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*Watch out for firms that want excessive fees up front. Be particularly wary of nonprofit agencies that ask for fees or “voluntary contributions” or nonprofit agencies that tell you that they cannot help you if you do not pay a fee upfront.
*Beware of firms that ask for a sizeable fee to obtain a copy of your credit report. Such agencies should be able to obtain your report at no charge, and you are entitled to one report per year for free.
*Sometimes, bankruptcy is unavoidable. Watch out if agency doesn’t mention bankruptcy at all, or if they change subject if you bring up topic. Debt consoldators cannot make any money on bankruptcy cases, but sometimes, that’s your only option.
*Shop around. Talk to several different agencies and compare what they tell you. Any agency that differs dramatically from what other agencies are telling you should probably be avoided.
*Check with your local Better Business Bureau, and ask if they’ve had any complaints about agency.
*Watch out for firms that offer quick solutions to your problems. You didn’t get into financial trouble overnight, and you won’t get out of financial trouble overnight. Any competent debt or credit counselor will know this and will undoubtedly tell you that working your way out of debt takes time.
*See if agency belongs to National Foundation for Credit Counseling or Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Many do.
By taking a few simple precautions before agreeing to work with a credit counselor, you may save yourself a lot of grief and a lot of money later.
©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including http://www.End-Your-Debt.com/ and http://www.HomeEquityHelp.net/