I always try to warn people to avoid the empty promises of debt relief and debt settlement companies that require up-front fees and imply that you’ll only need to pay pennies on the dollar.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is warning people as well in a recent article (“Beware of ‘Debt-Relief’ Offers“). The article notes that consumer are more vulnerable than ever to the tempting sales pitches of debt relief and debt settlement companies. However, the article also notes that complaints against these companies are on the rise and that lawsuits against debt relief companies by state attorney generals have been increasing as well.
The problem with debt relief agencies is that the solution they offer is really only appropriate for a very small percentage of consumers. However, they’re just interested in taking your money (which they require you to give them up front). They’re not interested in telling you if you do fit in that very tiny percentage. In other words, the debt relief business is an attractive vehicle for unethical and unscrupulous business people for essentially stealing money from consumers in dire straits.
Other disadvantages of using a debt relief agency are that you can be sued by your creditors, and also that many loans that are forgiven in the process are viewed by the IRS as income, which means you’ll incur tax liabilities. (By contrast, if you file for bankruptcy, you cannot be sued by creditors and you do not incur any tax liability for reduction in the amount you ultimately end up repaying.)
If you’re facing financial troubles in New York, a good first step is to have a free initial consultation with an experienced and trusted New York bankruptcy lawyer. A good lawyer will inform you of all of your options–bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy.
Please contact me to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and get answers to your questions.
For additional reading on the topic of debt relief agencies, see the following:
- Don’t believe the hype: Credit counseling services and debt settlement companies
- Debt management and debt settlement companies invade Twitter-sphere!
- Debt settlement company exposed by ABC News
- Debt settlement company files for bankruptcy!?