Many consumers seek help from non-profit budget counseling services after a job loss, divorce or unexpected medical bills which can be devastating to any individual. These agencies specialist in helping people to manage their debt or in ‘repairing’ damaged credit.
However, consumers need to be cautious when choosing an organization. Many budget counseling organizations provide valuable advice, education, and assistance to those seeking to better manage their debt. Yet an increasing number of complaints suggests that some organizations are doing less than a good job.
Regulators say they are concerned that some organizations are using dubious techniques may seek tax-exempt status in order to circumvent state and federal consumer protection laws.
Consumers also need to be wary of the apparent ‘quick fixes’ offered by some of these organizations.
Budget Counseling Agency Quick Checklist To Help You In The Process
Check that the agency will help you manage your finances better through counseling and then offer you some financial education to try and prevent the situation from repeating.
Make sure that your creditors are willing to work with the agency that you choose. If they are, follow up with those creditors regularly to make sure your debt is being paid.
- Carefully read through any written agreement
- It should describe in detail the services to be performed
- The payment terms for these services, including their total cost
- How long it will take to achieve results.
- Any guarantees offered
- The organization’s business name and address.
Check with state agencies and your local Better Business Bureau to find out about a specific budget counseling agency’s record. This will help you understand the companies history. It’s important to put in the time when selecting the right budget counseling agency. Doing so can save you a large headache later on during the process.
Check out our post on Credit Counseling Online!