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Ohioans offer mixed reaction to debt settlement companies

It is always difficult to imagine hard times when things are going well. But when your finances are down and out, it's just as hard to imagine things ever improving. Fortunately, there are many ways out of dire straits before they ruin lives.

Personal bankruptcy is finally shedding its false air of shame in America, as the Great Recession made it more acceptable and more likely for people and families to declare it. It is, however, a long and complicated process to successfully file for bankruptcy and it should not be considered the first step to take to relieve personal debt.

Desperation can lead to some questionable choices, and some institutions may take advantage of that possibility. The Ohio state Senate recently took steps to make it easier for debt settlement companies to offer services to the state's citizens. These companies can occasionally work with creditors to reduce debt burdens for their clients.

Consumer groups and many of their advocates fear that these companies can fail, costing debt-laden people even more money. "The industry has a track record of flat-out lying and scamming and running off with the money," said an attorney who represents consumers.

Bankruptcy may cause credit issues but there are distinct advantages to filing if a person qualifies for it. Recovery may take time but may also be more complete than with a debt settlement company.

An attorney may be your best ally in a fight to recover from debt, including the bankruptcy process or other ways of dealing with creditors. Consider legal representation to raise your chances of success.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, "Debt-settlement bill worries consumer groups," Mark Williams, accessed June 08, 2018

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