The Today Show recently did an expose on debt settlement companies. While I agree wholeheartedly with their negative opinion on most debt settlement firms, they have failed the test of fair and balanced journalism.
Investigative Today Show reporter, Lisa Myers, spent all of her time uncovering the ugly truth about one company, Credit Solutions. If you remember an earlier post on my blog (http://debtsettlementstory.com/debt-settlement-companies-some-incur-more-debt/), I had also contacted this company. I was almost desperate enough to fall for their sales pitch. Luckily I didn’t. Here’s a review of their pitch in a nutshell:
- I was to deposit $2000/month into an escrow account.
- The first 6 months of these payments into that escrow account would go towards paying the debt settlement company for their services.
- I would continue to make $2000 payments for approximately 36 months.
- As settlement offers came in, they would consult me.
- The banks would be paid from this settlement account.
- In 36 months, I would be out of debt.
In reality it doesn’t work this way. Most consumers never finish the program. In fact, once the settlement offers come in from the banks, most clients don’t have enough money in their escrow account to pay the offer. Most of their immediate monies have been used to pay the debt settlement company’s fees. Most consumers file bankruptcy.
This is the exact conclusion Lisa Myers came to. However, she fails to see the bigger picture. Not all debt settlement companies have such egregious practices. In fact, there are about half a dozen or so that are true consumer advocates.
She got it right when she said the FTC will soon pass laws banning the upfront fees. Why didn’t she go on to say there are debt settlement companies out there who ALREADY take their fees on the back end?
Unfortunately, Ms. Myers’ article is the typical sensational reporting that we have come to expect. There is nothing positive about her piece. No real help to the desperate consumer. Only doom and gloom.
Had the Today Show really wanted to investigate debt settlement companies and actually disperse useful information to help those in need, she would have mentioned companies like Consumer Recovery Network, Zip Debt, Hoffman Brinker and several others who really make a difference in this sector. Here’s what’s great about these debt settlement companies:
- No hard sell of their program.
- You talk to a real debt settlement counselor, not sales person, when you call the company.
- Performance based commissions that are paid AFTER YOUR CREDITORS GET PAID!!!
- DIY programs offered for those consumers who are industrious.
In fact, all 3 of the companies I mentioned ENCOURAGE the consumer to do it themselves. They make less money per client with this business model, but they know the success rate is much higher and the benefit to the economy is much greater.
Here is Today’s video.
Stay afloat. Stay focused. Wealth and freedom are in your future.