Are debt settlement companies a scam?

I was thinking of signing up with a debt settlement company but I have heard the debt settlement companies not what they seem. They promise to settle your credit card and unsecured debt for half or less than what you owe. I have heard what they don’t tell you is that you usually get sued, get your wages garnished, and that the debt settlement companies over report what they actually save you while charging you a huge fee. In addition, I have heard that your savings are reported to the IRS as income and that your credit report is trashed. Supposedly their seemingly caring sales people are paid high commissions. Apparently you can negotiate with your creditors and be just as successful while saving the thousands of dollars these companies charge you. What I want to know is if all that is really true about these companies and can I actually negotiate with my creditors myself and save thousands in fees. I need the scoop from someone that is honest and knows the truth about these companies

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