Beware bogus 'debt elimination' companies
I keep getting e-mails about legal debt elimination.
Could you advise if these kinds of e-mails are a scam or not?
Thanks for your question. Many people who find themselves overwhelmed
by debt seek any means available to ease their anxiety and to help
eliminate their debt. Many organizations out there are willing to
take advantage of their plight. Unfortunately, my advice about the
claims made by the debt-elimination companies fall under the category
of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Debt-elimination companies claim that they can eliminate
your debt and that you do not have to make any more payments with
no repercussions. Sounds good, huh? Too good! The bottom line alleged
by these companies is that the debt that you have incurred using
credit cards is not legal debt. The murky debt-elimination process
is said to be based on information from Title 15 United State Code
-- section 1692, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act -- section
1601, the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Uniform Commercial Code
-- section 203.
Debt-elimination companies, sometimes for a steep
fee ($2,995 for one company), will send you materials explaining
what they assert is your legal right not to pay your debt. Many
of them promise to support your debt-elimination process with "experts"
that understand the laws that pertain to credit card companies issuing
What is missing from the Web sites and advertising
of these companies is that if laws are in place that make it illegal
for a credit card company to extend you credit, why are there billions
of credit cards in circulation? If these debt-elimination companies
have found out that it is illegal for credit card companies to extend
credit to consumers, don't you think that it would have come to
the attention of lawmakers who would then enforce this law?
The saying, "there is no free lunch," comes
to my mind. For those people who have accumulated credit card debt
and are enjoying the sofas, clothing, artwork and other possessions
that they purchased using credit, the time comes when you must pay
for what you bought. Just because you may have overextended yourself
and are now having trouble making payments to your creditors, does
not mean you do not owe the money.
My advice to those who are receiving spam e-mail from
debt elimination companies is to delete the messages and continue
to make good on your promise to your creditor that you will repay
your balances as agreed. You'll not only sleep better, but as my
dad used to say, "You'll be building character!"
For those having trouble making debt payments,
help is available to repay your debt, but not to totally eliminate
Debt Adviser, Steve Bucci, is the president of Money Management International
Financial Education Foundation and the author of Credit
Repair Kit for Dummies. Visit MMI
for additional debt advice or to ask a question of the Debt Adviser go to the "Ask the Experts", page
to ask a debt question.