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CESI

CESI has been in business for over 26 Years. Undisclosed up-front and monthly fees.

Our Score
3.5
User Score
4.3

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Our Score
3.5
User Score
4.3
Rank this Company

Ratings Breakdown

Price

monthly service fee
Undisclosed

Up-Front Fees

setup & activation fees
Undisclosed

Free Consultation

is one included?
Yes

Time in Business

total # of years
26 years

Credit Counseling

do they offer credit counseling services?
Yes

Certified Credit Counselors

are there certified counselors on staff?
Yes

ISO Certified

is this business ISO certified?
No

Number of Reviews

User reviews here on BDC
3

This Review is maintained by Chase Sagum

Review Last Updated: January 3, 2017

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. 

Rank Chart
Monthly Price
Accreditations
Review

#1

Up to $69
FCAA & ISO

#2

$10 - $49
ISO

#3

Up to $39
FCAA & ISO

#16
cesi_solutions

Undisclosed
FCAA

The Good

  • Money-back guarantee
  • Certified credit counselors
  • AICCCA and FCAA accreditations

Money-back Guarantee

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.

Accreditations

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.

View Top Rated Companies

The Bad

  • 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.

Want to see the top rated Debt Consolidation Companies? Click Here

The Bottom Line

On the one hand, CESI is a long-established name in the debt consolidation industry with solid accreditations. On the other hand, the many reports of issues in dealing with their customer service coupled with lawsuits over their business practices both leave us with questions and concerns. Consequently, we do not recommend CESI at this time.

Click Here for our Top Recommended Debt Consolidation Providers.


About CESI

CESI is a non-profit debt relief organization that takes pride in being able to help customers with credit counseling, debt consolidation, financial education, student loan counseling, and bankruptcy counseling. In the process of helping customers with debt consolidation, CESI helps create a debt management plan that allows customers to consolidate their unsecured debt into one monthly payment and negotiate a lower interest rate with the creditors. CESI also provides several different financial resources like financial calculators, videos, webinars, and a comprehensive guide to personal finance.

Price

Prices are undisclosed at this time.

Up-Front Fees

Prices are undisclosed at this time.

Free Consultation

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.

Debt Education

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.

Mobile-Friendly Site

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.

Contact Information

Email Address:

[email protected]

Address: 

3700 Barrett Drive

Raleigh, NC 27609

Business Hours:

Agents are available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST.

Services Provided

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.

Online Dashboard

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.

CPFC Certified

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.

ISO Certified

CESI is  not ISO certified.

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3 CESI Reviews

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  1. User Score
    10
    October 8th, 2016
    0 people found this review helpful!
    I HAVE BEEN WITH CESI FOR OVER 3 YEARS AND I AM THANKFUL FOR ALL THE SUPPORT THEY GIVE ME. MY BILLS ARE GOING WAY DOWN. SOMETHING I COULDN’T HAVE DONE WITH OUT THEM. A1 RATEING FROM ME!! CATHY FROM MILW WI
    Read More
  2. User Score
    0
    September 24th, 2015 Lafayette, LA
    1 people found this review helpful!
    Because of how slow they work, my credit has gone from bad to worst, im making calls to creditor and once i tell them what a creditor wants them to do, they still dont do it. things has been pending for 3 months, ok so how long do you wait before getting back with a creditor. Don’t know how to get out of this mess, without messing up the the few they did get accepted into the program. submitted paperwork to them over 2 weeks ago and my acct is still not updated.
    Read More
  3. User Score
    3
    July 26th, 2014 Tucson, AZ
    8 people found this review helpful!
    I have rated CESI, below Average, as I have been experiencing some “confused”, employees, who can’t seem to get the paperwork right. I have been having trouble with SS with DD, and it’s been more frustrated for me, as I try to sort out my current bills and payments. I hardly ever hear from CESI, whether, I am doing good, bad, or indifferent to paying off some existing accounts to which CESI, has payment control. I think I can do as good a job on my own, and save me $43 per month, which I don’t understand this fee, or any one that charges a fee for this alleged “non-profit” business. Then there is the question of whether or not CESI, is available 24/7, as “advertised”. So, I may drop CESI, and go it alone, on the existing “creditors”, and take the “challenge”. Thanks.
    Read More

Poll

  • When looking for a debt settlement company, which of these two aspects is most important to you?
  • Takes your existing debt and try to settle with your creditors for a lower amount. If you pay off the settled amount, your debt will be considered paid in full.
  • Negotiates with your creditors on your behalf.
  • Fee based on a percentage of your total starting debt or a percentage of the debt they save you.
  • Most settlement companies have you create a separate "escrow" account where you will make monthly contributions over a certain amount of time to contribute to your settlement. Once there is a substantial amount of funds to show your creditors, the settlement company will try to negotiate a lower amount of debt.
  • Combines all your debts and creditors into one monthly payment.
  • Allows you to pay one monthly payment to the consolidation company, instead of multiple payments to different creditors.
  • You no longer owe your original creditors; instead you pay one monthly payment to your consolidation company.
  • Consolidation companies can help negotiate lower interest rates on your debts and help lower your total debt payment in the long run. A lower interest rate will lower the amount you owe in the end.
  • Allows you to consolidate all your different debts into one personal loan that can be paid off over time.
  • Can offer borrowers a lower interest rate with a longer payback term (compared to high-interest credit cards or medical bills). This will lower the amount of money required to pay off the loan over time.
  • Personal loan debt consolidation can be an effective way to raise your credit score quickly (within 3-6 months).
  • Borrowers can receive funds from their loan within only a few days.

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Our Score
3.5
User Score
4.3
Rank this Company

Ratings Breakdown

Price

monthly service fee
Undisclosed

Up-Front Fees

setup & activation fees
Undisclosed

Free Consultation

is one included?
Yes

Time in Business

total # of years
26 years

Credit Counseling

do they offer credit counseling services?
Yes

Certified Credit Counselors

are there certified counselors on staff?
Yes

ISO Certified

is this business ISO certified?
No

Number of Reviews

User reviews here on BDC
3
Our Score
9.3
User Score
9.4
Rank this Company

Ratings Breakdown

Price

monthly price range
Up to $69

Up-Front Fees

setup & activation fees
Up to $49

Free Consultation

is one included?
Yes

Time in Business

total # of years
24 years

Credit Counseling

do they offer credit counseling services?
Yes

Certified Credit Counselors

are there certified counselors on staff?
Yes

ISO Certified

is this business ISO certified?
Yes

Number of Reviews

User reviews here on BDC
387