You may have noticed the proliferation of ads by debt consolidation companies in recent years. This is becoming a bigger and bigger business, and now all you see is pop-up ads on the computer, or TV ads that try to convince you to use their services. Not all of these big advertisers are completely legitimate; a number of them are being sued by State Attorneys General, the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. That is because they have falsely called themselves "non-profit" when they are, indeed, making a very nice profit.
There is one debt consolidation company that is being sued by no less than the federal government, the FTC, and five different states. To avoid these lawsuits, the company has simply declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In reality, however, they are still very much in business, but working under different business names. This is just an example of how these disreputable companies are willing to operate.
The negative press associated with these companies, who called themselves debt consolidation companies have made the name of this industry very unattractive. Many companies now call themselves "debt negotiation companies", or "debt settlement companies" to avoid the stigma of those lawsuits. They are still debt consolidation companies in any other guise, so you have to be careful that you are not dealing with a company that may be using illegal policies.
Before you consider working with a debt consolidation company, you should check out their reputation with a consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau in the area where the company is located. However, you still have to be wary. If a company has consumer complaints that have been resolved, the BBB will not give them a bad rating. Many times, these companies will resolve issues with customers who complain and then go on cheating other customers. Make sure the company does not have a lot of complaints, resolved or not. The Better Business Bureau does not investigate or resolve consumer complaints, they just report them.
A special word of caution is to avoid doing business with debt consolidation companies that are located in Florida or Maryland. These two states do not have any regulations regarding debt consolidation companies. There are many, many debt consolidation companies, so it is easy to find one that is not located in Maryland or Florida. Why give yourself the aggravation of dealing with a company that has decided to register in one of these states so that it will avoid being regulated?
Given the problems that have arisen regarding debt consolidation companies, a number of websites have been developed that will offer a review of the various companies so you can see other people's experience with them on the customer review section. It is worth your while to check out the company you are considering and make sure they have not had problems.
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