People with more debt than ability to pay often turn to debt settlement companies for help. These companies offer to work directly with your creditors, and they claim they can reduce the overall amount you owe and make it easier for you to take charge of your debt and make progress on paying that debt back.
Unfortunately, many of these old-school debt settlement companies had some not-so-ethical policies. They may have charged flat fees for their services, and they may have asked for that money up front. If the companies weren’t successful in reducing the debt, the consumer still had to pay for all of the services. Many, many people fell into this trap.
A New Breed of Debt Settlement Companies
Luckily, a new breed of debt settlement companies is forming, and these companies truly can help consumers with mounting debt. Active Debt is one of these companies.
Active Debt was founded in 2006, and it is one of the founding companies of the American Association of Credit Counselors (AACC). This organization encourages all credit counseling and debt settlement companies to focus on clients, rather than focusing on making money. Active Debt must adhere to a certain set of customer-first principals in order to maintain membership with the AACC.
How Active Debt Negotiates for You
The debt reduction program Active Debt offers is remarkably straightforward, and the company places a sample contract on the website for anyone to review. This sort of transparency is often hard to come by. Basically, you provide the company with a list of all debts and Active Debt then contacts the debtors on your behalf. If a company offers a reduced payoff amount to the Active Debt negotiators, the company calls you for approval before it moves forward. If the debtors offer a reduction in the overall amount you owe, you then owe Active Debt 30 percent of that reduction amount.
During the debt negotiation process, the company opens a bank account in your name and you pay money directly to Active Debt to be placed in your account. The company pays the debt from the account. It can take up to two years to complete this process, so it’s far from quick.
You are in Control
This process is remarkable for a few reasons. Other companies sometimes don’t ask before they take a settlement in your name, and they may not tie their fees to their performance. If you reject a settlement, you may reduce Active Debt’s fees, and yet they still give you the power to do just that. This is truly a company that puts power in the hands of the consumer.
Active Debt also provides a nonprofit credit counseling service, allowing people to learn more about managing their debt on their own. It’s clear that the company is dedicated to this educational effort, as the website offers pages and pages of credit advice. Some articles contain a remarkable amount of jargon and lingo, but it’s still admirable to see so much information available for free.
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