May 15, 2012

The Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan been receiving inquiries from consumers who have been contacted by debt relief services promising to lower rates and help with their debt.

BBB Saskatchewan has some tips to help consumers separate legitimate credit counselling services from scams:

  • Charges upfront fees. In Saskatchewan, there are stringent legal issues and licensing requirements that affect what fees can be charged and when.
  • Demands you provide account numbers before discussing services. Reputable agencies are happy to provide free information about their services to convince you to choose them for your business.
  • Boasts it can "lower your rates by 30-50 per cent" or "Get you out of debt easily." These bold statements are rarely, if ever, true. Avoid counsellors who make outlandish claims and who promise quick, easy solutions to complex financial problems.
  • Claims it can remove negative information from your credit report. Accurate and truthful information cannot be removed from your report.
  • Requires "voluntary" contributions." Required "voluntary" contributions are not voluntary.
  • Insists you take immediate action. Reputable companies permit you time to evaluate their offer, shop around and make the best choice for your situation. However, delaying too long can cause further damage to your financial circumstances.

"If you decide to work with a credit counselling agency, spend some time researching your options and ensure the company you choose is the right fit for your financial needs,'' the BBB said in a press release.

"Your goal should be to find a reputable agency, with satisfied clients offering personalized service at a reasonable cost."

Original source article: Sask. BBB warns about debt relief scams.