There are very few debt settlement negotiators out there that are reliable enough. They charge astronomical fees which could go towards paying creditors or in some cases an attorney.
Most of the debt settlement companies prefer to advertise themselves as "law firms" & not non profit organizations because the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has been going after these people. They are actually profit based organizations who keep debtors guessing as to where their money is going & never provide them with the credit counseling they claim for.
What these companies do is suck you in with millions of dollars in advertising and promise you so many things they can not usually do such as:
1. To get your creditors to forgive, stop, lower or delete interest, over limit and late charges which is quite impossible unless you enter into a settlement with your creditors for a hefty amount or they offer you concession as available in severe hardship conditions.
2. That they can get lawsuits stopped. Some of these companies will send really nasty threatening letters to the creditor’s attorneys trying to "bully" them into stopping or dismissing a lawsuit and the chances of that are very slim to none.
3. When they promise to settle your debts for "pennies on the dollar" Well, this is not impossible but highly unlikely. They might get your debts settled for .50 on the dollar at BEST, but why pay a company 100's SOMETIMES 1000's of dollars to do the SAME thing you could have done by hiring out a local attorney who almost charges the same.