Not only are most people who are interested in settlement debt relief programs curious about the fees charged by the companies offering the programs, but they are also curious about what services they receive for those fees.
In the first part of this article we looked at what services you will be provided even before you sign on to the program. From this point on we will look at what you receive once the program starts...
You've considered all of your debt relief options(#link out to getting-out-of-debt.html), did your homework on debt settlement and whether or not it is right for you, you've talked to a bankruptcy lawyer, you've talked to a credit counselor, and you have made your decision. A settlement debt relief program is your best option. You sign the agreement and a few days later you receive your welcome package. The process begins...
Once you have received your welcome package you will receive a call from the company to verify your information, your creditor data and your debts. But the main reason for this call is to ensure that you don't have second thoughts and pull out of the program. You see, you have three days from the time you sign the contract to cancel it without penalty. The company knows this and wants to make sure that they calm any fears or dismiss any seconds thoughts you have before you act upon those feelings.
Following that initial "welcome" phone call, you can (and should) expect at the very least a monthly call from the company. During this call you will get a status report on each account, and any questions or concerns you have will be addressed
Many people mistakenly believe that once they are enrolled in a settlement plan, their creditors (or collection agencies representing their creditors) will stop contacting them. Of course, this is not true. As such you will likely find that you are contacting the settlement company each time you do have contact with your creditors (either a letter or phone call).
Although contact between your creditors and the settlement company may not (and probably won't) take place immediately, once contact is established, it will continue on roughly a monthly basis as the debt negotiations proceed.
Each of your creditors/debts will require a separate statement that must be updated each month. Creditor contact information can change frequently for example and this must be kept current.
Most people who enter a settlement debt relief program are required to save money on a monthly basis in order to build up funds that will eventually be used to settle debts. As part of the monthly review process of your account, a company representative will go over your savings program, and record your progress. It is important to keep in mind that a settlement cannot be negotiated until you have saved up sufficient funds to actually pay the settlement amount.
When it comes right down to it, this is what you are really paying for. You have hired this company to negotiate with your creditors so that you can pay off your debts for as little money as possible. In many instances this process can take several years, and will require continuos contact with your creditors.
Throughout this lengthy debt negotiation process, all of the many contacts (phone calls, letters, emails etc.) that take place must be accurately documented by the settlement company. And this includes contact between the company and you as well as the company and your creditors (or their representatives).
Once a final settlement is reached, the company will prepare all of the necessary documentation needed to finalize the agreement.
Once the debt have successfully been negotiated and the settlement debt relief agreement signed, the final job of the company is to ensure that the settlement is properly funded and the debt is wiped clean.