1. Why do I have to pay for and take a counseling session before I file bankruptcy when Ive already spoken with an attorney that says I qualify to file bankruptcy?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code, federal law, says “during the 180-day period preceding the date of filing of the petition by such individual, received from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency described in section 111(a) an individual or group briefing (including a briefing conducted by telephone or on the Internet) that outlined the opportunities for available credit counseling and assisted such individual in performing a related budget analysis.” Congress wanted to be sure that before you filed a bankruptcy you had an opportunity to look at your financial situation with a counselor trained in personal financial management to make sure you know and understand your current financial condition and have explored all of your options.
2. Who will conduct my telephone counseling session?
Your session will be conducted by one of our professional Financial Counselors. Our Counselors have all been certified or accredited as a Personal Financial Counselor.
3. I was told I must have two sessions, one before I file and one after? Why two?
The first requirement is Credit Counseling: a financial counseling session or budget analysis, which upon completion of you will be issued a certificate that must be filed with your case. The second, Personal Financial Management Course, contains useful information about setting goals, making plans, understanding your budget, smart shopping tips, rebuilding your good credit and valuable consumer resources. Upon completion of the second course you will receive a certificate which is required prior to your case being discharged.
4. I can’t pay my debts. Why do I have to pay for information I already know?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code, federal law, states you must review your financial situation with a Financial Counselor before you can obtain a bankruptcy.
5. Do I have to take a test at the end?
No, you will not be tested. The only requirement is that you attend the full session.
6. What types of payment do you accept?
We accept credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards, and e-checks by phone. When paying by credit, debit, or pre-paid card you may schedule your appointment or class once payment is submitted. However, when paying by e-check you must wait 8 days for the e-check to clear before you may set your appointment or class time.
7. How quickly can I get an appointment?
Credit Counseling: We can schedule same day appointments as well as appointments for any business day in advance. Appointments are available 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Central, Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central on Fridays. If there is an emergency situation call to let us know and we may be able to schedule an appointment time within 2 hours of your call. The session is also available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Debtor Education: We offer a weekly telephone course, or it is also available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
8. What if I need special accommodations?
We will always try our best to accommodate any client and work around any special circumstances. We strive to provide the best Customer Service. You may call our Customer Service line and we will put you in touch with the best person to help based on the situation. Some of the special accommodations that we can make for clients, include but are not limited to, aiding clients who are hard of hearing, incarcerated, unable to speak, unfamiliar with the English language, or unable to actively participate in the session or class due to health or other issues.
9. Does The Mesquite Group offer services in languages other than English?
Yes, The Mesquite Group offers counseling sessions and education courses in Spanish. We also have Customer Service Representatives that speak Spanish who can be reached by calling our Customer Service line toll free at 877-769-4069.
10. Does The Mesquite Group prepare debt management plans?
No, The Mesquite Group does not prepare debt management plans, nor does it refer clients to any company providing debt management plans.
11. Why do I have to receive a certificate?
You are not required to receive a certificate following the completion of your session. You may choose not to receive a certificate and decide to handle your debts in a manner other than by filing bankruptcy. If you choose to file for bankruptcy protection, you must receive a certificate from an Agency approved by the U.S. Trustee. This certificate notes the date and time you received financial counseling. In order to file, the certificate must be used within 180 days of your initial counseling session.
12. Can you send my certificate to my Attorney?
Yes, if you are represented by an attorney, we can send your certificate to that person if you give us his/her name and telephone number. If your attorney gave you a code to use when you register, that code will provide the information we need about your attorney and the method we should use to send your certificate to his/her office.
13. What happens if I get a certificate and then decide not to file bankruptcy?
There is no harm done in receiving a certificate. Receiving it does not obligate you to file bankruptcy. You are free to make your own choice. The Mesquite Group does not share or report any information with credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies. The Counselors of The Mesquite Group are here only to help you analyze your financial situation and provide you with information.
14. How do I get my Certificate?
After you have completed the counseling session or financial management course, a copy of your certificate will be emailed to you if you provided us with your email address. If you would like us to send your certificate by fax or U.S. Mail you must make a request during registration. If you provide us with your Attorneys name and phone number, we will also send a copy directly to your attorney.
15. How quickly can I get my certificate?
Our policy is to issue certificates no later than the next business morning after the session is completed, by 12:00 p.m. Central. Certificates are issued during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central, Monday through Friday). If you are under a deadline, i.e. you must have your certificate the same day you complete the session or class, you may call our toll-free number at 1-877-769-4069 during registration or after you are registered and make arrangements with one of our staff to have the certificate sent immediately after your session or course is complete. If it is not communicated to our office during or after your registration that the certificate is needed immediately, we cannot guarantee you will receive your certificate the same day you complete the session or class.
16. What if there is a mistake on my certificate?
Call any one of our phone numbers and let us know about the mistake and we will correct and resend the certificate to you right away. You may also email or fax your request for the certificate to be corrected. Emails and faxes will be returned within one business day. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 817-857-3556.
17. Can you change the date on an expired certificate?
No, unfortunately we cannot change the date on an expired certificate. According to bankruptcy regulations, a pre-filing credit counseling certificate is only valid for 180 days from the date that the counseling is completed.
18. What is an expired registration?
Clients have 45 days from the date of their initial registration to finish their session or course. If they do not finish within that time frame, their registration is considered expired. Their registration is then cancelled and they forfeit their registration fee.
Questions for Online Courses
19. I am taking the Credit Counseling or Personal Financial Management course online, but I need help. What do I do?
During business hours you can call us locally at 1-817-869-4069 or toll free at 1-877-769-4069. If it is after-hours and you need help, please email us at email@example.com. We will get back to you within one business day.
20. I started the online Credit Counseling or Personal Financial Management course, but Id rather finish it on the telephone. Do I have to pay for a second session?
If you decide to take the course via telephone you will be charged the difference in price. Please call us locally at 1-817-869-4069 or toll free at 1-877-769-4069 for further assistance.
21. I started the online Credit Counseling or Personal Financial Management course and I am having technical problems. What do I do?
During business hours you can call us locally at 1-817-869-4069 or toll free at 1-877-769-4069. You can also access us via our live chat line. If it is after-hours and you need help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you within one business day.
Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered here? Please send it and any other comments to email@example.com.