Tennessee readers who have been faced with overwhelming debt know how hard it can be to find a solution. People who have struggled with significant debt are familiar with the repeated calls, not only from creditors but from companies offering debt relief or consolidation. In some cases, predatory debt relief companies initially promise free or low-cost assistance, but eventually charge the borrower over $1,000, making their financial situation even worse and offering little or no help.
For borrowers who have been victimized by these predatory practices, it can be very difficult or impossible to get a refund on the money paid or to find recourse with law enforcement officials, since debt relief companies know that they are operating in the shadow of the law and as a result, make themselves difficult to track down.
The important thing to remember about debt relief companies is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. With more and more Americans struggling with ballooning mortgage payments and less work, this industry has grown in recent years. However, the way to permanently get out of debt has not changed, and if loan modifications or downsizing one's assets has not worked, then bankruptcy is one of the most concrete and reliable options to get out of debt and start fresh.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy both offer relief from excessive debt, but each with different benefits and sacrifices. The best choice for a particular person will depend on their unique situation.
Source: New York Times, "Calling out the Robocaller" David Segal, Feb. 23, 2013.