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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

How Do I Find a Credit Counselor?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: September 22, 2014

Those filing for Chapters 7 or 13 bankruptcy are required to take a credit counseling course within six months of filing for bankruptcy. Filers are also required to take a debtor education course after they have received their discharge. These requirements were added in 2005, as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act.

Bankruptcy counseling must be done through a Department of Justice-approved agency. These agencies are approved to provide the counseling services required for bankruptcy filers, and this means they also must provide a fee waiver if you can’t afford their services.

You may want to make a note of each agency’s response to your questions as you call so you can use that information later when making a decision of which one you select to use.

  • What qualifications do your counselors have? Ask what credentials and accreditations the counselors have, and how they are trained. Counselors should be trained by a party that is not profiting from the services they offer.
  • How are your employees paid? Ask if employees get bonuses or incentives if you sign up for a debt management program or other service, or if you make a contribution to the organization. You want to choose a counselor who is going to give you sound advice no matter what you decide to do.
  • Will my information be kept confidential? Ask and look in any contract or agreement you sign to find out if your information will be given or sold to any other companies or organizations before you commit.
  • What if I can’t afford your fees? Government-approved counselors should be able to offer you a waiver or payment plan if you cannot afford their services. An agency that won’t work with you is an agency you shouldn’t work with either.
  • Will I be asked to sign an agreement with you? Do not sign anything without reading it first, and make sure any assurances you are given are in writing. 

After you have interviewed a few credit counseling agencies, compare notes and choose one that suits your needs, your budget and your location. Remember, many agencies offer counseling online, over the phone or in person, so take that into consideration depending on which option appeals to you most.

After you meet with me during your free initial consultation, I can give you a list of credit counseling agencies that our clients have used in the past that they like.

Together, we will put a game plan together so that you can take control of your financial situation and get a fresh start.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More