Avoid bankruptcy in Texas – Debt Settlement instead

If you want to avoid bankruptcy and are considering some kind of debt relief option like debt settlement, debt consolidation, consumer credit counseling, or some other debt management program, this report is a must read! We reveal the main lures that unscrupulous companies implement to scam unsuspecting consumers.

Plus we tell you the dirty little secrets that scammers don’t want you to know making you a wise & informed steward rather than an uninformed victim.

Do you want to land on your feet with a fresh financial start? Do you want to avoid

major embarrassment and serious disaster? This report will empower you and give you valuable insights from years of experience and it will allow you to do business on your terms – not theirs.

An All Too Common Story

Carol & Jim were very much the average couple struggling with the average problems in life including some credit card debt. After losing her job and having Jim’s income reduced because of economic hard times, Carol began looking at options to relieve the burden. She was willing to share her personal horror story as long as her last name was not used.

It all started with a phone call from a debt settlement company. The representative told Carol that their company could get her creditors to lower their interest rates. This would let Carol pay off her credit card, mortgage and car loan debt three to five times faster and even lower her monthly payments – which was her most important need.

“She specifically told me that I would save at least $2,500 in a very short time and then would save much more over time,” Carol states in her declaration to the Federal Trade Commission.

Carol was skeptical, especially when she heard the price was $499 to start. But the salesperson assured Carol she would see lower interest rates within the first 30 days of the program and that these savings would more than cover the initial fee.

“She spoke with such confidence and zeal that I was moved to tears,” Carol says. “I was thrilled and full of hope to know that I would receive immediate help and then finally be able to pay off my debts.”

But it didn’t turn out that way. Despite repeated attempts, Carol’s “financial consultants” could not lower the rates on any of her credit cards. The company would not refund Carol’s $499 fee as promised. The Federal Trade Commission has sued the firm.

A Widespread Problem
In the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission has sued more than a dozen credit card debt relief companies. “They simply lie to consumers,” says the FTC’s Alice Hardy. Now, there are industry standards and compliance issues & laws companies are required to adhere to.

FTC ad IRS investigators have also found some counseling and debt settlement services that claim to be non-profit when they are actually a for-profit company. The non-profit pitch can make a potential client feel confident about signing up for the service. “They’re preying on the consumer’s trust without fully checking out the company,” Hardy says.

Some of the bad apples in this industry mislead people about their charges. “They either say there are no fees involved or just a small fee,” Hardy explains. “Sometimes, they don’t mention fees at all. Then, after a few months, the consumer discovers that there are additional fees or even worse that the money they’ve already sent has not been going towards their credit cards or their escrow account in order to settle in the future.”

Bruce, another average American who encountered your typical financial setback, turned to a company that promised to lower his interest rates. He was told to send them a monthly check for $265.

“It was my clear understanding that the money I began sending them was going to be held in an escrow or trust account in order to pay off my credit card bills,” Bruce told me. In reality, it turned out to be a “referral fee” to find him a company that would supposedly help him.

“It was a nasty experience,” Bruce says. “They basically stole my money.”

SECRET #1: Not All Debt Settlement Programs Are the Same
Some companies now claim they can negotiate a “one-time” settlement with all of your creditors at the same time which will reduce your principal by as much as 40 to 70 percent. By doing this, they say, your monthly payments will drop dramatically.

However, in truth, credit card accounts can only be settled one at a time – unless you have multiple accounts with the same bank or credit card company. And many credit card debt relief or debt settlement companies claim to have experience in settling debts for consumers when all the experience they really have is how to swindle unsuspecting victims.

Yes, legitimate debt settlement companies have been able to reduce consumer accounts by 40%, 50%, 60% or even 70%, but you need to be careful between the authentic & the counterfeit companies.

A general rule to go by – ask for proof!! If the company you’re dealing with does indeed have much experience settling debts for their clients, they will have written proof and be able to provided it. The smart ones get their proposals in writing. Simply ask to see copies of the negotiated settlements with the client’s name blacked out to maintain privacy. Then, once you receive these copies, ask them if you can call the client to see if they were satisfied with the settlement. If the company refuses to share this information claiming “client privacy” protection, don’t believe them. If you had a company settle an account for you for 30%-50% of the balance (saving you 50%-70%) would you be willing to share your story with a prospective client or two in the comfort of your own home while keeping the issue private? So would we (and our clients too – we have a looong list of client references we’re happy to share with you!).

Another huge warning sign is this: if a debt settlement company asks you to send money that will be deposited into a “trust” or “savings” or “escrow”account in your name to be applied to future settlements, be VERY careful. A good part of this money usually ends up being taken by the company for “additional” fees that they were sure you understood. Some debt settlement companies have a legitimate account where your savings will be safe and used for the proper purpose with no extra fees, but conduct your due diligence well before committing.

The best thing to do is to create your own settlement account at an insured financial institution that only YOU can control. The fewer people that have access to your settlement account, the better. Let the settlement company negotiate on your behalf and when they’ve reached an acceptable level of settlement for you (and you’ve received it in writing), then send the money.

Even if you have a good settlement offer (a 40% reduction of the balance where you pay 60% of the balance is an excellent average according to industry standards), it is best if you can send the pay-ment directly to the bank, credit card company, or whomever you’ve settled with (like an attorney or collection agency). Sending money to the debt management company can sometimes be dangerous as they may charge additional fees before forwarding your payment.

SECRET #2: How to Expose Weaknesses and Evaluate Good & Bad Companies
Facing mounting bills can be frightening, but getting credit card relief is not a decision that should be based on hearing a radio commercial or visiting a website or getting a sales call. You want to find an organization that will design a debt relief plan specifically for you.

Shop around. Compare a couple of services and get a feel for how they operate. The credit counselor should spend at least 20 to 30 minutes with you in order to get a complete picture of your finances. If they don’t do that, you’re not really getting any counseling. And don’t allow them to rush you.

Ask a lot of questions and get those answers in writing. Ask if they guarantee their services. Ask if they have a list of client references that you can call from your surrounding area. If they balk, then be very wary.

Don’t rely on names or the claim of a non-profit status. Most debt settlement companies are actually for profit, but you should run from those that claim to be non-profit and actually are not.

Check any company out with the Better Business Bureau and find out if they have any outstanding complaints against them. Most companies will have a few complaints submitted each year, but they should also have a record of resolving these complaints to the satisfaction of both the client and the BBB. Complaints in and of themselves are not bad, but if they cause the company to have a BBB rating of C+ or lower, then find out why and don’t accept vague answers. A good name is what you want and all you have to do is find out where the company is located and go to that city’s BBB website – you will discover not only their complaint history but other valuable information.

By doing your homework you should be able to find a service that doesn’t over-promise and then under-deliver. Because the Better Business Bureau has only recently allowed new applications from debt settlement companies to be officially accredited with them (a BBB decision that was implemented late in 2011), you will likely not see the BBB torch or symbol on company websites unless they were just recently accredited. If you see the BBB torch on a website, don’t just take the company’s word for it either – confirm with the BBB that they are indeed accredited. Many websites simply copy & paste the BBB logo onto their website because they know prospective clients will almost never check it out!

However, you should still be able to check out any debt relief company in the city/state in which they are incorporated or do business and the BBB will usually have information on them. And whatever you find will be 100% credible because the BBB is an independent institution that cannot be controlled or manipulated and they have a long track record of being unbiased and protecting consumers.

The following is a shameless promotion for our company – Integrity Debt Solutions LLC – and something that we’re quite proud of and something that you will find quite revealing . . .

The rating that the BBB assigns to a company is extremely revealing and valuable and our company was recently awarded a Gold Start by the Better Business bureau due to the fact that we have had zero complaints within the last 3 years.

While the other companies we compete against have indeed helped many people in the past and while they may have delivered real results for consumers, the differentiating factor is clear for our clients: we offer a money back guarantee (no other company does so), our fees are lower than every single nationwide company, and we are a Christian-owned & operated company.

So the bottom line is this: in this day & age in which we live, with information being so readily available, there is no reason that you cannot find out if a company is for real or not. There is no reason that you can’t discover which company is going to deliver the best results for you and be accessible to you on a consistent basis.

Please remember that Integrity Debt Solutions is headquartered just outside of Denver, Colorado and to find our BBB record, simply go to www.denver.bbb.org and click “For Consumer” and then “Check out a Business of Charity”. Integrity Debt Solutions LLC is our licensed name.

It’s very comforting and beneficial as a company when you can point to SOMEONE ELSE who holds you accountable and rates you as the BBB does . . . basically the BBB is sharing who you can trust the most!

SECRET #3: The Issue of Guarantees
Does the company offer any type of service guarantee? If so, what is it? Find out specifics. If a company does offers no guarantee, be very careful – the best ones will and it should be in writing.

Additionally, steer clear of any debt settlement company that promises a quick fix to your debt related problems or tells you that debt settlement will not have a negative effect on your credit. Upon enrolling in a debt settlement program, your credit score will probably get worse before it gets better. This is a minor price to pay for a substantial debt reduction and not having to file for bankruptcy! Saving tens of thousands of dollars is a wonderful experience and something we share in the joy of with our clients – this is exactly what keeps us going and what gets us charged up!

However, it is important to realize that if you want to maintain a “great credit rating”, you have to pay your bills on time; anything else will cause your credit score to suffer.

While it is true that you can improve or repair your credit history later, realize that it may take a year or more of diligence on your part or even the hiring of a credit repair company/agency. Again, if you can live with a less than perfect credit rating for a while, the rewards are usually well worth the time and temporary inconvenience as you can often save substantial amounts of money and get a fresh financial start & new lease on life.

Some debt relief companies will offer specific strategies that can help you position yourself to minimize the negative impact on your credit. You will be pleasantly surprised to learn the relatively simple steps you can take to keep your score in the higher range, but the key is that you have to be proactive! A little diligence goes a long way especially in this important area!

SECRET #4: Companies That Specialize Are Most Desirable
Find out if the company you’re considering offers any specialized services or if they have specific expertise in a given area in the industry.

For example, some companies not only offer debt negotiation or counseling services, but they also may have a specialization in credit repair, monthly budget preparation, or asset protection.

Most settlement companies operate all across the US, but some are state specific, offering a great deal of expertise into your state’s consumer protection laws. While it may be true that nationwide companies deal with more clients and, as a result, have more experience in negotiating with different banks, what you gain in sheer numbers may be lost in the fact that those larger companies do not know very much about your particular state’s consumer protection laws.

It is very rare for a debt settlement company to specialize in a specific state, but if you find one they will typically offer you a much more targeted & specialized approach which will benefit you well in the long run. Additionally, hiring a company that specializes in your state will often turn your stress & anxiety into confidence as you become more educated on the specific laws in your state and the rights & protection you have by living in that state.

Another issue to be aware of is that larger companies tend to treat their clients as a number and do not offer the one-on-one, personalized attention that people in debt trouble really need. Larger companies typically have more overhead & expenses so their fees are much higher. A smaller company is able to pass down the savings to their clients and normally offer lower fees.

It’s not very hard to find complaints against nationwide companies that are just trying to attract a large volume of customers rather than servicing their existing clients to a high degree of satisfaction, building a good name & solid reputation, and then allowing good business to be the catalyst for future growth.

Smaller companies that specialize will give you more time, attention, and deliver better results – this is a consistently true fact. Plus, large companies often will not return your phone calls in a timely manner nor give you the personalized focused attention you will need.

And even though we are the ones who wrote this report, our A+ track record, zero complaints since 2004, and long list of client references (just let us know if would you like to call them) are more than enough proof of our reliability and something no other company can match!

SECRET #5: The Fallacy of Debt Consolidation
One of the easiest & fastest ways to receive relief is to consolidate all or as much of your debt as possible into one account that offers a decent interest rate and one convenient (and hopefully lower) monthly payment.

Some things you need to be aware of however are the following…

First, you must realize that transferring many balances to one account all of a sudden creates a zero balance on many of your accounts and those companies may even increase your available balance to attract your future business. You will have the false impression that you now have lots of breathing room and a new (false) sense of freedom.

Most likely, these old accounts that now have a zero balance on them will begin to lure you back by sending you “convenience checks” that you can use “for any purpose including writing a check to yourself”. And they usually have a very low promotional interest rate attached to them creating the illusion of free money! Using these checks, will take you back to them same situation you were in not long ago except much worse because now the total amount of debt you’ll have will be double!

If you don’t use these checks, we all know that “life happens” and suddenly you may start using those old cards just for a “small” charge here and there and you convince yourself that you will pay it off in full at the end of the month.

However, the next thing you know, you’ve charged up these old accounts and created a bigger problem than before and just like using the convenience checks, you now have double the debt you had before you consolidated all your accounts!

Even if you’re extremely disciplined (be honest with yourself!) and you do not charge up any of these old accounts, have you thought about what happens to the principal that you now have with the one large consolidated account? You have now virtually guaranteed that you are going to add years & years to the time it will take to pay off the outstanding balance.

But what happens if you are only one day late with your new consolidated payment in the future?

You guessed it – interest rate hike up the ying-yang! The banks are counting on a certain percentage of their clients being late and the statistics are overwhelming and bear the truth to their strategy. And now they can legally increase your interest rate to 19.99% or 24.99% or whatever is in the fine print (Did you read the fine print? Have you ever read the fine print??).

If you do choose to implement a debt consolidation strategy, whatever you do, do not close the old accounts that now have a zero balance. Go ahead and cut up the cards and commit to never using them again, but when you call the bank to close the account, you lower your credit rating/score dramatically. Leaving accounts open with a zero balance will actually increase your credit score as long as you can maintain the discipline NOT to use them.

Bonus Secret: Consumer Credit Counseling – Not All it’s Cracked Up to be
One option that consumers have in their quest for debt relief is Consumer Credit Counseling or CCC. This is a viable option for many, but again, you must know much of the truth before making the best decision for your specific situation.

With nowhere left to turn, many Americans look to credit counseling in a last-ditch effort to repair their finances. Credit counseling can be found advertised in nearly every medium, and it always looks great on the surface. Repair all bad debt? Great! Get lower interest rates? Perfect! Lower my monthly bills? Sign me up! However, as we all have learned at one time or another, appearances can be deceiving, and credit counseling has a few major drawbacks that you should consider.

It is estimated that about 60% of individuals who sign up for credit counseling drop out of the program before it is completed. And is it any wonder? When you enroll in CCC, they will examine how much money you have coming in and then they will tell you how much money needs to be sent to each creditor and for each bill you have. In other words, they will tell you how to run your life and what you can & cannot do. If you need someone to control your every financial move, then this accountability will be very helpful and you will achieve success.

Most credit counseling programs last about four years, and require a serious amount of budgeting and willpower in order to be successful. When most of your paycheck goes to paying off debts and you don’t have any extra money every month, you may easily become depressed and vulnerable because you are now in a “prison” of sorts with no freedom and someone else running your life. Credit counseling programs are stressful and sometimes not practical.

Although most credit counseling services advertise the ability to lower interest rates, this isn’t always the case. In fact, many of the major credit card companies will actually raise your interest rate as soon as you sign up for credit counseling, which seems a little bit counter-productive. However, creditors realize that those who pursue credit counseling services have one foot inside the bankruptcy grave, which would mean the inability to collect any money at all and therefore they deem you a “higher risk” thus raising your interest.

While credit counseling services might be able to reduce the monthly payments that you owe to your creditors, this isn’t set in stone. You mustn’t forget that the credit counseling company must take a cut in order to make a profit, which might actually increase you monthly payment. Further, a reduction in monthly payments doesn’t always mean a sizable amount. If they lower your monthly payments by $2.00, they have delivered what they promised you.

Another important fact about CCC is that your credit score will be negatively affected even though they may tell you it won’t. Don’t believe it. You also will not be allowed to apply for any new credit in the future. If you do, you will usually be forced out of the original terms of your deal.

If you are able to live within the confines & restrictions of a CCC agreement and you are comfort-able with someone telling you where your money needs to go each month, then you will definitely

receive relief and you will benefit from this service. Find one that has been in business a long time and has a respectable track record and find a person within the agency that you can work with and is compatible with your personality.

This report is by no means exhaustive but we hope that it has helped you discover the most obvious secret tactics and information that may not be readily available or at least that you need to search for.

Creditors began establishing debt negotiation departments in the late 1980s with the specific purpose of negotiating and settling credit card debt. They settle credit card debts at a discount because they understand that the alternative is often bankruptcy, in which case they get nothing.

Settlement benefits everyone involved: the creditors receive money from consumers who would otherwise have paid nothing had their debts been discharged in bankruptcy; the court systems are not as overloaded with collection/bankruptcy cases; and most importantly, clients can eliminate their debt and can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a debt-free life and a second chance.

Debt settlement programs can help eliminate your credit card debt faster and for less money. You can explore whether debt settlement is the right debt relief option for you with no obligation.

If you are ready to pursue credit card debt relief and you want to learn more about what debt settlement can do for you, call us at 303-914-0233 and one of our friendly & knowledgeable debt consultants will listen to learn about your situation, explain our debt settlement and negotiation program and answer your questions. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.

If you have read this far, you are obviously serious about getting relief and you are also desiring to do your due diligence to find a reputable company. If you would allow us to speak with you for 30-60 minutes, one of our Authorized Agents at Integrity Debt Solutions can explain exactly how our company can help you and give you valuable insight into your specific situation.

Issues that you will want to know include…

(1) How can I minimize the negative affects to my credit score?

(2) What proactive steps can I take to keep my credit score as high as possible?

(3) How can I position myself for the greatest reduction in my overall debt?

(4) What is the difference of entering my debt versus including my spouse’s debt? (it’s HUGE!)

(5) What is special about living in Colorado & what specific benefits does it provide?

(6) What are the federal, state, and bank laws that protect me and exactly how does it help?

We can answer all of the above questions for you and more if you would allow us to chat with you for a brief period of time. An attorney would charge you $250 or more to share this information with you. We hope you will allow us the opportunity to serve you and we look forward to speaking with you soon!

Thank You,

Integrity Debt Solutions


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