A new ruling takes effect this month to protect consumers seeking debt relief services. The new Federal Trade Commission rule bans for-profit debt settlement companies from charging for services before they deliver – but even with the rule change, consumers need to find the right company for them.
Prestige Financial Solutions, which offers the Pay As You Settle® (PAYS) program, has created a list of tips to help consumers. “It can be a highly emotional situation, and people need to be sure they’re working with a reputable, established company,” said Amy Thompson, who for four years has run Prestige. PAYS is a program that provides debt settlement services to consumers around the country.
Since launching PAYS, Prestige has operated in the spirit of the 2010 ruling, unlike most for-profit debt settlement companies. “We felt it was the right thing to do all along,” Thompson said.
Tips for Choosing a Debt Settlement Company
- Choose a company that is accredited with The Association of Settlement Companies and the United States Organization for Bankruptcy Alternatives. Both organizations perform audits of their accredited members to make sure they perform ethically and appropriately.
- Check the company’s rating with the local Better Business Bureau – choose one with at least an A rating.
- Choose a firm that is full-service and who will do all the work on your account – including negotiate on your behalf with your creditors – as opposed to a company that outsources any part of the program. This ensures your financial information is secure with one company.
- You don’t need an attorney to settle your debt – they often charge more because they don’t do the work themselves. Also, they are not subject to the FTC ruling and so will be able to continue charging upfront fees.
- Make sure the company can actually help you with your particular situation before you sign up. A reputable company will listen to your story and, if they can’t help you, will give you other options.
- Choose a company that’s been in business long enough to have a solid track record of success and a good reputation.
“Too many people don’t ask for help when they’re in debt. The right debt settlement company advocates for you to help you get a new start,” Thompson said.
Pay as You Settle® (PAYS®) is one of the nation’s leading and only industry accredited pay-as-you-go debt settlement program. The program was designed by long-time debt settlement industry professionals at Prestige Financial Solutions and can be found online at www.payasyousettle.com or by calling 800.441.7297.