How to Know If Your Structured Settlement Is a Rip-Off

Getting lump sum cash for your structured settlement shouldn’t be that difficult as there are many finance companies that profitably thrive from these transactions.  But the challenge a seller faces is knowing if what he’s getting is the right price.  There are no hard and fast rules as every structured settlement transaction is unique and no two are the same to make a good comparison.  But there are situations that raise a red flag for sellers to watch out. Here are some of them.

Step 1:  When shopping for a buyer or funder who can provide cash value for your structured settlement, consider it as interviewing for an applicant to your household staff.  Remember that these people will make money from your future cash flows and offers could come between 8% and 18% less than the total value of your future cash flows discounted to their present value.  So be selective and trust your gut feel as if you are evaluating applicants to be your kid’s nanny.  If you’re not comfortable with the prospective buyer, chances are your instinct could be right.  Next please.

Step 2:  Where the settlement is a legal matter, you may need to get the relevant judge to approve the cash offer.  If the judge disapproves it, the buyer has the responsibility to offer another proposal.  Raise the red flag if the buyer is charging a service fee to give a new proposal.  Chances are the company is bogus.

structured settlement rip off

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jollyuk/1989719848/

Step 3:  It could be rare but if there’s an individual private investor offering cash for your structured settlement, run from him like the plague.  Making money out of your future cash flows is often possible only with large volumes of monthly cash flows aggregated from various other structured settlements which only companies can do.  This makes any offer from a single person quite spurious.

Step 4:  Be wary of investors suggesting ways to skip the legal aspect of approving the deal.  This is not only illegal, but you are opening the opportunity to get scammed.  If you’re making the decision without the benefit of legal or financial counsel, know that the only one standing between you and a scam is the judge.

In times like this, your best weapon against possible rip-offs is to not to rush to any decision without evaluating your other options.  A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of structure settlement companies.  Take your time in digging up facts of the companies you contact.  A through research is often the key to playing it safe.

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