As this article points out, scam artists exist out there who are targeting consumer debtors. Sadly, the one thing this article fails to mention is that you NEVER hear about the honest actors that help people everyday. Unfortunately, it’s not as gripping a story to hear success stories on media outlets. It is truly unfortunate because people who can truly benefit from help from lawyers like us shy away because of articles like this one.
So instead of avoiding everyone that claims they could help you, the better advise is to start with an experienced debt settlement attorney. Research the attorney thoroughly.
1) Check with the California State Bar Association. Is this person licensed to practice? Do they have any issues relating to wrongdoing or malpractice?
2) Check out websites like Yelp or Avvo. What are people saying about this person?
3) When you call to make an appointment – does this person want to see you in person? Be wary of telemarketers and paying people over the phone.
4) Do you see a contract that outlines where your money is going? An honest debt settlement attorney should be up front with how much you will pay in fees and how much is needed for settlement monies.
5) What happens if you get sued? A reasonable flat fee is what you want here; otherwise, an attorney’s hourly rate to represent you in trial will defeat any savings in your debt balances they managed to negotiate for you in the first place.
So remember there may be a cost to trusting the wrong person but there is definitely a cost in not trusting the right person too. The better advise is to just do your homework and not just trust anybody.