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How should a consumer select a debt relief service?

People faced with mountains of debt often struggle with making monthly payments on time. Wisconsin residents who are in debt often approach creditors to work on repayment plans, but often creditors will not change payment terms. In such situations, many people prefer contacting a credit counseling or debt settlement service. While this can be a good option to eliminate debt, the person should know as much as possible about the debt relief service providers before working with them.

To check if the debt relief service is reliable, the person can contact a local consumer protection agency or check with the state attorney general's office for any information on consumer complaints filed against the particular debt relief service under consideration. Also, check if the company has obtained the required licenses to operate in the state.

When deciding to use a debt relief service, the consumer should be well-informed about all the services offered by this company, any extra expenses that would be incurred for using these services and the time required for getting the promised results. It is recommended that the consumer not rely on verbal promises and obtain all terms for the service in writing. Also, before agreeing to anything, carefully read all documents and contracts provided and question any item that is not understood.

Some of the most reputable credit counselors are not for profit, but it can be best to find a service that gives in-person counseling. Another point to remember is that a non-profit service does not necessarily mean that it is free of cost or legitimate. Non-profits can have hidden fees that can lead to even higher debts. While clearing debts is important, the consumer should be aware that not all services are legitimate and should take reasonable caution before engaging in any business with a debt relief service.

Source: Consumer.FTC.gov, "Debt Relief Services," Accessed on Nov. 26, 2014

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