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Educational Consumer Tips

Credit Repair and Debt Relief/Credit Cards

Author: Better Business Bureau

Consumers that want to lower their credit card interest rates should be cautious when a company solicits them by phone to do it for them.

According to the FTC a Debt Relief Service company is defined as “ a program that claims directly, or implies, that it can renegotiate, settle, or in some way change the terms of a person’s debt to an unsecured creditor or debt collector. That includes reducing the balance, interest rates or fees a person owes.” 

The FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule calls for Debt Relief companies to disclose the fees and terms of a contract, including how long until the company makes an offer to each creditor; how much you need to save before an offer is made to a creditor; and the possible negative consequences of stopping payments to creditors. The TSR also prohibits the company from charging up front fees to lower credit card interest rates or consolidate debt.

BBB Advises consumers to keep in mind the following if a company offering to lower your credit card interest rates contacts you:

Many of the services offered may be illegal or are services consumers can do on their own for free by contacting their credit card company direct.

Up front fees for lowering your rates may be disguised by "kits" or "coaching" offered by companies promising to lower interest rates. 

Be cautious of companies that advise you to not have contact with your credit card company.

According to the Credit Repair Organizations Act, a company cannot charge you until it has completed the promised services.

For additional tips consumers may wish to contact the FTC at 877-382-4357 or