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Debt Settlement Programs: How to Compare the Best Debt Settlement Services

If you have decided that a debt settlement program is the best option for dealing with your overwhelming credit card and other debt, then you need to take the time to compare the various debt settlement services available to you. Even the best debt settlement solutions will have differences between one company and another, and you need to ensure that you have the best possible company for your situation.


Start by comparing the fees. All debt settlement programs cost something. The key is to figure out not only how much it will cost, but also when and how the company will be paid. Some companies will be paid monthly. Others will only be paid on contingency – in other words, if you are not able to settle, they will not collect. Many charge a percent of the money they will save you or the total amount of debt you have. Some will charge an up front fee in addition to a percent if you are able to settle. The ways debt settlement services collect their pay varies tremendously, as does the amount they receive. Choose a company that is upfront about the fees and has reasonable fees compared to the competition.

The Process

Learn about the debt settlement process with each particular company. Do they aid you in setting up accounts to build up the funds necessary to pay off your debt? How and when do they communicate with your creditors? How likely is it that your creditors will continue to pursue collections while you are in the settlement negotiations process? How much time should the debt settlement solution take? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search to a few potential companies.

Check the Better Business Bureau

Always check the Better Business Bureau before signing up with a company. Even if the debt settlement provider seems to be the best, you may find several complaints about the company listed with the BBB. Avoid using any debt settlement solutions that have many negative marks with the BBB.

Watch for Guarantees

There are two types of guarantees you may see while shopping for debt settlement services. One is a guarantee that you will be able to settle. You must remember that the agreement to settle lies primarily on the shoulders of the creditors. No company can promise that they will be able to reach a settlement with your creditors. Therefore, avoid working with a debt settlement provider that promises you will be able to settle.

Some companies will offer a money-back guarantee. If they charge up front fees, rather than working on a contingency basis, the company will offer to refund the fees if they cannot reach a debt settlement solution with the creditors. This is a guarantee you would like to find. This means the company is going to work as hard as possible to get the settlement, because without it they lose money. If you see a guarantee, research it to determine whether it is a money-back guarantee or an outright guarantee that you will be able to settle. The best debt settlement companies will not promise what they cannot give, but they will stand behind their work.