Saturday, June 14, 2014

Unsecured Loans - Avoid Getting Cheated

Following your instincts will lead you in the right direction more often than not. And that old adage about something being too good to be true means just that -- too good to be true. That admonition has been around for ages for a reason. The unsecured loan business certainly has its share of bad apples, but it is not quite so easy to divide them into good guy and bad guy camps.

Search Engines

Google, Yahoo, Bing, already your friends, become even more valuable when you start to assess lenders who specialize in unsecured loans. But it is necessary to understand the results they may provide when you punch the name of a particular lender into the address bar.

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Negative Search Results Are Not Always Bad

Google and other search engines usually like to highlight the negative aspects of a certain company. A company may have 90% positive feed backs along with 10% negative, but the negative is highlighted on the first pages of search results, especially for well-known companies.

Good Results vs. Bad Results

If you are searching a large company that has been around for a while, there is bound to be some negative feedback. Humans are fickle, after all. However, if it is a small company that is relatively young and has lots of bad feedback, that is not so good. Another bad result is few or no results at all. This could mean that the company has been recently formed as a front for shady business.

What Is Past Is Prologue

You may be able to find legal proceedings or consumer histories by checking the state government websites where the lender is located. Another venue to check the past of a firm is to search the Better Business Bureau (BBB) sites. Of course, the BBB is a for-profit business, so keep that in mind. Unsolicited customer feed backs found on the BBB sites are probably the most worthy source of information. Negative feedback and a low rating on a BBB site is enough to warn you to proceed with caution, though.

Real People

When you peruse the website of a particular firm, look for real names of real people. You should be able to easily find blogs by these folks as well as twitter accounts and other social media linked to them. Look for management profiles on the LinkedIn website. You will find comments made by identifiable real people because the site allows only verifiable members to post info.

Interest Rates

Lending to folks without asking for collateral is risky business. To cover possible defaults, these firms must demand high interest rates. Some online lenders charges as much as 35% APR (annual percentage rate) for bad credit borrowers who sign for a personal unsecured loan. Some hard-money real estate lenders will charge double digit interest in addition to points (a percentage of the transaction amount).

Little White Lies

Once you have focused on a company that seems to be the most promising to deal with, take the investigation one step further. At this point you should have lots of information regarding the firm - some bad, a lot good. Ask them about some negative aspect of the feedback to see if you can catch them in some equivocation. If you can, this should be a warning signal.

Find a Neighbor

Finding an online lender that offers reasonable rates and comfortable repayment terms should be your highest goal. However, if you possibly can, find a lender who is local to your home or place of business, or at least in the same state. A lender with whom you can establish eye-to-eye contact will be less likely to take you to the cleaners.

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