ACTION LINE: Know the difference between debt management, consolidation …

by Shelton on August 14th, 2014

filed under Debt Consolidation

In this difficult financial situation you want to consider your options: self-help using budgeting and other techniques, credit counseling, debt settlement, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy.

Be aware that some companies don#39;t warn customers about excessive fees they charge. A few fees to be aware of are sign up fees, monthly fees, percentage of the total debt, and a portion of the amount you save.

When looking for a reputable company, know that there are some out there that advertise they are a debt consolidation provider, when in fact they provide debt management. The companies try to cash in on people not recognizing the difference between debt consolidation and debt management. Before committing to a company do your homework and check out the company at

The Federal Trade Commission recommends people follow the precautionary tips listed below before taking out a loan:

* Beware of companies that pressure you into a plan or make any guarantees without looking into your specific needs.

* Research the company and the services it offers. It#39;s best when companies offer a wide range of options and education on how to handle debt.

* Contact your creditors and ask them if they will work with the company.

* Read the fine print: Make sure to review the agreement closely, ensuring that it outlines the finance company#39;s plans and its timeframe.

* Before you start paying the finance company, ensure that your creditors have accepted the company#39;s proposed plan. Until they do, be sure to continue paying your bills as usual.

* After you begin the program, keep a close watch on your statements and call the creditors to ensure they receive payments.

— Blair Looney is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or

Class Action Over Subprime Car Lending Is Time-Barred

by Shelton on August 14th, 2014

filed under Car Lending