People who are unable to pay off their debts but also ineligible for bankruptcy, or want to avoid such drastic measures, may consider debt settlement as a solution. A settlement occurs when a creditor agrees to take an agreed-upon percentage of the original balance. This process usually occurs after a consumer has become delinquent on paying their bills due to some financial difficult, making them appear to the creditor like someone at high risk of defaulting altogether.
While some Americans try undergoing settlement on their own, others enroll in a structured program that guides them through the steps and leaves the actual negotiations up to professionals. One such program available to Americans is through Accredited Debt Relief.
If you’re currently considering your debt settlement options, here’s what you need to know about Accredited Debt Relief at a glance.
Accredited Debt Relief at a Glance
Debt settlement has certainly helped thousands of Americans escape debt for less than they would have owed — but it’s not the right solution for everyone. Furthermore, each company within the industry has different requirements for enrollment and terms of service.
Accredited Debt Relief works only with unsecured debts, such as payday loans, medical bills, credit card accounts and some private student loans. The minimum amount to enroll is $10,000. This means borrowers with less debt who want to settle will need to explore other options.
Although the timeline for settlement can vary widely, this company cites 12 to 48 months as the “average” amount of time it takes. The reason debt settlement requires a commitment of at least a year is because it takes time to save up enough money via monthly deposits to start bargaining with creditors. After all, negotiations hold more weight if you are able to produce the settlement funds quickly. Smaller debts may be ready for settlement within months, whereas larger ones may take years to deal with.
What is the cost of using Accredited Debt Relief? According to U.S. News & World Report, participants can expect to pay between 14 and 25 percent of their total enrolled debt amount in the form of fees. It’s important to note these fees come only after an account has been resolved, not right away when you enter the program. It’s illegal for settlement companies to collect fees before performing a service.
What Accredited Debt Relief Reviews Are Saying
One important thing to know about Accredited Debt Relief is that it is accredited by the American Fair Credit Council. The AFCC acts as a “watchdog” of the industry, holding its member organizations to high consumer-protection standards. Choosing an AFCC member organization helps consumers avoid scams and unscrupulous companies flouting the law to make a quick buck.
Investopedia gives this company 4.4 out of 5 stars, citing its generally positive reputation as evidenced by customer reviews. However, there are also a few potential challenges of which to be aware, such as:
- Some debt settlement companies give clients access to a convenient online portal they can check at any time to see their progress; Accredited Debt Relief only offers phone and email customer service.
- Accredited Debt Relief currently operates in just over 30 states, meaning many Americans are not eligible.
- While settlement can take as little as a year, many customers require more time — like two to four years — to get results.
The more you know about Accredited Debt Relief before enrolling, the better you’ll be able to navigate the demands of the program while avoiding unpleasant surprises. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting the results you want through the process of debt settlement.