How do you recognise good debt counselling?

The Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Schuldnerberatung e.V. (BAG-SB, Federal Working Group for Debt Counselling) is an association of debt counselling centres and counsellors from all over Germany. Together with our members, we have formulated these principles, which characterise good counselling for us.

Good debt counselling … there for everyone.

No matter what your personal situation is or what question you have, a good debt counsellor will advise you on what you are like, regardless of your background, nationality or type of income. 

…knows what's important.

If your account is seized, your electricity provider wants to cut off your power or you are threatened with eviction if you owe rent: securing your livelihood is always the first goal of our counselling. 

...has respect.

A good counsellor listens to you, does not condemn you and takes you seriously. teamwork.

The counsellor will work with you to find a good solution for you. They support you in acting yourself, developing and exploiting your own opportunities.

...explains the procedures to you.

You always know what the next steps in the counselling are. You can understand why things happen the way they do. available to you.

If you are in an emergency or have a question, you can also exchange ideas with a counsellor at short notice, e.g. in an open consultation hour.

...shows ways.

Every debt situation is individual. Every way out of debt is different, too. A good counsellor will weigh up with you which path is the right one for you. committed to you.

You have rights. Good debt counselling will inform you about these rights and help you to assert them.

...takes enough time.

Debt sometimes arises very quickly. Getting rid of debt usually takes longer. Counselling takes time: for discussions and for negotiations and changes.

…treats what you say confidentially.

No information will be shared without your consent.

... doesn't have to cost anything.

Debt counselling at government and non-profit institutions is usually free of charge. If costs are charged, the counselling centre will inform you of the amount and how the money is used at the beginning of the counselling. 

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