If the credit-counseling firm you hire messes up, it's your credit that takes the hit. Not to mention that one firm might charge you hundreds of dollars more than another agency doing exactly the same thing.
So it pays to shop wisely. Ask the right questions before you sign on any dotted lines.
"Understand what you're entering into," says Robin Holland, senior vice president of customer service at Equifax, a credit-reporting agency. "It's important for (consumers) to be educated and to do their homework."
The Federal Trade Commission recommends consumers ask providers of debt-management plans the following questions before agreeing to a plan:
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