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Debt counseling services

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Updated: 3/27/2003 4:08 pm
There are over 200 consumer credit counseling firms operating throughout the United States. These groups receive their funding from business firms. Some charge modest fees for services, but most offer a free credit analysis. If you sign up for a counseling program, it'll formulate a program for you that'll follow certain steps. These steps will probably include: destroying all your credit cards and bank debit cards, conducting frugality (froo-GAL-it-tee) months by discontinuing further purchases of clothing, major appliances, recreation equipment, and expensive outside entertainment, and making all efforts to pay off your creditors as soon as possible. The service will also contact your creditors and negotiate longer, smaller, and more manageable payment programs. To reach the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of your city, call their National Referral Line at 1-800-388-2227. They'll refer you to local offices for free, or very low-cost, counseling on debt busting and effective credit management. Better Business Bureaus can also put you in touch with these groups. These nonprofit groups shouldn't be confused with small loan companies that offer debt counseling through the use of high-interest 'bill payer' or 'debt consolidation' loans. The non-profit groups should also not be confused with the many individuals who're 'financial counselors' that may charge large fees. For more information on debt counseling, call the Consumer Credit Counseling Service's National Referral line at 1-800-388-2227.

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