Consumer Education Services, Inc. is a non-profit organization that focuses on debt consolidation and on helping millions of Americans to become debt free and financially secure. For many years, Consumer Education Services, Inc, or CESI as they are known, has helped over 300,000 people to clear their debt.
There are many features that set Consumer Education Services, Inc apart from the crowd, including a money back guarantee, but there are also some issues, and all of this will be discussed in our Consumer Education Services, Inc review.
About Consumer Education Services, Inc
Consumer Education Services, Inc was founded in 1998 and operates out of North Carolina. It hires over 100 employees and offers a range of services, which we have outline din more detail below.
- Address: 3700 Barrett Dr, Raleigh, NC 27609-7213
- Web Address: http://www.cesidebtsolutions.org/
- Date of Founding: 10/18/1998
- Contact Number: (800) 699-5688
- BBB Accredited? Yes, since 2008.
Consumer Education Services, Inc provide a range of debt consolidation services, including debt management plans, credit counseling, housing advice, student loan counseling and more. They also pride themselves on offering a wealth of information on their website and becoming a fountain of knowledge for Americans who are struggling with debt.
As we shall discover in our Consumer Education Services, Inc review, this isn't always the case.
There are a lot of good reviews out there for Consumer Education Services, Inc, and this is an indicator that they are doing something right, but that doesn't mean they are the right choice for you. There are two issues with these reviews, and there are similar issues with all companies that are in this position.
Firstly, it's important not to pay too much attention to reviews that are either mostly positive or mostly negative. In the case of the latter, it's usually because a company doesn't actively covet reviews, or try to remove bad ones. The simple truth is that out of 1000 customers who have had a good experience, 1 or 2 will make the effort to leave a review, but out of 1000 customers who have had a bad one, at least 100 will look to vent their anger with a review.
When the former is true (mostly positive reviews) it can simply be a result of the company pushing customers with good experiences to leave reviews, while also trying their best to remove bad ones. This is easier than you might think. We're not saying that Consumer Education Services, Inc did this, but rather we're using it as an example for why you shouldn't always trust aggregate review sites.
The other major issue is the fact that only actual customers leave reviews. Here on DebtReviews we mark down sites based on how accessible they are to customers, but in the eyes of these other review sites, whether a company is accessible or not is irrelevant.
For instance, a loan company could have a requirement that states only customers who earn more than $1 million a year can join. To the vast majority of customers, that's a huge turn-off and a big negative. But to these user review sites, the only ones leaving the reviews are the ones who meet this criteria and therefore have nothing to complain about.
Our Consumer Education Services, Inc Review
Now that we have looked at user reviews of Consumer Education Services, Inc it is time to offer our own opinion. We let our researchers take a look at this company and provide their valuable insights.
- Money back guarantee
- Certified credit counselors
- AICCCA and FCAA accreditations
CESI offers a 100% money back guarantee to all customers, which shows you just how confident they are in their service and in their ability to help. It should be noted that such an offer is very uncommon in the industry, and the fact that Consumer Education Services, Inc offers one is both notable and worthy of praise. It also bodes very well for customers who want to take CESI up on their offers but are still slightly reluctant about some areas of their service.
Of course, Consumer Education Services, Inc are also very experienced and hire very competent and skilled staff, so this money back guarantee may not even be necessary. That's certainly what CESI are hoping.
CESI’s accreditations with the FCAA and AICCCA is impressive. This exemplifies the company’s will to address any concerns, to have all of their books audited, and to comply with all business practices. The company provides clients with certified credit counselors in order to lead customers through every step of the consolidation process and to emerge out the other side debt free and financially stable.
- Poor customer service
- Multiple lawsuits
- Lack of transparency
Lack of Transparency
CESI doesn’t disclose their actual interest rates on their consolidation loans, which is off-putting to prospective clients who want all of the information in front of them. Of course, this info will be provided at a later date, but in order to facilitate fast and easy comparisons it should be provided on their website in plain sight. The company also doesn’t disclose the upfront or monthly fees for using their services.
What's more, we found that CESI was involved in two lawsuits, one of which involved the IRS, alleging the company was abusing its non-profit status and operating more as a for-profit organization. This needs to be taken very seriously before deciding to engage with them. It's not unusual, and we have also noted such issues with Freedom Debt Relief, who we rated highly, but it is still a concern.
Poor Customer Service
Poor communication, slow speed, and occasional unprofessional responses are just some of the many complaints voiced by previous customers of this debt consolidation company. Generally, clients can expect to take 3 to 4 years to become completely debt free, and potentially on top of that, receive poor customer service.
It's worrying to think that you might be dragged through a lengthy process with a company that isn't able to help you when you need them or to answer your questions when you have them.
The Bottom Line
On the one hand, CESI is a long-established name in the debt consolidation industry, has all the necessary accreditations, and offers decent rates. On the other hand, there are many issues reported with regards to their customer service and with the lawsuits filed against the company.
Overall, we do not recommend using CESI at this time. Maybe that will change in the future, maybe not, but right now we think there are too many potential pitfalls and would recommend giving another company a try instead. Accredited Debt Relief and Consolidated Credit are just two of the ones that we recommend instead.