What is Debtor Education?
Debtor education courses by approved providers must include information on developing budgets, managing money, using credit wisely, and other resources. Like pre-archiving counseling, debtor education can be given in person, by telephone, or online. The debtor education session may take longer than pre-archiving counseling in about two hours and the typical fee is between $ 50 and $ 100. As with pre-archiving counseling, if you cannot pay the session fee, you should seek fees from the debtor education provider.
After you complete the required debtor education courses, you must receive a certificate as proof. This certificate is separate from the certificate you received after completing your pre-archiving credit counseling. Check the U.S. Trustee website to ensure that you receive a certificate from an approved debtor education provider in the judicial district where you are filing for bankruptcy. Unless they have revealed the bill to you before the counseling session begins, the debtor education provider cannot charge additional fees for the certificate.
Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Credit Counselor
It is wise to do research when choosing a credit counseling organization. If you are looking for credit counseling to meet bankruptcy legal requirements, make sure you only accept services from providers that are approved for your judicial district. Once you have a list of approved organizations in your judicial district, contact several organizations to gather information before you make your choice. Some key questions to ask are:
What services do you offer?
Will you help me develop a plan to avoid future problems?
What are your costs?
What if I can’t afford your fees?
What qualifications does your advisor have? Are they accredited or certified by outside organizations? What training did they receive?
What do you do to keep information about me (including my address, telephone number, and financial information) confidential and secure?
How are your employees paid? Are they paid more if I sign up for certain services, if I pay a fee, or if I make a contribution to your organization?
For Further Information and Assistance
U.S. Trustee Program promote integrity and efficiency in countries’ bankruptcy systems by enforcing bankruptcy laws, providing oversight of private trustees, and maintaining operational excellence. The program has 21 stakes and 95 field offices, and oversees bankruptcy administration in all states except Alabama and North Carolina.
If you have concerns about an approved credit counseling agency or debtor education provider, such as failure to provide adequate services, please contact the US Trustee Program via email, or in writing at the Executive Office for US Trustees, Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Units , 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 8000, Washington, DC, 20530. Provide as much detail as possible, including the name of the credit counseling organization or debtor education provider, contact date, and with whom you spoke.
The FTC works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the market and to provide information to help consumers find, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information about a consumer problem, contact toll-free FTC, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters the Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the US and abroad.