When you owe lots of money and you decide you want to try to settle your debts, you naturally want to find the best debt settlement companies out there. This is a perfectly sensible approach, but can be easier said than done. Part of the problem is that that there are just so many debt settlement companies operating now, many of whom are newly formed to take advantage of the increased number of people who find themselves with financial problems.
This makes selecting the right company quite a risky proposition, not least because getting the decision wrong could land you in a worse situation than you were before you sought help. The worst companies are outright scams, but many just do not care enough about actually finding the solution that is right for your particular circumstances. Their primary interest is in signing you up for a scheme that will allow them to take money from you up front, leaving them no incentive to get on and do a good job with your creditors.
The top debt settlement companies are much more ethical and more likely to take their fee as a proportion of the amount of money they manage to save you. That way it is directly performance related and you can only end up better off. They can also do this because they know they are good enough at their jobs to get substantial reductions on your debts, and so earn their own share.
It will help to have a basic knowledge of the settlement process before you start looking at companies, in order to understand what it is reasonable to expect from them, and how to spot when they say or do something that should give you cause for concern. The way most organisations will operate is that you will stop paying your creditors and start putting that money into a new holding account instead, based on a monthly amount that you can manage to pay.
Meanwhile the debt advisors will approach all of your creditors in turn to try to reach a negotiated deal to settle your outstanding balance. The aim of this is to get a large reduction in the amount of debt you owe. This is often, but not always, in return for a full prompt payment of the agreed settlement amount. The length of time that these negotiations can take will vary enormously.
Meanwhile your payments are mounting up in the account, and this money is used to settle each debt as an agreement is reached. The settlement company should deal with your creditors for you, so any hassling for payment ought to stop. After a period of usually between one and four years, settlements will have been reached for all of your debts, your payments will come to an end and you are debt free again.
You will want to concentrate on the top debt settlement companies when you are looking for one to work with, so that means identifying which are the most established and reputable organizations. New companies will be a much higher risk, so go for ones that can demonstrate that they have a lot of experience and that they have already helped lots of other people who were in your situation.
All the top debt settlement companies have websites now and the initial approach is usually a simple online form. Once you submit that, they will get back in touch to go through things in more detail. The other important precaution to take is to make sure you approach at least two different companies so that you have something to compare, because even the top companies will vary in terms of what they can offer you.