Counseling: Professional counseling provided by organizations
that help consumers find ways to repay their debt - through careful
budgeting and management of money.
you aren't disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick
to it, or can't keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting
a consumer credit counseling service. Your creditors may be willing
to accept reduced payments if you enter a debt repayment plan with
a reputable credit counseling organization. In these plans, you
deposit money each month with the credit counseling service. Your
deposits are used to pay your creditors according to a payment schedule
developed by the credit counseling organization. As part of the
repayment plan, you may have to agree not to apply for-or use-any
additional credit while you're participating in the program.
A successful repayment plan requires you to make
regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or longer to
complete. Ask the credit counseling service for an estimate of the
time it will take to complete the plan. Some credit counseling services
charge little or nothing for managing the plan; Some credit counseling
services are funded, in part, by contributions from creditors.
While a consumer credit counseling plan can eliminate
much of the stress that comes from dealing with creditors and overdue
bills, it does not mean you can forget about your debts. You still
are responsible for paying any creditors whose debts are not included
in the plan. You are responsible for reviewing monthly statements
from your creditors to make sure your payments have been received.
If your repayment plan depends on your creditors agreeing to lower
or eliminate interest and finance charges, or waive late fees, you
are responsible for making sure these concessions are reflected
on your statements.