the amount of monthly fee according to the state law. Ask about the way of protection for your costs and also define if the fee does not eliminate your efforts to pay off the debt.
- Any education offered?
The trusted agencies tend to offer the educational programs to their customers for them to avoid future mistakes when dealing with their budget. Ask for educational materials of workshops; define if they’re paid or free and whether you can access them online.