May 26, 2006, Newsletter Issue #17: Debt Management Plans and Late Fees

Tip of the Week

If you are working with a reputable credit counselor who decides a debt management plan is a good idea for you, he or she can negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. Some of the things a credit counselor can negotiate for you are lower interest rates, lower monthly minimum payments, and an end to penalties such as late fees. However, the notion of a late payment is completely contrary to the idea of a debt management plan. Under a debt management plan, you will pay a lump sum to your credit counseling agency, which will in turn pay your creditors. You may even find yourself saying “What are late fees? I never get those.”

Even if you are working with a debt counseling agency, you will continue to get your monthly statements. Make sure you review them each month. If payments are not being made or are being made late, you may be working with an agency that is scamming you. If you suspect this, stop paying the agency, contact your creditors directly to explain the situation, and contact your state's attorney general's consumer protection division immediately and ask for help.

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