Every time I see an ad for ANY debt relief commercial, I'm reminded of a story I heard on the radio many, many years ago. It goes like this: a guy experiences a windfall- I think he won the lottery or something. The guy's brother-in-law approaches him with the sad sad story of how he owes $18,000 in credit card bills and how it would be a real life-saver if he could clear that debt from his books. So of course the lottery winner hands his brother-in-law $18,000 because hey Everyone Deserves A Second Chance, right?
Six months later, the brother-in-law approaches the lottery winner again because...he's now $18,000 in credit card debt. This time, the lottery winner says "no" to another bailout, and they haven't spoken since because How Could He (the lottery winner, of course) Be So Selfish?
I am pretty sure that 90 percent of the people who actually get bailed out of their credit card bills actually end up like that brother-in-law- right back in debt, because they haven't learned a damn thing about controlling their spending. Yes, I am aware that some people get hit with unexpected medical bills, expensive divorces and the like, but let's be honest; the vast majority of people who have big credit card bills are in that situation because they are addicted to spending. Giving them a break is like handing an alcoholic a free case of beer.
At least when one declares bankruptcy, one suffers real consequences: a ding on the credit report that actually FORCES one to live within one's means, at least for a time. The people in these commercials don't think that they have a lesson to learn- they just want a bailout. There's a reason why doctors don't prescribe weight-loss surgery without also prescribing therapy; it's because without therapy, the people who get weight-loss surgery are very likely to go right back to the habits which made them need the surgery in the first place, and insurance companies aren't really keen on paying for multiple expensive procedures. The same concept needs to apply to debt relief- want a bailout? Ok, but you're going to have to learn how to live within your means, because we can't keep doing this. Time to do a little growing up now and learning how to say "no" every once in a while.