How do I find out if a debt settlement company is legitmate?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2012

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How do I find out if a debt settlement company is legitmate?

I have signed up with a debt settlement comany and don’t know if I have made a misstake. I tried looking them up with the BBB and they don’t show up. I also had them do a review of the company. I feel like I have stupid written on my forhead because I had to go through them because I got into debt trying to do an online business. If they are a scam then I am just stupid.

Asked on August 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to know for certain, but you can and should do some broad-based internet searches (e.g. "Google") searches as well as checking with the Better Business Bureau--you want to see if ANY complaints about them surface, any legal actions or lawsuits, etc. Search not only for this comany's name, but also under the names or any affiliate companies or any executives or owners.

More generally though, debt settlement companies are rarely "legitimate" in the sense  that--

1) They are not doing anything you can't do yourself--they have no special power to settle debts--and therefore you are paying them for something you could do; and

2) If this is the kind of debt settlement where you pay the company and they hold onto your money until they feel they have enough to make a lump sum offer (usually, after first taking out their fees), be aware that you or they have no right to not pay your debts; if they do this, you will be in default on your debts from the money being withheld, and could face lawsuits and credit damage.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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