Well… maybe shocking to some.
I do not often post on consults I do. This one from about six weeks ago provides both warning and sound advice.
A gentleman in Indiana called in to the toll free line here at Consumer Recovery Network after hitting our website while researching debt settlement. I answered the call and proceeded down a list of general things I ask during a typical debt consultation.
He had already spoken to a representative of a NY law firm after hearing a radio commercial advertising services to reduce debt. He felt he had a pretty good foundation of what settlement was. As I started to lay out some facts about debt settlement, he started to lay out a little confusion. His confusion is a direct result of things that were not covered in his consult with the representative of the law firm.
The end result of the consult I did was that he now knew about the knock on effects of settlement and that it should only be considered as an alternative to bankruptcy. He recognized he was not close to bankruptcy, but did have a need to get out of debt. During the consult he recognized he could quickly sell 2 cars he was not using for under blue book and pay off his credit cards.
I heard from him the next day.
Being the considerate type, he had called the law firm rep after speaking with me, to inform him he would not need to enroll in his program. The rep (obviously the consummate closer) tried to overcome his objections and continue to sell him on settlement.
He told the rep that he did not want late payments reported on his credit report for the next 7 years. The rep told him “Oh, that’s only for corporations”!
He told the rep that he was not willing to risk being sued. The reps response was “Well… I suppose it could happen, but you would be the first”!
First what? First person the rep lied to that day? This guy exemplifies what is wrong in the industry! He should be answering his telephone with “Thank you for calling the Bib-N-Fib. Can I take your order?”
I could tell my car selling buddy thought I would be shocked to hear that someone was so willing to deceive in order to make a buck. Instead, I shocked him when I informed him it came as no surprise at all. I did tell him that I was highly skeptical that the representative that he was speaking with was an actual employee of the law firm. The rep was likely just a sales guy at a call center where callers from radio and TV ads are funneled, and whose only purpose is to sell callers on settlement so they can get paid a commission. Even if they have to lie, omit or deceive to do it!
I don’t think car guy would have gotten the same nonsense if he called the law firm directly.
The point of this article:
Consumers should only speak to the actual service provider they would work with. Any middle man has one motivation and that is the commission. Some are far more artful in their selling techniques than who car guy talked to (let’s hope most), but why would you need to speak with anyone other than who you are going to work with? You wouldn’t.
If you are looking into bankruptcy and have a consultation (do more than 1), you are speaking to the attorney or an employee of the firm on their direct telephone line or standing in the office.
If you are looking into a debt management plan offered through consumer credit counseling, you are speaking to the counselor or an employee of the agency on their direct telephone line or standing in the office.
Why in the world should you look into a settlement company any other way? You shouldn’t.
There are thousands of places on the internet offering a consultation to see how they can help you get out of debt. There is a daily bombarding of radio and television commercials offering debt help. The vast majority have no direct connection to the company that will actually be providing you a product or service.
If you hear from whom ever you are speaking to that they are going to “refer” you to the best, most reputable this that or the other thing, your talking to a sales guy. He or she gets paid by selling to you and will not be working with you after you start. They often have no accountability to the actual service provider.
ALWAYS start at the source!
I cannot identify one exception to this. Can you?