ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- With the $600 federal supplement payments scheduled to end this weekend, unemployed Georgians may be looking for more help to pay their bills.

Better Call Harry and the consumer watchdogs at Georgia Watch have a warning: don't use debt relief firms.

"Especially now, the last thing people should do in desperation is give up their own ability to negotiate with their creditors," said Georgia Watch Executive Director Liz Coyle.

Why not debt relief?

The industry standard is to charge you 20% of the settlement, although Georgia law caps those fees at seven-and-a-half percent. But there are no guarantees.

"What they will likely do is cause you to go deeper in default and ruin your credit score," said Coyle.

We can't say it enough: do not give up your right to negotiate. Many creditors have held off on reporting missed payments to the credit bureaus, so keep trying to negotiate.

Go to georgiawatch.org for resources or credit.org for consumer credit counseling.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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