Getting out of debt is a goal for many people, and in a perfect world, a ‘get out of debt quick’ offer sounds too good to be true. However, just like the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, if it sounds too good to be true, odds are it probably is too good to be true.
Debt relief companies prey on consumers who are drowning in debt and going through a great deal of personal stress as a result. While some legitimate debt relief companies do exist, the majority of them are looking to scam individuals who are desperate to get out of debt at all costs and find relief from the numerous collection calls they are receiving.
One of the most important steps an individual can take before choosing to work with a debt relief company is to thoroughly investigate and research the company. With online resources available, as well as review websites, it is easy to find out quickly whether a debt relief company is legitimate or not.
Most importantly, never pay an upfront fee to one of these companies. If the company is requesting this, it is highly likely you will never hear from the company again after the initial fee has been paid. In addition, if the company is guaranteeing that they can eliminate all of your debt that should be a red flag as well. No debt relief company has the ability to guarantee that a creditor will forgive any debt. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has warned against these types of statements. If a debtor comes into contact with a company that makes any of these statements, the FTC encourages the individual to file a report and expose a possible scam.
The main question you should ask is: How much progress can be made through lifestyle changes and spending habits?
If smarter spending and lifestyle changes are sufficient, a debt management or debt consolidation program may be the best choice. These types of programs work on the balances with the highest interest rates first or consolidate debts by taking out a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off older balances first. Debt management or consolidation normally requires a monthly fee. These companies will work with your creditors to lower the total debt balance. The hope is that creditors will rather receive a lower lump-sum payment on the debt rather than risk not being paid at all in a bankruptcy situation.
However, sometimes the debt amount can be just too much to handle. Debt settlement may be the best option in these cases, or even bankruptcy if the settlement of the debt is still not enough. Debt settlement can take anywhere from between two to four years for a company to work with creditors to pay down debt. If bankruptcy is the best option, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be completed in three to six months while Chapter 13 can take anywhere from three to five years.
Make sure and explore all of your options and make the best decision for your situation. A bankruptcy attorney can help decipher these options and give recommendations on what would be ideal and in your best interest.
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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.