Pros / With a flat-fee structure, you know how much you’re going to pay Guardian for each settlement.
Cons / This settlement company is only available in 17 states, by far the fewest of any we reviewed.
Verdict / Guardian Debt Relief has excellent costs and fees, but its lack of availability may be something to consider before making your choice.
Guardian Debt Settlement is a worthwhile choice. We especially like its flat-fee structure and the thoroughness of the customer service. The customer service, while still strong, was not as quick to get back to us as other settlement companies we reviewed. Guardian Debt Relief is a New York City based debt settlement company that is accredited by the IAPDA and AFCC. This means that Guardian’s debt specialists must undergo training and certification before they can speak to clients and that Guardian must be audited yearly to ensure compliance with industry regulations.
When you contact Guardian, expect the debt specialist you speak with to ask about your finances. We recommend taking stock of your monthly expenses before calling. It’s very likely the agent will want to run a soft credit pull to evaluate the lenders you’ve borrowed from and how well they fit with Guardian’s program. You can only enroll unsecured debt from credit cards, personal loans and medical debt into the program.
The specialist you speak with will explain the program to you and answer any questions you have. By entering a debt settlement program you’ll stop making payments to creditors and will instead begin making a monthly payment into an escrow account set up by Guardian. This payment will be based on how much you can afford and how long you can be in a program; it also accounts for fees and penalty interest rates.
After you’ve been saving for a few months, Guardian will begin negotiating with your creditors on a lump-sum payment to resolve your debts. The company can reduce your debts by as much as 50 percent. It charges a fee of 20 percent of the debt you enroll. This means that if you settle a debt of $5,000 for 50 percent with the 20 percent fee, you’ll end up paying $3,500, or 70 percent of the debt you started with.
One of the largest drawbacks of a debt settlement plan is that it will adversely affect your credit. Since you stop making payments, your accounts will show up as being late and your credit score will drop.
Guardian negotiates your debt in-house; it is not an affiliate of another settlement company like Accredited and it does not contract with attorneys like Oak View. You’ll have a dedicated account rep who will contact you periodically with updates on your settlement program. You can also check the client dashboard to see where you stand.
Guardian Debt Relief operates in 17 states and can provide settlements on debt amounts as low as $5,000. This settlement company can reduce debt by as much as 50 percent and charges a flat 20 percent fee on enrolled debt.