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Stay Away From BAD Credit Card and Debt Consolidation Counseling Services! How to Tell the Good from the Bad!

Updated on February 15, 2010
Don't throw your money away! Find out if the credit card counseling service that you are interested in is reputable!
Don't throw your money away! Find out if the credit card counseling service that you are interested in is reputable!

In the HUB, Which Credit Card and Debt Consolidation Counseling Service is Best for you, I discussed important questions that should be asked when determining which counseling service would best fit your needs. In this HUB I am going to journey in the opposite direction and let you know the signs you should be looking for in order to determine if a credit card counseling service is indeed, bad (and not worth your money or time!). As you probably already know, the world is made up of all kinds of people and unfortunately, some of those people form companies that are out to take your money! Knowledge is power! The more you know and the smarter you are…the less likely you will be taken advantage of.

The good news is that most credit card and debt consolidation counseling agencies truly want to help you! A good agency will be made up of experienced financial counselors who will assess your financial situation, help you set up a budget and if necessary, consolidate your debt. Good credit counselors truly want to help you stabilize your financial situation and lead you to the path of financial freedom (and a debt free life!).

Take control of your finances today! Let a credit card counseling service HELP YOU!
Take control of your finances today! Let a credit card counseling service HELP YOU!

So how can you tell if a credit and debt consolidation company isn't worth your time? Sadly, many credit agencies are only interested in taking your money…not cleaning up your credit.  Unfortunately, many people don’t do their research and end up spending a lot of money on a service that they could have gotten free…or almost free. Be on the look-out for credit counseling agencies that charge a LOW UP FRONT FEE and then tack on additional fees later. Before signing ANY CONTRACT make sure you have a list OF ALL POSSIBLE FEES so that there are no surprises later on down the road. If a company says they don't know if there will be additional fees (in other words they are playing the "wait and see" game)…then by all means, start looking for another credit counseling service that isn't interested in playing games.

Another way you can determine if a credit and debt counseling service is reputable or not is by the financial education programs they offer. A GOOD counseling service will not only assess your current financial situation and set you up with a manageable plan in order to reduce your debt…they will also provide financial workbooks, finance books, financial seminars and other educational materials. In other words…they want you to LEARN about money management so that you can take control of your finances and hopefully, stay out of trouble in the future.  A company that truly doesn't care about your situation and is only after your money will try and sell you debt management plans that you simply don't need and they will most likely offer you NOTHING when it comes to improving your financial knowledge base.

Finally, it is probably best if you avoid credit counseling services that contact YOU (either by phone, email or snail mail). Companies that cold-call usually want only one thing…your money! After all, they probably wouldn't waste their time calling hundreds of people per day if their fees were low as it really wouldn't be worth their time.  The best rule of thumb to live by when it comes to credit and debt consolidation companies is: "If it's too good to be true, it probably is!" Good luck with your search for the perfect credit card counseling service and may you be on the road to a debt free life soon!   

Have a few moments to spare? Please visit Self Employed or Bust. A blog about being your own boss and the benefits of owning your own company!


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