Lately, I have noticed a ton of advertisements from companies making grand promises about there ability to fix your student loans. These debt consolidation and debt relief industry is booming, but these programs may not be all they are cracked up to be.
If you are considering calling one of these companies… proceed with caution!
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- A TV or Radio commercial does not mean they are legit. This market is very poorly regulated and the “service” that you actually get could be next to nothing. The same could be said for a professional website… they are fairly easily made.
- You can handle most of your student loan problems. Student Loan Consolidation may seem overwhelming, but it is pretty easy. They same goes for changing repayment plans or getting a deferment.
- Understand what you are paying for. This one is huge. If a company is just going to talk to your lender to get you a new repayment plan, don’t pay them money each month. Have them explain what they will be doing for you each and every month if they are charging you each month.
- Don’t fall for the sales pitch. Student loans can be scary and they may make it sound like your dreams are about to come true. Focus on the substance of what they are saying. Be wary of the fluff.
- Google is your friend. Before you part with any of your hard earned money, do some research. If you can’t find decent information about a company that should be a red flag. Search the web for some reviews.
- Call your current lenders first. If you are nervous, here is a guide. It is frustrating at times, but a few phone calls can often fix your problems.
I have a serious issue that I can’t handle myself.
Every once in a while someone will have a problem that is far from the basic and not something they are comfortable handling themselves. Examples would include cases of fraud, or other legal issues.
If you do have one of these problems, your best bet is probably to talk in person to a lawyer. If you have a serious problem legal proceedings may need to be initiated. The only people who can appear on your behalf are either you or a lawyer. Finding an attorney to deal with your student loans isn’t always easy, but it could be the key to a complicated question.
How do I know what to do?
Ask lots of questions and do lots of research. Americans owe over a trillion dollars in student loans. Its why you are hearing about it on the radio and on tv. It also means that there are probably hundreds of people just like you with the exact same problems. Talk to your friends, talk to your school, and search the web. Filter through the junk and figure things out. Knowledge is your friend.