Manage your finances

Managing your debt​

Debt management companies and credit counselors can help you reduce or manage your debt, including in creating a spending plan. Specifically, the companies can help you with: 

  • Budget counseling
  • Correcting credit reporting agency information, or “credit repair”
  • Modifying home loans or short-sale negotiations
  • Determining whether and how to file for bankruptcy
  • Negotiating with a consumer’s creditors to reduce monthly payments, interest rates, or late fees
  • Providing “debt settlement” services, or reducing the amount of debt a consumer owes

Required registration

All debt management service companies providing these services must be registered in Oregon. Before you sign an agreement, or pay any fees, check their registration​.

Fees

Oregon law sets the maximum fees that debt management companies can charge:

  • $50 maximum initial counseling fee
  • $50 maximum initial counseling or education fee
  • A monthly fee of 15 percent of the amount paid to the debt management service provider (maximum of $65)

If the company reduces your debt, it can charge 7.5 percent of the total amount of debt reduced after the debt is paid.

Your agree​ment

During your consultation, the company will determine if it is able to help you and then will create a budget and provide a written agreement. The agreement should include a copy of the budget, the services provided (e.g. consolidating your debts), a list of all your debts, and all fees. Even if you work with an online debt management company, it must send you a written agreement. 

Red flags

Disreputable companies and individuals use telemarketing, direct-mail, and advertising that include promises to help you with your debt. Be careful. Do not work ​with a company that:

  • Charges excessive upfront fees (Oregon law allows for a maximum of $100 in initial fees).
  • Claims to settle your debt for "pennies on the dollar." 
  • Instructs you to stop making payments to existing creditors, including the financial institution that holds your home mortgage.
  • Performs a "forensic audit" - a review of mortgage loan documents for errors - and claims to be able to reach a favorable settlement with your lender.
  • Guarantees positive results.
  • Claims to be out-of-state attorneys that are exempt from Oregon-required registration.

Attorneys are able to provide debt management services if the work is a part of the total legal services they provide, and they have a license to practice law in Oregon.

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Che​ck a license​

Whether you are considering an exciting new investment, getting ready to buy insurance, or applying for a payday or title loan, always be sure to check to make sure the individual or company you are working with is licensed.

Check a license now.​

Licensed payday and title lenders​

Complaint or questions? 

Insuran​ce​​

888-877-4894 (toll-free)
Email cp.ins@oregon.gov 

Financial services​

866-814-9710 (toll-free)
Email DCBS.DFCSMAIL@oregon.gov​

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