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US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers

Recently a tipster (send in your tips here) passed a consumer contract for debt relief services from US Legal Services Group (uslsgroup.com)

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers

According to the US Legal Group website they resolve consumer debt problems and they work with financially distressed consumers. They indicate they have attorneys in the following states.

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers

As part of the site they provide a number of examples of settlements. – Source. They even provide this file as proof of settlements. What I found to be very interesting is that if you watch the video below showing me scrolling through the settlements, I could not find a single settlement that said these were performed by US Legal Services Group. In fact some of the settlements have blocks over the information below. If you simply stop the video as the page turns you can read the information below.

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

So as you scroll through the hidden information it shows the settlement company contacted on these was:

  • Complete Debt Assistance
  • Consumer Debt Law Firm

And I even think the settlement letters revel the names of the consumers they helped. Otherwise, why would they be to staff members with middle initials? That certainly seems disturbing for a law firm to do that if in fact these are the client names. The problem is I can’t tell if they are the lawyer names since they don’t list their lawyers on their site.

The site says U.S. Legal Services Group is located at:

780 W. Town & Country Rd.
Building E.
Orange, CA 92868 – Source

But the privacy terms on the site say the entity responsible for the site is:

National Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
10161 Park Run Dr. #150
Las Vegas, NV 89145 – Source

A search of the State Bar of California, using there advanced search that allows you to search by firm, could find no law firm by the name of U.S. Legal Services Group.

The domain name, for what I now believe to be this alleged law firm, is owned by:

Tim Canlas
383 1st Street
Jersey City, New Jersey 07302

The domain name was registered on October 25, 2010.

The Las Vegas address listed is actually that of a shared office space for A Better Office. – Source

The Orange County address has a company called Consumer Debt Law Firm, Inc. listed at 780 W. Town & Country Rd., Orange, CA 92868 (source), a name that was on one of the settlements shown above. The State Bar of California shows no law firm registered under that address.

A check of the California corporation records did uncover that US Legal Services Group is a registered corporation as of October 25, 2010, the same day the domain name was registered, and is listed at 225 Broadway Suite 2100, San Diego, CA 92101.

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers

A search of that address located Koeller Nebeker Carlson Haluck, LLP, KNCH LAw. A law firm that says they specialize “in representing builders and developers. From residential real estate acquisition, development and financing, to construction and business litigation.” – Source. I called the law firm and they said US Legal Services Group does not provide services at that address and is not located at that address.

So if it wasn’t a bit all odd already. How about this. US Legal Services Group says “US Legal Services Group (USLS GROUP) is a multijurisdictional law firm that works with financially distressed consumers throughout the U.S.,” and the homepage for the company listed on the privacy policy page, National Consumer Legal Services, says, “NCLS is a multi jurisdictional law firm whose primary focus is financially distressed consumers.” A coincidence? In fact the two sites are almost identical. Just look at the pages names as an example.

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers

An examination of the settlement results National Consumer Legal Services claims on their site appears to be the same file or at least very similar to the results shown on the US Legal Group website. Here is this file from the NCLS site.

The BBB says that the president of National Consumer Legal Services is Charles Pollock, Esq. The BBB says the business was incorporated in August, 2009. – Source

The State Bar of California does have a listing for Charles Max Pollock and he is authorized to practice law in California. He does not list US Legal Group as a firm he is related to on his record. – Source

The two sites even use the same client testimonials which seems very odd since they are in fact two different corporations and entities.

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers
Click on image for larger view.

Let’s Get Back to the Contract

So all the other issues distracted me. Let me get back to the US Legal Services Group Contract.

The contract I have shows the fees for debt settlement services are primarily front loaded. The consumer makes an initial monthly payment of about $700 and about $600 is taken in as a legal fee plus an additional $81.96 per month as a “Supplemental Legal Fee.”

For the next 19 months the consumer pays about $500 a month and about $240 a month is taken as legal fees, plus of course the continuing supplemental legal fee as part of that.

By the end of month 20, after paying about $7,200 to US Legal Services Group they are estimated to have about $140 in their reserve account for settlements. The consumer in this case has about $21,000 of enrolled debt. The Supplemental Legal Fees after month 20 through month 48 equal about $750. So the consumer will pay about $8,000 in fees or about 38% of the enrolled debt.

The contract signed by the consumer has a very interesting clause to attempt to loophole with the face-to-face meeting approach. The contract says:

This contract will not become effective until: 1. Client completed a face-to-face sales presentation with a representative of the Law Firm prior to the execution if the sales process involved interstate telephone calls.

In the case of the contract I have on hand I know the client was not located in California.

The contract includes a section that would allow the consumer to convert their case into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but here is the kicker, the consumer will pay $3,000 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, more than double what other local attorneys are charging. – Source

The contract says:

If Client qualifies and is otherwise in complaince, all fees paid into the program (not savings) shall be credited against the cost of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If Client paid less than three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) in fees, the Law Firm will still provide the services but Client will be responsible to pay additional fees until the total amount of fees paid equals three thousand dollars ($3,000) or a lesser amount if under applicable rules in the judicial district where the Bankruptcy petition will be filed caps legal fees at a lower amount. In such cases, the cost shall be the maximum amount allowed. If Client has paid more than the required amount in fees prior to filing of the Chapter 7 Petition, Client will not receive a refund of any excess.

According to the contract, the $3,000 paid for Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not include any fees and costs associated with the filing. If the clients wants to switch out of the debt settlement program and instead file Chapter 7 bankruptcy the contract says the consumer will have to pay “a nonrefundable additional $100 administration change fee plus all of the other fees and anticipated costs.” Ouch!

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers

More points from the contract:

  • The contract says that Global Client Solutions is the administrator of the clients escrow account
  • Fees earned are not refundable.
  • “You further understand that even though USLS Group is a law firm, Debt Resolution services may be provided by agents and subcontractors who are not attorneys, but who will operate under supervision of an attorney licensed to practice law in your state of residence.”
  • The contract lists the alternatives to debt settlement and one of those options is “credit repair.”
  • Your credit score may be impacted.
  • There is a risk of legal action.

So let’s say this consumer sticks with the program for the full 48 months, settles all of their debt, and avoids getting sued, which is unlikely. By the time the balances have increased the total amount settled could be around $11,000. Then you add on the $8,000 in fees, the client would have paid about $19,000 to settle $21,000 of debt.

US Legal Services Group Contract Raises Some Real Concerns for Consumers
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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.
  • Anon

    Charles Pollock is also listed as president of Pinnacle Law Group which uses the NV address mentioned in the post, but the website (
    http://www.pinnaclelg.com ) shows a MA address.  Pinnacle Law appears to be using United Settlement Group for administrative duties.

  • Dr. J. Mumford

    I just left a comment that explained this article as falsely representing this company (which carries an A+ rating with the BBB) and it was promptly removed.  This website slanders this company and suggests you use their “featured debt settlement company of the day”.  Well, after visiting that article i noticed something peculiar.  This article says, “If the clients wants to switch out of the debt settlement program and
    instead file Chapter 7 bankruptcy the contract says the consumer will
    have to pay “a nonrefundable additional $100 administration change fee
    plus all of the other fees and anticipated costs.” Ouch!” 

    The article that represents their featured company says this, “Our initial consultation is ALWAYS free. Our firm requires a small
    initial fee and a legal fee, both of which are dependent on the nature
    of the debt, the amount of debt, the number of creditors, the identity
    of creditors, and the length of time the client estimates he or she will
    require to assemble funds for settlement. Additionally, if our client
    is sued by a creditor during the time in which we are retained, we will
    represent them in that suit for an additional flat fee of $500, plus the
    cost of filing an answer to the lawsuit.”

    I am joining U.S. Legal Services Group tomorrow and I do not see anything within the contract to back up the claims of this website which is obviously funded by other settlement companies as an attempt to fear monger.  Again, shame on you… although I’m sure this will reach no one as my last post was erased.  I will post both comments elsewhere to ensure fair reporting practices.

    Dr. J. Mumford

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Your comment is a bit perplexing. Where in the article does it suggest people should instead use a featured company?

      Additionally, what part of the information presented are you claiming is incorrect?

      I’m interested in what you found unusual about the quote from the contract shown?

    • http://DamonDay.com/ Damon Day

      It seems funny that you are questioning the motivations of this site when it is simply advising consumers to use caution and do more than listen to what the sales person is pitching.

      One might wonder why a random consumer with no ties to this company, has not even enrolled as a client, thus has no first hand knowledge of how this company is being operated or the experiences of any current clients short of 1, would be motivated to do what you are doing.

      Just things that make you go hmmmm.

  • Dr. J. Mumford

    I just enrolled in a debt settlement program with this company.  Correction, i have mentally committed to a program with U.S. Legal Services Group after reading this article.  I am signing the paperwork tomorrow.  I appreciate that there are resources like these that offer a third party opinion on contracts which carry this caliber of importance. 

    With that said, I question your motives for slandering this company so highly.  I was actually referred to them from a colleague who has been in their program for about 2 1/2 years now.  The services they have provided him have been superb and he hasn’t seen any of the issues arise that you [Steve] are talking about.  He simply says that he has paid the same monthly price for two years, his creditors reduced their collection attempts almost entirely and no creditor has brought a lawsuit his way.

    His credit score has actually increased since the inception of the program and I expect my results will follow suit.  In addition, I am reading the contract you have displayed in this article and the contract I hold in my hand and they are very different.  When researching U.S. Legal Services Group I found nothing but good marks regarding their company, including an A+ rating with the Better business bureau.  I am fairly certain that would not be the case if they were conducting themselves unfavorably with their clients.

    This article is the only negative thing I found on the internet, THE VAST WORLD WIDE WEB, about this company.  So thank you for the advice but I question your motives sir.  As does my lawyer who reviewed the contract and has given me the green light on this program.  Paying for legal representation is a standard side effect of…. retaining a lawyer!  After doing my math I will save approximately $12,000 off my principal debt.  I was happy to find out that this law firm is quoting their prices the way they do because they have to.  The federal trade commission regulates their pricing plans.  In fact, when I compared them to other debt resolution companies I realized that choosing debt settlement is the safest option as it is facilitated by a law firm versus a company that has no real concern with helping me as a consumer.  I feel like some of those companies are payed by the larger creditors to collect your debts, but I can’t say that for certain. 

    I tell you folks, be weary of those who are advising you and question their motives.  It came as no surprise that this very website can direct you to alternate companies to use for Debt Settlement.  Shame on you for fear mongering.

    • 1DBird

      Hello! I’m about to sign papers for this company as well and I was wondering how you like this program since it looks like you have been enrolled in it for a few months now.
      Thanks! :0)

      • http://DamonDay.com/ Damon Day

        Can you tell me what they are promising to do for you and what they are charging you to do it? There may be better options for you to research before you commit to something.

      • 1DBird

        They are promising to help me pay off my credit card debt and I’ll be paying $455 monthly.

      • http://DamonDay.com/ Damon Day

        455 is not what they are charging you, that is what your payment is. Also there really is no such thing as monthly payments with debt settlement. At least not in the way most people think about monthly payments.

        Are they presenting you with a debt settlement strategy?

        Do you have a copy of the contract?

      • 1DBird

        Yes, that’s right, 455 is my monthly. I do have a copy of the contract.

      • http://DamonDay.com/ Damon Day

        If you send me the contract, I will review it for you and then send you an email with my thoughts, and let you know if there are some red flags that stand out.

        You can contact me through my site at
        http://damonday.com/free-contract-review/

        This is a free service I offer consumers.

      • Dr. J. Mumford

        Hello there. The internet is a great resource, is it not? I’d be happy to share my experience with you. As I am seeing patients I am forced to keep this short.

        US Legal has done a great job and lived up to the expectations they sold me on. In fact, I was quite pleased that two of my six cards offered settlements before I had money saved up. US Legal was able to lock in those offers and I am very pleased with the results. The amount of debt I entered into the program with was quite large (I prefer not to disclose this through this medium). I have already seen one of my cards settled and paid and am eager to have the others follow suit. I was afraid that it would take the entirety of program length I was pitched but at this rate I should be leaving their program a great deal sooner and with less invested.

        I hope this helps. I had my own concerns entering this program but found that my fears were simply that, fears. It has only been about nine months in the program but the level of service I have received has been great.

    • http://DamonDay.com/ Damon Day

      What is being advised is to use caution and do more research because most debt settlement programs are scams and or complete rip offs. Debt settlement programs typically focus on making money for them not doing what is best for the client. That certainly sounds reasonable to me.

    • Jasmine

      Dr. Mumford, can you give us a status of this program after a year of enrollment. What about paying taxes on the unforgiving debt?

  • Ddarrah

    Is Pinnacle Legal Group connected with National Consumer and US Legal Services. I was referred to Charles Pollock?

  • Joseph

    Its funny that you knock every debt company out there and you have debt companies on your site. Hey the guy you are using is a scam use mine. I think that you are a fraud yourself. It seems to me that every debt company charges roughly the same thing. So they are all evil. What about the credit card companies who take advantage of their customers? High interest rates, high fees, quick to sue if you loose your job and can’t afford the new payment because your interest rate just increased. Or what about the person who just charges and says I dont want to pay my bills aren’t they bad too.

    They settle your debt and protect your rights while you are in the program. They are also one of the least expensive companies out there. I shopped for a while before choosing them. I deal with an attorney in my home state not in California. All these other companies are outside of my state and only do business on the phone……

  • Joseph

    Its funny that you knock every debt company out there and you have debt companies on your site. Hey the guy you are using is a scam use mine. I think that you are a fraud yourself. It seems to me that every debt company charges roughly the same thing. So they are all evil. What about the credit card companies who take advantage of their customers? High interest rates, high fees, quick to sue if you loose your job and can’t afford the new payment because your interest rate just increased. Or what about the person who just charges and says I dont want to pay my bills aren’t they bad too.

    They settle your debt and protect your rights while you are in the program. They are also one of the least expensive companies out there. I shopped for a while before choosing them. I deal with an attorney in my home state not in California. All these other companies are outside of my state and only do business on the phone……

  • ComplianceSlave

    someday…………

  • http://www.ftc.gov ComplianceSlave

    someday…………

  • ComplianceSlave

    “Don’t nothin ever change”?
    -Mr. Ruettiger (Rudy’s Dad)

  • http://www.ftc.gov ComplianceSlave

    “Don’t nothin ever change”?
    -Mr. Ruettiger (Rudy’s Dad)

  • Mike Reilly

    A very competitive & compliant business model…..NOT
    I HOPE EVERY ONE OF MY FUTURE CLIENTS RUN INTO THESE GUYS!

    Michael Reilly, CDS
    Emerge America

  • Mike Reilly

    A very competitive & compliant business model…..NOT
    I HOPE EVERY ONE OF MY FUTURE CLIENTS RUN INTO THESE GUYS!

    Michael Reilly, CDS
    Emerge America

  • Alex

    Steve,
    This is AMAZING!!! I cannot believe how can a consumer that does the math will ever enroll into this type of contract. “suplemental legal fee” for what? It is this kind of BS that gives this industry a bad name. I truly hope legitimate attorneys out there are as upset as this makes me, considering they are hiding behind this legal model to rip consumers off.
    This must stop!
    I am hopeful that the FTC is taking notes of this and truly see how they are abusing consumers and somehow the ABA will also step up and hold some of these attorneys responsible.
    Alex Viecco

  • Alex

    Steve,
    This is AMAZING!!! I cannot believe how can a consumer that does the math will ever enroll into this type of contract. “suplemental legal fee” for what? It is this kind of BS that gives this industry a bad name. I truly hope legitimate attorneys out there are as upset as this makes me, considering they are hiding behind this legal model to rip consumers off.
    This must stop!
    I am hopeful that the FTC is taking notes of this and truly see how they are abusing consumers and somehow the ABA will also step up and hold some of these attorneys responsible.
    Alex Viecco

  • Alex

    Steve,
    This is AMAZING!!! I cannot believe how can a consumer that does the math will ever enroll into this type of contract. “suplemental legal fee” for what? It is this kind of BS that gives this industry a bad name. I truly hope legitimate attorneys out there are as upset as this makes me, considering they are hiding behind this legal model to rip consumers off.
    This must stop!
    I am hopeful that the FTC is taking notes of this and truly see how they are abusing consumers and somehow the ABA will also step up and hold some of these attorneys responsible.
    Alex Viecco

  • AlexV

    Steve,
    This is AMAZING!!! I cannot believe how can a consumer that does the math will ever enroll into this type of contract. “suplemental legal fee” for what? It is this kind of BS that gives this industry a bad name. I truly hope legitimate attorneys out there are as upset as this makes me, considering they are hiding behind this legal model to rip consumers off.
    This must stop!
    I am hopeful that the FTC is taking notes of this and truly see how they are abusing consumers and somehow the ABA will also step up and hold some of these attorneys responsible.
    Alex Viecco

  • AlexV

    Steve,
    This is AMAZING!!! I cannot believe how can a consumer that does the math will ever enroll into this type of contract. “suplemental legal fee” for what? It is this kind of BS that gives this industry a bad name. I truly hope legitimate attorneys out there are as upset as this makes me, considering they are hiding behind this legal model to rip consumers off.
    This must stop!
    I am hopeful that the FTC is taking notes of this and truly see how they are abusing consumers and somehow the ABA will also step up and hold some of these attorneys responsible.
    Alex Viecco

  • Alex

    Steve,
    This is AMAZING!!! I cannot believe how can a consumer that does the math will ever enroll into this type of contract. “suplemental legal fee” for what? It is this kind of BS that gives this industry a bad name. I truly hope legitimate attorneys out there are as upset as this makes me, considering they are hiding behind this legal model to rip consumers off.
    This must stop!
    I am hopeful that the FTC is taking notes of this and truly see how they are abusing consumers and somehow the ABA will also step up and hold some of these attorneys responsible.
    Alex Viecco

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