Potentially save as much as 30% on debts of $10,000 or more with this settlement company.
Pacific Debt Inc. (PDI) services are meant for someone who’s facing bankruptcy because of a large amount of debt — especially credit card debt.
But it’s not just for those who overspend. The loss of a partner, unexpected unemployment or some unforeseen medical expense can tangle your finances in a way that makes it impossible for you to set things straight.
Read on to find out what PDI can do for you.
Pacific Debt Inc. details
- Free consultation. Speak to a rep online or by phone
- Costs. 15%–25% of total debt enrolled. Fees vary by state of residence.
- Types of debt accepted. Unsecured debt — excluding payday loans, legal judgements, consumer finance loans and medical debts not in collections
- Services offered. Debt settlement
- Minimum debt considered. Typically $10,000
- Typical turnaround. 24–48 months — sometimes longer
- Accreditations. American Fair Credit Council, International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators, Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau
- Ratings. A+ BBB rating, 9.2 on Trustpilot
- Negotiations type. Direct negotiations.
- Service limitations. Not licensed in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin or Wyoming
- Free resources or tools. Debt management blog
- Customer service. Phone and email
What are the benefits and drawbacks of PDI debt relief?
- No upfront fees. PDI doesn’t charge fees until after it delivers on its services.
- Free consultation. Speak to a specialist to find out if your debt qualifies for PDI’s services or for direction toward other options.
- Track your progress online. Easily access your settlement account to keep track of how much you’re saving.
- Low savings. You could only end up saving only 15% of your debts — which might not be worth it to you.
- Pushy staff. More than a handful of customers complain that staff tried to rush them into decisions they didn’t fully understand.
- Not available in all states. PDI’s services are available in 25 states only. It says that’s due to state regulation, but most debt relief companies service more than half the country.
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What exactly is Pacific Debt Inc.?
PDI is a pioneering debt settlement company. It was founded in 2002, after a spike in credit card debt across the US spawned the need for solutions to debt outside of consolidation or bankruptcy.
PDI works like most other debt relief companies: It negotiates with your creditors to reduce what you owe in exchange for paying it off with one payment. Its industry accreditations and customer reviews are promising, as is its track record.
How much does it cost?
PDI typically charges a fee of 15% to 25% of your enrolled debt at the time of settlement (not at the time you sign up) — which is standard.
You’ll pay nothing up front. Instead, the fee is factored into your monthly payments, so it’s not something you need to prepare to pay all at once.
How does this look in real life? Say you signed up for a 36-month program to settle $15,000 in credit card debt at an APR of 14%. By the time your debt is ready to be settled, it could have increased to $22,773.99 (depending on when your debts are settled — it typically doesn’t all happen at once). In this scenario, a typical client would pay from $3,416 to $5693.50 in fees.
How much could I save with PDI?
Its most recent settlements range from 20% to 50%, though it has settled as much as 70% in the past. The average is roughly 50% before fees and between 35% and 15% after.
What does the Internet say about PDI?
Pacific Debt garners mostly positive online reviews. The Better Business Bureau gives it an A+ rating based on 29 customer reviews, 93% of which were positive. More than 320 Trustpilot reviewers gave it a similarly high 9.2 out of 10, with 78% rating PDI “Excellent” and 18% calling it “Good.”
Many customers describe Pacific Debt staff as “attentive” and “helpful,” though some feel that they were rushed into signing a contract that they didn’t understand. Some had negative experiences with undertrained staff who relied on scripts, rather than personalized conversations, and weren’t quick to jump on mistakes.
Is it safe to use PDI?
Yes. PDI uses SSL security to encrypt sensitive information like your credit card or Social Security number. It stores your information on a secure server protected by a firewall. And while PDI might share nonsensitive information with affiliates, it offers you the choice to opt out.
It’s also legit: PDI is accredited with the American Fair Credit Council and the International Associations of Professional Debt Arbitrators, both of which set and regulate industry standards. It’s also been accredited with the BBB since 2010 and with Consumer Affairs, meaning that it meets transparency standards and has pledged to rectify customer complaints.
How do I sign up?
To get started, go to PDI’s website and click Free Consultation or call toll-free at 877-722-3328.
To register online, complete the application with information about your debt, where you live and how you can be contacted.
After you apply, PDI calls you to go over your options. If you qualify, a debt specialist emails you an enrollment packet. Complete your forms to enroll in PDI’s program.
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
- Your PDI welcome call. A PDI client care member will call to make sure you understand how the program works and answer any questions you might have.
- Speak with client care. Every few weeks, client care calls to check in on your progress and guide you through the initial process of setting up an FDIC-insured account, where you make monthly deposits that go toward paying for the settlement.
- Stop making payments to creditors. Once you begin depositing money toward your debt settlement, stop making payments on your debt to your creditors.
- You’re assigned a personal account manager. After a few months of deposits into your account, PDI assigns you a personal account manager, who guides you through the rest of the process and negotiates on your behalf.
- Authorize PDI to pay settlements. Each time your personal account manager settles a debt, PDI requires your authorization to access your funds to pay off your debts.
Tips to make PDI a smart financial move
- Don’t skip monthly deposits. The longer it takes you to set up for settlement, the more your interest increases — and the more you end up paying. Taking a long time to settle your debts also puts you at greater risk of being sued by your creditors.
- Don’t take on more debt. If you’re in the position to settle your debts — a pretty dramatic step — you likely can’t afford to take on more.
- Put together a budget. It’s easier to make your monthly deposits if you take control of your spending and stick to a budget.
- Keep on top of your account. Contact customer service or your account manager if you notice anything fishy with your account — or even something that you just don’t understand. And make sure they’re aware of any changes to your financial situation, for better or for worse.
PDI is your standard debt relief company. But it might not save you as much money as its competition. It also has a smaller reach and more restrictions on the types of debt it qualifies.
Debt settlement is a serious step — it’s not guaranteed to work and could lead to a lawsuit from your creditors. Prepare to deal with calls from collection agencies at the very least.
Learn more about debt relief to determine if it’s right for you.