How to Know if Debt Consolodation Companies are Legit

Posted: September 5, 2011 in divorce

In the divorce process with my ‘X’, I tried to be a nice person.

I had divorced him and yes, and I felt bad; I wanted him to give him an easy new-start.

Since I knew that I had the children I would most likely be the one to take over the house, while he would need to secure a new home…

And so I did a really nice thing….

I paid off his debt for him.

His truck, his credit cards and any loans we had in our names jointly, I decided to roll into my mortgage. (Just between you and me, there is such thing as being too nice.)

Anyhow, the only debt he had left with his name on it was his newly-highly-priced-motorcycle (a post-separation-mid-life-crisis-purchase) and our home (which later I would fix when I bought him out of his share).

But sadly, he didn’t use this kind gesture wisely.

I watched as he maxed out, and racked up, all of his means of credit before we’d even hit the three month mark of going our separate ways.

Since he needed to live and that was becoming very difficult with his newly acquired bills… he decided to seek debt counseling.

A good idea, I thought.

Until, later in the year when he confided that he’d been paying a debt consolidation company for months, while unbeknownst to him, they had not been paying down his debt as they’d sold him. (No, that’s not a type-o-.. He was not ‘told’ they’d pay his debt off- he was ‘sold‘ they would.)

Many times during a divorce, or a major separation, we get into financial situations that seem impossible to get out of. At which time, we have several choices.

Flee the country to avoid paying, go bankrupt to avoid a horrible quality of living because of how high our monthly debt is (think empty refrigerator and no life outside of your living room walls) or do as some folks do: seek debt counseling.

Some companies will legitimately take all of your debt and combined it, while making payment arrangements with each of your creditors.

But…some companies rip you off.

That’s right, they take your money and run. The run to the next person, who is just as desperate to save themselves from financial ruin as you are.

What a nightmare.

These companies prey upon people who think they have no other options. They take an already frazzled and broke individual (which is usually the person like you or me…newly-divorced-and-much-in-debt, looking for a fresh start and a little sleep at night). These companies promise relief.

Though they scam you instead.

Some victims walk away after forking over about three thousand dollars in a few short months, just to find out in the end, that no one was paying their bills for them. Ever.

How can you avoid this mess?

  • Be aware and be smart.
  • If you don’t understand something, ask questions.
  • If you don’t get straight answers, there is a reason why (Walk away and find someone else.)
  • If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!
  • Check out the business online (Google their name with the word ‘scam’, you’ll be shocked what you find.)
  • Check with the BBB (The Better Business Bureau) for pending lawsuits or claims open against them)
  • Don’t be embarrassed to ask friends, family or a trusted co-worker for referrals.
  • Ask your attorney for recommendations.
  • Don’t trust someone just because you are in a bind (a day of research is better than being taken for a ride)

Don’t be fooled into thinking that someone has the answers to all of your financial problems (it’s not that easy). Your money is hard earned. Your credit is worth rebuilding and you deserve a fair shot at having a second chance.

After a divorce, you don’t need any more stress-so slow down and do your research.

In the meantime:

Visit this site to learn about how to get help with your debt.

Visit this Debt Consolidation forum for answers to common questions. 




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