Are Debt Consolidation Agency’s a good idea to help lower debt?

Between my husband and i we have about 12 credit cards. I know, i know we shouldn’t have gotten ourselves in this mess to begin with.
We are 22 years old, I have a steady well paying job and he is in the military. We do not have creditors calling yet, but we are struggling to pay the minimum payments. 1 of his credit cards did get recently charged off.
I tried shopping for Debt Consolidation Agency’s and the one i looked into was going to charge us a $ 2,750 service fee! Is this normal?

Our total debt in Credit Cards alone is appox. $ 18,000 (not including car payments, household bills etc.)

HELP!!! If not a Debt Consolidation Agency, then what? And if i go with a Consolidation Agency will it affect my credit?

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