1. Are they located in Canada?
You would be surprised how many companies that offer credit counselling or debt settlement are actually based out of offices in the United States, and pretend to be of Canadian origin. In my opinion, you are only a Canadian business if the entire operation is in Canada, and the founder and employees are long standing Canadian citizens and residents. Opening a Canadian corporation, putting a maple leaf on your logo and buying a website that ends in a .ca isn’t enough. I’ve seen an American company go so far as to hire a Canadian actor as spokespersons to appear more Canadian.
Why does this matter? Well, let’s remember a time where the US mortgage market melted down, and several American banks followed suit shortly thereafter going belly up. The American financial system has been a train wreck for years. The Canadian system is much different, and I can tell you from personal research that debt settlement in the US is CONSIDERABLY different from how things are handled in Canada. When dealing with a financial services company, always deal with a true Canadian firm. We “get” the system here. Another point to consider is the exchange rate. Right now the Canadian dollar is at record highs, and on par with the US dollar. You would be paying the US company in Canadian Dollars. What happens if the Loonie drops to say $0.90? That means 10% of the companies profit margins would be ERASED! They might either need to bump up the fee, or shut down because it would become economically unfeasible to do business in Canada any longer.
2. Are they an accredited business with the BBB?
BBB Accreditation is the highest possible standard of doing business. It took us nearly 6 years to become an accredited business. In the past I never cared, but knowing what we went through to get accredited, anytime I consider doing business with a company online, I ALWAYS check out their BBB rating.
Why does this matter? Just having an A or B rating isn’t enough. Look for companies with the BBB Accredited logo prominently displayed on the home page. Without it you are exposing yourself to a company that takes servicing clients far less seriously. You can check out our BBB A+ Rating Here.
3. Do they have at least 5 years’ experience?
I know some start-ups will scoff at this and say, “but hey Richard, you once had less than 5 years’ experience too”. And they are right.
Why does it matter? All start-ups make a TON of mistakes in their early years, 9/10 business fail within the first five years. A debt settlement company relies on relationships with creditors to negotiate on your behalf, and that takes YEARS to establish. Also, if you sign up for a 3 year program, what happens to you if the company goes belly up?
4. What are REAL clients saying?
Never mind what settlement letters say. There are tons of companies that post settlement letters on their website. Impressive right? Wrong, you could probably just steal a bunch off the internet and pretend that you arranged them yourself. It’s all smoke and mirrors. What you want to see is REAL love notes from raving fans.
Why does it matter? Happy clients will talk; they will email their stories, and talk about their experience. That’s why we post real client experiences, rather than settlement letters. We know that satisfied clients just aren’t enough, you need to create raving fans if you are going to really drive referrals into a business.
5. Is the company social?
Do they have a Facebook fan page with REAL clients/fans interacting with the business? Is there a YouTube channel showing you the business, its people, events, testimonials etc?
Why does it matter? Companies that are serious about lasting a long time in their respective fields are social. Did you know you can buy facebook fans and likes to appear like a larger company? You can tell by the ratio (engagement rate) of fans vs. people that talk. Good companies grow their fan base organically; it raises questions about a company’s honesty if they are buying fans. Respected companies that offer a service like Zappos, Amazon and WestJet all have an engagement rate of about 3-5%. Do not walk, RUN away from companies that appear to be buying fans.
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