Since 1998, 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 by the FCAA.
The company promises a 100% satisfaction and money back guarantees 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.
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.
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.
One thing that we do appreciate about CESI is that they are accredited by both the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) as of 2017. As a member of NFCC, CESI will have finalized a required COA accreditation in 2018.
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.
CESI offers free consultations 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.
Additionally, CESI provides a wide variety of credit counseling and education services to help customers become debt free, including:
CESI employs certified credit counselors to help customers become debt free. The company has helped 83,000 customers graduate from its debt management program and pay off their debt in full.
Because CESI is not a loan company, it does not charge any interest. Its job is to work with the companies you owe money in order to lower your interest rates to a manageable point. Consumer Education Services Inc.'s job is to lower customer interest rates on unsecured debt by 9 to 12 percent through its Debt Management Program.
The company's former issues with the IRS is also concerning. In 2004, the IRS took CESI to court because it was thought to be a for-profit company masquerading as a nonprofit (this has since been clarified).
CESI was partnered with a for-profit company called Amerix, which provided marketing services and back-office processing for many credit counseling agencies in the industry. CESI ended up cutting ties with Amerix in 2011 as a result of the IRS audit and no longer has anything to do with the company.
CESI contested the IRS findings and an agreement was reached with the IRS maintaining CESI's full non-profit status. The company's audited financial statements from 2013 noted that the IRS did not revoke CESI's tax exempt status and that CESI will continue to file form 990 annually with the IRS.
Though the company does cover 49 of the 50 states in the U.S., it does not provide its services to those living in Tennessee. Residents of Tennessee seeking debt relief will have to look elsewhere.
So, how much does CESI cost to use? CESI has an upfront fee of $37, a monthly fee ranging from $25 to $75, and can reduce your interest rate down to between 9 and 12 percent.
CESI's upfront fee is low for the industry, while the interest rates after reduction and monthly fees have the potential of being higher than other companies. The cost to savings ratio for this company is actually pretty good compared to many debt consolidation companies.
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