You’ve settled on debt relief as a strategy to relieve you of overwhelming debt and the stress and anxiety that accompany it. First off, congratulations. Debt relief has rescued scores of people like you from a life of collection calls and an inability to move forward. Unfortunately, the industry has its share of scoundrels who are more interested in taking your money than erasing your obligations. To counter those offerings, here are some qualities of the best debt relief programs.

Is Accredited

It’s difficult for a scam company to scam trade organizations. That’s why you should pick one that is a member of, say, the American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators. And if a company balks at your request to see such accreditation, keep it moving. On the other hand, if it does belong to these professional organizations, that’s a sign of a reputable settlement firm.

It Doesn’t Charge You Up Front

It is against federal law for a debt relief company to ask for payment before it has settled a single debt for you. Some scam firms do just that, which is why it’s important for you to know it’s prohibited. The best debt relief programs according to Freedom Debt Relief clearly explain their fees and how they work.

For example, rather than paying creditors directly, it should be explained to you that creditors will be paid through a dedicated savings account that you will set up before negotiations begin. You will deposit funds into the account each month, and when you have saved enough the company will begin talks with your creditors. You will be charged upon each settlement. Fees vary, but between 15% and 25% of the enrolled debt is common.

It Explains Risks

A credible debt relief agency will explain to you that the process of debt relief can mar your credit report – temporarily. After you’ve settled your debts – and your spending is reined in – your credit scores will totally rebound. Remember, your credit isn’t the greatest right now anyway, and you didn’t get into this situation overnight. Patience is a virtue.

Has Positive Customer Testimonials

You shouldn’t have to work too hard to find positive reviews of the company in which you’re interested. Google is your friend. By the same token, you should steer clear if what you find is an avalanche of negative feedback. Run the name of the company you’re interested in past your state’s attorney general and contact your local consumer protection agency for complaints.

Is Established and Has Longevity

In today’s era of fly-by-night scam companies that, sooner or later, fall victim to their own malfeasance, it means something when you run across a company that’s been around for a while. Now, sometimes a company is simply brand new, but wouldn’t you rather put your troubles in the hands of someone experienced?

Offers Personalized Services

There’s really no one-size-fits-all when it comes to debt relief. Every situation is at least a little bit different. Therefore, do not trust any organization that tries to rush you into signing up without having first gone over your case. That’s a sign of a company that’s more interested in separating you from your cash than trying to get you out of debt.

Now you know some of the qualities of the best debt relief programs. Take them to heart and get going on your financial situation. Remember: doing nothing will not make your woes disappear. In fact, that will make them worse.

Make a call today.