Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit organization specializing in debt consolidation. The company has been in operation for over 26 years and has helped 320,000 people get clear of their debt. A money back guarantee sets CESI apart from other companies. They also offer a free consultation with a certified credit counselor. However, there are complaints regarding their customer service.
- Money-back guarantee
- Certified credit counselors
- AICCCA and FCAA accreditations
CESI offers a 100 percent money back guarantee to clients as a show of confidence in their ability to help. This is uncommon in the industry and can be very beneficial to customers if they are not satisfied with the services they receive. CESI does have a fairly long track record at 26 years of operation. This is above average in the industry as well.
We are similarly impressed by CESI’s FCAA, and AICCCA accreditations. This shows a willingness on the company’s part to address concerns, have books audited, and comply with sound business practices. The company provides clients with certified credit counselors to help guide clients through every step of the process in paying off their debts.
- Poor customer service
- Multiple lawsuits
- Lack of transparency
Lack of Transparency
CESI doesn’t disclose the actual interest rates offered on consolidation loans, which is problematic when trying to understand the full costs of using them to pay off debts. CESI also does not disclose the up-front or monthly fees associated with using their services. More troubling are the two lawsuits we found CESI was embroiled in, one of which has involvement with the IRS, alleging that the company was abusing its non-profit status and operating more like a for-profit institution. This is very troubling, and should be considered before committing to use their services.
Poor Customer Service
Customers have often complained over poor communication with CESI’s customer service and slow speed. There have been complaints of confused customer service agents and generally lackluster client care overall. This can be inconvenient and a major flaw that should be considered by potential clients. On average a client can expect to take three to four years to become completely debt free, and to choose a company that has poor customer service may be very frustrating long term.
Prices are undisclosed at this time.
Prices are undisclosed at this time.
A customer representative can provide a free preliminary financial consultation over the phone. In addition, the website has a “Debt Relief Calculator” tool that is useful for estimating your debt management plan before talking to a counselor.
Time in Business
26 years. They have been in business since 1991.
The website provides many resources such as videos, articles and webinars which can be utilized to increase your financial understanding. There is also an online education course called the CESI University Curriculum which is an instructional program that can be accomplished from home free of charge.
Cancellation Policy / Money-Back Guarantee
There is no penalty for canceling before the debt management program is complete. This program is not contract-based, and therefore does not hold the customer to any binding agreement. CESI Solutions provides customers with a 100% Satisfaction guarantee. Upon entering into a debt management plan, the customer has six months to decide if the program is meeting expectations. If you decide to terminate service, you will be reimbursed for all the service fees paid up to that point.
Unsecured vs. Secured Loans
CESI Solutions only manages unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills, and past-due utility bills. Secured debts like your home or car cannot be included in the debt management plan.
Yes, they offer a mobile friendly site. Although there isn’t an official mobile app, the website looks great. It functions sufficiently on mobile devices while offering a smooth and comfortable user experience. Tools such as the Debt Relief Calculator function properly.
3700 Barrett Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
Agents are available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST.
In addition to debt management and consolidation, CESI Solutions also offers housing, credit and bankruptcy counseling as well as financial education resources. The Assure Money Services is a suite of services designed to help older adults with disabilities as well as their caregivers. This company also provides Representative Payee services to SSA beneficiaries. Lastly, WiseTrac is offered to employers who wish to offer financial education courses to their employees. This service can also be utilized by individual customers looking for a way to expertly track their income and thus gain financial control.
Minimum Debt Accepted
The minimum debt level to qualify is $2,500.
CESI offers an online dashboard for their customers through the CESI website. Once a customer’s account is active, they are able to monitor their financial accounts and ensure their benefits are being applied properly.
CESI’s counselors are certified within 6 months of employment by agencies such as Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA), the Association for Financial Counseling Planning and Education (AFCPE), the National Institute for Financial Education (NIFE), and the Center for Financial Certifications.
CESI is not ISO certified.
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