Getting Help From a Consumer Lawyer

If you need to pay for a Fort Lauderdale Debt Settlement lawyer, it is important to get competent help. All lawyers, like all doctors and all accountants, are not the same. You should try to find someone who has expertise in consumer rights. A first step is to try to get a referral from a friend or relative to a lawyer who has done good work in the past. If you cannot get a referral, try calling your state or county bar association. Most such organizations maintain a referral service that will give you names of lawyers who specialize in consumer credit problems.

You should always have an opportunity to talk to a lawyer before you agree to pay for that lawyer’s services. Make sure you have a clear idea of what the lawyer will do for you and what you will be charged. You should know whether you are paying an hourly rate or if you are paying a flat fee for a particular service. If you pay a flat fee, you should be sure to get a written statement of what the fee covers.

After you have signed a “retainer” (a contract with the lawyer laying out the services to be provided and how much you will pay), if you are dissatisfied with the service you are getting, you can always cancel. You will only have to pay for services you have already received. If you are entitled to a refund that you do not receive, consider making a complaint to the local disciplinary agency for attorneys.

Getting Help From a Counselor. If you cannot afford a lawyer or if you feel you don’t want one, another place to get help is from a nonprofit counselor. Many communities have both nonprofit “debt” counselors and nonprofit “housing” counselors. If you have a housing related problem, a housing counselor is probably preferable.

Counselors cannot offer the full range of services which a good lawyer can provide, but they can often help with some specific issues. Counselors, like lawyers, may focus on some options rather than others. You should be sure you understand what the counselor can do for you and make sure you feel the options offered include the right choices for your circumstances.

Some nonprofit counselors charge a fee to cover their costs. Others are free. Make sure you know from the beginning if there is a charge for counseling and how much it will be. If the fee seems unreasonable, find other help.

Finding a nonprofit counselor can sometimes be difficult. Try calling city officials, legal services, a consumer help line, or a friend or relative who has had similar problems. Sometimes a helpful creditor will make a recommendation. No matter where the recommendation comes from, make sure you exercise care that you are dealing with a legitimate nonprofit counselor from a reputable organization with expertise in the area in which you need help.

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