What are the short-term and long-term advantages and disadvantages to hiring a debt-settlement company to negotiate to settle your debt versus using a consumer credit counseling service to address personal credit issues?
R. Proctor

Warrenton, Va.

R. Proctor,

There are NO advantages to using debt settlement companies. In the short term you pay their fees of 15 percent to 30 percent. In the long run you still have to pay the debt. Your credit report still shows that you have debt. You can do this on your own. List all your debts smallest to largest and start paying them off. Get crazy and knock them out.

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