Thankfully, I have no debts to settle. Nevertheless, every few days, I get a robocall: "Are you in credit card debt? We can help reduce your debt."
The other day, I was talking to my Goodwill friend Joan (our friendship is based on the fact that we share a shoe size): she is retired from Bellsouth, gets social security, and works as a sub at the high school (even though she is not a college grad!), so I always figured she was OK financially. Not so, as it happens. She told me she confined her shopping to Goodwill so she could pay off her credit card debt. Then she said, "I was in so deep I was going to one of those companies..."
"Don't do it!" I exclaimed. "I have a colleague who signed up about 10 years ago and is in worse shape than when she started."
"I know," said Joan. "I have a friend who worked with Wells Fargo and she ended up losing her house."
These people are not your friends, in spite of the rhetoric.
Thanks to the new more consumer-friendly financial regulations going into effect, debt relief companies will no longer be able to collect fees up front.
"Consumers who are very deeply in debt and don't know how to pay it down are trying to do the right thing by signing up with these companies, and they end up paying thousands and thousands of dollars in fees and filing for bankruptcy anyway," said Lauren Bowne, a staff attorney at the Consumers Union. "Now, that shouldn't happen anymore."
Sounds like Joan's friend and my colleague.
If you need to get out of overwhelming debt, see the classic tome.
I learned a lot from this book. It is a masterpiece. And no fees to questionable organizations.