Settle your debt with a professional negotiator, no upfront costs and a flat fee in 17 states.
Guardian Debt Relief offers a five-step program to consolidate and negotiate your existing debt. It focuses on unsecured debt like credit cards, medical bills, utility bills and private student loans. But its services are available in 17 states only.
Have +$7,500 of unsecured loan debt and proof of financial hardship.
Guardian debt relief details
Free consultation. Complete a form online to be contacted by a specialist to discuss your options.
Costs. No upfront fees; 20% fee after successfully negotiation on an account. Types of debt accepted. Credit card debt, medical bills, utility bills, private student loans and other unsecured debt.
Services offered.Debt settlement, debt negotiation, debt consolidation and financial education.
Minimum debt considered. $7,500 in unsecured debt with proof of financial hardship. Typical turnaround. 2 years to 3 years, though varies by customer.
Ratings, accreditation and memberships. Accredited by BBB with an A+; 8.3 Trustpilot score with 92% positive reviews. AFCC membership, IAPDA accreditation and SURE compliant.
Direct or third-party negotiations. Direct, in-house negotiations.
Service limitations. Available in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Free resources or tools. Wide-ranging blog topics.
Customer service. Phone, email and live chat.
Other details. Guardian does not charge any fees unless it successfully lowers your enrolled debt.
How much does Guardian Debt Relief cost?
Guardian doesn’t charge upfront fees. Instead, it charges a fee equal to 20% of your original debt after successfully settling each account in the program.
Say that Guardian successfully negotiates a debt of $7,500 to a lower $3,500. Factoring in Guardian’s 20% fee — or $1,400 — you’d end up paying $4,900, or 70 percent of the debt you started with.
How much can I save with Guardian Debt Relief?
Guardian boasts that its debt negotiators are typically able to settle accounts for 40% to 60% of their original balance, helping clients to realize average savings of 20% to 40% after settlement fees.
You’ll also save time and energy with Guardian. Guardian consolidates your multiple debts into one monthly payment, completing its debt negotiations and repayments in 2 years to 3 years. Note that your actual savings depend on the types of debts and balances you carry.
What are the pros and cons of Guardian Debt Relief?
No upfront fees. You pay a 20% fee after Guardian successfully settles each account’s debt.
Flexible repayments. How much you pay depends on the monthly payment schedule you help create.
Accredited and certified. Guardian is accredited by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators and hires certified specialists for its team.
Affects your credit. Your settled debt will likely show on your credit report, resulting in a lower credit score.
Potential taxation. You may need to pay taxes on the the money you saved on settled debts.
Limited availability. For Guardian to help, you must live in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, DC, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Virginia or Washington.
Debt relief companies typically charge a percentage of a customer’s debt or a monthly program fee for their services. And they aren’t always transparent about these costs or drawbacks that can negatively affect your credit score. You might pay other fees for third-party settlement services or setting up new accounts, which can leave you in a worse situation than when you signed up.
Consider alternatives before signing up with a debt relief company:
Payment extensions. Companies you owe may be willing to extend your payment due date or put you on a longer payment plan if you ask.
Nonprofit credit counseling. Look for free debt-management help from nonprofit organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Debt settlement. If you can manage to pay a portion of the bill, offer the collection agency a one-time payment as a settlement. Collection agencies are often willing to accept a lower payment on your debt to close the account.
What is Guardian Debt Relief?
Based in New York, Guardian Debt Relief offers debt negotiation services designed to guide clients out of debt in five steps:
Free debt analysis. Call or email to learn whether a Guardian specialist can help with your debts.
Establish a repayment plan. A specialist works with you to create a monthly repayment schedule for your debts that’s less than your current minimums.
Negotiate your debts. Guardian works with your creditors to negotiate lower account balances.
Learn about successes. You’re notified each time a creditor successfully accepts Guardian’s offer.
Creditors report to the bureaus. After each debt is paid, your creditors will report your zero balance to the credit bureaus — one step closer to financial health.
What does the Internet say about Guardian Debt Relief?
In the six years its been in business, Guardian has earned an A+ from the BBB and an 8.3 Trustpilot score with 92% positive reviews.
Positive reviews outweigh negative reviews online. Clients praise Guardian’s easy, streamlined process to get out of debt with little to no direct effort on their part.
Common complaints cite unsuccessful negotiations with select creditors. Some potential clients say that Guardian representatives were pushy, emailing excessively to determine interest.
Your mileage with this debt negotiation company may vary.
Is it safe to use Guardian Debt Relief?
Yes. Guardian is a member of the American Fair Credit Council, is accredited by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators and complies with federal and state regulations.
How do I sign up with Guardian Debt Relief?
Apply for a free debt consultation by visiting Guardian’s homepage and completing the online form:
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
A Guardian specialist will assess your debt accounts and balances. If you’re a good fit for debt negotiation, you’ll continue working with your specialist to design a customized program that fits your situation.
You’ll agree to a monthly repayment schedule and the amount of money you’ll deposit into a new account for your negotiations. Guardian then contacts each of your creditors to negotiation your outstanding debt balances on your behalf.
You’ll authorize each settlement after Guardian successfully negotiates with your creditors, paying the full settlement amount and Guardian’s fees.
If you need help at any step of the process, contact customer support at 888-986-9939 or email@example.com. Or chat live with a representative online.
The highly rated Guardian Debt Relief may be able to negotiate your credit card debt, medical and utility bills, private student loans and other unsecured debt to more manageable amounts.
It’s among the few such services charging a predictable 20% flat fee on each successfully negotiated debt. But those fees can add up, eating into what Guardian’s able to save you. With a limited 17-state service area, you may not be eligible for its help in the first place.
It can. These programs require you to stop payments on your bills while you are undergoing debt negotiation, which can ding your credit score. If your creditors report defaults and settlements, you could see a further drop in your score.
With a debt negotiation company, you leave the work to professionals with years of experience working with your creditors to lower what you owe. Debt settlement companies typically know the percentages most likely to result in success, and they tend to enjoy more leverage with creditors.
It’s likely. To learn whether your canceled debt is taxable as income, talk with a tax professional. You may be eligible for a hardship or insolvency provision, depending on your circumstances.
Karen Castellanos supports Finder's publishing team, specializing in personal loans. She is a financial management student at the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education. When she's not busy publishing articles, she's playing soccer or watching fashion editorials.
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