The world of financial services has very few loyal fans these days. With a seemingly never ending stream of scandals, the level of trust towards those that broker and represent consumer's money is very low. It can sometimes seem like it only takes one very bad company to mar an entire industry.
There are reasons for this. While money is a very real thing, the work that surrounds managing it and moving it is very abstract. Most of the work and evidence of transactions exists only in computers or on paper. This lack of a tangible product can lead to very aggressive suspicion.
Sadly, the lack of anything but paperwork and spreadsheets has given criminals and scam artists a new medium to work in. Because they are targeting those who need help the most, it is important to try and discover how reputable any debt settlement agency really is.
The best way is to find a local company. If they have been ineffective in settling or are just scamming their customers, then people in your area will know about them. Even if there are lawsuits or investigations pending, the business may still remain open for some time. Do not assume just because they are open that they are legitimate.
You will also want to check with your state's Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau to make sure that the company you are considering is not currently involved in any pending actions and responds well to complaints lodged against them.
The media and many people in the financial world tend to look down on debt settlement companies and usually only report on the disasters they are involved in. There are many success stories and many good companies out there willing to help. It takes a little extra effort, but finding a reputable settlement agency is not as difficult as it may seem.