Real (and Free) Help for Debt
As tough as it is, here are some tips on helping you face your debt and avoid the problems with debt arbitration companies:
Credit Report – Obtain your free annual credit report from the FTC (link below) and review it to see if you spot any errors. If you do spot errors, see if you can get them corrected.
Call Your Creditors – Call each creditor and discuss your debt. While they won’t forgive the debt, what they often do is reduce interest rates or change your payment date to a time where money is most accessible for payments. If you can negotiate the debt and agree to make timely payments, many creditors will stop the interest and the late fees as long as you continue to pay on time each month. Failure to communicate with creditors only makes things worse.
Budget Debt – Use any personal budgeting program or even a handwritten spreadsheet to list all your debts and income coming in each month. See what you can afford to pay each creditor while still being able to meet other expenses such as rent, utilities and food expenses. Cut up your credit cards and follow your budget!
Car Loans – Call your finance company on vehicle loans and see if they will allow you to refinance at a lower rate. While this won’t work for most finance companies offered at dealerships, most credit unions and banks will consider this option if you qualify.
Free Counseling Services – Only utilize free counseling or nonprofit debt servicing companies to aid you in debt arbitration. Use the suggestions provided above on finding reputable debt arbitration companies.
Look to the FTC – The FTC wants the American consumer to understand the rules on debt and what creditors can and cannot do. The link to the FTC article below will help you understand your rights as well as answer some general FAQs on ways to manage debt.
Unfortunately, everyone is out to make a buck, but the biggest problem consumers face is trusting companies that may not be so honest or trustworthy. If you do decide to utilize any credit counseling service, do your research first—this can save money and if you’re trying to pay off debt, money is already in short supply.