Debt settlement can be a stressful process, even before you enroll. Doing the research can add to your anxiety as you visit different sites, read reviews and try and determine who is the best debt settlement company for your needs. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest reading “5 Important Questions to ask Before You Sign Up.”
As you do your research, it’s important to know that many debt settlement companies use misleading marketing tactics. To help you spot these deceptive tactics, we’ve put together a list of three common marketing tricks used by debt settlement companies.
Trick 1: Being deceptive about the fees. Most reputable companies charge no up front fees these days. In fact Federal law mandates it. If you shop around, most companies charge anywhere between 18-25% of the debt you enroll. However, some companies have recently started quoting these figures on an Annualized basis. So if the fee is 24% of the debt, but the program is 4 years, they quote “approx 6% per year.” Six percent sounds a lot better than 24% right? The fact is it’s misleading and our employees are hearing it more and more when consulting with consumers.
Trick 2: Bait and switch from personal loan to debt settlement. This is one of the most common tactics being used today by debt relief providers. Debt Settlement companies are sending out direct mail pieces offering a consolidation loan that sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately, it is too good to be true. After the consumer calls in to apply for the personal loan, they are told that they don’t qualify. Most consumers won’t qualify. The sales agent then presents the consumer with “good news!” The “good news” is the debt settlement program, which the consumer conveniently does qualify for. Here is an example of what these mail pieces typically look like:
Trick 3: All the Client Reviews are from recent enrollments. Many companies, including Pacific Debt, solicit reviews from customers on sites such as TrustPilot, BestCompany and Google. To read reviews about Pacific Debt, you can visit our website here, check out our blog or simply google “Pacific Debt reviews”. Reading actual customer reviews is a great way to hear what others are saying about a company. However, it is important to read several reviews to determine the quality of those reviews. Is the company simply asking for reviews from customers who just signed up or from those who have actually completed the program? Debt settlement is usually a 3-4 year program, so clients who have been enrolled for more than a few days are better suited to give an actual review of the service.
At Pacific Debt, we ask for reviews from new enrollments, active customers as well as recently completed clients. Some of our competitors only ask for reviews from recent enrollments. Recently enrolled customers are more inclined to hand out a 5 star review because they are happy to get help. Reviews from consumers who have experienced settlements and dealt with customer service over the course of many years, should carry more weight than reviews from brand new customers. So be mindful when you scan through the reviews of the debt settlement company you are researching, you should be able to read at least some reviews like these:
Review from BestCompany.com 3/17/18
Review from Google Feb 2018
So as your embark on your quest to find the best debt settlement company, please be mindful of these common misleading marketing tactics. If you’d appreciate a free evaluation of your situation, from a company that has been helping consumers for 16 years, call our team today at the number above. We can help you assess your situation and see if debt settlement is right for you. If not, we can connect you with a Trusted Partner who might be better suited to help. We are also happy to pass along some free advice and point you in the right direction.