Vetting Consumer Credit Counseling - The Better Business Bureau

Not every consumer credit counseling bureau is conducting business in the best way, some companies attempt to take advantage of your vulnerable financial position. The companies offer advice, but they also make a profit. Learn who you are working with and recognize predatory lending practices when you see them. A valid way to vet these companies is to look for consumer credit counseling service reviews through credited organizations.

What is the Better Business Bureau?

The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, exists across Canada and the United States and is focused by local area or state. The BBB is largely self-regulating, meaning each of the businesses involved holds the other businesses accountable for actions. While many people are surprised to find out that the BBB is largely self-regulating, this model works well to assure honest practices. With the consumer credit counseling industry, other consumer credit counselors will be highly involved in the self-regulation of those companies practicing in this particular area. You can use the BBB to access most registered businesses simply by going to the website.

Can I find Consumer Credit counseling through the Better Business Bureau?

Most accredited businesses should have at least limited information accessible through the BBB. If your consumer credit counseling service is completely devoid of a listing, this should be a red flag for you to do more research. Many financial services firms are members of larger groups and do business under a different name. You should be able to find this information on the counseling service's website. You should also note any contact information that is present on the website so you can check this against the bureau's information. Any disconnects are a sign that you should research the company further.

Some counseling services are listed as nonprofit businesses. This means that they do not bring a profit in at the end of the year, but it does not mean they are not making money. The individuals who work for the business are still getting salaries, albeit they are usually smaller than those received by private company counterparts. Do not assume you are getting a better deal just because you are working with a nonprofit.

How do I Report A Company to the Better Business Bureau?

If you feel you are victim to predatory lending, you should contact the BBB and file a report. Predatory lending practices are hard to define, but national standards are set as to what you must be informed of in a loan contract, when your interest rates can adjust, and other issues. To file a complaint with the BBB, simply go to the website of your local BBB. Typically, each metropolitan area or state will have a separate website. Prominently displayed is a button called "Complain against a Business." You can follow the steps listed here to discuss the reasons for your complaint and the predatory practices you encountered. This may lead to an investigation. In the least, it will warn future customers against using the same consumer credit counseling service.