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Debt Consolidator

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
What would be the best way to go about finding a debt consolidator for myself? Has anyone used one around the Orange County (southern California) area that's not a flake? There's just so many choices and most of them look flakey I don't know how to go about it.
post #2 of 20
My sister did one...only do it if you DO NOT plan on getting loans or mortgages. She did it then went out to buy a car a month or two later. She was denied any loans for the car and the financial people told her it was because her debt was consolidated. If she wanted a car, she had to "unconsolidate" the debt, wait 3 months, then try again.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I don't plan on getting any loans or credit cards or anything to further put me in debt. I'm just trying to get out of it first. It'll take another 5-10 years for us to save up enough money for a house (we wanna put down a bigger % down payment) so mortgage is no where near the picture. I'll have everything paid off by then.
post #4 of 20
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/debt.shtm is a good place to start. I use http://www.balancepro.net/ for debt management information and education, but it's free through my credit union.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esrgirl View Post
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/debt.shtm is a good place to start. I use http://www.balancepro.net/ for debt management information and education, but it's free through my credit union.
Thanks a lot! I'll have to check it out.
post #6 of 20
Go to your bank and apply for a debt consolidation loan. It's much cheaper than going through some private company.

I've had a debt consolidation loan through my bank back in the 1980's. The interest was whatever the bank's lending interest rate was at the time.
post #7 of 20
i've used CCCS twice. they're not exactly a consolidator - they have deals w/the card companies to lower interest rates and payments. i've been pleased with their service. they charge a $15 service fee per month. don't know if they're in CA.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Go to your bank and apply for a debt consolidation loan. It's much cheaper than going through some private company.

I've had a debt consolidation loan through my bank back in the 1980's. The interest was whatever the bank's lending interest rate was at the time.
I've checked BofA, Wamu, Wells Fargo and Wachovia. The biggest debt consolidation loan I would get is $8.5k (that's their limit, not what I would personally get). I need something a little more than that.
post #9 of 20
Are you looking for a loan, or credit counseling?

If you are looking for a loan try going to a Credit Union in your area. If you are going into Credit Counseling the following steps are the best:

1. Call the Better Business Bureau and ask for a list.
2. Interview the people that will be working for you. If it feels bad, or it feels like they are doing something illegal walk out.
3. Research the company on line.

You may be able to do this on your own as well. Total up your debit and then look at how the payments are applied. If one credit card has a lower APR see if you can transfer the remaining high balances on to that one.

Good luck. I hope it all works out for you.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Honestly I don't know what I'm looking for.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiron View Post
Honestly I don't know what I'm looking for.
Research both on line, and be very honest with yourself. You'll need to do a budget to see how much money is coming in and how much is going out. It's very possible that you aren't in such a terrible situation even though it may feel that way.

It's a tough choice, but the more honest about it you are the better decision you can make.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Research both on line, and be very honest with yourself. You'll need to do a budget to see how much money is coming in and how much is going out. It's very possible that you aren't in such a terrible situation even though it may feel that way.

It's a tough choice, but the more honest about it you are the better decision you can make.
Well the thing is, I don't make enough to even make all the minimums anymore. The total debt isn't a lot but it's a bunch of different bills which ends up adding to a lot every month. And of course with minimums, I'm not getting anywhere close to paying anything off.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiron View Post
Well the thing is, I don't make enough to even make all the minimums anymore. The total debt isn't a lot but it's a bunch of different bills which ends up adding to a lot every month. And of course with minimums, I'm not getting anywhere close to paying anything off.
Because you are a California resident you may want to check around to see if there are any type of state resources as well.

Does your debit involve a house in any way? Meaning do you have a mortgage that is in the middle of all this as well?
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Nope, no houses. Just credit cards and medical bills.
post #15 of 20
I don't know much about any specific companies, but I'll just warn you to be very careful about the company you select. My parents went to a debt consolidation company to try to clear up some of their debt a few years ago. There were to make a single monthly payment to the company, then they would pay off the creditors. Unfortunately, though, it was a bad company. They never paid off the creditors. My parents ended up owing even more because of the late fees and interest and penalties and were out the money they gave the consolidation company. They ended up having to file for bankruptcy.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiron View Post
Nope, no houses. Just credit cards and medical bills.
The good news is that you may be able to talk to the medical collection places on a one to one basis. Because there's no APR involved all they really care about is getting their money.

As for the credit cards you may want to the rout of credit counseling. They can negotiated a lower APR for you and help make more of your payments go toward the balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari View Post
I don't know much about any specific companies, but I'll just warn you to be very careful about the company you select. My parents went to a debt consolidation company to try to clear up some of their debt a few years ago. There were to make a single monthly payment to the company, then they would pay off the creditors. Unfortunately, though, it was a bad company. They never paid off the creditors. My parents ended up owing even more because of the late fees and interest and penalties and were out the money they gave the consolidation company. They ended up having to file for bankruptcy.
That's the scary thing, some of these companies don't do what they say they are going to do. The best rout to take is to start with a consumer advocacy group, and see who they recommend.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari View Post
I don't know much about any specific companies, but I'll just warn you to be very careful about the company you select. My parents went to a debt consolidation company to try to clear up some of their debt a few years ago. There were to make a single monthly payment to the company, then they would pay off the creditors. Unfortunately, though, it was a bad company. They never paid off the creditors. My parents ended up owing even more because of the late fees and interest and penalties and were out the money they gave the consolidation company. They ended up having to file for bankruptcy.
That's how I feel about collection agencies. I don't trust them to pay off what I owe.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiron View Post
That's how I feel about collection agencies. I don't trust them to pay off what I owe.
They also don't have your best interests in mind. Mostly those places work off commission, and they don't follow through with what they say they are willing to do.
post #19 of 20
using a debt consolodation company wreaks havoc on your credit ANd you usually have to agree to get rid of all your CCs.

I would get a loan thru my normal bank or credit union and pay off debt at a lower interest rate that way. Just get a "loan" - not a loan with a label - so it wont haunt you later.
post #20 of 20
I don't make a whole heck of a lot either, and I'm looking at my bills and my paychecks every payday. I am focusing on one, giving them a little more each check, and then giving the others what I can. The first one is nearly paid off. I'm also going to rotate the others, one month focus on one, then switch, going back and forth until they're paid. None of these are huge, but they're enough to do some damage to my credit.

As for medical bills, call the hospital/office/etc, and talk to them, ignore (as best as possible) the collection agencies. When i was uninsured and in Chicago, I messed up my ankle pretty bad. A nasty sprain. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Of course, being uninsured, they billed me later. Even when a private coll. agency tried intervening, I ignored them and worked with the office within the hospital. I was up front with them about what I could and could not do. They lowered the amount a little and worked out a payment plan. If the med. bills are huge, talk to them. They'll understand, esp. if you're uninsured or underinsured. Explain the whole situation. Don't get angry, just talk evenly to them. they're more likely to respond in kind. Same with the credit companies. Be calm about it, and they'll work with you, not strong-arm you.

Amanda
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