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Do You Have 12 Minutes of Your Life to Waste? Watch MLM Marketing Pitch by 1st Choice Family Solutions.

A tipster (send in your tips here) sent in this video and said:

Settlement, loan mod and credit repair all in one pyramid scheme.

I’ll let you watch the video below and make your own decision on the statement the tipster (send in your tips here) made. But 1st Choice Family Solutions says in their video they have an excellent BBB rating but the BBB says they have no rating. – Source. What makes it stranger is the company says they are located in Texas but the BBB lists them in Hawaii.

For those in the know about debt relief regulations, I think when you watch the section on credit repair you will see it potentially wanders way into trouble.

There is certainly a lot of room in America for people to have an opportunity to start their own business doing anything they want. My concern with this “business opportunity” is it paints an incorrect picture of the income available without focusing on the many legal pitfalls and issues surrounding the sale of debt relief services. I’m afraid someone will wander into this “opportunity” without being aware of the intense scrutiny they will face and the massive fines and legal penalties they may incur when they break the law offering some of the services as explained.

[quicktime]http://getoutofdebt.org/wp-content/uploads/1stchoicefamilysolutions.mov[/quicktime]

And yes, you too can become rich.

Do You Have 12 Minutes of Your Life to Waste? Watch MLM Marketing Pitch by 1st Choice Family Solutions.

1st Choice Family offers a wide array of services from…
Mortgage Modifications
Foreclosure Prevention
Debt Settlement
Credit Repair
Debt Reduction Solutions
Online Shopping Solutions
Insurance
Annuities and more!

Do You Have 12 Minutes of Your Life to Waste? Watch MLM Marketing Pitch by 1st Choice Family Solutions.
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I can always use your help. If you have a tip or information you want to share, you can get it to me confidentially if you click here.

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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.
  • Steve Rhode

    I think Observer raised a number of excellent points so I’m not going to cover the same ground again and look forward to your answers to those questions.

    But I thought it would be valuable to discuss some of the risks associated with debt validation as an example.

    Just recently, on 9-24-2010, the defendants in a debt validation suit filed by Capital One and Carefree Debt, CDI, Federal Debt Relief, Credit Collection Defense Network, Elizabeth Salazar, and Suzan Azeredo lost a judgment by Capital One for their debt validation debt relief approach and now owe $3,870,632.64.

    Capital One alleged in the original complaint that the defendants’ used internet and other advertising to attract consumers with debt problems to participate in a debt validation program intended to reduce their debt.

    Despite the defendants’ claims they could reduce or eliminate consumer debt, some customers still were forced to file bankruptcy to remedy their debt situation.

    Now I’m not saying a massive judgment like that will happen in your situation but for those of us experienced in consumer debt issues, we know enough to stay as far away as possible from even suggesting debt validation is a viable solution to problem consumer debt. There have been enough recent cases such as Hess Kennedy and The Credit Card Solution, that pushing debt validation as a way to eliminate debt is clearly problem territory. By the way, both CCDN and Hess Kennedy were attorney based systems that were shut down. Laura Hess was disbarred and CCDN’s Robert Locke, Esq action to be disbarred is moving ahead. See this story.

    The most important issue is that the FTC views every member of the debt relief service from lead generator, agent, agent’s company to debt relief company, as part of the guilty chain if any member in that chain is found to have broken the law. I worry your naive agents attracted by a business opportunity will become victims in tough regulator actions coming.

    Fines for individual citations of breaking the telemarketing sales rules for debt relief services are $16,000 per occurrence.

    Promoters of debt relief services, including your agents and representatives may need to be state licensed and bonded and even in some states hold a telemarketing license to be able to sell debt relief services legally.

    So, just as an example, what states are you and your agents licensed and bonded in to promote debt relief services and if you are claiming you are exempt, what is the exemption in the individual state you are claiming? Almost every state has different rules.

    What is your Florida telemarketing license number? Not having a telemarketing license can lead to a lot of trouble as well. See this story were unlicensed telemarketers were each charged with a felony.

    Selling and promoting debt relief services is a serious business with many lethal problem areas. I just worry that you are promoting a business opportunity to others without being knowledgeable about what the true risks and liabilities are. Merely depending on what others that want you to sell their services have assured you.

    Just as an FYI, regulators are on the lookout for “forensic audit” companies since so many of them have turned out to be a scam. See “Forensic Loan Audits and Foreclosure Rescue Companies are a Scam Says California Attorney General.”

    If you have not done so already I urge you to watch the following two videos in full to learn what regulators are watching for and what lands people in hot water.

    I would suggest you watch “Video of Session on the Telemarketing Sales Rule With Allison Brown, FTC” and “Video of Session on How to Deal With State Regulators With Lynne Weaver, Assistant Attorney General, NC.”

    Steve

  • Observer

    Bronson, this is a very well written comment. I applaud your level approach. I am responding with my interpretation of what you wrote while posing additional questions and concerns.

    Your comment states plainly that your company does not actually provide a service, but that people should trust you to have researched the best companies to help them through whatever financially ails them. My observation of those operating in the debt relief space in the way you describe, is that most “solution companies” research consists of finding service providers who will pay out the highest commission to the “lead provider”. I do see 1st Choice as more of a lead provider than a solution provider. No, not the typical lead provider, offering form fills and live transfers for 25.00 to 75.00, but a more finely tuned provider who takes a typical lead, who then hones and sculpts the lead into a paying client. More of a “closing” company really. In this way, you are providing “substantial assistance” to a debt relief service provider you connect your leads with. You state in your comment that you will not respond to threats about the FTC. I do not see a threat from anyone. What I see are others comments that are warning you that you can now be held to account and just as liable for unfair and deceptive acts as the service providers you refer consumers to. You, and those who team up and market with you, have exposure.

    Your comment states “By staying out of the servicing end of things, we can remain impartial and nimble”. This is dangerous. You cannot truly evaluate the efficacy of the service provider’s claims and successes helping consumers. You are not inside the providers operations. You only know what you are told. How have you assured yourself, your marketing team and the end consumer that the service providers do what they say, and get the results that they claim? If you have never operated as a service provider of the myriad of products you represent, you lack hands on experience and the ability to best evaluate. You have sales experience, of that I am sure, but what stringent tests have you taken your service providers through to assure maximum success ratios with consumers you refer to them? Also, in no way should you claim impartiality as you have here. You are paid for referring consumers to your vendors. There is an army of sales affiliates in the debt relief space who make similar claims of impartiality. It’s simply not true. Will First Choice refer to a non vendor where they do not get paid? Perhaps, but with enough frequency to be defined as impartial? I am skeptical.

    What does your ability to remain nimble mean to the end consumer? Does it mean something like this:

    You promote a vendor as the best thing ever to a consumer and later find that not to be the case. You then switch vendors and refer new consumers to them representing that they are now the best thing ever, until you learn differently, then switch vendors etc…. What does this mean to the people who you connected to less than beneficial services? Not much. Before you say “that’s nice Observer, but the public should know that’s not us”, the public should know that there are far too many examples of what I just outlined that can be shown to work just like this in the debt relief vertical.

    To support my observation here, I will quote your comment where you say “we can cut them and move to the top of our research list and negotiate an arrangement with them as a replacement”. I read your comment here as a sales pro talking to other sales pros, not as someone concerned for the well being of the consumer you are selling to.

    When you stated “innovation is necessary in our current market”, did you mean innovation is needed to be involved in sales in the current climate, or innovators as service providers are needed?

    Your pay plan involving multiple levels, 2 or 3 tier, mentoring, Australian 2 or 3 up, network marketing type stuff, sounds more like hand holding for marketers than hand holding for customers.

    Allow me to accentuate my earlier point about you only knowing what you are told by service providers.

    You state “Debt validation, debt resolution, and debt settlement were explained to us in detail by a few of our service partners” and “It’s my understanding” and “That makes sense to me”. Of your entire comment, the paragraph containing these quotes finds you with the least firm footing. So much so, that I would suggest it may lead to no footing whatsoever. The fact that your company refers to a service provider who markets “debt validation” or “debt invalidation” as a means of debt relief, and that you rely upon their representations so easily, suggests that you have not researched enough to know that this approach has more than a decade’s history of being more problematic for consumers who try it, than beneficial.

    Bronson, you took the time to put together a very well thought out and level headed comment. In my opinion, if you do not want that effort to go to waste, you should comment with who your debt validation/invalidator service provider is. If it’s a stand up firm, you will not mind doing so. If it is an “innovator” with results, you will be able to grow your sales. Even if it is a regurgitation of failed processes operated by people who should know better, you will benefit, as there are many experienced people who read this site who will be able to weigh in and provide you research for free. This will ultimately lead to you improving your company and the experience of all who come to know it.

    I hope that you view my comment as from someone who wants to help you be a success. You are onto something with how you are structuring your efforts.

  • Wbronson

    Very interesting indeed.
    As, over the past week we’ve been extremely busy helping families.
    But, I will attempt to answer some of your questions. I’m not going to be defensive here, because much of what I’m answering seems to be loaded questions with preconceived ideas embedded in them.
    But here goes.
    1st Choice Family Solutions is just that. A solutions company. We have interviewed and done our research on many service organizations nationwide, and have placed them on a scoring system.
    My concept of taking a person from a crisis situation, getting them back on their feet, helping them establish a firm foundation financially, learn how to get out of debt and stay out of debt, then with investment options to further their prosperity, mandates that we seek out professional organizations, who are quite good at what they do, and who agree to my terms.
    My terms vary widely, but all center around fairness to the client. I try to minimize the hassles, streamline the application process, and, if possible, arrange for payment plans or no fee up front. I want clients to know they will get what they need before they commit to paying for it, if at all possible.
    Our company is a sales and marketing management company and we do not service clients directly. We have a mechanism for spreading the word about how our suite of programs can help people in many different ways. By staying out of the servicing end of things, we can remain impartial and nimble. If a service company fails to live up to our standards, we can cut them and move to the top of our research list and negotiate an arrangement with them as a replacement.
    I don’t see anything like a scam about that. We do not have a traditional model, I understand. But innovation is necessary in our current market.
    The pay plan is basically 2 levels. We do mandate 3 training sales, and the extra override to their mentor for the extra help on these first 3. Then we have a sales level. We then have a management level for those who deserve it and can help take the quality control load off our main staff.
    Our service partners deal directly with the client and we help when needed.
    As you can probably guess, our programs deal with a highly emotional set of circumstances, so a little extra hand-holding can be very beneficial.
    We have no BBB rating because we are not members of the BBB and have no outstanding complaints. We never ignore any complaints because we’re not a top heavy big corporation. We’re a family owned marketing company, trying to help as many families as possible, and make a living doing it.
    We do not have the luxury, nor do any of our representatives, of doing this for free. Personally, I do not feel that government funded, or donation funded services can do the job as good as a company with an adequate budget. A highly trained staff is necessary.

    One of our main offerings is a mortgage modification program which handles a variety of workout options. The client is not charged up front. The client is only charged when all of the initial work is done, all documents gathered and reviewed, a complete and correct package submitted to the bank, and after the bank accepts the case as firmly preapproved.
    Once this is confirmed, the client is charged between $1695 and $2995 depending on how many loans they have and if they are in a lower income area. The retail fee starts at $2495, but when a clients regular payments are lower, we offer a discount so that the fee is close to 2 regular payments. We’ve gotten clients from application to a final permanent modification in less than 60 days, so our service partner works extremely hard to get these clients on the right track quickly.

    We feel this is fair to the client and the company. A win-win situation.

    Debt validation, debt resolution, and debt settlement were explained to us in detail by a few of our service partners. We are in the process of reworking that section of our public website, to make sure everything is up to speed with new legislation. It’s my understanding that an attorney can challenge the validity of a debt based on the debt collections practices laws in different states, or federally. These attorneys explained that they call it debt resolution or debt validation because they don’t attempt to settle the debt until after they’ve attempted to invalidate it. That makes sense to me. It’s their wording for marketing their service.
    The term is different than debt settlement, but debt settlement is done, after the attempts to invalidate or challenges to the debt’s validity. That may be why it seems a contradiction.
    Another difference is that sometimes creditors will attempt legal action against a client when they challenge the debt. This is why the programs we represent use attorneys, who provide legal defense for their clients if needed.

    Forensic audits are simply an audit of all loan documentation to look for violations of laws, for the purpose of providing legal ammunition for the negotiations process. It can be any kind of loan. Auto, home, unsecured, etc.

    I will not answer attacks on my integrity, or threats about the FTC etc., but I hope my explanation helped you see that we’re not the bad guys. I’m just as angry about the bad companies out there as you. Maybe more, because I speak with people who have been hurt by them and it really upsets me.

    An opportunity video, showing how people can make money helping others, and illustrating it, shouldn’t lead you to feel we’re a bad company. Our pay plan is production based and is designed to promote growth and activity. Everyone at 1st Choice Family is only paid when revenue is generated. It’s an efficient way to rid our budget of unproductive expenses and keep us able to pay out a much higher percentage than most companies. It keeps our management costs extremely low.

    Regardless, we’re not doing anything wrong. We’re actually helping put people back to work, as an independent, part time or full time, representative. We give people the opportunity to build a long-term business and a mechanism for a management bonus, based on production. This is far superior to paying a big salary to a manager who is ineffective.
    All client files are submitted through a highly trained staff for quality control and to make sure the clients fully understand the program we’re promoting.

    It’s a free market and you’re free to say what you want. God Bless America.
    It’s just a shame that your negatively biased views shine brightly and seem to attempt to harm those who are actually trying to do some good in this country. Bad apples can spoil even the most optimistic people. They seem to have gotten to a few of you.

  • Wbronson

    Very interesting indeed.
    As, over the past week we’ve been extremely busy helping families.
    But, I will attempt to answer some of your questions. I’m not going to be defensive here, because much of what I’m answering seems to be loaded questions with preconceived ideas embedded in them.
    But here goes.
    1st Choice Family Solutions is just that. A solutions company. We have interviewed and done our research on many service organizations nationwide, and have placed them on a scoring system.
    My concept of taking a person from a crisis situation, getting them back on their feet, helping them establish a firm foundation financially, learn how to get out of debt and stay out of debt, then with investment options to further their prosperity, mandates that we seek out professional organizations, who are quite good at what they do, and who agree to my terms.
    My terms vary widely, but all center around fairness to the client. I try to minimize the hassles, streamline the application process, and, if possible, arrange for payment plans or no fee up front. I want clients to know they will get what they need before they commit to paying for it, if at all possible.
    Our company is a sales and marketing management company and we do not service clients directly. We have a mechanism for spreading the word about how our suite of programs can help people in many different ways. By staying out of the servicing end of things, we can remain impartial and nimble. If a service company fails to live up to our standards, we can cut them and move to the top of our research list and negotiate an arrangement with them as a replacement.
    I don’t see anything like a scam about that. We do not have a traditional model, I understand. But innovation is necessary in our current market.
    The pay plan is basically 2 levels. We do mandate 3 training sales, and the extra override to their mentor for the extra help on these first 3. Then we have a sales level. We then have a management level for those who deserve it and can help take the quality control load off our main staff.
    Our service partners deal directly with the client and we help when needed.
    As you can probably guess, our programs deal with a highly emotional set of circumstances, so a little extra hand-holding can be very beneficial.
    We have no BBB rating because we are not members of the BBB and have no outstanding complaints. We never ignore any complaints because we’re not a top heavy big corporation. We’re a family owned marketing company, trying to help as many families as possible, and make a living doing it.
    We do not have the luxury, nor do any of our representatives, of doing this for free. Personally, I do not feel that government funded, or donation funded services can do the job as good as a company with an adequate budget. A highly trained staff is necessary.

    One of our main offerings is a mortgage modification program which handles a variety of workout options. The client is not charged up front. The client is only charged when all of the initial work is done, all documents gathered and reviewed, a complete and correct package submitted to the bank, and after the bank accepts the case as firmly preapproved.
    Once this is confirmed, the client is charged between $1695 and $2995 depending on how many loans they have and if they are in a lower income area. The retail fee starts at $2495, but when a clients regular payments are lower, we offer a discount so that the fee is close to 2 regular payments. We’ve gotten clients from application to a final permanent modification in less than 60 days, so our service partner works extremely hard to get these clients on the right track quickly.

    We feel this is fair to the client and the company. A win-win situation.

    Debt validation, debt resolution, and debt settlement were explained to us in detail by a few of our service partners. We are in the process of reworking that section of our public website, to make sure everything is up to speed with new legislation. It’s my understanding that an attorney can challenge the validity of a debt based on the debt collections practices laws in different states, or federally. These attorneys explained that they call it debt resolution or debt validation because they don’t attempt to settle the debt until after they’ve attempted to invalidate it. That makes sense to me. It’s their wording for marketing their service.
    The term is different than debt settlement, but debt settlement is done, after the attempts to invalidate or challenges to the debt’s validity. That may be why it seems a contradiction.
    Another difference is that sometimes creditors will attempt legal action against a client when they challenge the debt. This is why the programs we represent use attorneys, who provide legal defense for their clients if needed.

    Forensic audits are simply an audit of all loan documentation to look for violations of laws, for the purpose of providing legal ammunition for the negotiations process. It can be any kind of loan. Auto, home, unsecured, etc.

    I will not answer attacks on my integrity, or threats about the FTC etc., but I hope my explanation helped you see that we’re not the bad guys. I’m just as angry about the bad companies out there as you. Maybe more, because I speak with people who have been hurt by them and it really upsets me.

    An opportunity video, showing how people can make money helping others, and illustrating it, shouldn’t lead you to feel we’re a bad company. Our pay plan is production based and is designed to promote growth and activity. Everyone at 1st Choice Family is only paid when revenue is generated. It’s an efficient way to rid our budget of unproductive expenses and keep us able to pay out a much higher percentage than most companies. It keeps our management costs extremely low.

    Regardless, we’re not doing anything wrong. We’re actually helping put people back to work, as an independent, part time or full time, representative. We give people the opportunity to build a long-term business and a mechanism for a management bonus, based on production. This is far superior to paying a big salary to a manager who is ineffective.
    All client files are submitted through a highly trained staff for quality control and to make sure the clients fully understand the program we’re promoting.

    It’s a free market and you’re free to say what you want. God Bless America.
    It’s just a shame that your negatively biased views shine brightly and seem to attempt to harm those who are actually trying to do some good in this country. Bad apples can spoil even the most optimistic people. They seem to have gotten to a few of you.

    • Observer

      Bronson, this is a very well written comment. I applaud your level approach. I am responding with my interpretation of what you wrote while posing additional questions and concerns.

      Your comment states plainly that your company does not actually provide a service, but that people should trust you to have researched the best companies to help them through whatever financially ails them. My observation of those operating in the debt relief space in the way you describe, is that most “solution companies” research consists of finding service providers who will pay out the highest commission to the “lead provider”. I do see 1st Choice as more of a lead provider than a solution provider. No, not the typical lead provider, offering form fills and live transfers for 25.00 to 75.00, but a more finely tuned provider who takes a typical lead, who then hones and sculpts the lead into a paying client. More of a “closing” company really. In this way, you are providing “substantial assistance” to a debt relief service provider you connect your leads with. You state in your comment that you will not respond to threats about the FTC. I do not see a threat from anyone. What I see are others comments that are warning you that you can now be held to account and just as liable for unfair and deceptive acts as the service providers you refer consumers to. You, and those who team up and market with you, have exposure.

      Your comment states “By staying out of the servicing end of things, we can remain impartial and nimble”. This is dangerous. You cannot truly evaluate the efficacy of the service provider’s claims and successes helping consumers. You are not inside the providers operations. You only know what you are told. How have you assured yourself, your marketing team and the end consumer that the service providers do what they say, and get the results that they claim? If you have never operated as a service provider of the myriad of products you represent, you lack hands on experience and the ability to best evaluate. You have sales experience, of that I am sure, but what stringent tests have you taken your service providers through to assure maximum success ratios with consumers you refer to them? Also, in no way should you claim impartiality as you have here. You are paid for referring consumers to your vendors. There is an army of sales affiliates in the debt relief space who make similar claims of impartiality. It’s simply not true. Will First Choice refer to a non vendor where they do not get paid? Perhaps, but with enough frequency to be defined as impartial? I am skeptical.

      What does your ability to remain nimble mean to the end consumer? Does it mean something like this:

      You promote a vendor as the best thing ever to a consumer and later find that not to be the case. You then switch vendors and refer new consumers to them representing that they are now the best thing ever, until you learn differently, then switch vendors etc…. What does this mean to the people who you connected to less than beneficial services? Not much. Before you say “that’s nice Observer, but the public should know that’s not us”, the public should know that there are far too many examples of what I just outlined that can be shown to work just like this in the debt relief vertical.

      To support my observation here, I will quote your comment where you say “we can cut them and move to the top of our research list and negotiate an arrangement with them as a replacement”. I read your comment here as a sales pro talking to other sales pros, not as someone concerned for the well being of the consumer you are selling to.

      When you stated “innovation is necessary in our current market”, did you mean innovation is needed to be involved in sales in the current climate, or innovators as service providers are needed?

      Your pay plan involving multiple levels, 2 or 3 tier, mentoring, Australian 2 or 3 up, network marketing type stuff, sounds more like hand holding for marketers than hand holding for customers.

      Allow me to accentuate my earlier point about you only knowing what you are told by service providers.

      You state “Debt validation, debt resolution, and debt settlement were explained to us in detail by a few of our service partners” and “It’s my understanding” and “That makes sense to me”. Of your entire comment, the paragraph containing these quotes finds you with the least firm footing. So much so, that I would suggest it may lead to no footing whatsoever. The fact that your company refers to a service provider who markets “debt validation” or “debt invalidation” as a means of debt relief, and that you rely upon their representations so easily, suggests that you have not researched enough to know that this approach has more than a decade’s history of being more problematic for consumers who try it, than beneficial.

      Bronson, you took the time to put together a very well thought out and level headed comment. In my opinion, if you do not want that effort to go to waste, you should comment with who your debt validation/invalidator service provider is. If it’s a stand up firm, you will not mind doing so. If it is an “innovator” with results, you will be able to grow your sales. Even if it is a regurgitation of failed processes operated by people who should know better, you will benefit, as there are many experienced people who read this site who will be able to weigh in and provide you research for free. This will ultimately lead to you improving your company and the experience of all who come to know it.

      I hope that you view my comment as from someone who wants to help you be a success. You are onto something with how you are structuring your efforts.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I think Observer raised a number of excellent points so I’m not going to cover the same ground again and look forward to your answers to those questions. But I thought it would be valuable to discuss some of the risks associated with debt validation as an example. Just recently, on 9-24-2010, the defendants in a debt validation suit filed by Capital One and Carefree Debt, CDI, Federal Debt Relief, Credit Collection Defense Network, Elizabeth Salazar, and Suzan Azeredo lost a judgment by Capital One for their debt validation debt relief approach and now owe $3,870,632.64.Capital One alleged in the original complaint that the defendants’ used internet and other advertising to attract consumers with debt problems to participate in a debt validation program intended to reduce their debt.Despite the defendants’ claims they could reduce or eliminate consumer debt, some customers still were forced to file bankruptcy to remedy their debt situation. Now I’m not saying a massive judgment like that will happen in your situation but for those of us experienced in consumer debt issues, we know enough to stay as far away as possible from even suggesting debt validation is a viable solution to problem consumer debt. There have been enough recent cases such as Hess Kennedy and The Credit Card Solution, that pushing debt validation as a way to eliminate debt is clearly problem territory. By the way, both CCDN and Hess Kennedy were attorney based systems that were shut down. Laura Hess was disbarred and CCDN’s Robert Locke, Esq action to be disbarred is moving ahead. See this story.The most important issue is that the FTC views every member of the debt relief service from lead generator, agent, agent’s company to debt relief company, as part of the guilty chain if any member in that chain is found to have broken the law. I worry your naive agents attracted by a business opportunity will become victims in tough regulator actions coming.Fines for individual citations of breaking the telemarketing sales rules for debt relief services are $16,000 per occurrence. Promoters of debt relief services, including your agents and representatives may need to be state licensed and bonded and even in some states hold a telemarketing license to be able to sell debt relief services legally.So, just as an example, what states are you and your agents licensed and bonded in to promote debt relief services and if you are claiming you are exempt, what is the exemption in the individual state you are claiming? Almost every state has different rules.What is your Florida telemarketing license number? Not having a telemarketing license can lead to a lot of trouble as well. See this story were unlicensed telemarketers were each charged with a felony.Selling and promoting debt relief services is a serious business with many lethal problem areas. I just worry that you are promoting a business opportunity to others without being knowledgeable about what the true risks and liabilities are. Merely depending on what others that want you to sell their services have assured you. Just as an FYI, regulators are on the lookout for “forensic audit” companies since so many of them have turned out to be a scam. See “Forensic Loan Audits and Foreclosure Rescue Companies are a Scam Says California Attorney General.”If you have not done so already I urge you to watch the following two videos in full to learn what regulators are watching for and what lands people in hot water.I would suggest you watch “Video of Session on the Telemarketing Sales Rule With Allison Brown, FTC” and “Video of Session on How to Deal With State Regulators With Lynne Weaver, Assistant Attorney General, NC.”Steve

  • Jason Taylor

    You would think the owners of these companies would be smart enough to realize that by not answering the questions, it probably gives a regulator more reason to ask them in a much less friendly manner. It’s not like they don’t read this. I bet most of the “good guys” out there are very happy to see this stuff being exposed. Great job Steve for providing such a valuable resource.

  • Steve Rhode

    It is interesting that you will note a pattern.
    1. I write about an entity and express valid concerns which I support with source material.
    2. Some companies are outraged and post comments like the one Wbronson did on this article saying that my article was “absolutely incorrect.”
    3. When asked if they can support the issues raised, they vanish.

    What is a reasonable reader to infer by their lack of response or support?

    In this case, this company would have been far better served to develop an openness policy showing compliance and willful communication rather than state they were somehow falsely accused.

  • Jason Taylor

    Looks like we are not going to get any answers to your questions. I bet the FTC will be asking them a whole lot more questions if they see this.

  • Observer

    Could you please describe your fee model Wbronson?
    What are consumers charged and when?
    What fees are earned by 1st choice and when?
    What affiliate commissions are paid out and when?

    Perhaps define your comment above where you state “we don’t charge them up front”.

    Could you please outline your experience and success either internal of 1st Choice or with outside vendors as relates to the following offers on your website:
    “Forensic audits”
    “attorney challenges the validity of the debts”

    Can you provide a list of the attorneys you work with who challenge the validity of debt?

    The Debt Resolution description page on your site goes out of the way to state it is different than debt settlement, but then describes the fact that you will be doing debt settlement. Why the contradiction? Why use different phraseology? Is it because you start of with attorneys who challenge the validity of the debt? How long have you worked with those who do the challenging? Is all this challenging being done with original creditors? Have you been at it long enough to know about the adverse reactions by creditors?

  • Steve Rhode

    Well I’m a bit perplexed by your comment. The research consisted of watching your public 12 minute presentation in which you made your own case.

    I did not issue a “scam alert” and did not call your business opportunity a “pyramid scheme.” If you go back and read the the piece again you will see that a tipster sent in the link to your video and they said “Settlement, loan mod and credit repair all in one pyramid scheme.”

    I did refer to your program as a MLM but I came away with that conclusion based on your video which shows commissions paid multiple levels down as shown in the Management Spread screen.

    After watching your own video it is my opinion your program runs afoul of the Credit Repair Organizations Act and subjects potential associates to massive liability under state and federal regulations regarding the sale of debt relief services.

    Maybe you could help to clarify your program and provide information to help associates understand the liability, licensing, and bonding requirements they will face?

    And I’m curious, why do you have no BBB rating in Texas where you are located but only a No Rating in Hawaii?

  • Wbronson

    I doubt you read or looked into http://www.1stchoicefamily.com and didn’t contact us for any information, prior to your scam alert article. I doubt you did any due diligence before passing through the false claim that 1st Choice Family is a pyramid scheme. It’s actually a standard affiliate opportunity.

    In fact, due to the absolutely incorrect portrayal of my company in public, I’d like to ask you to remove this damaging and incorrect story, serving only to upset and excite people. We do good for people every day and we don’t charge them up front. Since when is a viable, helpful business subjected to this kind of false accusation?

    It’s in poor taste and only shows the lack of quality in your “investigations”.

  • Wbronson

    I doubt you read or looked into http://www.1stchoicefamily.com and didn’t contact us for any information, prior to your scam alert article. I doubt you did any due diligence before passing through the false claim that 1st Choice Family is a pyramid scheme. It’s actually a standard affiliate opportunity.

    In fact, due to the absolutely incorrect portrayal of my company in public, I’d like to ask you to remove this damaging and incorrect story, serving only to upset and excite people. We do good for people every day and we don’t charge them up front. Since when is a viable, helpful business subjected to this kind of false accusation?

    It’s in poor taste and only shows the lack of quality in your “investigations”.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Well I’m a bit perplexed by your comment. The research consisted of watching your public 12 minute presentation in which you made your own case. I did not issue a “scam alert” and did not call your business opportunity a “pyramid scheme.” If you go back and read the the piece again you will see that a tipster sent in the link to your video and they said “Settlement, loan mod and credit repair all in one pyramid scheme.”I did refer to your program as a MLM but I came away with that conclusion based on your video which shows commissions paid multiple levels down as shown in the Management Spread screen.After watching your own video it is my opinion your program runs afoul of the Credit Repair Organizations Act and subjects potential associates to massive liability under state and federal regulations regarding the sale of debt relief services.Maybe you could help to clarify your program and provide information to help associates understand the liability, licensing, and bonding requirements they will face?And I’m curious, why do you have no BBB rating in Texas where you are located but only a No Rating in Hawaii?

    • Observer

      Could you please describe your fee model Wbronson?
      What are consumers charged and when?
      What fees are earned by 1st choice and when?
      What affiliate commissions are paid out and when?

      Perhaps define your comment above where you state “we don’t charge them up front”.

      Could you please outline your experience and success either internal of 1st Choice or with outside vendors as relates to the following offers on your website:
      “Forensic audits”
      “attorney challenges the validity of the debts”

      Can you provide a list of the attorneys you work with who challenge the validity of debt?

      The Debt Resolution description page on your site goes out of the way to state it is different than debt settlement, but then describes the fact that you will be doing debt settlement. Why the contradiction? Why use different phraseology? Is it because you start of with attorneys who challenge the validity of the debt? How long have you worked with those who do the challenging? Is all this challenging being done with original creditors? Have you been at it long enough to know about the adverse reactions by creditors?

      • Jason Taylor

        Looks like we are not going to get any answers to your questions. I bet the FTC will be asking them a whole lot more questions if they see this.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        It is interesting that you will note a pattern. 1. I write about an entity and express valid concerns which I support with source material.2. Some companies are outraged and post comments like the one Wbronson did on this article saying that my article was “absolutely incorrect.”3. When asked if they can support the issues raised, they vanish.What is a reasonable reader to infer by their lack of response or support?In this case, this company would have been far better served to develop an openness policy showing compliance and willful communication rather than state they were somehow falsely accused.

      • Jason Taylor

        You would think the owners of these companies would be smart enough to realize that by not answering the questions, it probably gives a regulator more reason to ask them in a much less friendly manner. It’s not like they don’t read this. I bet most of the “good guys” out there are very happy to see this stuff being exposed. Great job Steve for providing such a valuable resource.

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