Sep 28, 2010 12:06 AM by Matt Stafford
Hard economic times are forcing more Americans to look for help in consolidating their debt. In fact, Colorado's Attorney General, John Suthers, reports more Coloradans are teaming up with consolidation companies to help.
Tom Craddock, with Consumer Credit Counseling Services, says their last two years have been busy, but this year has been even more so -- more people needing help.
"Even more folks in that kind of unaffordable situation," says Craddock, an education manager for the company.
Craddock's company works at setting up smaller payments to creditors for their clients, and charting a path to get out of debt. They aren't surprised to hear the Attorney General's numbers; looking at their own they see the increase mainly in one area, housing payments and foreclosures.
"A little over twice the demand for housing counseling in 2010, so far," Craddock says.
"We're in a tough time, tough economy," says Katie Carrol from the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. "More people are struggling to pay their bills."
The Better Business Bureau keeps lists of local companies, rating them and showing complaints. Knowing people can't afford to do business with the wrong company, they let you know which businesses will help and which ones won't.
"If you need help, there's help available but you better do your homework first," says Carrol.
The Attorney General's report says, of the businesses they looked at, around 11 percent of debt settlement firms settled all of the client's debts that they contracted with in 2006. It was about 15 percent for credit counseling or management firms.
Craddock says those number might not be completely clear; he says debt often isn't easy to get out of and people don't always stick to their plan.
"For a lot of debt management plans, they aren't going the get the debt paid off right away," explains Craddock.
Unfortunately, it's a problem that's sometimes easier to create than it is to fix.
To look at the Attorney General's report, click here.
For information on the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado, follow this link.