Calling a debt helpline

You know, there are so many different ways to fix your debt problems. Whether you do it in person, online, or over the phone, you need to find the way that makes you feel most comfortable. If you are good with talking your way through problems while not seeing the other party in person, you might want to call a debt helpline.

A debt helpline is much like any telephone hotline, just that it deals with the ever-growing issue of debt. If you are having difficulty with paying bills and you have bankruptcy in the back of your mind, you should call a helpline first before declaring bankruptcy. You should also be ready to take notes.

Of course, you need to recognize a scam before taking any action offered by the debt helpline. If the person you are talking to asks for a credit card number or money upfront, the helpline might be worried more about making a profit than actually helping you get out of debt. Many debt helplines are toll-free, and most of them are non-profit organizations. Most are run by Christian faith-based groups, charities, or someone who has been in a similar financial situation as you.

To prevent a scam, therefore, you should gather information about the other person. What kind of qualifications does the person you are talking to have? Is he/she an economist or financial adviser? Is he/she accredited by a government institution? Has he/she had his/her own personal debt issues? You need to feel assured that the helpline will actually help you, so asking these questions will not hurt. Before calling the helpline, you could even contact your Better Business Bureau to see if they have any customer service information about the helpline you are going to contact.

Again, you should not really be paying for any services from the helpline. The debt helpline is there to give advice, not to take any legal action. The helpline can give you valuable information on topics like eliminating harassing phone calls from collection agencies or asking for a lower interest rate on your credit accounts. It should help you determine whether to pursue a debt management program, debt consolidation, or debt settlement, and you may also get important budgeting information to see whether a payment plan or a lump sum payment is best for you. If bankruptcy is on your mind, the person on the phone should also be able to discuss what would happen if you decide to declare. If you have no idea how to fix your debt problems, calling a debt helpline might be a good starting point. Just don’t forget to ask questions.

David Pilley

David Pilley

David Pilley is a May 2010 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a B.A. in communication studies and a creative writing minor. He is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina.

He played clarinet for the Marching Tar Heels in 2005 and 2006. He also volunteered for STV, the student-run television station at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the spring of 2010. He shot video, wrote scripts, and acted for “Off the Cuff,” UNC’s longest running sketch comedy show. He has the rare distinction of having lived in a dorm all four years of his undergraduate college career. He was also on Franklin Street on the night of April 4, 2009. His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and to one day work for the media as a sports journalist or broadcaster.

Being one of eight children, David realizes finance is an important topic to everyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject. His interests are in personal finance, budgeting, and savings.

In his spare time, David enjoys watching sports and standup comedy, as well as doing crossword puzzles and writing in the first person. He also thoroughly enjoys trivia and, one day, hopes to participate on the game show Jeopardy!, where he will try to break Ken Jennings’ 74-game win streak.
David Pilley

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