Unfortunately, Debt Settlement fraud is continuing to see an increase by debt settlement companies offering programs with absurdly low payments over long terms(over 48 months) to satisfy the consumer need to reduce payments due to high interest rates and increased payments. Although debt settlement typically does lower payments, it doesn’t take your $1,000 payment and turn it into a $400 payment. The typical payment reduction is 20-40% less that what you are currently paying. One benefit of our firm, that same 20-40% reduction also includes the attorney fee in the reduced payment, all the while giving you the legal parameters you seek when hiring us.
There are some obvious warnings signs to look out for when going into an aggressive program such as debt settlement, also known as debt negotiation :
1) Ninety-five percent of debt settlement companies are not law firms and extreme caution must be exercised- They can offer you no legal protection or advice to help you try to avoid wage garnishments , levies against your bank accounts , and liens against your personal property. Only a law firm can do this for you. It is possible to get sued in debt negotiation, if you are sued and are not with a debt settlement firm , but you are with debt settlement company , the company will typically drop the creditor from the program and leave you with no protection or advice. You will then have to hire a law firm to represent you, why not start with a law firm from the beginning? You will find the cost of our law firm is usually the same cost, if not better, and you will get the protections we offer throughout the program.
2) Completing the debt negotiation in a reasonable time frame- They will say just about anything that pleases you to enroll you in their program. One way to recognize a scam is when they allow you to set a monthly payment amount to whatever you want.Usually, it is very low and for a much longer period of time than a knowledgeable law firm will offer you. A debt settlement program should have you debt free of enrolled debts in thirty-six months or less, and only under specific circumstances (higher debt), no longer than forty-six months. You need to acquire funds as quickly as possible for your budget to be successful in debt negotiation. You can put yourself at significant risk by accepting a program that lasts too long.
3) Stopping the collection calls- If a representative from a debt settlement company tells you they can stop the collections calls, ask them how? Here’s why you should ask… Debt settlement companies, which are not law firms, have NO legal ability to send Cease and Desist letters to put an end to the collection calls. These calls can be very annoying, scary, embarrassing, and aggravating. Our law firm’s expertise with the collection laws enables us to know how to reduce dramatically, or eliminate those calls altogether.
4) The Law Firm Must be Reputable- When it comes to law firms, you have an extra layer of protection, which is the CA State Bar Association. Check the State Bar for the attorneys standing if you are going with a law firm. The attorneys are held to a much higher standard by being a member of the Bar Association. With unanswered complaints to the Bar, an attorney can lose his/her license and business. The attorney cannot just get another law license and open up somewhere else. Therefore, it is in their best interest to do the best job for the client. To look at our firm and our lawyers’ standing with the State Bar, go to http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_generic.jsp?cid=10114 under “attorney search” and input our attorney names Bert Briones and David Jess Miller. They are a prime example of a clear record you need when dealing with your debt.
In addition, if a debt settlement company is not a member of the BBB or has an unsatisfactory record with the BBB, is not in good standing with the CA State Bar, and/or is new and showing any of the warning signs above, it is best to continue your search for the proper firm to represent you.
While debt settlement can be a very smart and viable option for many, you need to be very cautious about the organization you are considering. By following the points and warning signs above, you will greatly reduce the risk of being enrolled into a program that will not benefit you.
Contact us if you are ready to take the next step out of debt. Our consultation is free, and by the end of the call you will know your options. Call today to ensure you options don’t become limited because you waited too long. Fill out our contact form to get started.
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