Here's the little secret they don’t want you to know—legally, they don’t have any more power to help negotiate your debts than you do. Every credit counseling company I've come across works basically the same way. They charge exorbitant fees of $5,000 to $9,000 up front. They make sure they get their money first. Once you have signed on they instruct you to immediately stop making payments on all your credit cards and bills and start paying them. After they have collected all their fees, then they tell you to put that “extra” money each month into an account. Once you built up several thousand dollars, they call the credit card companies and tell them you have a certain amount of money and you want to settle one account for pennies on the dollar. If that’s successful, then they wait until you have several thousand dollars more in that account and then repeat the process.
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