You are up to your eyeballs in debt. You're not sure how
to get out, but you know the minimum payments are
killing you, and you're not seeing anything changing
in the future. Debt consolidation sounds great: one
payment to a "non-profit" company who distributes the
money to all of your creditors.
However, they are not bound to help you. Their mission is to make money for their officers and shareholders. Sometimes they "take your monthly fee and do little counseling." (Washington Post news article). Sometimes, they take your money and face many complaints. And often, they cause more problems than they solve, as these companies face federal crack-downs for abuses. Many just take your money.
In fact, the IRS and FTC is examining consumer credit counseling services since they are not really "non-profit," but all about making a profit. (SF Gate news)
Bottom line: they're not looking out for you. They have their own interests at stake. Only an attorney is sworn to protect you, the client. Only a lawyer must put your interests first, not their own.
All we ever hear on the topic from our clients are that they tried these schemes and wasted their time and money. Had they come to us first, they would have saved months and thousands of dollars. They painfully made the monthly payments, and never see the balances go down.
Then they call us.
We bring closure. We provide a solution. We provide a fresh start.