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The Inner Workings of a Debt Relief Program: 5 Critical Steps

Apr 7, 2008
Typically, when you think about debt relief programs, you think about taking out a loan up-front, a debt consolidation loan, which is used to pay off all of your debts. You then only owe on the single loan rather than multiple accounts. However, there is another way of getting a handle on your debts that you might not be aware of. The following multi-step strategy is an example of the steps that a debt relief company might take to help you manage your debt.

1. There will be a consultation with the debt relief company. This step can be uncomfortable because you are talking to strangers about a very personal issue - your personal debt and finances. But it is essential that you allow your debt consultants to make a complete and accurate assessment of your situation. That way they can recommend the best possible course of action. You may be able to do this by email, but a phone call is probably your best bet. This is important business, and you should know the people you are going to be working with.

2. The debt relief company will help you determine a monthly dollar amount that you can commit to debt reduction. The more you can commit, the sooner you will be able to deal with your creditors. However, one of the purposes of a debt relief program is to free up cash flow. So your amount committed will probably be less than you currently pay on your debts.

3. The debt relief company will then contact your creditors and will assume all communication with your creditors. This is where this type of program diverges from the typical debt consolidation loan-based program. The debt relief program is not going to make you a loan to pay off all your debts. Rather, the company will manage the process of dealing with your creditors in an orderly fashion and make payoff arrangements.

4. Your monthly debt relief payments accrue into an account for debt repayment. As funds accumulate, the debt relief company will begin using the funds to make negotiated payoffs to your creditors. Typically, the company will attempt to settle your debts for 40 - 60% of their balances. The downside to this approach is that your credit rating may take a hit, as debts may be marked "settled for less than the full amount". The debt relief program should keep you informed as debts are settled.

5. The debt relief company will request that your creditors report your updated status to the credit rating bureaus. The new status may be "settled in full", "settled", "paid", or, as mentioned above, "settled for less than the full amount".

It goes without saying that you should avoid accumulating new debt while on the debt relief program. Once the program has concluded, you will be debt-free. At that point, you can assume more debt as long as you are ready to manage it and your debt repayment is well within your means. You will have been granted a fresh start, free from debt, so you would be wise to approach future debt with much caution.
About the Author
ClearOne Debt Relief is a full-service debt management company providing debt settlement services such as credit card debt relief to hundreds of thousands of customers. We help people cut their debt in half, lower their monthly payment, and get out of debt in as little as 24 months.
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