You may be confident in finding debt freedom all on your own, but getting debt help can make the process easier. For other people, who feel that they are powerless to make themselves debt free, getting help is a necessity.
If you are one of the latter, you have to take caution in selecting a debt relief company to help you get out of your debt troubles. Unfortunately, there are people who heartlessly scam people even when they are obviously in need of dire help. What happens is that, instead of freeing yourself from debt, you will get into much deeper trouble instead.
A study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, a total of more than 10% American consumers have become victims of scams. The study showed that 25.6 million adults have become victims of fraudsters at some point in their lives. Of this number, about 1.5 million are victims of debt relief frauds. If you are interested in getting debt help, know more about the Telemarketing Sales Rule or TSR.
TSR’s Role in the Debt Relief Industry
If you don’t know it yet consumers are actually protected by debt relief laws. Some people who are in debt become desperate to the point of making themselves susceptible to thieves. Before hiring a debt relief company, go over the Telemarketing Sales Rule firs. The TSR was especially created for the following purposes:
- Contend with hoaxers, such as those selling false products and services through telemarketing
- Ensure consumers’ privacy
- Help consumers defend themselves from illegitimate telemarketers
- Show consumers how to identify legitimate companies form illegitimate ones.
- Prohibit call made to consumers who are listed with the National Do Not Call Registry
- Impose guidelines to companies to refrain them from abusing or misleading consumers
3 Things to Look For in Debt Relief Companies
Because of so many reported frauds, people have become skeptics and scared of getting debt help. TSR has given 3 guidelines on how what to consider when looking for professional debt relief help.
1. They do not require any upfront payments.
The easiest and most common sign of a fraudulent debt relief company is when they ask for payment even before rendering any services. There are no legit debt relief companies that will violate this rule. Instead, they will offer free consultations without upfront payments of any sort.
2. They should disclose all fees, processes, and any relevant company information.
When getting debt help, you should be informed of all the possible consequences for each debt relief choice you make. The consumers are usually asked to open a new account where they can deposit their money for debt payments. The debt relief companies will access from this account the money to send to creditors. The account must be FDIC insured and the customer should have a full control of the account.
3. They should not misrepresent the services they offer.
Companies should never advertise services and capitalize on promises that are not guaranteed to be true. This deceptive act is prohibited by TSR, and consumers are encouraged to report such violations.
Debt Solutions Requiring No Professional Help
This depends on what solution you are planning to take. Most cases can be solved with a simple restructuring of debt payments in order to make them more affordable and organized. These are some of the DIY debt solutions you can take.
- Snowball and Avalanche Method. These methods require you to make a list of your debs and arrange them according to priority. This will allow you to pay the bigger amount of the priority debt and a minimum payment for the rest. What happens is that your priority debts are paid off one at a time, until you are totally free from obligations.
- Debt Consolidation Loans. You will have an option to get a loan to pay off multiple debts and concentrate only in one debt. The new loan will consolidate your debts and can offer a lower interest rate. This is especially true when you have credit card debts.
- Balance Transfer. This option involves transferring or your credit card balance, which has the highest interest rate, into a zero interest balance card. The transfer card still functions like a credit card, but by transferring the balance of your other credit cards you are availing of the 0% interest. A great advantage on your part. The payment you make will be credited to your principal debt and the account will not be accruing any interest. However, this program is effective only for 6 to 18 months, so make sure that you will make payments that will eventually pay off your debt within the covered period.
- Debt Settlement. If the company allows it, you can settle your debt through this method. This negotiation can be done without the help of