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Credit Card Debt Relief Scams – Buyer Beware

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Credit Card Debt Relief Scams – Buyer Beware

If you are drowning in credit card debt then there is no doubt you have been thinking about how you can get credit card debt relief. Fortunately for you there are more companies than ever before advertising credit card debt relief services, but it is very important to do your due diligence when choosing one if you want to avoid credit card debt relief scams.

Here are some things that you should ask yourself in order to find a legitimate company:

1.       Does the company have a website?

2.       Is the company listed with Industry Canada?

3.       Does the company have a bricks and mortar retail location?

4.       Have past clients of the company made positive reviews about them?

5.       Do the company and its employees have a presence online on sites like LinkedIn?

If you want to avoid credit card debt relief scams, ask a lot of questions:

1.       Does the company charge an upfront fee? If they do, this is a not a good sign. The company should be able to present you with financial options and advise you of the cost to participate in them. Only upon selecting a program should you pay any fee to the company.

2.       Is the company going to hold the money you pay to them monthly and then disperse the money at a later date? Beware of credit card debt relief companies that collect money from you monthly on the premise that once it has accumulated, they will use it to settle your debt. You don’t know what could happen with the company in the future and this is risky business.

3.       What will the impact be to your credit? Let’s be realistic – if you are behind making payments or know you will be soon, your credit has likely already taken a hit – or you should expect it to. Any debt solution that involves reducing your debt or freezing the interest will have a negative impact to your credit. A financial program that involves reducing your debt will cause you to pay off your debt much sooner so it really is short term gain for long term pain. Our point here is that the company that offers you debt relief should be open about the implications that different programs will have on your credit and have the ability to guide you through the process of rebuilding your credit.

4.       Ask the company to be clear about their solution. Many companies will promote debt consolidation but there are different types of debt consolidation. Debt consolidation involves consolidating debts into a single monthly payment. Many credit card debt relief options achieve this but each is different. For example:

a.       If a bank gives you a debt consolidation loan your creditors will be paid off in full. Pros: You can preserve your credit and your relationships with your creditors. Cons: You will pay interest on the debt and it will take a long time to pay off. Also, you must have good credit for this option.

b.      You could refinance your mortgage to consolidate your debt. Pros: You can preserve your credit and your relationships with your creditors. Cons: You will pay interest on the debt and you will be stretching the debt out over your mortgage amortization.

c.       If you go to credit counselling they will allow you to make a single monthly payment to them. Pros: Monthly payments are low. Cons: Damages credit, damages relationships with creditors, takes a really long time to pay off.

d.      A consumer proposal also involves making a single monthly payment. Pros: Debt can be reduced, single monthly payment, stops collection action, interest is frozen. Cons: Damage to credit.

e.      A bankruptcy will also result in a consolidated single monthly payment. Pros: Debt can be reduced, single monthly payment, stops collection action, interest is frozen. Cons: Damage to credit, ongoing reporting obligation to trustee, if financial situation improves payments could be increased.

When looking for a company that offers debt solutions remember that if you do your research and ask a lot of questions you should be able to find a debt solution while avoiding credit card debt relief scams.

For more information about credit card debt relief or if you need help with a financial problem please call DebtCare at 1-888-890-0888 or visit www.debtcare.ca.

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