Accredited Debt Relief Review

Accredited Debt Relief uses a process called debt settlement to help you get out of debt. With debt settlement, you’ll stop making payments on your credit cards and other bills, and instead begin setting aside extra money in a dedicated savings account. Once you have 40% to 50% of the amount of each debt saved up in your account, Accredited Debt Relief will work to settle your debts for less than you owe. 

While the length of this process can vary, Accredited Debt Relief says each program typically requires 12 to 48 months of commitment. You may also see your first enrolled debt settled within the first four to six months of your program, depending on your situation. Also keep in mind that, while this company charges fees of 15% to 25% of each enrolled debt, you don’t pay anything until a settlement is agreed upon. 

Because debt settlement requires you to stop making payments on credit cards and other bills, this process will cause damage to your credit score. The fine print on the Accredited Debt Relief website even says very plainly that the use of debt settlement services “will likely adversely affect your credit.” They also state you could be subject to collections or lawsuits brought on by creditors or collectors.

Pros Explained

  • No upfront fees for debt settlement: You’ll only pay fees as each of your debts is settled, meaning there are no upfront fees to enroll in the program. 
  • Free consultation and money-back guarantee offered: You can speak with a certified debt specialist without any commitment. A money-back guarantee is also offered, which lets you cancel your debt resolution program at any time without a penalty. 
  • Excellent user reviews and A+ rating with BBB: Accredited Debt Relief is accredited with the BBB. They boast an A+ rating and an average of 4.58 out of 5 stars across more than 150 user reviews on the platform. 
  • Company website offers substantial information on debt settlement: Many debt relief companies offer bare-bones information on their products and services, yet Accredited Debt Relief serves as a robust source of information on debt settlement and how the process works. 

Cons Explained

  • Fees can be as high as 25% of your settled debt: While debt settlement fees can be as low as 15% of your enrolled debt, this company says some customers pay as high as 25%. 
  • No mobile app or online client portal: Where some debt relief companies offer a useful mobile app or a client portal that lets you log in and oversee your debt resolution plan in real time, Accredited Debt Relief does not offer these options. 

Types of Debt Addressed

Accredited Debt Relief focuses on helping you settle unsecured debt, which can include most types of debt that are not secured by collateral. This means they don’t help you settle secured debts like a mortgage loan or car loan, both of which are secured by an underlying asset. More information on the debts you can settle with debt settlement is highlighted below. 

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is one of the most common types of unsecured debt. Accredited Debt Relief can help you negotiate your current credit card balances and any fees you have accrued, then pay it all off for less than you owe.

Personal Loans and Payday Loans

You can also use debt settlement to negotiate and pay off any unsecured personal loans you have, which would also include payday loans. 

Past-Due Medical Bills

Debt settlement is also used to settle medical debts for less than what is owed. This is true whether you owe past due bills to a hospital, a doctor, or any other medical service provider.

Accredited Debt Relief says their services can work for other types of unsecured debt, and that you can inquire about the specific debts you have during your free consultation. Also, note that you can bundle several types of debts into one debt resolution program.

Client Onboarding

Accredited Debt Relief starts the process with a free consultation that lets you ask questions and figure out if debt settlement is for you. From there, your certified debt resolution specialist will help you figure out how much you should start saving each month for your program, as well as how long the process will take.

Accredited Debt Relief says their program is geared to customers who have at least $10,000 in unsecured debt to settle. 

If you have less than $10,000 in unsecured debt, you may want to consider alternatives to debt settlement that won’t harm your credit score. Options can include debt management programs, credit counseling, or debt consolidation loans. 

Customer Service

Accredited Debt Relief is a company whose main focus is navigating the debt settlement process over and over again. Debt counselors from Accredited Debt Relief can help you work through laws that govern debt settlement while protecting your rights, including those granted in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

As a customer of Accredited Debt Relief, you can reach out to the company over the phone seven days per week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., PST. Many of their positive reviews on Trustpilot boast about excellent customer service and knowledgeable staff.

Company Reputation

The debt relief industry has many reputable companies, but it is also well known for having its share of scams. Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can research companies to make sure they are reputable and able to perform the services promised. 

One step you can take is checking for consumer complaints through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) database.

While Accredited Debt Relief is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and they have an A+ rating as well as mostly glowing reviews on the platform. They also have an average of 4.9 stars out of 5 from more than 3,000 reviews on Trustpilot, which shows consumers are mostly happy with their results. 

If you have a complaint about the services of a debt relief company, you can file a complaint with the FTC or call 877-FTC-HELP.

Average Relief Amount

Accredited Debt Relief asks its customers to save up 40% to 50% of the amounts they owe in a dedicated savings account, which they will eventually use to settle their debts for less than what is owed. With that in mind, it’s easy to assume you can save up to 45% off your debts after accounting for the average settlement fees of 15% to 25% 

Average Time for Relief

Navigating the debt settlement process through Accredited Debt Relief could take 12 to 48 months to complete. However, the firm claims most of its customers require 24 to 48 months of commitment. 

Cost

Accredited Debt Relief charges its clients 15% to 25% of enrolled debts once a settlement is reached. This fee percentage range is on par with industry averages. Also know that you won’t be asked to pay any fees until each of your debts is settled.

The Competition

  Accredited Debt Relief Freedom Debt Relief
Year Founded 2011 2002
Accreditation -Accredited with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

– Accredited with the BBB

– Accredited with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)

– Accredited with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

– Not accredited with the BBB Accredited with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)

Services Offered Debt settlement Debt settlement
Customer Service Touchpoints Free consultation Phone and email customer service Free consultation Phone and email customer service Online client portal
Fee No upfront fees Pay 15% to 25% of your debt No upfront fees Pay 15% to 25% of your debt
Average Program Time 12 to 48 months 24 to 48 months

There are many reputable debt relief companies to choose from, but we chose to compare Accredited Debt Relief to Freedom Debt Relief, one of the most popular firms in the debt settlement space. Both of these companies charge around the same amount in fees (15% to 25% of your enrolled debt), and both companies can help you settle your debts and become debt-free in 48 months or less. Both also have a prominent online presence and a good reputation for quality customer service.

However, there are some areas where Freedom Debt Relief might stand out to you, the most important of which is their client dashboard. With this online portal, you can log into your account and oversee your debt settlement process in real time. 

Then again, Freedom Debt Relief has run into some problems. Specifically, they faced a lawsuit in 2018 based on a claim they didn’t disclose enough information to their clients, and that they tried to charge upfront fees. Freedom Debt Relief settled this lawsuit with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2019, but only after paying $20 million in restitution and $5 million in civil penalties and fees.

That’s part of the reason Accredited Debt Relief still came out ahead of Freedom Debt Relief in our independent study, which considered important factors like accreditation, reviews, government actions, customer service, pricing, and more. 


Verdict

We feel confident recommending Accredited Debt Relief due to their customer service and company reputation, their overall transparency, and their third-party rankings and accreditation. If you have more than $10,000 in unsecured debt you cannot seem to pay off, you can get started by reaching out to this company for a free consultation. This way, you can get answers to any questions you have and decide if debt settlement is for you.

How We Review Debt Relief Companies

Investopedia compared more than 15 debt relief companies in order to rank them based on factors like customer service and satisfaction, company reputation, pricing and transparency, accessibility, and more. We gave the best rankings to firms that are upfront about their fees and their processes, as well as those that offered superior customer service options and several ways for customers to get help. 

We also looked closely at user reviews from the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot with the goal of finding out what past customers like and don’t like about each provider. Ultimately, we compared these companies in more than 20 different categories in order to provide a basis for our internal reviews and rankings.

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