How we compared debt relief companies
Are you struggling to make ends meet and dreading the thought of never being able to repay your debts? Don’t despair – there are plenty of companies and financial products out there designed to help people in your situation. Examples include balance transfer credit cards, debt consolidation loans and debt management plans. With a little research and some outside help, you can get your finances back on track. Check out Tripoint Lending review.
There are many things to consider when you are in debt and considering working with a company to help restructure or settle your debt. It is important to do your research beforehand, as there are many scams in the debt relief industry. For an example, check the Tripoint Lending review. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you contact your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agency to find out about complaints against companies you are considering, as well as any licensing requirements that may apply. This information can help you make an informed decision about which debt relief company is right for you.
Debt relief companies can be a great option for those struggling with debt. However, it is important to do your research before choosing a company. There are many factors to consider, such as the services they provide, their fee structure, their transparency, and their reputation. By taking the time to compare different companies, you can find the best option for your needs.
Methodologies for debt relief
There are many different types of companies that offer help with debts, but not all of them provide the same kind of assistance. To ensure that our evaluation was fair and balanced, we decided to break down the scoring into several different components. These are explained below.
We compared different companies providing debt relief services and ranked them according to a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). We then took the weighted average of all scores and ranked them again, taking into account the importance of each factor. The percentages used to compare each category are outlined below.
Reputation and Customer Satisfaction 10%
Customer Experience 7%
Costs and Fees 48%
There are many things to consider when choosing a debt relief company. In this article, we will explain some of the key factors that you should keep in mind when making your decision.
Different industries have different life spans. While some, like insurance, have companies that date back centuries, debt relief is much newer. You’ll find debt relief companies that have only been in operation for a year or less when you start comparing your options.
We chose to compare companies based on their stability using the following criteria:
- Time in business
- Membership with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)‘
An overview of business time
When it comes to researching and comparing companies in the debt relief space, a long history of service is always a plus. That’s why we factored length of time in business as a key metric in our stability rating. Companies that have been around for 5 or 10 years are usually easier to research and compare, and they also tend to have more customer reviews (and complaints).
Using industry averages, we scored each company’s number of years in business using the following scale:
Excellent (5) = 20 or more years in business
Great (4) = 15 to 19 years in business
Good (3) = 11 to 14 years in business
Fair (2) = 6 to 10 years in business
Poor (1) = 1 to 5 years in business or not disclosed
Membership in the American Fair Credit Council
The American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) is an important factor to consider when choosing a debt relief company. The AFCC is a trade association that advocates for consumer rights, defends access to debt negotiation services, and ensures the ethical treatment of consumers seeking to resolve their debts through settlement. Membership in this council suggests that a debt relief company is held to high standards in terms of fairness, legitimacy, and clarity. Conversely, lack of membership could indicate an unwillingness to be held accountable to the same standards, or simply a shorter history operating in the debt relief space. We rated debt relief companies based on this factor using the following scoring system:
Excellent (5) – Membership with the AFCC
Poor (1) – No membership
Reputation and customer satisfaction
The reputation of a debt relief company is an important indicator of the quality of its services. Customer reviews provide valuable insights into the experiences of previous customers and can be helpful in determining which company to use. We considered the following factors when rating debt relief companies:
- Trustpilot reviews
- and other third-party organization reviews and ratings
Debt relief companies receive a lot of reviews and star ratings on Trustpilot. It seems that most customers are either very satisfied or not satisfied at all with their experience. We used the following rating system to give credence to debt relief companies based on their user reviews on this platform.
Excellent (5) 5 starsGreat (4)4 stars to less than 5 full starsGood (3)3 stars to less than 4 full starsFair (2)2 stars to less than 3 full starsPoor (1)Less than 2 stars or no reviews
Many people have trouble dealing with their debts, and end up turning to relief companies for help. However, it can be difficult to get good customer service from these companies, since they often do most of their business over the phone or online. To help you compare companies and find the best one for your needs, we looked at the following factors:
- Website usability
- Online chat feature
- Mobile app
- Online resources
- FAQ page
The online presence of a debt relief company is crucial to the customer experience. A company’s website should be easy to use, with plenty of information and helpful tools. Likewise, a company with a bare-bones website makes it difficult for consumers to find out what they may be getting into.
We ranked companies based on the functionality of their online platforms: Excellent (5), Great (4), Good (3), Fair (2), Poor (1).
Chat feature on website
We evaluated companies based on the functionality of their online chat feature, rating them as Excellent (5), Good (4), Fair (3), Poor (2), or Very Poor (1). Here are our findings:
Excellent (5): Has online chat
Good (4): No chat feature
Fair (3): No chat feature
Poor (2): No chat feature
Very Poor (1): No chat feature
Companies that offer a mobile app have an advantage when it comes to user experience. While not everyone wants to use an app to manage their debt relief plan, having the option to do so is a major plus. Mobile apps let users keep track of their payments and their debt relief progress using their mobile device, which is extremely convenient.
We ranked companies based on their mobile app offerings as follows:
Excellent (5)Has mobile appPoor (1)No mobile app
When it comes to online resources, there is a lot of variation among different debt relief companies. However, most should have at least a basic outline of the services they offer. The best companies will have detailed information about how their services work, as well as online debt payoff tools and other interactive features. Here is our ranking of the top debt relief companies based on their online resources:
Excellent (5): Free interactive tools, educational materials
Great (4): Free e-books and/or videos
Good (3): Blog with stories and helpful information
Fair (2): Basic information
Poor (1): None
As you research different options for getting out ofdebt, you’ll likely come across some companies that offer “debt relief.” But what does that term actually mean? And how do you know if a company is reputable?
One way to judge a company’s credibility is by whether or not they have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on their website. FAQ pages are typically full of useful information that can help you compare different companies and make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
When evaluating FAQ pages, look for things like:
– Clear and concise answers to common questions about the company’s services
– A breakdown of fees and pricing
Debt Relief Services
Debt relief companies help consumers pay down their debts using a variety of strategies. The best ones tend to offer high success rates through different features and services.
- When comparing companies, we looked for those that offered:
- -Debt settlement
- -Debt management plans (DMPs)
- -Free consultation
- -Tax relief
- -Credit counseling
- -Client dashboard
Debt relief companies offer many different strategies to help consumers get out of debt. One popular method is called “debt settlement.” With this method, consumers make payments into a savings account which is then used to pay off their debts later on.
Debt settlement can be a great option for some people, but it’s important to know that there are risks involved. For example, your credit score could be negatively impacted.
When choosing a company to work with for your debts, it’s important to see what options they offer. Here at our company, we give you a rating of
“Excellent” (5) or “Poor” (1) depending on whether or not they offer the option of Settlement.
Debt Management Plans (DMPs)
Some people in financial difficulty turn to a type of company known as a ‘debt relief’ or ‘debt management’ company. This kind of company often offers a service called a ‘debt management plan’.
A ‘debt management plan’ is an agreement between the company and its client, whereby the company agrees to negotiate with the client’s creditors in order to try and reduce the client’s monthly payments and/or interest rates, and also to waive any fees that have been charged. The client then pays the company each month, and the company distributes this money amongst the creditors on the client’s behalf.
It is important to note that whilst a ‘debt management plan’ may help you to become free of your debts eventually, it is very unlikely that your debts will be settled for less than you actually owe through this method.
No matter your financial situation, you should be able to get your questions answered by a debt relief company without any obligation. We believe that you should have all the information you need before making a decision, which is why we rated debt relief companies on this important metric.
When comparing debt relief companies, we used the following ratings based on whether they offer a free, no-obligation meeting or phone call.
Excellent (5)Free consultation offered
Poor (1)Free consultation not offered
There are many companies that offer debt relief services. However, not all of these companies offer help with tax debts. This is an important factor to consider when choosing a debt relief company. We have rated the companies based on their ability to provide assistance with tax debts.
Excellent (5) Tax relief offered
Poor (1) Tax relief not offered
Credit counseling can be a helpful way to manage and repay your debts. Many credit counseling agencies are non-profit organizations that employ counselors who are certified and trained in budgeting, debt management, and consumer credit scores.
Although not all debt relief companies offer credit counseling services, we rated agencies based on their ability to provide this type of assistance.
Excellent (5) Credit counseling offered
Poor (1) Credit counseling not offered
Debt relief companies that offer a client dashboard online provide a huge benefit to consumers by letting them track their debt relief plan, payments, and progress real-time. We used the following rating system to rank companies separately based on this factor:
Excellent (5)Client dashboard offered
Poor (1)Client dashboard not offered
Costs and Fees
When considering working with a debt relief company, getting all the terms of your plan in writing is essential. This includes any fees associated with setting up the plan, ongoing charges for services provided, the length of time the plan is proposed to last, and any conditions for cancelling the agreement.
Many companies do not disclose their fee structures upfront, and will only do so during a free consultation. In addition, companies may or may not offer a money-back guarantee or a clear cancellation policy.
Due to these variables, we decided to compare debt relief companies based on the following criteria:
- Money-back guarantee terms
- No upfront fees
- Fee percentage closed
- Cancellation policy
Money-Back Guarantee Terms
Different companies offer different guarantees when it comes to debt relief. While many advertise a money-back guarantee with clear terms and conditions, others do not offer this same level of protection. This can leave potential customers wondering about their options should the plan not work out.
We rated companies based on their money-back guarantee terms (or lack thereof) using the following star ratings:
Excellent (5) – Money-back guarantee offered
Poor (1) – Money-back guarantee not offered
No Upfront Fees
Some companies that provide debt relief services try to charge fees before they actually settle or reduce your debt, which is not allowed by law. However, there are some less-than-reputable companies out there that will try to get away with this. We believe that not charging upfront fees is an important marker of a quality debt relief company, so we have ranked them based on this factor using the ratings below:
Excellent (5) – No upfront fees charged
Poor (1) – Fees charged or not disclosed
Fee Percentage Closed
We wanted to reward companies that disclose their fee range, while also lowering rankings for those who refuse to share their fees. To do this, we used the following rating system:
Excellent (5) Less than 15%
Good (4) 15% to 25%
Fair (3) 25% or more
Poor (2) Not disclosed
We looked for companies that let consumers cancel their debt relief plan at any time, without any fees. Some companies advertise this prominently, while others don’t mention it at all. We rated each company using the following system:
Excellent (5) – Cancel at any time without penalties or fees
Poor (1) – No option to cancel without fees, or not disclosed
Shopping for Debt Relief Companies
Before you sign up with a third-party company who is offering you help with debt relief, it’s important to be aware of some of the dangers involved. There are many scams and shady operators in this industry, and even the Federal Trade Commission has a list of banned companies and individuals.
When considering using a debt relief service, watch out for companies that:
- Ask for upfront payment
- Pressure you to make voluntary payments
- Advertise a “new government program” of any kind
- Make guarantees about your debts
- Tell you it can stop collection calls and lawsuits
- Won’t disclose information on the services it provides
- Try to enroll you in their program without going over your finances or goals
Beware of debt relief companies that resort to any of the following shady practices. It’s best to steer clear of them altogether. You can also file a complaint with the FTC.