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United Financial Systems Looks Set to Implode. Run For The Hills!

For some time I’ve been writing about United Financial Systems. They are a non-profit 501(c)3 credit counseling company. They’ve been around since 2001.

United Financial Systems Looks Set to Implode. Run For The Hills!Interestingly they still display the American Association of Debt Management Organizations (AADMO) logo on their site showing they are “Fully Certified” but AADMO went out as a trade association over a year ago.

For years United Financial Systems hummed along just fine and people had little to no issue with them, until this year. For whatever reason client payments were allegedly posted incorrectly, sent late to creditors, customer service went downhill, and most troubling, their complaints went way up.

According to the BBB, as of today, United Financial Services has:

  • 245 complaints filed against business
  • Failure to respond to 35 complaints filed against business. – Source

If you look at the rate at which the BBB complaints are coming you’ll see why I am concerned.

These are reported complaints in the last three years. You can extrapolate the current complaints as the difference between the August number and now.

8/15/2010 – 170 Complaints
9/1/2010 – 181 Complaints
9/17/2010 – 191 Complaints
9/20/2010 – 198 Complaints
10/14/2010 – 225 Complaints
10/19/2010 – 235 Complaints
10/25/2010 – 245 Complaints

With limited customer service available and escalating complaints, the pieces are perfect for a horrible situation. The logical solution is to move your account before you get left stranded.

My Advice

United Financial Systems has had ample time and opportunity to deal with whatever underlying problem they’ve had. Due to the escalating complaints and the tremendous difficulty consumers have had trying to reach the company my advice is the following:

  1. Before UFS implodes and makes it impossible to reach them or get a refund I would suggest you move your debt management account to this company. I know the office of at least one Attorney General has sent people here as well.
  2. All UFS clients should contact their creditors and check on the payment history with the creditor. Consumers may assume that everything is fine with payments but creditors may not have sent statements since the account is on a debt management plan.
  3. If you discover a payment was missed, call the creditor immediately and explain what is happening.

I am especially troubled that even with the current problems the company is having, their website is still soliciting new business.

United Financial Systems Looks Set to Implode. Run For The Hills!

Update

As of 11/8/2010 – 285 Complaints. Failed to respond to 71.
As of 11/15/2010 – 301 Complaints. Failed to respond to 88.

United Financial Systems Looks Set to Implode. Run For The Hills!
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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.
  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    State of Florida announces United Financial Systems refund possibility. See this article.

  • Brad

    I wrote the following email on other links a few minutes ago, which includes a letter from the Att Gen of FL saying UFS’s attorney & them have agreed on refunds to all clients by Aug 31, 2011!  not good enough!! Keep calling & DEMAND your refunds NOW!  here is a copy of what I wrote…
    GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!
    -brad k

    Hey there! I have STILL been having issues with contacting UFS (SURPRISE!!!?). I filed my complaints w/ FTC, BBB & the Att Gen of FL (all 2nd complaints w/in 6 months on UFS) and Att Gen office finally informed me that there is a Class Action Lawsuit against UFS & they informed me that if you file a complaint you are a part of that lawsuit.  Below is the email I received.  Of course, I have not heard one word from UFS in almost 3 weeks since that email was sent to me!  I have called the FL Att Gen office to complain that UFS does not return phone calls or emails and the thought of receiving a refund BEFORE August 2011 is highly doubtful.  I emailed UFS telling them I will NOT wait 4 months for a refund since they won’t even tell us what happened OR APOLOGIZE for anything and that their communication sucks.  IF anyone reading this is expecting a refund, write them/ email them, etc saying you want your refund issued within 10 business days or you will pursue more action. GIVE ‘EM HELL because they simply do not care.  Considering they took money from people across state lines and never applied it, that is a federal crime.  However, I am sure they will get off with a slap on the wrist, which is not ok with me. And if UFS contacts you for a refund, but throws in you have to sign some paperwork that protects them from you badmouthing them, do not sign it!! You have rights as consumers who were taken advantage of.Steve, do you have any more advice for us on this situation, or what we should expect  over this refund?  Also, as far as legal implications go, can we go after UFS for emotional distress, etc in that class action lawsuit.  I have stated with UFS that I merely want my $1100 refund AND for them to pay off my remaining balance, which to date is around $1300.  Not asking too much, is it?Thanks again, and please spread the below email around to others who may visit  asking what the current standing with UFS is.  Thanks!!Brad KFlorida Attorney General Pam Bondi received your email regarding yourconcerns with United Financial Systems. Attorney General Bondi asked thatI respond. I am sorry for your difficulties with this company.Attorney General Bondi is deeply concerned with potentially unfair anddeceptive trade practices that mislead consumers. By law, this officeexercises statutory authority to address unfair and deceptive businesspractices under Chapter 501, Part II, Florida Statutes, known as Florida’sUnfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Our office focuses itsenforcement efforts on business practices by companies which harmconsumers.The Attorney General’s Economic Crime Unit in Fort Lauderdale investigatedthe business practices of this company, and the company has agreed theywill make refunds to all consumers who have requested such no later thanAugust 31, 2011.I am attaching a copy of a letter from Assistant Attorney General TheresaEdwards to the company’s attorney in regard to the refunds. Pleasecontact the company directly to request a refund:United Financial Systems, Inc.1117 Banks RoadMargate, Florida 33063Telephone: (561) 883-2398)Fax: (561) 883-7302Email: [email protected] hope this proves helpful. Thank you for contacting Attorney GeneralBondi.Sincerely,Mark R. BriesemeisterEconomic Crimes DivisionOffice of Attorney GeneralFt. Lauderdale(954)[email protected]

  • Rble22

    Lisa – I am in the same exact situation as you. They missed 3 of my payments and said that my money will be reimbursed. This was happened approximately July 2010. And it is now April 2011!. So same thing, they told me it would take 15 business days for me to get my money back, and now it is April. I call every 2 weeks and they keep on giving me a different reason every single time. I have never asked to speak to the manager, but I am trying to do that as of now. These pass couple of weeks I have tried calling and no one picks up. I stay on for phone for 2 hours! I’m not even lying about that. Just yesterday and today I called early in the morning around 8:30 “Dallas time” and a lady picks up and says “You are speaking to the operator”. I try to talk to her and the only thing she says is that she is only the operator and she can not help. She tells me to call back at 11:00 am “Florida time”. I try calling back the time she told me to, and no answer!! Well actually they pick up and then disconnect me! Also, the operator that I spoke with sounds like the same lady that I always speak with “Anissa Foster”. So I will try to call back again and confront her and ask to speak with the manager. Lisa, I was thinking about taking legal actions, but the only reason that stops me is that I am not sure if any legal actions can be done. Why hasn’t there been anyone to take any legal actions to these crooks? Well can you please let me know the update of what you are doing. Please feel free to email me at [email protected]. Thank you Lisa, and I hope you do something to take this company down.

  • Lisa

    I noticed that the last post about United Financial happened in October 2010, is there anymore recent news? I myself am a victim of this company’s bad business practices, and am still reaping the consequences of getting involved with them. From what i have learned, they have gone out of business and another company, American Debt Counseling, took over their remaining clients. ADC called me back in October or November 2010 saying that they were taking over and providing an email address to which i could send my request for a refund of that money. The email address was [email protected]. I contacted them immediately, i got an email back (from Sekenia Smith [email protected]), saying that all of the money that was still owed to my creditors would be electronically sent to them within 15 business days. I checked in with them after 10 business days because there were still no payments. Very cleverly they responded that they still had 5 days left, so i said fine. This was now December, but after another 5 days, nothing. After that i was not able to get a response at all no matter how many times and how many email addresses i tried. It is now April and i just got a call from a collection agency saying that i owe more money and my credit score has been affected. I have filed with the BBB, but even they can’t reach them. My next step is to file a complaint with the Florida attorney general. I hope to also speak with a reporter for a local tv station in the next few days. Is there anything else?

  • Lisa

    I noticed that the last post about United Financial happened in October 2010, is there anymore recent news? I myself am a victim of this company’s bad business practices, and am still reaping the consequences of getting involved with them. From what i have learned, they have gone out of business and another company, American Debt Counseling, took over their remaining clients. ADC called me back in October or November 2010 saying that they were taking over and providing an email address to which i could send my request for a refund of that money. The email address was [email protected]. I contacted them immediately, i got an email back (from Sekenia Smith [email protected]), saying that all of the money that was still owed to my creditors would be electronically sent to them within 15 business days. I checked in with them after 10 business days because there were still no payments. Very cleverly they responded that they still had 5 days left, so i said fine. This was now December, but after another 5 days, nothing. After that i was not able to get a response at all no matter how many times and how many email addresses i tried. It is now April and i just got a call from a collection agency saying that i owe more money and my credit score has been affected. I have filed with the BBB, but even they can’t reach them. My next step is to file a complaint with the Florida attorney general. I hope to also speak with a reporter for a local tv station in the next few days. Is there anything else?

    • Rble22

      Lisa – I am in the same exact situation as you. They missed 3 of my payments and said that my money will be reimbursed. This was happened approximately July 2010. And it is now April 2011!. So same thing, they told me it would take 15 business days for me to get my money back, and now it is April. I call every 2 weeks and they keep on giving me a different reason every single time. I have never asked to speak to the manager, but I am trying to do that as of now. These pass couple of weeks I have tried calling and no one picks up. I stay on for phone for 2 hours! I’m not even lying about that. Just yesterday and today I called early in the morning around 8:30 “Dallas time” and a lady picks up and says “You are speaking to the operator”. I try to talk to her and the only thing she says is that she is only the operator and she can not help. She tells me to call back at 11:00 am “Florida time”. I try calling back the time she told me to, and no answer!! Well actually they pick up and then disconnect me! Also, the operator that I spoke with sounds like the same lady that I always speak with “Anissa Foster”. So I will try to call back again and confront her and ask to speak with the manager. Lisa, I was thinking about taking legal actions, but the only reason that stops me is that I am not sure if any legal actions can be done. Why hasn’t there been anyone to take any legal actions to these crooks? Well can you please let me know the update of what you are doing. Please feel free to email me at [email protected]. Thank you Lisa, and I hope you do something to take this company down.

      • Brad

         I wrote the following email on other links a few minutes ago, which includes a letter from the Att Gen of FL saying UFS’s attorney & them have agreed on refunds to all clients by Aug 31, 2011!  not good enough!! Keep calling & DEMAND your refunds NOW!  here is a copy of what I wrote…
        GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!
        -brad k

        Hey there! I have STILL been having issues with contacting UFS (SURPRISE!!!?). I filed my complaints w/ FTC, BBB & the Att Gen of FL (all 2nd complaints w/in 6 months on UFS) and Att Gen office finally informed me that there is a Class Action Lawsuit against UFS & they informed me that if you file a complaint you are a part of that lawsuit.  Below is the email I received.  Of course, I have not heard one word from UFS in almost 3 weeks since that email was sent to me!  I have called the FL Att Gen office to complain that UFS does not return phone calls or emails and the thought of receiving a refund BEFORE August 2011 is highly doubtful.  I emailed UFS telling them I will NOT wait 4 months for a refund since they won’t even tell us what happened OR APOLOGIZE for anything and that their communication sucks.  IF anyone reading this is expecting a refund, write them/ email them, etc saying you want your refund issued within 10 business days or you will pursue more action. GIVE ‘EM HELL because they simply do not care.  Considering they took money from people across state lines and never applied it, that is a federal crime.  However, I am sure they will get off with a slap on the wrist, which is not ok with me. And if UFS contacts you for a refund, but throws in you have to sign some paperwork that protects them from you badmouthing them, do not sign it!! You have rights as consumers who were taken advantage of.Steve, do you have any more advice for us on this situation, or what we should expect  over this refund?  Also, as far as legal implications go, can we go after UFS for emotional distress, etc in that class action lawsuit.  I have stated with UFS that I merely want my $1100 refund AND for them to pay off my remaining balance, which to date is around $1300.  Not asking too much, is it?Thanks again, and please spread the below email around to others who may visit  asking what the current standing with UFS is.  Thanks!!Brad KFlorida Attorney General Pam Bondi received your email regarding yourconcerns with United Financial Systems. Attorney General Bondi asked thatI respond. I am sorry for your difficulties with this company.Attorney General Bondi is deeply concerned with potentially unfair anddeceptive trade practices that mislead consumers. By law, this officeexercises statutory authority to address unfair and deceptive businesspractices under Chapter 501, Part II, Florida Statutes, known as Florida’sUnfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Our office focuses itsenforcement efforts on business practices by companies which harmconsumers.The Attorney General’s Economic Crime Unit in Fort Lauderdale investigatedthe business practices of this company, and the company has agreed theywill make refunds to all consumers who have requested such no later thanAugust 31, 2011.I am attaching a copy of a letter from Assistant Attorney General TheresaEdwards to the company’s attorney in regard to the refunds. Pleasecontact the company directly to request a refund:United Financial Systems, Inc.1117 Banks RoadMargate, Florida 33063Telephone: (561) 883-2398)Fax: (561) 883-7302Email: [email protected] hope this proves helpful. Thank you for contacting Attorney GeneralBondi.Sincerely,Mark R. BriesemeisterEconomic Crimes DivisionOffice of Attorney GeneralFt. Lauderdale(954)[email protected]

  • UFS 550 BBB COMPLAINTS

    UNITED FINANCIAL UPDATE 550 BBB COMPLAINTS
    FAILURE TO RESPOND TO 223 COMP[LAINTS
    UNITED FINANCIAL SYSTEMS, INC.
    1117 BANKS RD, MARGATE, FL 33063-6702
    Phone 561-883-2398
    Complaints 16

    Print

    License Type License# Issued Expires Status
    Charitable Organization CH22168 12/21/06 12/21/10 -EXPIRED

    Complaint History 2008 2009 2010 2011
    Closed Satisfactory 0 0 0 15
    Closed Unsatisfactorily 0 0 0 1

    1

  • Phyllis Hilly

    I have had the exact same problem. They were 3 months behind in Aug. After several calls and emails I got a call from a person name Rami. Took a month of calls & emails with her and finally payments were made in September (4 payments). She said they upgraded their software in June and though their system showed payments were wired to creditors they didn’t go through. Yeah right ! Thought everything was ok. Well its not, no payments were made in October & November. Can’t get anyone on the phone and no response to emails. I too have the emails and phone records. I was never late when I paid the credit cards on my own!!!

  • Guest

    Put a stop payment through your bank. That’s what I did. It cost $29, but well worth it.

  • Professorklez

    I had the same issues as all the others posting here. I followed your advice in sending a letter via certified mail. I received the undisbursed funds and deposit back. All this after months of back and forth, lame answers, some lies and now, a closed bank account and the grief of starting over with someone else. This is less than satisfactory, but at least I left no money on the table. UFS sucks–get out as fast as you can!

  • Professorklez

    I had the same issues as all the others posting here. I followed your advice in sending a letter via certified mail. I received the undisbursed funds and deposit back. All this after months of back and forth, lame answers, some lies and now, a closed bank account and the grief of starting over with someone else. This is less than satisfactory, but at least I left no money on the table. UFS sucks–get out as fast as you can!

  • Wendy

    What would you suggest people do to ensure that UFS stops withdrawing from bank accounts?

  • Wendy

    What would you suggest people do to ensure that UFS stops withdrawing from bank accounts?

    • Guest

      Put a stop payment through your bank. That’s what I did. It cost $29, but well worth it.

  • KARI1813

    ALSO GET YOUR DEPOSIT BACK TO!!IVE GOTTEN HALF AND WAS PROMISED IN A LETTER IT ALL!!

  • KARI1813

    OMG!!I HAD NO PAYMENTS POSTED TO MY CREDITORS FOR THE WHOLE YEARS MONTHS AT A TIME!THEY COMPLETELY WRECKED MY GOOD CREDIT!!!!!!!!THEY OWE ME 400.00 AND HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR 2 MONTHS FOR IT!SUPPOSEBLY IN THE MAIL!IM BEYOND MAD!I COULD GO ON FOR A LONG TIME!!SWITCHED OUT IN SEPT THANK GOD!!BUT THEY STILL OWE ME!!CANT GET THROUGH ANYMORE THEY JUST DONT ANSWER!!WHAT TO DO?????????KARI MITCHELL

  • KARI1813

    OMG!!I HAD NO PAYMENTS POSTED TO MY CREDITORS FOR THE WHOLE YEARS MONTHS AT A TIME!THEY COMPLETELY WRECKED MY GOOD CREDIT!!!!!!!!THEY OWE ME 400.00 AND HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR 2 MONTHS FOR IT!SUPPOSEBLY IN THE MAIL!IM BEYOND MAD!I COULD GO ON FOR A LONG TIME!!SWITCHED OUT IN SEPT THANK GOD!!BUT THEY STILL OWE ME!!CANT GET THROUGH ANYMORE THEY JUST DONT ANSWER!!WHAT TO DO?????????KARI MITCHELL

  • Shocklsg

    I have had, and am having the same problems with UFS. I can never get through to anyone over the phone. I have been calling multiple times a day and get sent directly to their voice mail which is always full. I managed to leave a message 2 weeks ago and was never called back. They have failed to make payments to creditors on time, several times over the last 3 years. In 2010 they have were late in May, July, Sept and Oct of this year. For these months, the payments were not sent to my creditors until I emailed their customer service manager, Jamie Lyons. They still have not made my payments for October, and I have emailed J. Lyons several times over the last 3 weeks. It usually takes 2 or 3 days to reply, if I get one at all. In September, when I emailed her about my late September payment, she said that my October payment would post by 10/13. The payments had not been made a week after the 13th, so I emailed her again and she said that she would make sure they post to my accounts within 3 business days. A week later, there were still no payments. Then, another email from me, and another promise to have it to my creditors within 3 days. It’s now Nov 10th, and still no payments to my creditors. I am fed up with UFS and constantly having to worry whether my credit cards are being paid. Last Thursday, I have sent them an email requesting they terminate my program and refund my September and October payments($1100) which they have drafted from of my bank account, and not sent any of it to my creditors. I have not received a response from J. Lyons. I have the credit card and email records to substantiate these claims, and am looking into what I can do to get my money back before they skip town.

  • Steve Rhode

    A tipster sent me the following link on UFS. I am simply reposting the link and reported information here and have no other knowledge about it. But if anyone can confirm if this sounds like the service you’ve received, please comment.

    Insider report

    SUBMITTED: Friday, January 09, 2009 POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009
    I am an ex-employee of United Financial Systems. The reason I am posting on this website is to make the general public aware of how this company works. I’ve worked for United Financial Systems for about a year and I have left there disgusted by how they treat their customers and employees. There are two sides to the company; sales (enrollment) and customer service. I worked in the customer service area, so I am really familiar with both the customer satisfaction, or lack thereof, and the company’s policies.

    First off, before a customer would even be allowed to talk to a customer service rep, they would have to be connected to enrollment. The reason being is because the customer service reps are the ones who “clean up” the mess of customer disgust and frustration after the enrollment agents get done selling the program to them, which is basically the agent lying about every detail of the program. The reason they are allowed to do this is for many, but the main 3 being: 1. Once they debit a customers account, by contract, the first payment is often times held until “successful completion”, meaning cancellation forfeits the first debit, which is usually on average between $500-$1000. So after 2 weeks to a month, when the customer is being bombarded by collection calls, when they see no payments posting with the creditors, when they are being taken to court because one of the agents didn’t clearly explain that once a card is charged off, there are no benefits of having it on the program, they call customer service to cancel, but then there’s that little part in their contract (that usually is not gone over while being enrolled) that states if they cancel they loose their first payment). That’s where customer service cleans up enrollments mess. At that point either 2 things happen: 1. the customer is forced to stay in the program and swallow down their pride and frustration or 2. they say “BBB”. Those my friends, are the magic words at United Financial Systems, “BBB”. If you say those words and mean them it cripples United Financial

    into submission. Usually they end up giving only part of the first payment back, but it works. If someone really tried hard enough with a possible BBB complaint there is no doubt in my mind that they could surely get their whole first payment back.

    Now in regards to what I mentioned above, there are some clients who are not set up on a “cash back award”. Those clients DO NOT forfeit payment if they cancel, but they loose the bank fee that comes with the debit. Also if they money has already gone out to the creditor, it is too late to refund the check. If we they can refund the payment, it will be returned to the client via snail mail. Now, you think we’ll that might take at most 3 business days to arrive? I would think so! but that’s not the case. Often times when there is a refund going out or a cash back award check, it doesn’t go out at all! What ends up happening is the client calls in after about 2 weeks of waiting and calling cust service, and then FINALLY gets to talk to Jaime Lyons (office manager) or a rep that has spoken to Jaime, The client is then informed the check will go out right away. After about 3 days of waiting the client will call back with no check in hand, they will often times speak with Jaime directly ( and for the clients out there who request a manager and don’t get one, or get voicemail, it is because Jaime YELLS at her own reps for simply informing her there is a client on the phone concerned about their refund, so the cust service reps have some sort of sick fear instilled by Jaime, so clients, don’t take things out on reps all the time! it is not their fault sometimes!) Jaime then says “oh, I don’t know what happened, but I will fed-ex it overnight right away, like she is doing them some kind of favor, it is sick to me. And then the clients usually get their refund, but the process is frustrating to say the least.

    Now, if a customer files a BBB complaint, Jaime(office manager) has to tell Christopher Boulahanis (owner), he usually throws stuff against the way and yells curse words and nasty language that can be heard throughout the office. Jaime pretends to cry and usually fires an innocent customer service rep; blaming the BBB complaint on them, when it is usually caused by managers not wanting to take Supervisor calls, or by cash back award checks not being received when promised by Jaime Lyons. again, I have never experienced such behavior while working for a company.

    Lets move on. Now, once a person is in the program, if they can get past the first month without problems(which is rare) then it should be smooth sailing, right? HA! Not even close. Now all debt management programs work the same exact way. The debt management company has to send out a “proposal” (which is basically a sheet saying “we are a debt management company, we will offer X amount of dollars a month”) to the creditors. The enrollment agents often times neglect to explain that part of the program to the clients, and never explain that it TAKES 30-60 days for a response to the proposal! and get this, THEY CAN DECLINE IT! If a creditor declines the proposal (which happens ALL the time because the enrollment agents UNDER QUOTE the clients monthly payment, so it seems smaller to the client!) , so if a creditor declines a proposal it takes ANOTHER 30-60 days to hear back from them, but get this; If UFS receives a declined proposal from the creditor, they usually DO NOT inform the client of it, so it sits there and sits there and sits there until one of two things happen: 1. The client calls in (which is usually the case) upset because the creditors are calling them and are advising they haven’t received a new proposal or 2. The creditor sends the client a letter in the mail, causing them to call in and say “whats going on”.

    There’s even more! I know it is a lot!

    OK. SO, after the proposal process, which takes a bit of a long time if you have been reading, the customer should be set up, ready to go, no problems, smooth sailing, right again? WRONG! United Financial has to make their money, keep the lights on too, right? But how do they do that if they are non-profit? Well, there is “fair-share”, which is something that NO ONE is allowed to talk about to the clients. Fair-share is “kick back” UFS gets from the creidtors, lets say a monthly payment to a creditor is $30, well, we tell clients all $30 goes to the creditor, it even posts as $30, but what you dont know is that $5 of that is going into UFS’s pocket. Imagine that small amount happening on thousdands of accounts a month! we’ll you get the picture. Anyway, Once United Financial Systems debits a customers account, they say the funds take 3 business days to clear. After the 3 business days they tell ALL clients the payments go out RIGHT AWAY and takes 7-10 business days to post, which comes out to about 15 normal days. For the last 5 months of working at United Financial Systems the payments were taking OVER 30 DAYS TO POST! There is many many many things wrong with this. 1. Once a payment goes out electronically ( thats how most payments to creditors are set up) it only takes 3 business days to post (note: I am stating this based on knowledge given to me by creditors directly stating to me that elec debt management payments should not take 3 business days to post, and if there is a problem with elec payment they say they need to be informed of it). But where does the money sit for the 7-10 business days it normally takes?, or the 30 days it has been taking? I don’t feel I need to elaborate, I think by now you get the idea. How does UFS get away with this you ask? They train customer service reps to lie. I know, its a shock, and its wrong, but hey, we need to keep our own lights on too. Even though it is blatantly obvious that there is something wrong, we are told to say “there was an issue with the electronic payments” or ” I don’t know why the creditors haven’t posted the payments yet”, yet we use to be allowed to call UFS’s accounting department to ask days after we tell the client the payment went out, if the payment actually went out , because when it does go out it takes 2-3 days to post. So while United Financial Systems is lying about their clients money, the customer receives a nice letter in the mail “We are sorry to inform you that you have been removed from the Debt program due to missed payments. Your interest rate will go back to the default..ect”… dropped from the program, for what? really, for what? You made your payments on time, you cared about your credit, now its ruined, for what? It makes me sick.

    People have the right to know who they are dealing with!

    Thank you for reading.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    A tipster sent me the following link on UFS. I am simply reposting the link and reported information here and have no other knowledge about it. But if anyone can confirm if this sounds like the service you’ve received, please comment.Insider reportSUBMITTED: Friday, January 09, 2009 POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009I am an ex-employee of United Financial Systems. The reason I am posting on this website is to make the general public aware of how this company works. I’ve worked for United Financial Systems for about a year and I have left there disgusted by how they treat their customers and employees. There are two sides to the company; sales (enrollment) and customer service. I worked in the customer service area, so I am really familiar with both the customer satisfaction, or lack thereof, and the company’s policies.First off, before a customer would even be allowed to talk to a customer service rep, they would have to be connected to enrollment. The reason being is because the customer service reps are the ones who “clean up” the mess of customer disgust and frustration after the enrollment agents get done selling the program to them, which is basically the agent lying about every detail of the program. The reason they are allowed to do this is for many, but the main 3 being: 1. Once they debit a customers account, by contract, the first payment is often times held until “successful completion”, meaning cancellation forfeits the first debit, which is usually on average between $500-$1000. So after 2 weeks to a month, when the customer is being bombarded by collection calls, when they see no payments posting with the creditors, when they are being taken to court because one of the agents didn’t clearly explain that once a card is charged off, there are no benefits of having it on the program, they call customer service to cancel, but then there’s that little part in their contract (that usually is not gone over while being enrolled) that states if they cancel they loose their first payment). That’s where customer service cleans up enrollments mess. At that point either 2 things happen: 1. the customer is forced to stay in the program and swallow down their pride and frustration or 2. they say “BBB”. Those my friends, are the magic words at United Financial Systems, “BBB”. If you say those words and mean them it cripples United Financialinto submission. Usually they end up giving only part of the first payment back, but it works. If someone really tried hard enough with a possible BBB complaint there is no doubt in my mind that they could surely get their whole first payment back.Now in regards to what I mentioned above, there are some clients who are not set up on a “cash back award”. Those clients DO NOT forfeit payment if they cancel, but they loose the bank fee that comes with the debit. Also if they money has already gone out to the creditor, it is too late to refund the check. If we they can refund the payment, it will be returned to the client via snail mail. Now, you think we’ll that might take at most 3 business days to arrive? I would think so! but that’s not the case. Often times when there is a refund going out or a cash back award check, it doesn’t go out at all! What ends up happening is the client calls in after about 2 weeks of waiting and calling cust service, and then FINALLY gets to talk to Jaime Lyons (office manager) or a rep that has spoken to Jaime, The client is then informed the check will go out right away. After about 3 days of waiting the client will call back with no check in hand, they will often times speak with Jaime directly ( and for the clients out there who request a manager and don’t get one, or get voicemail, it is because Jaime YELLS at her own reps for simply informing her there is a client on the phone concerned about their refund, so the cust service reps have some sort of sick fear instilled by Jaime, so clients, don’t take things out on reps all the time! it is not their fault sometimes!) Jaime then says “oh, I don’t know what happened, but I will fed-ex it overnight right away, like she is doing them some kind of favor, it is sick to me. And then the clients usually get their refund, but the process is frustrating to say the least.Now, if a customer files a BBB complaint, Jaime(office manager) has to tell Christopher Boulahanis (owner), he usually throws stuff against the way and yells curse words and nasty language that can be heard throughout the office. Jaime pretends to cry and usually fires an innocent customer service rep; blaming the BBB complaint on them, when it is usually caused by managers not wanting to take Supervisor calls, or by cash back award checks not being received when promised by Jaime Lyons. again, I have never experienced such behavior while working for a company.Lets move on. Now, once a person is in the program, if they can get past the first month without problems(which is rare) then it should be smooth sailing, right? HA! Not even close. Now all debt management programs work the same exact way. The debt management company has to send out a “proposal” (which is basically a sheet saying “we are a debt management company, we will offer X amount of dollars a month”) to the creditors. The enrollment agents often times neglect to explain that part of the program to the clients, and never explain that it TAKES 30-60 days for a response to the proposal! and get this, THEY CAN DECLINE IT! If a creditor declines the proposal (which happens ALL the time because the enrollment agents UNDER QUOTE the clients monthly payment, so it seems smaller to the client!) , so if a creditor declines a proposal it takes ANOTHER 30-60 days to hear back from them, but get this; If UFS receives a declined proposal from the creditor, they usually DO NOT inform the client of it, so it sits there and sits there and sits there until one of two things happen: 1. The client calls in (which is usually the case) upset because the creditors are calling them and are advising they haven’t received a new proposal or 2. The creditor sends the client a letter in the mail, causing them to call in and say “whats going on”.There’s even more! I know it is a lot!OK. SO, after the proposal process, which takes a bit of a long time if you have been reading, the customer should be set up, ready to go, no problems, smooth sailing, right again? WRONG! United Financial has to make their money, keep the lights on too, right? But how do they do that if they are non-profit? Well, there is “fair-share”, which is something that NO ONE is allowed to talk about to the clients. Fair-share is “kick back” UFS gets from the creidtors, lets say a monthly payment to a creditor is $30, well, we tell clients all $30 goes to the creditor, it even posts as $30, but what you dont know is that $5 of that is going into UFS’s pocket. Imagine that small amount happening on thousdands of accounts a month! we’ll you get the picture. Anyway, Once United Financial Systems debits a customers account, they say the funds take 3 business days to clear. After the 3 business days they tell ALL clients the payments go out RIGHT AWAY and takes 7-10 business days to post, which comes out to about 15 normal days. For the last 5 months of working at United Financial Systems the payments were taking OVER 30 DAYS TO POST! There is many many many things wrong with this. 1. Once a payment goes out electronically ( thats how most payments to creditors are set up) it only takes 3 business days to post (note: I am stating this based on knowledge given to me by creditors directly stating to me that elec debt management payments should not take 3 business days to post, and if there is a problem with elec payment they say they need to be informed of it). But where does the money sit for the 7-10 business days it normally takes?, or the 30 days it has been taking? I don’t feel I need to elaborate, I think by now you get the idea. How does UFS get away with this you ask? They train customer service reps to lie. I know, its a shock, and its wrong, but hey, we need to keep our own lights on too. Even though it is blatantly obvious that there is something wrong, we are told to say “there was an issue with the electronic payments” or ” I don’t know why the creditors haven’t posted the payments yet”, yet we use to be allowed to call UFS’s accounting department to ask days after we tell the client the payment went out, if the payment actually went out , because when it does go out it takes 2-3 days to post. So while United Financial Systems is lying about their clients money, the customer receives a nice letter in the mail “We are sorry to inform you that you have been removed from the Debt program due to missed payments. Your interest rate will go back to the default..ect”… dropped from the program, for what? really, for what? You made your payments on time, you cared about your credit, now its ruined, for what? It makes me sick.People have the right to know who they are dealing with!Thank you for reading.

    • Shocklsg

      I have had, and am having the same problems with UFS. I can never get through to anyone over the phone. I have been calling multiple times a day and get sent directly to their voice mail which is always full. I managed to leave a message 2 weeks ago and was never called back. They have failed to make payments to creditors on time, several times over the last 3 years. In 2010 they have were late in May, July, Sept and Oct of this year. For these months, the payments were not sent to my creditors until I emailed their customer service manager, Jamie Lyons. They still have not made my payments for October, and I have emailed J. Lyons several times over the last 3 weeks. It usually takes 2 or 3 days to reply, if I get one at all. In September, when I emailed her about my late September payment, she said that my October payment would post by 10/13. The payments had not been made a week after the 13th, so I emailed her again and she said that she would make sure they post to my accounts within 3 business days. A week later, there were still no payments. Then, another email from me, and another promise to have it to my creditors within 3 days. It’s now Nov 10th, and still no payments to my creditors. I am fed up with UFS and constantly having to worry whether my credit cards are being paid. Last Thursday, I have sent them an email requesting they terminate my program and refund my September and October payments($1100) which they have drafted from of my bank account, and not sent any of it to my creditors. I have not received a response from J. Lyons. I have the credit card and email records to substantiate these claims, and am looking into what I can do to get my money back before they skip town.

      • Phyllis Hilly

        I have had the exact same problem. They were 3 months behind in Aug. After several calls and emails I got a call from a person name Rami. Took a month of calls & emails with her and finally payments were made in September (4 payments). She said they upgraded their software in June and though their system showed payments were wired to creditors they didn’t go through. Yeah right ! Thought everything was ok. Well its not, no payments were made in October & November. Can’t get anyone on the phone and no response to emails. I too have the emails and phone records. I was never late when I paid the credit cards on my own!!!

  • Steve Rhode

    If you look on the right hand side of the site you’ll see a link to a guide I wrote on how to get a refund from a debt relief company.

    Keep us posted if you learn more.

  • Mary

    First of all, I would like to thank Steve for some insight about United Financial Systems. I finally got some possible answers as to why this company has not responded to my inquiries since September. Like many other United Financial System clinents, payments have not been distributed to my creditors for the past 2 months. And this is NOT the first time it has happened, more like the 3rd time this year for me. I have been contacting them through emails and phones, and all have failed. Now, if you call the company, the phone doesn’t even work. I have taken actions myself and contacted all my creditors to resolve this issue for now.

    The question for Steve, how do I get my money back? The 2 payments that were automatically withdrawn by United Financials System that were not distributed to my creditors?? Any ideas or suggestions?

  • Mary

    First of all, I would like to thank Steve for some insight about United Financial Systems. I finally got some possible answers as to why this company has not responded to my inquiries since September. Like many other United Financial System clinents, payments have not been distributed to my creditors for the past 2 months. And this is NOT the first time it has happened, more like the 3rd time this year for me. I have been contacting them through emails and phones, and all have failed. Now, if you call the company, the phone doesn’t even work. I have taken actions myself and contacted all my creditors to resolve this issue for now.

    The question for Steve, how do I get my money back? The 2 payments that were automatically withdrawn by United Financials System that were not distributed to my creditors?? Any ideas or suggestions?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      If you look on the right hand side of the site you’ll see a link to a guide I wrote on how to get a refund from a debt relief company.

      Keep us posted if you learn more.

    • KARI1813

      ALSO GET YOUR DEPOSIT BACK TO!!IVE GOTTEN HALF AND WAS PROMISED IN A LETTER IT ALL!!

  • Steve Rhode

    The bigger problem in this specific case is the company spiraling down and is already not making payments to creditors. That’s a fact. If consumers don’t act fast at this point they may have larger issues with those creditors.

    Let’s see, stick with a company you can’t get through to, doesn’t promptly respond, isn’t posting payments, or run for the hills.

    And for the record, I don’t get paid for “credit counseling leads.” All my relationships and terms are specified in the site terms for everybody to read.

    You will find a lot of information and stories about debt relief companies on the site. And the reason, this is a site about debt relief, both for consumers and for the industry.

    I looked at that link you included and that’s not what the site traffic looks like at all. As they said, “SITE NOT QUANTIFIED. DATA IS ESTIMATED.” The other reason why my site traffic will grow over time is because if I do a good job with reporting and helping, people will tell others.

    The information comes from numerous consumers that use the UFS program and have complained of similar and growing issues over time. This was not a one-time or momentary issue.

    Bottom line, if I have disappointed you, devalued myself in your eyes, or you don’t like what I have to say, then please don’t read the site.

  • Nospam

    i don’t disagree with that, i am disagreeing with the capitalization of that information, you took it so it can earn more money for you, a financial gain. Its probably good for them and good for you, but with your influence you knew people would get scared and sign up, your revenue on that page probably went up so you won and the consumers supposedly won. a non profit 501 c 3 is a lot different these days, the consumers risk is that a payment doesnt go out, but changing companies can cause creditors to not honor some of their current deals, like citibank might not give the same apr reduction because they changed their rules, and you know that. But the best set is to get out of there now and sign up here to protect yourself

    I just call in to question how that makes you look and also the liability you can incur if that info was false or fabricated, was $100 in leads or clicks worth devaluing yourself? Is there always an underlying theme to earn money? or do you really want to help? or is it both? I see your focus on seo and social media and you rank well for a lot of the companies you target, are you just capitalizing on these companies? Your traffic has been up since your “exposing” posts started happening http://www.quantcast.com/getou

  • Steve Rhode

    What I see are people that are in a terrible situation, could benefit
    from my advice and experience and need a reliable place to go. At this
    point almost anywhere else would be more reliable.

    Steve

  • Nospam

    i said what could be false information. Just dont want to see you get sued and have to declare bankruptcy again, thought you were smarter than that but i guess i was wrong. Do you not see the argument that can be made?

  • Steve Rhode

    What information is false?

  • Nospam

    I think some attorney can argue that you use your influence to poach consumers from one company to sign up for another for your own personal gain, by using what could be false information to enrich yourself.

  • Nospam

    I think some attorney can argue that you use your influence to poach consumers from one company to sign up for another for your own personal gain, by using what could be false information to enrich yourself.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      What information is false?

      • Nospam

        i said what could be false information. Just dont want to see you get sued and have to declare bankruptcy again, thought you were smarter than that but i guess i was wrong. Do you not see the argument that can be made?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        What I see are people that are in a terrible situation, could benefit
        from my advice and experience and need a reliable place to go. At this
        point almost anywhere else would be more reliable.

        Steve

      • Nospam

        i don’t disagree with that, i am disagreeing with the capitalization of that information, you took it so it can earn more money for you, a financial gain. Its probably good for them and good for you, but with your influence you knew people would get scared and sign up, your revenue on that page probably went up so you won and the consumers supposedly won. a non profit 501 c 3 is a lot different these days, the consumers risk is that a payment doesnt go out, but changing companies can cause creditors to not honor some of their current deals, like citibank might not give the same apr reduction because they changed their rules, and you know that. But the best set is to get out of there now and sign up here to protect yourself

        I just call in to question how that makes you look and also the liability you can incur if that info was false or fabricated, was $100 in leads or clicks worth devaluing yourself? Is there always an underlying theme to earn money? or do you really want to help? or is it both? I see your focus on seo and social media and you rank well for a lot of the companies you target, are you just capitalizing on these companies? Your traffic has been up since your “exposing” posts started happening http://www.quantcast.com/getoutofdebt.org#summary

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        The bigger problem in this specific case is the company spiraling down and is already not making payments to creditors. That’s a fact. If consumers don’t act fast at this point they may have larger issues with those creditors.

        Let’s see, stick with a company you can’t get through to, doesn’t promptly respond, isn’t posting payments, or run for the hills.

        And for the record, I don’t get paid for “credit counseling leads.” All my relationships and terms are specified in the site terms for everybody to read.

        You will find a lot of information and stories about debt relief companies on the site. And the reason, this is a site about debt relief, both for consumers and for the industry.

        I looked at that link you included and that’s not what the site traffic looks like at all. As they said, “SITE NOT QUANTIFIED. DATA IS ESTIMATED.” The other reason why my site traffic will grow over time is because if I do a good job with reporting and helping, people will tell others.

        The information comes from numerous consumers that use the UFS program and have complained of similar and growing issues over time. This was not a one-time or momentary issue.

        Bottom line, if I have disappointed you, devalued myself in your eyes, or you don’t like what I have to say, then please don’t read the site.

  • Steve Rhode

    You can find information on all site relationships, here. Would you prefer I not warn people?

  • Nospam

    wow, do you get paid for the lead collection form on your site?

  • Nospam

    wow, do you get paid for the lead collection form on your site?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      You can find information on all site relationships, here. Would you prefer I not warn people?

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