Avoiding the hidden pitfalls and traps of certain types of debt consolidation
“It’s very easy sir, we can help with debt consolidation in a number of ways. Let us know exactly how much you owe, who the debts are to and for a fixed fee we take care of all of the rest. Your credit record will start to be rectified the moment you put down this telephone. Can you afford such and such (figure withheld)? It will come out of you account on a regular monthly…..oh and by the way, should there ever be an occasion that you have a problem with the monthly payment, call our Customer Service Hotline where we will be only too happy to advise you what happens next.”
“Debt Consolidation”. Wow what a great phrase. Great, wonderful, fantastic, all my financial problems solved in one easy telephone call. Now I can look forward to the Postman arriving without dreading the contents of the next envelope!
Or can I?
The above scenario is played out across countless homes in countless cities where the promise of an easy fix to a nightmare situation is actually quite an easy sell.
Well why wouldn’t it be?
After all, on the one side you have the witless and shell shocked debtor who is scared out of their mind that he (or in a growing number of cases she) is about to lose their livelihood, home and everything. On the other a smooth, fast talking telesales rep that is now promising to deliver what had hitherto seemed like the Holy Grail.
Except for the fact that in a growing number of cases these so called, Credit Repair Debt Consolidations are actually doing more harm than good.
First of all sadly there is no such thing as a free lunch – or in this case a deeply consolidated and discounted one. Everything has it’s price and in these cases the price is usually hidden in the small extremely fine print that was alluded to in the telephone call as the subject that would be dealt by the “happy ever present, effervescent, Customer Service Rep”.
This, my formerly scared and now ensnared friend is where the fun really starts.
Imagine the following scenario; things have gone well in the first few months; payments made on the button but suddenly for whatever reason the well has gone dry. Now this could be for a number of reasons, after all a leading charity for the Homeless has gone on record as saying that basically we are all “within a few missed pay checks of being made homeless” but in your case that’s it, no cash to make this months payments.
Suddenly the “effervescent, Customer Service Rep” is now cheerfully informing you that as per the terms and conditions of your agreement, there will now be a late payment, penalty charge levied that before you know it has now meant that it has to be cleared before you can resume your instalments and now before you know it you are now sliding further and further into debt again. Finally if these are not met then the whole arrangement is now null and void, your creditors (who probably have still not received a penny) notified and that in all due circumstances Bankruptcy proceeding will follow against you.
Bang, hello reality, welcome to the real world again.
Now I know that the above scenario may seem an extreme case (though sadly not too far fetched) but it is very much a case of “buyer beware” when it comes to Debt Consolidation and Credit Repair. My own personal preference if you wish to go down the road of Voluntary Bankruptcy or IVA route is always to go to the “glassy eyed monster” type of Insolvency Practitioner who give you a real hard time before taking your case before the Bankruptcy courts and being appointed your Insolvency Supervisor. After all, if they scare you, imagine what they will do to your creditors!
And the real bonus? They’re on your side and if you keep in close contact with the communication channels open then they will always try and be as flexible as possible and look after your interests as well as that of your creditors. After all it is their interests as well as yours to reach a successful and happy conclusion.
About the Author: Stephen Morgan is Editor for http://www.debt-collection-services.ws and also http://www.livingwithhighbloodpressure.net. More details about the above can be found at http://www.debt-consolidation-services.ws/features/avoiding_the_pitfalls_and_traps_of_certain_types_of_debt_consolidation.html