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Debtmerica & Debtmerica Relief Review

This review is the result for several requests I’ve received about this company.

Address:

Debtmerica, LLC
3100 S. Harbor Blvd., Suite 250
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Also know as Debtmerica Relief.

Website:

DebtMerica.com
Domain was registered April 28, 2006 and is owned by Debtmerica LLC. Good.

Description:

Debt settlement company.

Management

Jesse E. Torres, IV

Jesse E. Torres – Managing Partner & Chief Executive Officer
Jesse Torres is both a founder and managing partner of Debtmerica, LLC and has been actively involved in operations since the firm’s founding in April 2006. His current duties include overseeing all aspects of marketing, finance, and administration and he is also actively involved in setting Company strategy and risk management. Jesse has extensive experience with online marketing, consumer finance, accounting, and strategic management. His background includes over 10 years of financial services experience, including investment banking for technology-based firms at Prudential Securities in San Francisco, CA, where he focused on M&A. He is a graduate of the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his B.S. in Economics with dual concentrations in finance and entrepreneurial management.

Harry H. Langenberg – Managing Partner & Chief Operating Officer
Harry Langenberg is both a founder and managing partner of Debtmerica, LLC and has been actively involved in operations since the firm’s founding in April 2006. His current duties include overseeing all aspects of sales, customer relationship management, and business development and he is also actively involved in setting Company strategy and managing growth initiatives. Harry has extensive experience with sales management, business development, customer relationship management systems, and a track record of success with both operational and strategic management. His background includes over 10 years of financial services experience, including investment banking for technology-based firms at Merrill Lynch & Co. in San Francisco, CA. He is a graduate of both the Wharton Business School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.S. in Economics, concentrating in finance and B.S. of Engineering, concentrating in systems engineering.

Kristen Bemis – General Counsel
Kristen Bemis is currently the General Counsel of Debtmerica, LLC. She is a licensed attorney in both the states of California and Nevada. Since 2004, Kristen has served as an outsourced general securities counsel for small cap public companies. During her time as general securities counsel, she assisted in the preparation and review of Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filings for her clients. Kristen has also drafted and reviewed various business agreements and advised clients on general corporate governance issues. She has extensive experience in regulatory issues given her significant experience in working directly with SEC staff and having served as a legal intern for the California Department of Corporations while attending law school. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minors in Business and History from the University of San Diego and is also is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Carlos Caponera – Director of Marketing
Carlos Caponera is currently the Director of Marketing for Debtmerica, LLC and has been involved with online marketing for over 10 years. His leadership experience includes being involved with a variety of financial products, including those related to retail distribution. As the Director of Marketing for Debtmerica, Carlos is directly responsible for the deployment of all marketing initiatives including search engine marketing, product development, and strategic planning. Prior to joining Debtmerica, Carlos held various marketing and product management positions at Experian where he was part of the team that built out both their international product CreditExpert.co.uk as well as CreditSecure, a credit monitoring product that was created exclusively for American Express. Carlos holds a B.S. and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine.

Jarrod Bassin – Sales Manager
Jarrod Bassin joined Debtmerica, LLC in January of 2008 and is currently the firm’s sales manager. His responsibilities include hiring, training and oversight of the company’s debt consultants, accountability for quality customer experience, and management of processes essential to the efficient delivery of service. Jarrod’s background in financial services management spans 12 years, predominantly in residential, commercial, and construction financing. Jarrod earned his B.S. in Business from Excelsior College and plans to pursue his MBA in early 2010.

Jennifer Johnson – Director of Training & Business Development
Jennifer currently leads the wholesale training and business development team, where she is focused on growing and maintaining current affiliate relationships as well as cultivating new opportunities. Jennifer has been involved with Debtmerica for several years and brings with her a broad breadth of experience which she utilizes in her relationships with partners. Previous experience includes transactional work in both the real estate and mortgage industries. Jennifer holds a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fullerton and is currently pursuing a Master’s Certificate in Organizational Leadership.

Yaz Hernandez – Director of Information Technology
Yaz Hernandez is currently the Director of Information Technology for Debtmerica, LLC. His responsibilities include supporting the technology initiatives for the Company, including managing telecom, local and wide area networks, desktop support, IT security, DRP, and records management. Yaz has been involved with Debtmerica since its founding in April 2006. Previous experience includes retail banking for Wells Fargo and duties as a personnel administration specialist with the U.S. Army. Yaz received a B.A. in Network Communications Management from DeVry University.

Christine Bui – Public Relations Manager
Christine Bui is currently the Public Relations Manager of Debtmerica, LLC. Her current duties include managing the public relations function on both a local and nationwide level, having authored press releases that are distributed to hundreds of news websites each month. Christine is additionally involved with copyright work for Debtmerica and has authored several articles related to the Company’s mission and messaging. Prior to joining Debtmerica, she had extensive experience in real estate finance, performing roles as a senior processor and then escrow officer for a nationwide title company. Christine graduated from California State University, Fullerton, where she received a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management Information Systems.

Sonia Duenas – Human Resources Manager
Sonia Duenas is currently the Human Resources Manager for Debtmerica, LLC. Her current duties include managing the human resources function, compliance with state and federal employment guidelines, healthcare and benefits management, and payroll related functions. Sonia has had extensive training in human resources and has been awarded certificates of completion for courses taken specific to the successful implementation of human resources policies and procedures. She has been with Debtmerica since its founding and seen the firm grow from a small startup to a nationwide leader in negotiated debt settlement. She has held previous roles in various office management related functions and plans to pursue additional education in accounting.

Management information comes from Debtmercia. – Source. I do have to give a big prop to Debtmerica for providing this information on their site. Of all the debt settlement companies I’ve reviewed they are the first I’ve seen to provide bios for their management team and good for them.

Contacts

1-800-470-8155

Relationships

Unknown

Interesting Points

The links at the top translate their site into spanish and vietnamese. Not something you see often.

I think they embellished their description on their debt options page when they said their debt resolution program “could be one of the fastest, most effective ways to settle your debt for less than the original balance owed.” – Source. Where I take issue with this statement is that it is used to sell their debt settlement services but it was not mentioned in the bankruptcy section or here that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common bankruptcy filed, is much faster (a matter of a few months) in ending problem debt and eliminates the debt for 0% on the dollar. However they mention this on their FAQ page. – Source

Finally a debt settlement company that came out and spoke the truth about bankruptcy when they said:

Bankruptcy also offers legal protection under the court so that you don’t have to worry about being sued or harassed by creditors while completing the bankruptcy process. While most reputable debt settlement firms will work to drastically and effectively minimize creditor calls and harassment, debt settlement does not provide the guaranteed legal protection that bankruptcy does. – Source

Wow, I was very pleasantly surprised to read the following on their FAQ page. You’ve got to give them credit for putting the truth right out there.

With the huge rise in unemployment, unmanageable debt, economic problems, and uncertainty in the marketplace, many fly-by-night companies have sprouted up offering debt settlement to consumers that are not legitimate; in fact many are nothing more than scams. Some offer unrealistic settlement expectations or promise nearly impossible monthly payments and time horizons. They are simply doing this to make a quick buck at your expense!

A good debt settlement firm always trains its agents to help you understand what your options are and is very realistic with you about what to expect. Often, companies simply looking to scam you look to collect fees up front regardless of whether they stand behind their promises.

Be very careful! Many firms advertising an offer for debt settlement services are nothing more than lead generation firms that may sell your information to several potentially unscrupulous firms. Many of them will end up barraging you with constant phone calls and have nothing to do with the company you “thought” you were contacting. Make sure to clearly read and understand the privacy policy and terms of use of any firm that you call on or submit your information to. – Source

I can’t agree with their statement that letting your payments go delinquent and falling behind on your debts is going to better than bankruptcy. They say, “However, having to experience this circumstance is almost always better than dealing bankruptcy, especially on your credit rating.” – Source. I don’t find that true at all. In my experience, not only is it easy to rebuild your credit score following bankruptcy but if you are behind on debts people actually can see their credit score increase by filing bankruptcy.

They did almost get an A for their honest statements about the tax consequences of debt settlement but they missed a fine point when they said, “the IRS will often waive this tax liability if you can show that you were insolvent during the time in which your debt settlement took place.” If your forgiven debt makes you solvent then that portion above where you are solvent is taxable. It’s a fine point but people need to understand that it’s not if you were insolvent at the time you started the process that is the key point here.

Commercial

While Debtmerica did a much better job than almost every other debt settlement company out there in presenting their services and the realities of settling debt I do have to ding them on their television commercial below. It seems to easily fall into the over hyped bucket with all the other debt settlement commercials I’ve seen but thankfully it isn’t another one of those fake government looking commercials.

BBB Reviews & Ratings

Debtmerica & Debtmerica Relief Review

BBB review on the day I wrote this.

Complaints

  • Munro, curious as to why you would make no mention of the fact that Debtmerica is 1 of 15 Companies under investigation in New York by the New York State attorney general, Andrew Cuomo. Anyway USOBA and TASC are not where you need to go to do your due diligence on Debtmerica. They are both paid by Debtmerica. You need to call the California Attorney General at (916) 322-3360, or Toll-free in California at (800) 952-5225. They will be able to provide you with the proper council on this matter. As indicated below, just because a “debt settlement” salesperson makes something “sound” good, doesn’t mean it is going to work out for you. They don’t care if they ruin your credit, and they don’t care if they ruin your life. They just want to collect their fees. REMEMBER THERE ARE REASONS DEBTMERICA IS UNDER INVESTIGATION. – Source
  • I initially thought Debt America would help me with my outstanding credit card balances. They assured me they would. My creditors were never paid, and though Debtmerica debited my account for $200.00 monthly for 3 months, I found myself in a financial bind. My credit score has gone down to below 500. I have since made arrangements with my creditors on my own, but Debtmerica scammed me. Debt America promised to have me out of debt in 3 years, but did not help me with my debt, instead they made it a nightmare. – Source

Picture of Web Site

Debtmerica & Debtmerica Relief Review

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.

Debtmerica & Debtmerica Relief Review by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Miron Lulic

    While I don’t expect you to police them, I just wanted to share with you that we are a bit skeptical about some of the reviews there.

    The one by Tierney looks like its from a competitor pushing the attorney model loophole. I checked our CRM and we have three records of people with the first or last name Tierney. One was a fake number and the other two completed the program.

    We have no record of talking to anyone with the last name Byoutin. They have no basis to review Debtmerica. They may have opinions about the industry but we’ve never talked to them so not sure why they are dragging our brand through the dirt.

    The review from Richard… I just checked with our HR manager and we have not had any employee named Richard at Debtmerica. Either this is actually a review from a former disgruntled employee (which is a bit unfair in itself) or someone is just being opportunistic with their SEO reputation assassination.

  • Harry Langenberg

    Just for the record, Debtmerica is a leading debt settlement
    Company that has helped thousands of consumers since 2006 when the company began operations. Debtmerica is located in Santa Ana, CA and is fully compliant with all state and federal laws where we operate (it holds numerous licenses in states that require a provider of debt negotiation services to be licensed).

    Debtmerica was one of the first companies to fully embrace and transition to the contingency fee model once the FTC ruling took place in 2010. Getoutofdebt.org praised Debtmerica for that leadership here: http://getoutofdebt.org/27084/debtmerica-takes-stance-against-attorney-model-debt-settlement-companies

    Optima Tax Relief was started in 2011 by the same partners that continue to run
    Debtmerica. Optima Tax is a sister Company of Debtmerica, and it assists consumers by providing tax resolution programs, a very important service for most people that need this help. The Enrolled Agents, Attorneys and case workers employed by Optima are highly experienced and skilled at delivering
    results for clients that need professional help to resolve their tax troubles.

    The management at Debtmerica and Optima Tax take customer service very seriously, and our Company focus is to always put the needs of the client first. Our goal is to become an industry leader in the services we offer, and we are very proud of the amazing staff that we have assembled to do so. If you have
    encountered any problems with Debtmerica or Optima Tax, please email [email protected] as we would like to resolve any issues directly with you.

  • Cheryl and Lance Byoutin

    Pleeezzzzeee…..these crooks have now changed their business shingle and are going by Optima Tax Relief. So now, instead of having innocent people chased by credit card companies and banks, they will have the IRS to contend with, and at a much more serious consequence. PUT THESE CROOKS OUT OF BUSINESS.

  • Tierney

    Personally, after consulting with Debtmerica about six months ago and the extreme pressure to enroll within a 45 minute phone consultation left me with very bad feelings.  Then I started doing my research and found out their BBB Report is sugared-up so do not believe everything you read on the BBB reports eitherr.  The consultant would not leave me alone; in fact, his calls were worse than the collection agents I owed money to.  I did some more homework and found out this company has caused problems for many consumers, just like the other debt settlement companies.  They are no different.  Forty percent of accounts enrolled in a lengthly debt settlement program will receive a legal summons and Debtmerica does NOT prepare you for that.  Go with a company that has a legal program connected to it or with an actual lawyer on staff.

  • Richard

    Debtmerica enrolls clients for Freedom and a couple of other companies.  That is all they do is the enrollment and after that, they could care less what happens to those clients.  My first position in the debt settlement industry was working for them for six months before I bolted after getting frantic calls from clients that were getting sued months into the program.  The sales manager was a little egomaniac that only cared about this wallet , not the employees or the clients, and you were openly humiliated if you did not reach your SALES GOAL !!!  All about sales….not about what the program was supposed to do for the clients.  There are plenty of other alternatives, maybe doing it yourself, so why pay their outrageously high fees?  This was not a prestigious job in the “financial world”; it was a boiler-room atmosphere and going out and doing manual labor in ditch-digging has more dignity.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debtmerica Debtmerica

    Hello Steve,

    Thank you for creating such a powerful asset for anyone seeking help with their financial burdens.

    I just wanted to take a second to give you some updates.

    The Debtmerica site has seen quite a few changes since this review was first published. Beyond the new design, we’ve tried to add a lot more helpful content and tools such as:

    http://debtmerica.com/articles
    http://debtmerica.com/industry-news
    http://debtmerica.com/debtmerica-debt-calculator

    We’re also following your example by embracing social media in order to help anyone in debt. You can follow Debtmerica on:

    http://twitter.com/debtmerica
    http://www.facebook.com/Debtmerica
    http://www.youtube.com/debtmerica

    As you know, the BBB has adopted an automatic downgrading policy for all debt settlement companies. Debtmerica has served more than 20,000 clients since its inception in 2006 with only 15 complaints to the BBB and no unresolved complaints. As you can imagine, Debtmerica’s official response is that it feels the BBB’s policies are unfair. A page is available online dedicated to Debtmerica’s stance on its BBB rating.

    http://debtmerica.com/bbb

    Thanks!

    Debtmerica

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Thanks for the update.

      While you are at it, how about stepping up to the transparency challenge and publishing information about your service to help consumers make an informed decision as other settlement companies have.

      The ten transparency items are:

      1. Cost of program.
      2. Link to debt settlement program terms and conditions.
      3. Ongoing success rate of past clients that settled only some debt.
      4. Ongoing success rate of past clients that settled all debt.
      5. Average length of time in the program.
      6. Average settlement amount.
      7. Customer satisfaction data.
      8. Percentage of clients that were sued for a debt that was included in the program.
      9. Percentage of clients that continue to get collection calls while in the program.
      10. Reason why clients left the program before settling all debts, broken into category.

      As an example, visit U.S. Debt Resolve to see how they placed the information right on their home page.

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