Since 1991, Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) has helped nearly 320,000 people consolidate their debt. The company is a non-profit organization that provides personal financial education and solutions. CESI states that its mission statement is to enhance economic security for each customer.

CESI is ISO certified and accredited with the FCAA. The company promises a 100% satisfaction and money back guarantee on their services, but many negative reviews center around poor customer service. The company also does not offer any information on what kind of interest rates they can negotiate with creditors. 

Rank Chart
Monthly Price
Accreditations
Our Score

#1

$0-69
CPFC,ISO,FCAA
9.3

#2

$10-49
CPFC,ISO
8.3

#3

$0-39
ISO,CC
6.9

#16
CESI Reviews | BestCompany.com

Undisclosed
FCCA/CC
3.5

The Good

Company Highlights:

  • Debt relief calculator
  • 100% money back guarantee
  • FCAA accredited

Debt Relief Calculator

CESI has an amazing debt relief calculator on their website for people to see how consolidation can help them. The calculator asks users to answer questions about how much debt they currently hold, what kind of income you take home, and what kind of objectives are most important to you. Then the calculator will make recommendations for debt settlement, debt management, or bankruptcy based on your answers. It is then that the company makes its pitch for its services.

Unsecured Debt Types

Not only does CESI work with credit card debt, but they also help consolidate student loan debt, medical debt, and some other unsecured debts. To see if your unsecured debt qualifies, you will need to speak with one of their credit counselors during a free consultation.

Accreditations

One thing that we do appreciate about CESI is that they are accredited with the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). Additionally, the company has certified financial counselors on staff to help consumers make the best possible decision. Accreditations are maintained by keeping a specific set of standards that guarantee quality service. Potential customers should look for companies which carry industry accreditations.

Guaranteed Services

We also like the fact that CESI offers a free consultation to potential customers that might be on the fence about signing up for the company’s services. Additionally, if you sign up for the program and are not satisfied with the service, the company offers a 100% money back guarantee.

The Bad

Company Drawbacks:

  • Negative reviews
  • No interest rate information
  • No NFCC Accreditation
  • No state availability information

Negative Reviews

Most reviews we have of CESI are negative. Current and former clients say the employees at CESI have poor communication skills and that they work very slow. Similarly, one review mentioned that employees always seemed confused about his case when he called them. There has also been complaints that the amounts quoted from the consultation changed completely because the negotiation with the creditors did not go as planned.

No Interest Rate Information

CESI does not share several key pieces of information which makes it difficult for us to rate them against their competitors. For starters, the company does not include what kind of interest rates it can secure for customers from creditors. Many companies have at least an average or estimate of what they can achieve. This can make it difficult for customers who are shopping around for a debt consolidation company.

Missing NFCC Accreditation

Although CESI is accredited with the FCAA, the company is not accredited with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). The NFCC is another organization that assures quality and legitimacy of services. While we commend CESI for being accredited through the FCAA, we would also like to see accreditation through the NFCC.

IRS Lawsuit

The company’s former issues with the IRS is also concerning. In 2004, the IRS took CESI to court because it appeared to be a for-profit company masquerading as a nonprofit. CESI was being managed by a for-profit company called Amerix. CESI ended up cutting ties with Amerix in 2011 in order to keep its nonprofit status. Hopefully, the company has been able to move past this debacle.

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The Bottom Line

CESI promises customers some really excellent features such as low upfront fees, a free consultation, and a 100% money back guarantee. While the company’s website promises great features, their customer care representatives do not upkeep these promises according to customer reviews. On top of that, CESI is missing key information to help us judge them against other companies. At this time, we recommend working with a more transparent, customer-oriented debt consolidation company.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does CESI Offer Consolidation Services or Personal Loans?

CESI offers a consolidation debt management program as opposed to a personal loan. In this plan you make one monthly payment to the company, and the company pays all of your creditors that you have enrolled in the program. CESI will negotiate with your creditors to get the best possible benefits.

What Is The Monthly Fee?

CESI has not disclosed its monthly fees.

Are There Any Upfront Fees?

CESI has not disclosed its upfront fees.

What Is The Cancellation Policy?

With CESI, you can cancel and have the backing of a 100% money back guarantee.

Can I Get a Free Consultation?

Yes. The company offers a free, confidential consultation with a certified credit counselor either over the phone, online, or in person at its Raleigh, North Carolina headquarters. The counselor will analyze your financial situation, help you create a budget, and help you form a plan of attack based on your financial needs and goals.

More Information

About CESI

Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit 501(C)3. The company was founded by current CEO Dr. Diane Chen in Fayetteville, North Carolina. CESI claims to have helped nearly 300,000 people manage their debt and increase their financial education. Of that number, nearly 70,000 individuals have completed the company’s debt management program thus eliminating their debt.CESI offers financial educational resources that help customers with long term financial literacy. CESI also holds some impressive accreditations.

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    February 6th, 2016 Arcata, CA

    So far my experience with Cesi has been a total lack of communication on their part. They gave me one figure that I agree to the contract based on and then changed almost everything about it because the creditors would not agree. They then notified me only 6 hours before they withdrew money from my account and have only paid partial payments to at least 3 of my accounts. I’ve been monitoring my accounts and notice that none of the payments have posted to any of my accounts either. I’m now late on all my accounts and never have been before 🙁 I wish I wouldn’t have went with Cesi… Chose another company these people seem pretty mixed up.

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