Credit counseling is not a very well-regulated industry today. In the past, credit counseling was operated more like a social service rather than as a business designed to make a profit. The industry was known by the general term CCCS (Consumer Credit Counseling Service) and operated under the general guidelines of the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling).
The lay of the credit counseling landscape has changed. As more and more consumers find themselves deeper and deeper in unsecured debt (think credit cards), more and more for profit credit counseling services have sprung up. Some of these services are very good and very fair, but be aware that not all of them are. Some credit counseling services are good, others are bad, and then there are those that are just evil.
1. The debt management service that you choose should be a member of the BBB (Better Business Bureau). You can check with the BBB to see if the company has a good record and if there have been any complaints filed by others. Membership in the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) or AICCA (Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies) is also acceptable.
2. If the debt management service promises you that it will take 20 minutes or less to solve all the financial problems, you need to run as fast as you can. They are referring to THEIR financial problems and not yours. It takes time and effort by a debt management service to help with your financial problems and get you the best deals possible.
3. Be certain that the debt management company can help with all of your unsecured debt and do not just deal with a few companies. Half a fix is often worse than no fix at all.