Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a fee for your services?

  1. There is a $20 charge for our debt counseling services. If you and your counselor decide the Debt Management Plan is necessary, a small administrative fee will be charged to handle your accounts. That fee never exceeds $35 each month; yours may be less.  For a full list of services provided and associated fees, please view our schedule of Fees.
  1. Why do creditors support CCCS?

  1. Since 1966 CCCS has worked with creditors to help them get repaid and help you pay down your debt. It is to a creditor’s benefit to help you avoid bankruptcy, and CCCS’ counseling, DMP and other services may help you avoid that situation.
  1. When do I need the help of CCCS?

  1. Take our Debt Test and find out. 
  1. Why CCCS?

  1. CCCS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).  NFCC is the national parent organization that sets our high standards. We are certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as an approved housing agency. We have specially trained, NFCC certified counselors to help consumers deal with financial and housing problems. CCCS is a member of the Better Business Bureau and accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children.
  1. What is a Debt Management Plan (DMP)?

  1. The DMP is a debt repayment program that allows you to make one simple payment a month to CCCS, who will distribute it to your creditors for you. The DMP serves the dual role of helping you repay your debts and helping creditors collect the money owed them. Your counselor will review your financial situation and design a workable budget and repayment plan. We will attempt to negotiate late fee and interest rate reductions with your creditors to help you pay off your debts as soon as possible.
  1. How does the DMP differ from Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

  2. Chapter 13 may consist of a partial payback. In addition, interest is generally stopped. The CCCS Debt Management Plan is a 100% payback to all creditors and interest may not be stopped just because you are paying through CCCS. All parties are participating in a voluntary manner. Creditors look at CCCS as a positive way for consumers to solve their financial problems as opposed to bankruptcy. CCCS cannot advise you to file bankruptcy or not. However, we can help you look at alternative solutions.
  1. Why can’t I negotiate with my creditors on my own?

  1. It can be very helpful to have a certified counselor take an objective look at your financial situation. Should you then decide to mange your debt yourself, you can. However, most people find it helpful and stress relieving to let CCCS deal with creditors. CCCS is also able to secure concessions from creditors that you might not be able to negotiate yourself. These concessions can result in lower payments and a faster pay-off of your debt.
  1. Will I still receive harassing telephone calls after I become a DMP client?

  1. When you join CCCS’ Debt Management Program, you can immediately contact your creditors to let them know you are a CCCS client. We also contact your creditors and send them a debt repayment proposal. Once you are current and are making timely, consistent payments, the phone calls should stop. If you receive a call from a creditor, give them our phone number and ask them to call your counselor.
  1. Can CCCS stop legal action?

  1. Many companies would rather give you the opportunity to repay them directly than go through the legal system. CCCS cannot guarantee your creditors will not take legal action, but addressing your debt problem promptly is important so we can work with your creditors to develop a repayment plan that is beneficial to you and your creditors.
  1. Will my employers or creditors know I’ve met with a CCCS counselor?

  1. No one but you will know about your appointment. Your creditors will know you have an appointment with us only if you inform them. Otherwise, CCCS will not contact your employer or creditors about appointments.

    Q.  Can anyone meet with a CCCS counselor?

  1. Anyone who has questions or concerns about their financial situation can meet with one of our counselors. Your counselor will help you analyze your situation and will make you aware of your options. Your counselor may suggest our Debt Management Plan as one of your options.
  1. Can everyone participate in the Debt Management Plan (DMP)?

  1. The DMP may help many people who are experiencing difficulty making payments to creditors or are unable to make payments. We encourage anyone who is concerned about their debt situation to schedule an appointment with one of our certified counselors. CCCS will never turn away anyone who requests debt counseling. Your counselor will decide which course of action is appropriate for your financial situation.
  1. Can CCCS help me clean up my credit report?

  1. No one can remove accurate negative information from your credit report except the creditor who reported it. However, regular monthly payments through CCCS can improve your credit history and your credibility with individual creditors. Beyond that, time is the only thing that can clean up your credit report.
  1. How long does negative credit stay on my credit report?

  1. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit bureaus can report most negative credit information for no more than seven years. There are some exceptions to the seven-year rule. For example, bankruptcies may be reported for ten years.
  1. What should I do if I need financial help?

  1. Contact Us at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Kern & Tulare Counties to schedule an appointment.  The call is free and completely confidential. For your convenience you can fill out the online application. Take the first step toward financial freedom!