Debt Consolidation

Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring A Credit Counseling Agency

If you are considering hiring a credit counseling agency, you need to be very careful with your selection. If you do a search in Google, you will be bombarded with thousands of search results, where every agency claims to be the best one. Considering the very fact that there are so many options available out there, you may find it a daunting task to choose the best one out of them. However, you can take much pain out of the proceedings by short listing some (at least 3-4) reputable names and then interviewing them one by one. Most counselors offer the first consultation free of cost. Since a credit counselor is the person who is going to offer you advice and suggestions on how to manage your debts and finances, you need to make sure that the person you are hiring is an expert in this field with good success record and that they charge a fee that you can easily afford to pay. Following are some of the most important questions that you must to them, as it will help you make an informed decision.

License Related Questions

When it comes to hiring a credit counseling agency, you need to make sure that the counselor is duly licensed to offer such services in your state. When you go for the first free consultation, do not hesitate to ask them to show their licenses. Sometimes, the agency is duly licensed but the counselors working there do not meet the necessary licensing requirements. Therefore, you must ask very specific questions regarding this. You need to make sure that the agency you are considering signing up with is following all necessary regulations.

Fees

The next important thing that you have to ask about is the amount of fees they charge for their services. Ask questions about each and every aspect related to fees, such as mandatory up-front fees, monthly payment options, and total costs. A nice way to do this is to request free, no-obligation quotes from each of them. The quotes must specify the different types of services they provide and the charges applicable for the same. You can then compare the quotes to decide which of these agencies if offering you the best value for your money. You obviously should never be hiring a credit counseling agency that charges so high a fee that you cannot afford to pay. Most agencies will ask you to make a certain amount of upfront payment, which is usually somewhere around $250. Since you are already struggling with your finances, you may find it difficult to pay such a high fees. If that is the case, you must spend more time in your research and try to find out a government-approved agency that charges low fee. It is also important for you to keep in mind that just because particular agency claims to be working as a non-profit organization, it does not mean that they offer their services free of cost. You are strongly recommended not to make a decision based on such false assumptions.

Services

You should pay special focus to the different types of services the agencies are offering. Before hiring a credit counseling agency, you must have a clear understanding what types of services you can expect from them. The basic rule of thumb is to consider those agencies that offer a variety of services, such as debt management, debt settlement, budget counseling, and other such things. If you are going through extreme financial hardship and are on the verge of bankruptcy, you need a counselor who can advice you about better alternatives to bankruptcy. A counselor who tells you to go for bankruptcy is not a good one. An expert counselor will also be able to tell you how to avoid bankruptcy. You also need to observe how much time the agency is spending to investigate your case. Are they offering you suggestions and advice without doing any analysis of your situation? If yes, you should not hire them.

Privacy

While you are considering hiring a credit counseling agency, you also need to ask questions about their policies regarding the protection of your information. Since the counselor you will be hiring is going to have access to your crucial financial information, you need to make sure the information is kept private and confidential. They must not share your information with a third party without your permission. It is always better to hire an agency that is willing to sign a confidentiality contract.

Overall, when it comes to hiring a credit counseling agency, the more questions you ask, the better you will be able to make an informed choice.


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Posted in Credit Counseling, Debt Consolidation | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring A Credit Counseling Agency”

  1. john says:

    Search of a genuine and reputable credit counseling agency is really a tough job to do if you want to find a good counselor; you have to ask some questions from yourself and also from the counseling agency. The license of a credit counseling agency is the most important tool; the company must be duly licensed to provide such services. The Counselor working with the counseling agency must have license to perform the work in your state, you must confirm all the eligibility criteria from the counselor with whom you are going to work. The working atmosphere and different profiles under which the counseling agency is working should be clear to you. Once you meet a counselor who will be working on your case, you should ask all the questions regarding his license and then you should discuss your whole financial situation with him and h/ she must be able to suggest you a solution for getting rid of your debts. If you are going through a very bad financial situation and you have started thinking about bankruptcy, your counselor must be able to convince your self some other option rather than bankruptcy.

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