Review of Debt Settlement Services


Many debt settlement companies offer significant debt relief to individuals with hardships However, different companies accomplish that in different ways. There is also an emerging market for debt settlement companies that do more than just reduce your debt. We researched ten companies found on major online search engines to see what and who you get for your money. We started with basics:

 

Who is Doing the Work? - Believe or not, many of the companies in the debt settlement arena do not actually do the negotiations or settlement work. A good percentage of the work is contracted out to third-parties. While we recognize there are often sub-contractors in every industry and some of them are good, we do not like the fact that you are researching one company only to find out later that another company is doing the work. We want to reiterate there are third-party companies that do great work. We just believe it makes researching reliable companies more difficult and accountability potentially harder to come by.

 

Trust or Escrow Accounts - More commonly referred to as special purpose accounts which are third-party FDIC insured companies that open a savings account to store your payments while you save up the appropriate amount to settle your accounts individually. The Federal Trade Commission recommends them and the team at OnlineDebtGuide.org agrees. Your money should only be accessible to you and should only be released to your creditors or collectors with your permission. Special purpose accounts ensure that process and keep your money available to you. We believe that companies that ask you to save your money are neglecting the fact that you are reaching out for help. Asking you to save on your own is often a daunting task for those who feel overwhelmed by their debt.

 

Additional Services - What else can the debt settlement companies do for you?

 


 

Ratings: Overall | Settlement Fees | Company Services | BBB Complaints | Comparison Chart

 


 

Freedom Debt Relief

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - Freedom Debt Relief is one of the largest debt settlement companies nationwide. They also provide negotiation and settlement services to other debt settlement companies.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - They are a part of the Freedom Financial Network which includes a list of other services including, but not limited to Bills.com, Freedom Tax Relief, Golden Road Financial and Freedom Mortgage.

Services: Great

American Credit Group

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - American Credit Group has a staff of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) certified credit and debt specialists.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - ACG believes people want to pay their debt and salvage or improve their credit. So they work with all clients to rebuild their credit as they go through financial hardship and debt settlement. They believe credit and debt are linked in the financial recovery process.

Services: Very Good

Christian Debt Consolidators

WORK CONTRACTED OUT - We like this company, but they do not do the work, which raises some concerns. Who is doing the work? How do you learn more about the companies that do? It's possible to find out and their rep was very helpful, however they use more than one third party company which adds another piece to the often complicated debt settlement puzzle.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - They offer a well respected consumer credit counseling program which is an alternative to settlement and bankruptcy.

Services: Very Good

DMB Financial

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - DMB Financial is another large well respected company that not only services their clients, they also (as we've been told) service accounts for other companies.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - No Additional Services Listed

Services: Standard

Total Debt Services

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - A smaller full service company that handies the negotiating and settlement in-house. Their services are comparable to the larger companies with the added benefit of great reps who probably provided the best description of services of all the companies on the list.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - No Additional Services Listed

Services: Standard

Debtmerica

WORK CONTRACTED OUT - The representative we spoke with told us Debtmerica sends people they enroll in the debt settlement program to Freedom Debt Relief. So, while we typically rank companies lower if they send work out and do not offer additional services, we thought it appropraite to link the two companies since we know who the third-party is in this case.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - No Additional Services Listed

Services: Good, but...

Oak View Law Group

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - It was not crystal clear after several phone calls if this is a law firm that offers debt settlement services or a debt settlement company that works with a law firm. However, they state the work is done in-house.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - Yes (Expensive)

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - Our confusion stems from learning that you would be referred to the law firm if needed, which created a separation and at the same time an additional service.

Fees: Standard, but

National Debt Resolution

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - They offer debt settlement services in-house. Based on their track record you could expect to receive similar service and savings to other companies on the list.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - NO

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - No Additional Services Listed

Services: No Trust Acct

Superior Debt Relief

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - Another well known and well respected full service company that provides all services in house.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - NO

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - No Additional Services Listed

Services: No Trust Acct

Credit Solutions

WORK DONE IN-HOUSE - Another large company that is full service. You can expect comparable service and savings from this firm.

 

TRUST/ESCROW ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS - NO

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES - No Additional Services Listed

Services: No Trust Acct