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I was told by one company that I can choose which credit cards to include in their debt help program and would be charged a fee of 15% of the debt on that card. They would negotiate a lower balance due the co. Does this sound reasonable?

Yes, the standard fee in the debt negotiation (settlement) industry is 15% of the debt amount that you have. Each company may vary in their fees by a percentage point or two and the means by which they collect that 15% may vary but that is the general standard. Some companies have set up fees, some have monthly management fees, some take more money upfront, and others will work more based on the percentage of savings.

Whichever debt negotiation company you choose, 2 things are important:

1. Understand all the fees involved. A small monthly management fee can add up to a big number over a 3 year time horizon so factor that into your total fee calculation.

2. Don’t pick a company based only on the lowest fees. This is a recipe for disaster. What’s most important is the company’s honesty and integrity. Narrow it down to the companies you feel are solid THEN compare fees before making your final selection.

It’s a big decision, make it carefully.