I have 4 credit cards. Over the years, I have managed to get myself into about $45,000 of debit. Most of it was accumulated trying to help my widowed mother make ends meet on a fixed Social Security income (including covering items that her health insurance would not for her many health issues).
I filled out an online form for lowermybills.com and they referred me to Rescue One Financial (a debt relief program). I spoke with one of their representatives who took down my information and came up with a plan.
My current minimum payments for all 4 cards are $1,000-1,100 with an average interest rate of 22% for a period of 30+ years. They estimate a monthly payment of about $774 per month for a period of 4 years to completely be debt-free through their program. I have not signed anything yet.
How do you know if the company you are dealing with is on the up and up and if they are getting you the best debt reduction deal?
Well the first thing I did was wander on over to the website of RescueOne Financial and see what they have to offer. It appears to be a debt settlement approach. The “actual results” section of the site is geared towards all settlements. – Source
I then picked one creditor and clicked on it, Citibank. What struck me was that it appeared most of the sample settlements, dating back to 2009, were actually offers proactively sent out by creditors and not correspondence confirming a settlement negotiated by RescueOne Financial.
I blocked out those that did not appear to be negotiated offers and you can see the results below.
Here is an example of the type of offer I blocked out.
A “we noticed” letter from the creditor to the cardholder is certainly a whole lot different than a letter that says “RescueOne Financial has contacted us and negotiated the following settlement on your behalf.” or something like that.
This just makes me wonder about some of the claims that are made and if the site actually represents the results of the average client that enrolls. It certainly gives the impression that big settlements are available but it does not factor in the cost of the service or the experience of the average consumer that enrolled. The FTC provides guidance on how these claims should be made and supported, click here.
I invite any reader to visit the RescueOne Financial site and come back and post a review in the comments section. Let me know what you think.
I would suggest that before you do anything that you examine your other options first. They may be much more affordable and get you out of debt faster.
If you can afford the minimum payments but would like to get your interest rates significantly reduced and get out of debt in five years than a credit counseling program would be an appropriate consideration.
If you are struggling to make your minimum payments and you want or need to start over quickly then bankruptcy is something to look at first. In fact I think you should meet with a local bankruptcy attorney before you do anything. It’s better to be well informed than it is to make the wrong move and regret it.
You asked how do you know if the company is basically doing the best they can for you. It’s a bit like trying to figure out if the dentist down the street is the doing the best for you. You either get feedback by word of mouth, use the services yourself, or get a second opinion.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.