What to Look for In a Good Debt Consolidation Company So That Legal Rights Are Protected
According to https://www.forbes.com, quoting the Federal Reserve, the total revolving debt chalked up by Americans as of 2017 is a mind-boggling $1 trillion dollars plus. If you do the calculations, you will be shocked to discover that it can take around 30 years or more to pay off the debt if you are making just the minimum due payment. Since this is not a pretty situation to be in, you should immediately try to figure out what you can do to escape from this debt trap. There are various methods of getting relief from debt; debt consolidation is among the most popular as it is effective and relatively painless.
What Is Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is the process of aggregating all your unsecured debt and paying them all off with a new loan called the debt consolidation loan from a lender. The same thing can also be done with a credit card balance transfer if all the debts are credit card balances. The advantage of consolidating debt is that you no longer have to monitor multiple debts that may have led to the monthly payments being missed and fresh late payment penalties being slapped on and increasing the amount of the balance. By consolidating your debt, you can also replace the high APRs charged by credit cards with a lower rate of interest that is usually charged by on a debt consolidation loan. If you take on a zero-percent balance transfer offer, you will not have to pay any interest for the duration of the offer, typically 15-18 months that can mean a really big saving.
It is entirely possible for you to consolidate your debts by yourself; however, if the number of debts is many or your account has already been classified as delinquent by some credit card issuers, a debt consolidation company with a good legal desk may help. This is especially if your account has been handed over to collections or a case has been instituted against you for recovery of the dues. Unfortunately choosing a company with good and competent lawyers who will work in your best interests is usually difficult. Some traits to look out for in a good debt lawyer:
Qualification, Certification, and Competence
The first thing to check out when engaging a lawyer is that the person you are talking to is actually a lawyer and not someone waiting to rip you off under the guise of a lawyer. You should check if he has qualified from an established law school and also find out how long he has been practicing law. Ask whether he is affiliated to any of the top affiliation bodies like the American Association for Justice, The National Association of Consumer Advocates, the Bar Council of the State, etc. It is better not to take his word for it but to check it out on the websites of these organizations.
A Proper Understanding of the Debt Laws
Since there are many areas of specialization, you should ensure that the lawyer you are considering has a proper understanding of the laws pertaining to debt relief. You really don’t want to be stuck with someone who’s an expert in some other domain when all you want is to structure your debt relief proposition so that you are not open to being sued after everything has been settled. You can do some reading online and ask them a few questions regarding debt consolidation and debt relief and judge whether they seem to be comfortable in handling your queries. You can refer to the debt consolidation feedback available online to get recommendations for good agencies.
A Good Reputation and Record
Take a good look at their website and various online complaint forums to see if clients have been appreciative or critical of their handling of the cases. Try to find out some customers and ask them if they have been satisfied with their services. Online and offline reviews are a very good indication regarding their abilities and efficacy. Find out how experienced they are in tackling debt-related work, more specifically debt consolidation, debt settlement, and bankruptcy laws. It is always better to deal with company lawyers who are focused on debt issues rather than lawyers who take on everything.
Approachable and Interested
If you are rushed for time, it may seem practical to pick a company from the yellow pages; however, it is quite likely that this will result in disappointment. For you to have professional legal assistance that will resolve your debt consolidation issues, you should ideally try to meet up with the lawyer to brief him regarding all the details. Ideally, you should totally avoid a law firm, where your existence is just limited to being a file on the desk. You should look out for someone who is approachable, understands your difficult financial circumstances, and is eager to help you. When you are dealing in information that is personal, confidential, and sensitive, you will want to discuss with someone who is sympathetic and not someone who has a stern attitude and thinks that you are just wasting his precious time.
Transparent and Willing To Document the Process
It is important to find a lawyer with whom you can communicate in a language that you understand. It is equally important to find someone who is willing to be completely transparent in the dealings so that you are aware of the state of the process at every point in time. The lawyer should also be ready to provide answers or information that makes sense and is pertinent to the issue. You can test them out by asking a few direct questions and see how they respond. Avoid lawyers that only confuse you with jargon, irrelevant details or simply unwilling to maintain and provide the documentation necessary for proper record keeping.
In addition to ascertaining that the debt consolidation company and its lawyers are knowledgeable, competent, qualified, credible, approachable, and transparent, you should be able to afford the services. When you are already in a financial crunch, it is very important that your legal assistance does not come with a very hefty price tag attached. You should ask for an estimate of expenses immediately after you give a brief so that you know that you can afford to engage the company.