This review is in response to a press release I saw that was sent out by the Debt Free League. I wrote about that here.
2667 Camino Del Rio S #105
San Diego, CA 92108 – Source
This domain name is actually owned by:
1301 Medical Center Dr #513
Chula Vista, California 91911
This domain is owned by Victor Chevalier as well:
8555 Aero Dr #203
San Diego, California 92123
There is no registered company in California, Texas, or Florida that I could find called the Debt Free League, the name they go by. Either they are not a registered company, they are actually operating under a name other than they are incorporated under, or they are operating without proper registration in those states. Debt Free League states they operate in those states on the bottom of their site. – Source
There is a company Chevalier-Santacruz, Inc that is located at the same address as Debt Free League and D&B reports they operate as Debt Free League.
Chevalier-Santacruz, Inc. was registered 5-15-2007 in the State of California but there is no registered business with that name in Texas or Florida.
Debt settlement company.
No staff contacts found.
Libre de Deudas – their spanish site.
Who Is Victor Chevalier and Chevalier-Santacruz, Inc?
Victor Chevalier says he is just a spokesperson and representative for Debt Free League, yet he owns the domain names they operate under. And D&B reports that Debt Free League is actually Chevalier-Santacruz, Inc. Odd that Chevalier would hide the fact he owns the company by labeling himself as only a spokesperson or representative. – Source, Source
He is described as an “anti-bankruptcy advocate” and “Victor N. Chevalier is a former debt management industry executive and expert on bankruptcy avoidance and credit improvement.” – Source
Yet besides being an industry expert, there is little to nothing written about Victor Chevalier before 2009.
He stated he was “…had an 11-year career as an insurance broker assisting the insurance and financial planning needs of hundreds of clients. I later became a top executive of two of the country’s largest debt settlement organizations…” – Source Page 1
But all of these titles and positions seem to hide the face that Chevalier-Santacruz, Inc. is the Debt Free League and Victor Chevalier’s name is the first one on the corporate name and he owns the company domain names so he obviously has a greater role in the operation.
The secrecy and mystery surrounding Vic is a real mystery. Why? It certainly feels like there is something being hidden here. If there isn’t something to hide this is a horrible, horrible, PR move by Debt Free League.
The snapshot below from one of the Debt Free league videos shows they were a feature in Entrepreneur and they have the Entrepreneur logo on their site but the page does not exist on the Entrepreneur site. – Source. In fact, upon closer inspection it was not an article about Debt Free League that appeared on the Entrepreneur site but a press release Debt Free league sent out. Same is true for the link the Yahoo News logo on their site as well.
They seem to very proud of a program they are promoting called the “National Debt Relief Stimulus Plan” which sounds like a program designed to trick people into thinking their is some sort of government sponsored debt relief plan out there. See more about the National Debt Relief Stimulus Plan.
The National Debt Relief Stimulus Plan is a customized debt settlement program for consumers and small business owners who are struggling to make, or can’t afford to continue minimum payments due to creditors due to a financial hardship, such as divorce, medical problem, loss of business income, or unemployment. Our program offers you the following BENEFITS & GUARANTEES:
30-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE
If you’re not completely satisfied, within 30-days of applying, our 30-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE allows you to cancel for our program and receive a 100% REFUND of your deposit. No questions asked!
$,2500 MINIMUM DEBT REQUIREMENT
Most debt settlement companies require you to enroll a minimum total debt of $10,000. However, our minimum total debt requirement is $2,500! AND we accept personal, medical, and business debt.
LOWER DEBT NEGOTIATION FEE
The debt negotiation fee of most debt settlement companies is 15% or more of your total enrolled debt. But ours is ONLY 10%! Paying LESS in fees gives YOU more settlement funds to be debt-free faster and more conveniently.
FEES RE-ENROLLMENT CREDIT
If you’re forced to cancel from our program due to a financial hardship, we allow you to reenroll and we’ll credit you the negotiation fees you already paid based on the following:
If you reenroll before 3 months of cancellation, we will honor 100% of fees previously paid.
If you reenroll 3 months, but less than 6 months after cancellation, we will honor 70% of fees previously paid.
If you reenroll 7 months, but less than 9 months after cancellation, we will honor 40% of previously paid.
If you reenroll 9 months after cancellation, we will honor 20% of fees previously paid.
** Other conditions apply.
SAFETY OF YOUR SETTLEMENT FUNDS
We ensure your money is safe. Your settlement funds will be held in your own FDIC-insured savings account that is in your custody, care, and control. You’ll also get bilingual customer service and can review account activity in “real-time” 24/7 online reporting.
Legal disclaimer on their site:
Program cannot legally guarantee or predict any savings outcome. Your decision to join program is strictly voluntary. Unlike debt consolidation, program does not make regular monthly payments to creditors. Instead, creditors are paid based on a lump sum settlement. You are responsible for personally saving the recommended lump sums to pay off each creditor once program negotiates a settlement.
You are solely responsible for the management, care, custody, and control of your settlement funds. The estimated time to complete program is dependent on various factors, including the degree of your financial hardship and savings ability, age and balance of creditor accounts, and creditor’s acceptance of negotiation offers. In order to complete program more expediently, you are highly recommended to save as much funds as possible each month, and if your financial circumstances improve, increase your monthly savings. All settlements must be mutually agreeable by you and your creditor. Actual settlement results may vary. Failure to complete program or any program requirements, including your refusal to accept recommended settlement offers, may have a negative consequence on your financial situation. All program fees are fully earned and are refundable as described in your program enrollment agreement.
Depending on the delinquency of your accounts, program may have an adverse effect on your credit standing. By not making the required minimum payment to a creditor, you are in breach of your credit agreement and your account may be reported to credit reporting agencies as a “late”, “charge-off”, or “past due” account. Your account may accrue increased interest rates, late fees and over-the-limit fees, which will increase your account balance until your debt is settled.
Creditors may continue collection efforts while you are enrolled in program. Collection efforts may include phone calls and collection letters, referral of your account to a third-party collection agency or attorney, and potential liens and garnishments. All settled accounts might be reported to credit reporting agencies as “settled for less than the full amount” or “settled in full.” Program settles unsecured debt. In the event of a lawsuit, program shall do everything in its power to help you avoid or settle a judgment. Deb Settlement Program is available to consumers and businesses in Canada, Mexico, and most U.S. states, Districts, and Territories. – Source
Yet in their FAQs they present a very different picture.
“How do you stop creditor harassment?
Ensuring you get peace from collection calls is very important to us. That is why one of the initial benefits of our debt settlement program is helping clients prevent creditor harassment. We help you bring an end to the pestilent collection calls by preparing a cease and desist letter that is mailed to the third-part debt collectors who are assigned to collect your debt. Under the federal, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDCPA), upon receiving this legal notice, the third-party debt collectors are required to immediately STOP placing collection calls to your home and place of work. Throughout the program, we also educate our clients about their debt collection rights.” – Source
This is not a very clear answer. It completely avoids the fact that a cease and desist letter has no power over the original creditor.
“Do I have to pay taxes on the amount I save?
The forgiving creditor must give you a 1099-C tax form and you must report to the IRS for the forgiven or canceled portion of the debt that exceeds $600 as taxable income. However, the IRS does not require you to report the forgiven debt if you were insolvent, meaning the amount of your debt was greater than your assets when the creditor forgave the debt. Note: Under IRS rules you cannot exclude any canceled debt that is more than the amount by which you were insolvent. For example, if you have a $20,000 debt and $8,000 in assets, you cannot exclude more than $12,000 of forgiven debt from your income tax. Any forgiven debt over $12,000 on the same year must be reported as taxable income. Ultimately, consult with your tax advisor on this matter.” – Source
Be careful. The answer is partially correct. Even if you are insolvent you must still complete a specific IRS form stating your election and situation.
BBB Reviews & Ratings
See BBB review for Debt Free League and Libre de Deudas at the time of this article. Click here.
Now here is an unusual twist. Debt Free League actually is on RipOffReport.com not as the recipient of a complaint, but as the one laking the complaint. – Source
Picture of Web Site
Is This Your Company?
If this is a review is about your company and you would like to respond to the information I’ve presented here to possibly put it into a broader context or make a correction, please feel free to post your response in the comments section below. I invite you to read my Debt Relief Company and Site Review Policy first.Debt Free League, Chevalier-Santacruz, Inc. Review by Steve Rhode