I received a message from the public relations representative for Accredited Debt Relief who brought to my attention a new infographic they are asking sites to link to.
“Kathrine here on behalf of Accredited Debt Relief. We created the most comprehensive guide which helps to understand if debt relief is right for you.”
Ironically, just yesterday someone asked me why Accredited Debt Relief was misrepresenting the facts about bankruptcy. I was going to pass on that question but when I ran across the PR request I had to take a look.
Here is what their infographic page says about bankruptcy:
“A LAST RESORT: BANKRUPTCY
- Used only if no other debt relief plan is possible.
- In rare cases, bankruptcy may completely remove your debts. However, there are high legal and court fee costs to bankruptcy so you will likely still need to pay a hefty sum.
- Bankruptcy can stay on your credit history for up to a decade and make it difficult to get approved for mortgages, car loans, and other credit accounts for years to come.
- Many bankruptcies end with a creditor recouping some of the money you owe by liquidating your assets.”
Now contrast those negative messages with what they say on this page about bankruptcy.
“Bankruptcy allows you to:
- Get out of debt quickly
- Immediately stop all collections
- Prevent wage garnishment
- Bring a halt to legal action
- Stop foreclosure on your home
- Eliminate interest and penalties on tax debt
- Find the best bankruptcy alternatives
How bankruptcy helps you find the best bankruptcy alternatives is a mystery, but there it is.
So which is it? One one page bankruptcy is very attractive and on their infographic that they want to get out there, it seems to totally misrepresent bankruptcy. Certainly the PR statement “The special thing: it’s not a descriptive guide, it actually helps you to understand which option suits YOU the best” is a miss.
Here is Where I Take Issue
Bankruptcy is never a last resort. It is just another option to consider given your current financial situation and future goals. Shoving it to the bottom of the pile for consideration is poor advice in my opinion.
Bankruptcy is typically significantly less expensive than other debt-relief options. It is also much faster. For less than $2,000 a consumer can get legal protection from their creditors and about 70 percent eliminate their debt entirely in about 90 days. No additional money will be paid to creditors.
While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be reported for up to ten years, other options the infographic suggests, like debt settlement, can have actions that remain on a credit report up to seven years. But that’s not really important in either case.
While the infographic says “Many bankruptcies end with a creditor recouping some of the money you owe by liquidating your assets” the majority of bankruptcy filings are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and out of those the number of those having to sell any asset is extremely small.
But maybe here is the most important fact to understand about bankruptcy, Those That File Bankruptcy Do Better Than Those That Don’t. Well at least that what the research from the Federal Reserve found.
Now don’t get me wrong, way back in my credit counseling days, I was just as guilty of getting bankruptcy wrong. In fact, I wrote What I Learned From Selling Debt Relief Services. What I Got Wrong and Right On the Front Lines.
But these days I try hard to give consumers fair, balanced, and factual information so they can make an educated and informed decision. That’s why I think the Accredited Debt Relief infographic is a swing and a miss.