Each year, millions of Americans face serious financial challenges and seek professional assistance with debt management. If you’re feeling overextended and want debt relief solutions, you’ll find countless organizations designed to help consumers reduce their burdens through consolidation, loans, bankruptcy and other debt management plans.
Most people struggling with significant debt are unaware of the differences between debt consolidation and debt negotiation, so choosing an effective and reliable debt management company can be nearly as overwhelming as the debt itself. Since debt management agencies run the gamut in results, reputation and consumer reviews, consumers could spend hours searching for the best company to help them get back on track.
Accredited Debt Relief is a highly ranked online-based debt management company that offers counseling and personalized debt relief services for consumers who need help taking the first step toward eliminating debt.
- Best for: Debt settlement AND consolidation. Accredited Debt Relief is one of the only services that offers both debt settlement and debt consolidation.
- Price: Like most debt settlement companies, Accredited Debt Relief take a percentage of whatever debt they are able to settle, in this case 18 percent to 25 percent, depending on your debt. So if they are able to reduce your debt from $10,000 to $8,000, you would owe $360 to $500. If there is no change in your debt, you owe nothing.
- Time frame: Accredited Debt Relief’s program time frame ranges from 24-48 months, which is the average time for debt settlement.
- Other highlights: Accredited Debt Relief is one of the only debt relief companies to offer debt management tools as well as debt consolidation services. Debt consolidation services are when a company will help you consolidate your debt in order to pay a lower interest rate on it.
- Available states: One of the benefits of Accredited Debt Relief is that it is available in 39 of the 50 states, which is rare for a debt relief company. The average is usually around 35 states.
|Fees||Settlement/Consolidation||Participating States||Phone||STL Rating|
|18%-25% of debt||Yes/Yes||39||N/A|
How Does Accredited Debt Relief Work?
Accredited Debt Relief provides debt counseling and works with clients to devise custom debt management plans. By examining debt obligations and available resources, experienced agents work one-on-one with clients to formulate workable financial plans to manage debt. To qualify for the company’s debt settlement program, you’ll need to have a total minimum of $7,500 in debts — the typical minimum debt requirement for many companies is about $10,000.
After your initial consultation, the Accredited Debt Relief team will review your financial situation to determine the best debt consolidation program to manage your credit obligations. Your appointed agent negotiates with creditors on your behalf to settle or reduce your overall debt and advises you on how to set up a payment account to simplify your bill-paying process. With a debt relief program in place, you’ll need to take the initiative to follow through with payment until the debt is resolved.
The services provided by Accredited Debt Relief are designed to help clients take control of their own debt. The company does not assume consumer debt, provide loans or submit payment to creditors. For debt consolidation and loan services or bankruptcy management, Accredited Debt Relief refers clients to work with trusted partners in the industry. While Accredited Debt Relief may recommend a course of action for clients to consider, the company doesn’t handle legal, accounting or tax issues or credit repair directly.
What Are the Fees for Using Accredited Debt Relief?
Costs associated with Accredited Debt Relief services vary by state and are contingent on whether the company is able to reach a successful settlement between you and your creditors. There are no sign-up fees or monthly dues to pay, and the company does not charge consultation fees. Instead, the company advertises charges of 4 percent to 8 percent annually of your total enrolled debt — although most clients actually pay up to 15 percent to 25 percent of their settled debt.
Accredited Debt Relief complies with the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, which prohibits debt relief services from collecting upfront fees or front-loading fees into a debt payment program. If you enroll in a debt relief program with Accredited Debt Relief, you will not be obligated to pay all of their service fees on top of your first monthly debt payments.
What Are Common Reviews for Accredited Debt Relief?
Despite being in operation for less than 10 years, Accredited Debt Relief has quickly established a reputation as a trustworthy company for debt consolidation and settlement. The company is accredited with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA). Accredited Debt Relief maintains an A+ rating as a BBB Accredited Business, with only seven complaints registered in the last three years.
Overall reviews are positive for Accredited Debt Relief’s services. Of 21 Accredited Debt Relief reviews on the BBB site, 20 are effusive about the quality of customer service and debt relief programs. The company scores highly with TrustPilot reviewers as well, with 84.7 percent of them giving the company a five-star review, earning the company a 9.5/10 rating. Testimonials published on Accredited Debt Relief’s company website indicate a high success rate in reaching debt settlement deals with creditors.
Reviews from satisfied clients praise the company’s empathetic customer service, trustworthiness and knowledgeable settlement advice. In dealing with sensitive financial hardships, reviewers note that agents are kind, non-judgmental and reassuring. Many clients come away feeling less embarrassed about their circumstances and confident in the debt relief solutions presented by Accredited Debt Relief.
What are Common Accredited Debt Relief Complaints?
Accredited Debt Relief complaints are rare — only a few frustrated clients have vented about their experiences via social media. Aside from occasional reports of unsolicited emails, the company maintains a positive reputation. However, satisfied customers doesn’t necessarily mean the company is without flaws.
Despite being an online-based agency, the company’s services are not available in all states. If you happen to reside outside of the 39 states covered by Accredited Debt Relief, you’ll need to investigate other debt settlement options. The company’s website is noticeably deficient in online resources and basic tools, such as a simple debt calculator or articles explaining the types of debt relief options offered. Also disappointing is the lack of transparency about the types of debts the company will settle for clients, whether medical bills and secured debts qualify for their service, or if they solely work to settle credit card and other unsecured debts. The website appears designed to get you on the phone with one of their persuasive representatives to discuss debt management plans.
Accredited Debt Relief has only been operating since 2008 — and registered with the BBB since 2014 — which may be a concern if you’re looking for a more established company with a longer track record of successful debt settlements. With most debt resolution plans taking two or three years to complete, it’s unclear how successfully clients accomplish their end goals.
How Does Accredited Debt Relief Compare to Other Debt Relief Programs?
When experts rank the 10 top-rated debt management companies, Accredited Debt Relief falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. Comparable firms are accredited with the AFCC, IAPDA and BBB, positively reviewed by consumers and have approximately the same fee schedule. Some companies, National Debt Relief and Consolidated Credit for example, provide a wider range of services — intensive credit counseling, secured debt management (mortgages, car loans, etc.), bankruptcy and business debt settlement. CuraDebt tackles IRS and back taxes in addition to personal unsecured debt. Similar to Accredited Debt Relief, the availability of programs and services vary by state.
Most debt management firms have comprehensive online tools, interactive calculators and free resources available to potential and existing clients. ClearPoint Credit Counseling, operating in the business for more than 50 years, offers a series of free, on-demand online courses on personal finance topics. Accredited Debt Relief’s website focuses on testimonials and client results, offering very little in resources to help potential clients understand the complexities of debt relief programs.
What Accredited Debt Relief lacks in longevity and transparency, it makes up for in strong customer support and reputable accreditation. The company has a proven record of negotiating acceptable settlement terms with creditors and has earned the confidence of their clients. No single debt management company is a cure-all for debt forgiveness. Even working with the best debt relief firm, consumers may still face repercussions. Depending on the severity of the debt, settlements can result in tax liabilities or hefty penalty fees and affect credit scores.
If you’re feeling the burden of debt, know that debt relief programs set up by reputable agencies will help minimize the short-term strain and long-term impact, letting you better pursue your future financial goals.