Once you’ve decided to pursue debt relief, your next concern should be whether to hire a company to help you, or do it yourself. There are many arguments in favor of the latter; chief among them is the fact you’ll avoid paying fees for the service.
However, it’s important to note what you’ll save in dollars will cost you in time. If you feel your time is more valuable than the money you’ll save, your next concern should be finding a reputable company. In other words, it’s time to ask something along the lines of; is Freedom Debt Relief legit?
Understanding Debt Relief
In a nutshell, debt relief companies negotiate with creditors on your behalf to settle debts for less than is actually owed. They’ll offer your lenders one-time payments in full in exchange for reduced payoff amounts.
The people you owe will often accept these deals because they know your alternative is likely to be filing for bankruptcy protection. Working with you on a debt settlement offer will at least get some of the money back. Meanwhile, they could see the debt discharged altogether If they push you into bankruptcy court.
Here, it’s important to note certain types of debt are invulnerable to settlement negotiations. These include any debt backed by collateral, federal student loans, alimony and child support. However, credit card balances, store charge accounts, medical debt and other types of unsecured debt are fair game — so to speak.
Why The Question?
It’s reasonable to ask is Freedom Debt Relief legit, because there are a significant number of people who view the debt relief industry as an opportunity to make a fast buck off of unsuspecting people. Counting on the fact you’re in trouble to compromise your rationality; they’ll try to coerce you into giving them money, with no intention of helping settle your debts.
What to Look Out For
Nefarious settlement operators do have certain traits in common, which can make spotting them easier to do.
Among these are:
Up Front Fees
Any company that tries to get you to pay an upfront fee is operating illegally. Federal law prohibits debt relief companies from charging you a fee until they’ve settled a debt on your behalf and the terms of the settlement agreement they have been met. In other words, you shouldn’t be asked to pay until the service is performed.
No Analysis of Your Situation
A legitimate debt relief company will begin with a consultation, during which your circumstances will be evaluated to determine whether debt relief really is your best approach. Any company that tries to sign you up without performing this critical step has no interest in settling your debts.
Lack of Transparency
An honest debt relief company will be forthcoming about all aspects of the program — both positive and negative — in order to enable you to make an informed decision. They’ll gloss over t (if not omit altogether) details such as creditors could sue you, the IRS could consider forgiven debt income and the fact that you’ll need to rebuild your credit score after the program is complete.
Yes, we know you’ll feel a lot better with an assurance you’ll save “X” amount of dollars. However, the reality is nobody can honestly make that promise. Every situation is different, every creditor is different and what worked in one instance might fail in another. Honest debt relief companies will tell you this.
So, Is Freedom Debt Relief Legit?
Those are the primary red flags to consider. You’ll do yourself well to visit the ConsumerFinance.Gov website for more information about considering debt relief services.
Getting back to our original question though — yes Freedom Debt Relief is legit. There are no upfront settlement fees. You’ll get a professional evaluation of your circumstances. Your counselor will explain all aspects of the process thoroughly— both positive and potentially negative. And, while they’ll do everything possible to get you the best settlement they can — they will tell you there are no guarantees.
Image Credits: Alexander Schimmeck