Debt solutions overflowing on TV. But there is no free lunch.

You can’t turn on cable TV for any length of time these days and not see commercials promising help with your debt.  The latest is a commercial for a consortium of credit card companies plugging their new web site, HelpWithMyCredit.org.

I went to the site and checked it out.   Frankly there isn’t much there.  They give you a “special” number to call for each participating credit card company, but the main service is a list of credit counseling agencies in every state.

The list includes (but is not limited to) the only consumer credit counseling service I am comfortable recommending:  the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org).   If you have debts that are overwhelming and that involve more than one credit card company, then you can save some time by going directly to the NFCC site.

NFCC agencies can set up a debt management plan for you that reduces or elimnates interest or late fees and lets you make one payment per month to them, which they will distribute to your creditors.  If that does not work, they can help you explore the bankruptcy option.

We have written more on the NFCC and consumer credit counseling here.

The HelpWithMyCredit commercial is one of the better ones in this category.   One debt solutions company ad I saw promised “immediate reduction of debt.”  This is almost always impossible (unless you win the lottery), and I would not trust anything else they say.  Others make it sound as if you can eliminate your debt painlessly.  It is almost never painless.  Some want you to make upfront payments.  NEVER do that.

Bottom line:  If your debts are overwhelming you, I would start with an NFCC agency or a bankruptcy attorney.

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