Alternatives to Bankruptcy
We Develop Tailored Debt Relief Solutions for Every Client!
For many people struggling with monumental debt, bankruptcy is a welcome relief and a new beginning. Not everyone, however, can reap the same benefits from bankruptcy. At Robert H. Solomon, PC, we have spent decades helping clients implement debt-relief solutions, and we have learned that every person requires a fully personalized strategy to suit their unique circumstances. If you are hoping to regain control over your finances without filing bankruptcy, our team can help you find the most effective alternative.
Turn to a Credit Counselor
If you are living from paycheck to paycheck, experiencing constant calls from debt collectors, and struggling to prepare for retirement, you may benefit from services from a qualified credit counselor. Credit counselors can help you develop and manage your budget, provide free educational programs, reorganize your debt, and help you create reasonable goals and a long-term financial plan. Many of these organizations are nonprofit, but we urge you to take great care when selecting a counselor.
Here are a few recommendations for finding a reputable credit counseling organization:
- Find in-person services to reduce the odds of internet scams
- Be careful about hidden fees
- Finds programs through military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, or accredited universities
- Beware of agencies that request your information before sending you details about their services
- Verify the agency’s reputation with your state Attorney General, consumer protection agency, and Better Business Bureau
Questions To Ask Your Credit Counselor
Once you have a few viable options, ask as many questions as possible before moving forward.
We suggest asking about the following:
- Their range of services (should be extensive; not simply a debt management plan)
- Free educational materials (shouldn’t charge for information)
- How they can help you solve both present and future problems
- Fees (get a quote in writing; they should still help you if you can’t afford to pay)
- Written agreements or contracts
- Licensing, accreditation, and certifications (counselors should be trained by non-affiliated parties)
- How they will keep your information secure
- How they pay their employees (if they're paid more when you sign up for services, this is a red flag)
Avoid Fraudulent Loan Modification Agencies
You may have seen a proliferation of ads claiming an agency can help you negotiate or settle your debt for pennies on the dollar or rescue your home from foreclosure. A vast majority of these are scams, and countless consumers have paid substantial fees for nothing. Some have even transferred their deeds to agencies that claim they will lower or eliminate a mortgage.
Due to the prevalence of fraudulent agencies, most states now have laws regulating the services these companies can advertise. Even so, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with red flags if you plan to lower your debt with the help of one of these agencies.
We suggest avoiding companies that:
- Offer guarantees of removing your debt or settling it for “pennies on the dollar”
- Promise to remove negative marks from your credit report
- Claim their services will not negatively impact your credit report
- Charge hefty monthly fees or take a percentage of what you save
- Tell you to pay them instead of your lenders
- Advise you to end all contact with lenders
- Claim that your lenders would never sue you for not making payments
- Advertise their services as a means of avoiding bankruptcy
As with credit counseling agencies, we suggest checking with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies to ensure you work with a reputable and dependable company. Generally, if an agency’s promises sound too good to be true, they most likely are.
Call Us at (516) 407-8199 for Trustworthy Support
Bankruptcy is not the only method of easing your financial burdens, but we urge you to steer clear of companies that will promise anything to get your money. At Robert H. Solomon, PC, we have helped clients find debt relief solutions since 1990. When you work with our bankruptcy firm in Long Island, you can trust that your future is in the best possible hands.