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Moody’s Releases News on Debt Relief Customer Pool

I would love t be a blind cheerleader for the legitimate players in the debt relief world that are helping consumers and doing it the right way. The news remains worrisome though. And when I have good news to report on the forecast for debt relief services you better believe I will share it with you.

In the past few months I’ve been publishing my forecasts of tough times ahead for debt relief providers due to a shrinking customer pool and decreased issuance of credit that would lead to an increased demand for debt relief services.

Moody’s has just release some new data which reinforces those points and adds some new information that continues my thumbs down demand for debt relief services.

Credit card defaults will reach a 20-year low by next year, Moody’s Investors Service said Monday, as card issuers remain choosier in their lending practices.

After writing off billions in uncollectible credit card debt over the past few years, banks have started to hand out new cards again. But they are doing so slowly and only lending to those with higher credit scores. Overall, such a large number of borrowers were eliminated from the credit pool that it will take years to replace those accounts, analyst Luisa De Gaetano said in an interview.

In 2009 and 2010, defaults totaled a combined $74.5 billion at just the top six banks that issue credit cards — Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp., American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services, according to Moody’s. That doesn’t take into account smaller banks or retail cards. The default, or charge-off, rate peaked in the second quarter of 2010 at 10.9 percent.

While consumer research firms and an important Federal Reserve banker survey have found that banks are easing lending standards a bit, it remains tough for those with the lowest credit scores to get cards. The riskiest card customers, those individuals who had cards shut down because they couldn’t pay their bills, are unlikely to be able to get new cards in the near future. – Source

The reason this is not optimistic news of growth for debt relief providers is that the underlying extension of sub-prime credit is going to remain limited or grow very slowly.

My opinion is that debt relief providers should focus on tools and efforts to provide services leveraging automated tools, remain focused on limiting operational expenses, cut overhead and prepare to coast through the next 18-24 months on lower income until lenders begin to gain confidence in the economy and lend with more vigor.

For anyone wondering how to obtain the best chance of success in a down debt relief market, you may be interested in the upcoming class, “How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World” which will offer expertise and instruction on dealing with this difficult marketplace.

Moodys Releases News on Debt Relief Customer Pool
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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://mandrienconsultinggroupfirm.datanetgroup.com/ Mandrien Consulting Group

    Persons have cottoned on to the detail that things like bankruptcy, while a quick fix, is decisively not worth the long period adverse consequences that it brings. In latest times more and more persons have been rotating to debt consolidation as an effective means to decrease liability.

  • Damon Day

    @10989f7460f2358f04630b2442c0892c:disqus

    This is in response to a comment you made below about soon the industry will only have “good guys” and there will not be a need for someone like me to look out for consumers.

    Mike clearly we are going to have to agree to disagree on the point that you think the industry will soon be filled with just good guys only looking out for consumers.

    You fail to understand a key issue that it seems neither you nor Matt care to address.

    The issue is that you can’t serve two masters.  At the end of the day, you have a business to run, and when the interests of the business conflict with the interests of consumers, a choice must be made.

    You can deny it all you want, but the bottom line is that your advice, although potentially offered with the best of intentions will be bias toward how you are paid.

    Consumers will always need an experienced voice on the other side of the coin to keep that in check. 

    I don’t understand why that bothers you if as you say, you only put consumers first.  Then nothing I say should cause you to lose business, but only those companies who do not put consumers first, which is your competition.

    Unless of course, you are aware that you can’t serve two masters and those times when a decision must be made, you would prefer to not have me around to draw attention to it?

  • Steve Rhode

    I get it. I was just saying the pilot example was based on an incorrect assumption. To fly safe we are trained to trust the instruments (data) above all else.

  • Matt

    Bro, listen, all I’m saying is that when someone or a group of people report something but the evidence just doesn’t support their claim, you have to trust the evidence and make a decision based on ALL aspects. Police do it all the time. Death looks like suicide but after some digging, the evidence points to foul play. After digging a lot more, they uncover a massive conspiracy that ties victim into a much larger situation. Just saying.

  • Steve Rhode

    Not in IMC. Just saying.

  • Matt

    OK then, you’re in the Bermuda triangle or your instruments are failing and all you can do is go on visual. Just saying.

  • Mike Reilly

    Billions in debt has been settled, lives have changed in both directions (I get that), there are new sheriffs in town watching over the folks, thing will get better. Sure it will take some time but, the momentum is clearly growing.
     
    Damon, in life as you know we all deal with the past, the present and the future, it’s part of everything and nearly every choice we make. Because of whom you are, more so the path you chose to walk in debt relief I believe for the sake of your business you need to hold onto the past for as long as you can. So, I expect you will continue to sing the “bad boy, bad boy” song for as long as possible…you’d be foolish not to but, please try to understand most of us here get that…it’s ok.
     
    This industry is changing and while there will always be the few who believe they can get away with murder the field day you have enjoyed in the past to present will change, mark my words.
     
    On another note, I commend your efforts!

  • Steve Rhode

    As a pilot myself you are trained to follow the instruments first. Following your gut in bad situations is what gets pilots killed.

  • Damon Day

    Gimmie a break, I was making the point, that I have spoken to thousands of people and heard the same story after story.  I am definitely in a position to know and understand what the majority of the players in the industry are doing.  Matt may have some lofty ideals, but if he is teaching what he claims to teach, it appears most of it is left at the door when the companies are dealing with costs to doing business.

    You were claiming that I don’t talk to enough consumers to have a feel for what is going on.  Which is what people in the industry always do.  You are fighting a losing battle if you are going to try and defend the industry at large.  Go find some evidence that shows the overwhelming number of people that enroll into a debt settlement program are better off.

    I don’t mean go find a few isolated companies that do this.  Because I know there are some.  Which is my point.  A few companies do right by consumers, most don’t.

  • Matt

    I understand what you are saying. Here’s where I feel the misconception stems. There are plenty of people in debt and most likely always will be. As long as the creditors and banks extend credit for profit, their game will always be to snare unsuspecting spenders into a never ending repayment plan. This is where they make money and is the nature of their business. I understand that the “Google” searches are down. I just don’t think that correlates to less people in debt. Even with the “numbers” being produced by the various agencies, I have yet to see the evidence that supports that. Reputable PhD Scientists working for big businesses come out with “breakthrough” drugs every year and many reputable doctors come up with “miracle diet” pills and plans that all later turn out to be way off or extremely unhealthy (sometimes outright dangerous). The government can tell us that the recession is over and the numbers look good, but when you see businesses continuing to close their doors and more people losing their homes in your own neighborhood, telling you “Boy, things are hard right now”, you question those announcements. I believe based on the numbers I saw above and the data related to it, people certainly are still in debt. I also know of  a decent number of companies that are doing just fine right now in regards to volume. It is lower than it has been in their past, but they are still doing nice volume. Most of them are extremely marketing savvy and are using different approaches to find their customers. The people are out there, they are just far more selective in how and to whom they reach out. With all the negativity and bad press (Yes, Steve and Damon, most of which was warranted by the bad actors hurting people, I get it), branding and reputation are very important right now and will become critical in the near future. It is important that people have options and settlement is a very viable one. I’ll leave you with an analogy. When a truly experienced pilot is flying in a plane that he has mastered and the instruments tell him one thing but his “gut” and experience tell him another, which one does he trust. People are in debt, they are out there, many many companies have already evolved and are doing fine and several companies are finding customers without a problem. Even if they are the minority, what are they doing different that makes their experience so much better than the ones that are struggling? So many questions and so few hard data answers. It’s a moving target and all you can do is “use the force” right now and ride into the future…

  • Robert Stevenson

    Back to the real debate… 1) @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus I know you informally and have a high level of respect for you. This isn’t against your position that there are plenty of people in need of debt relief services. 

    However, there is a substantial decline in potential customers from the perspective of internet search. This is a fact. The peak of the industry interest and traffic was from 2007-2009. However, after the mad rush of 2009 and maybe beginning to mid 2010, there has been a sharp decline to levels that were prior to the Real estate boom’s in 2004. 

    Now, this means it will make it painstakingly harder for people to stay in business. For others, they will thrive as the competition goes under. If someone if already doubting their ability to maintain business, the coming months of either stabilizing traffic or decline will be the nail in the coffin. 

    Again, let’s go back to the fact that… there are tons of people who need help. But, there are a lot less people compared to historical figures. Plus, there are more companies (with exception of the 2008-10 boom). 

    What’s even more is that the traffic for debt services is very poor. Many people that are calling have very low debt amounts or are calling for help with creditor lawsuits, garnishments, etc. Basically, the people that did nothing about it and now all of a sudden what to do something. 

    People with solid foundations, low expenses and are fluid will thrive as you have said. The timid, financially weak and companies that can’t “evolve” ;), will be gone. 

    On a final  note, the new no advance fee product is so freakin good. Man, if the industry was primarily offering this service during the boom years you would have hardly any complaints. So many people are settling debt, able to work through “legal” accounts since they have a healthy amount of funds, those changing minds have all their money to do whatever they want (pay off cards alone, BK, CC, not pay anyone). 

    I would hope in the near future client acquisition cost lower. in fact, I beliebve @AFaria:disqus mentioned that he thought the cost were artificially high. I think he’s right and that cost do need to come down. However, cost will come down only through companies going out of business… No one is lowering their Google Bids especially when you have Care One’s, Freedom’s, Incharge literally ravaging the first page of google. 

    it’s a big boys game…

  • Robert Stevenson

     Back to the real debate… 1) @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus I know you informally and have a high level of respect for you. This isn’t against your position that there are plenty of people in need of debt relief services. 

    However, there is a substantial decline in potential customers from the perspective of internet search. This is a fact. The peak of the industry interest and traffic was from 2007-2009. However, after the mad rush of 2009 and maybe beginning to mid 2010, there has been a sharp decline to levels that were prior to the Real estate boom’s in 2004. 

    Now, this means it will make it painstakingly harder for people to stay in business. For others, they will thrive as the competition goes under. If someone if already doubting their ability to maintain business, the coming months of either stabilizing traffic or decline will be the nail in the coffin. 

    Again, let’s go back to the fact that… there are tons of people who need help. But, there are a lot less people compared to historical figures. Plus, there are more companies (with exception of the 2008-10 boom). 

    What’s even more is that the traffic for debt services is very poor. Many people that are calling have very low debt amounts or are calling for help with creditor lawsuits, garnishments, etc. Basically, the people that did nothing about it and now all of a sudden what to do something. 

    People with solid foundations, low expenses and are fluid will thrive as you have said. The timid, financially weak and companies that can’t “evolve” ;), will be gone. 

    On a final  note, the new no advance fee product is so freakin good. Man, if the industry was primarily offering this service during the boom years you would have hardly any complaints. So many people are settling debt, able to work through “legal” accounts since they have a healthy amount of funds, those changing minds have all their money to do whatever they want (pay off cards alone, BK, CC, not pay anyone). 

    I would hope in the near future client acquisition cost lower. in fact, I beliebve @AFaria:disqus mentioned that he thought the cost were artificially high. I think he’s right and that cost do need to come down. However, cost will come down only through companies going out of business… No one is lowering their Google Bids especially when you have Care One’s, Freedom’s, Incharge literally ravaging the first page of google. 

    it’s a big boys game… 

    • Matt

      I understand what you are saying. Here’s where I feel the misconception stems. There are plenty of people in debt and most likely always will be. As long as the creditors and banks extend credit for profit, their game will always be to snare unsuspecting spenders into a never ending repayment plan. This is where they make money and is the nature of their business. I understand that the “Google” searches are down. I just don’t think that correlates to less people in debt. Even with the “numbers” being produced by the various agencies, I have yet to see the evidence that supports that. Reputable PhD Scientists working for big businesses come out with “breakthrough” drugs every year and many reputable doctors come up with “miracle diet” pills and plans that all later turn out to be way off or extremely unhealthy (sometimes outright dangerous). The government can tell us that the recession is over and the numbers look good, but when you see businesses continuing to close their doors and more people losing their homes in your own neighborhood, telling you “Boy, things are hard right now”, you question those announcements. I believe based on the numbers I saw above and the data related to it, people certainly are still in debt. I also know of  a decent number of companies that are doing just fine right now in regards to volume. It is lower than it has been in their past, but they are still doing nice volume. Most of them are extremely marketing savvy and are using different approaches to find their customers. The people are out there, they are just far more selective in how and to whom they reach out. With all the negativity and bad press (Yes, Steve and Damon, most of which was warranted by the bad actors hurting people, I get it), branding and reputation are very important right now and will become critical in the near future. It is important that people have options and settlement is a very viable one. I’ll leave you with an analogy. When a truly experienced pilot is flying in a plane that he has mastered and the instruments tell him one thing but his “gut” and experience tell him another, which one does he trust. People are in debt, they are out there, many many companies have already evolved and are doing fine and several companies are finding customers without a problem. Even if they are the minority, what are they doing different that makes their experience so much better than the ones that are struggling? So many questions and so few hard data answers. It’s a moving target and all you can do is “use the force” right now and ride into the future… 

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        As a pilot myself you are trained to follow the instruments first. Following your gut in bad situations is what gets pilots killed.

      • Matt

         OK then, you’re in the Bermuda triangle or your instruments are failing and all you can do is go on visual. Just saying.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Not in IMC. Just saying.

      • Matt

         Bro, listen, all I’m saying is that when someone or a group of people report something but the evidence just doesn’t support their claim, you have to trust the evidence and make a decision based on ALL aspects. Police do it all the time. Death looks like suicide but after some digging, the evidence points to foul play. After digging a lot more, they uncover a massive conspiracy that ties victim into a much larger situation. Just saying.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I get it. I was just saying the pilot example was based on an incorrect assumption. To fly safe we are trained to trust the instruments (data) above all else.

  • Guest

    Nevermind, I get it… I will just plug away on a summary response. I don’t mind writing, but I tend to be an EXTREMELY lengthy writer, so be prepared for it…

  • Steve Rhode

    If you want to do a video then send me the transcript of the video to post
    with it or just write the guest post. I’m not trying to be difficult but
    this is a medium that is searched based on the written word.

  • Matt

    I guess because I am not a full time blogger, lol. I have a life you know. When you are married with 4 children and run a full time business with staff that needs leadership and direction and have a giant sized project on your hands, the reality of answering every blog entry becomes painstaking. I am trying my best to keep up with you, though, and did make a comment over there. I will weigh in with a bigger article, stating my entire position on it, since I have been wanting to write one anyway. Would you consider letting me do a video entry that you could just post link or embed? I think it would be easier for me to give you what you want. Gotta run though for today… Have a good weekend.

  • Matt

    Lol. I was expecting something more pointed. I was just giving you a hard time, Damon. I am a nice guy, so I hope you took that as a jab and not a personal insult. I know that if you are truly sincere and serious about helping, that we are ultimately on the same team. There are days when I just want to call the feds myself. There are plenty of atrocities in this space, but I am always going to look at the positives in every situation. The reason I have been successful in my endeavors is that I make integrity a high priority. I will never be afraid to look at anything in a transparent way starting with myself. I count every person I am in contact with as more important than myself. I am in this business for the people. I am for the people that run the businesses and fight to provide quality services and run clean, honest businesses. I am for the debt burdened people of America that need options and need someone to truly help them in their time of need. I serve people not money. That said, I will do everything in my power, using every skill and gift I have to that end. I am all about doing big things and successfully championing causes others deemed impossible. I was given the name “The Way Maker”. I will do my best and give my all to live up to that title. Have a great weekend guys!

  • Steve Rhode

    @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus  I don’t understand why you are hesitating and ignoring coming on over and joining the conversation on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers? 

    It seems that these issues are at the very heart of the evolution or revolution of debt relief consumer advocacy you state you believe in. Why the silence? I’ve invited you and I would have thought that with your position of putting consumers first you’d be all over that topic. What gives? 

    You did say “I am certainly prepared to lead the way for those that TRULY CARE about the consumers…” How do people then interpret your hesitation and silence in joining the conversation on that article about those issues?

  • Mike Reilly

    Damon are trying to compare yourself to this?

    About Gallup
    Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 75 years. Gallup’s reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world’s leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. Gallup consultants help organizations boost organic growth by increasing customer engagement and maximizing employee productivity through measurement tools, coursework, and strategic advisory services. Gallup’s 2,000 professionals deliver services at client organizations, through the Web, at Gallup University’s campuses, and in more than 40 offices around the world.Come on man.

  • Damon Day

    Well the good news is that consumers can look at your position on the industry and then look at my position on it, and then decide for themselves who seems to be looking out for them. I wish you the best.

  • Matt

    Damon: “Ok, well this just must be one of those things I am not smart enough to understand.”
    Matt: Agreed. I only say that because you aren’t and/or haven’t read a single thing I posted and are now officially going backwards. I already stated my position on all this.

  • Damon Day

    Holy Crap.

    DEBT RELIEF COMPANIES DON’T PAY ME REFERRAL FEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Spend 5 minutes on my website and you will know exactly why consumers pay me.

    Let’s say you are a consumer and are considering hiring a debt settlement company that wants to charge you 7500 to help you get out of debt.  You might want a second opinion from someone that is unbiased before you make that plunge.  You might want to know if settlement really is your best option, since the sales guy didn’t really spend any time evaluating your actual situation.  Perhaps you want to know if you can settle the debts yourself and save the 7500.  Perhaps you want to know if this is a good company to hire.  Perhaps you want to know if there are other companies that you haven’t found that might charge less and do a better job.  Perhaps you have any number of questions.  Perhaps you might want to take advantage of significant discounts that I can get for consumers with debt settlement companies, since I DON’T COLLECT REFERRAL FEES FROM THEM.  I tell them to give the money to my client.  (Novel concept for you apparently)

    So before you make a major life decision based on the advice of a sales person who is about to make several thousand dollars if you take his advice, you might find it prudent to invest 147 and make sure you are not about to get taken for a ride, or that you have been given bad advice.

    Think of it as insurance that always pays out, because if it doesn’t, (meaning you don’t think talking to me just saved you much more than me fee) I offer 110% refund.

    How do you like them apples?

    You built and ran an advanced fee company and you are a consumer advocate?

    Ok, well this just must be one of those things I am not smart enough to understand.

  • Steve Rhode

    @a176bf7f4ddfe14d60ae05ed52c373e4:disqus Jeff, I’d love to get your opinion and feedback over on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers?

  • Steve Rhode

    @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus Come on over and join the conversation on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers? It’s a thread based on some of the comments here and I’d like for you to weigh in from your point of view.

  • Damon Day

    1. No
    2. No, they know exactly what they are doing.

  • Matt

    Damon, either you are slow or you aren’t paying attention. I built and ran an advanced fee company. Read the entire chain and you’ll see what I wrote about my experience there. You could also go to my LinkedIn profile and read the info about my previous project. So, you advise people on the “good companies” you are aware of then send them to the field to make their own decisions based on their sales call? So which firms are they and how do they pay you? So, trying to get this straight, the consumers pay you $147.00 for that? Why did they call you in the first place then, since Google is free. If you say you don’t get a referral fee, you’re lying. I just want to see you be completely honest about this. In the order of transparency. Ask me any question and I’ll give you the straight honest truth. I want that in return from you.

  • Damon Day

    I don’t understand?

  • Matt

    See below. There is no room.

  • Damon Day

    Oh, well isn’t that convenient for you? Good thing I am not smart enough to understand your position, otherwise you would actually have to show some evidence to support it.  I guess just saying I am to dumb to get it lets you off the hook.  Ok, let’s go with that.

    Speaking of someone who doesn’t seem to get it, you keep asking me who I refer my clients to.  Have you not figured out yet that I don’t have a specific company that I refer clients to? I don’t have any skin in that game.  I know companies that are good and I know what I look for and will make suggestions for consumers to check out and compare, but I am not in the business of promoting this company or that company.  THAT IS THE POINT!!!!

    I go where my client needs to go regardless of where that is and then I make sure if they do need to hire a company or individual, then they are hiring someone that I would feel comfortable going to for help myself or recommending to my mother.  Obviously more than one company in any vertical can help my client, so it isn’t up to me who to hire, it is up to them, based on their research and how they feel about the service offered. 

    Now, speaking of not answer questions Mr. Compliance Training = Consumer advocate.  Did you or did you not train companies and sales reps who where and/or are selling a front loaded debt settlement program?

    This is the third time I have asked and it goes directly to the heart of your position.  So I can understand why you have avoided it thus far.

  • Damon Day

    First, I only charge 147, (that is gross revenue by the way) second I don’t do 3,000 consultations a year.  I am not a debt settlement company that hires an army of sales people to throw massive amounts of people in a program that likely isn’t right for them.

    I provide a very personalized and individual service.  I can’t save everyone, but nobody can say that it isn’t from a lack of trying.

  • Damon Day

    You know it is nowhere near that number of consults.  I don’t farm out my consultations.  It varies of course.  Some weeks I may only speak with 10 consumers others could be as many as 30.

    Now clearly I don’t speak with 5% of consumers who might need debt relief, but I certainly have spoken to a significantly large enough representative sample who have told me the same thing over and over, to be able to form an opinion, that based on other evidence clearly holds out to be true.

    So if you want to play with your numbers lets look at what the big boys do.  Take a Gallup poll for example.

    They usually speak to only 1,000 people to make an educated guess as to what the entire US population of likely voters is thinking.

    Ok 311,000,000 or so people in the US.  About a 65% turnout in the last election gives us 202,150,000 likely voters.  Divide 1,000 by the 202,150,000 and we get .0000049.  In other words .00049% of the population of likely voters, they deem a sufficient number to get a good idea of what people are thinking.

    Lets look at my number.  You claim 8 million people at any given time could benefit from debt relief options.  Don’t know where you got that number, but lets roll with it.  So lets say on a low average, I only speak with 15 consumers a week.  Lets round it down to just the last 5 years.  That would mean I have done about 3900 or so individual phone consultations.  Divide that by your 8 million number and we get .00049.  Which means I have sampled about .049% of the people which is more significant than what Gallup or any of the other pollsters use by a country mile .049% > .00049%.

    Basically I have talked to enough consumers to know what is going on in the real world.

  • Mike Reilly

    Damon, two quick question; 

    1. Do you view the consumers that get themselves into trouble financially as ignorant? 

    2. What about the creditors, are they ignorant too and just don’t realize how they are hurting the consumers?

  • Steve Rhode

    I wrote an article about one of the critical matters being discussed in the comments here. 

    I’d love your comments and feedback over on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers? about the issues raised.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    I wrote an article about one of the critical matters being discussed in the comments here. 

    I’d love your comments and feedback over on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers? about the issues raised.

    • Matt

       Damon, either you are slow or you aren’t paying attention. I built and ran an advanced fee company. Read the entire chain and you’ll see what I wrote about my experience there. You could also go to my LinkedIn profile and read the info about my previous project. So, you advise people on the “good companies” you are aware of then send them to the field to make their own decisions based on their sales call? So which firms are they and how do they pay you? So, trying to get this straight, the consumers pay you $147.00 for that? Why did they call you in the first place then, since Google is free. If you say you don’t get a referral fee, you’re lying. I just want to see you be completely honest about this. In the order of transparency. Ask me any question and I’ll give you the straight honest truth. I want that in return from you.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus Come on over and join the conversation on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers? It’s a thread based on some of the comments here and I’d like for you to weigh in from your point of view.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Holy Crap.

        DEBT RELIEF COMPANIES DON’T PAY ME REFERRAL FEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Spend 5 minutes on my website and you will know exactly why consumers pay me.

        Let’s say you are a consumer and are considering hiring a debt settlement company that wants to charge you 7500 to help you get out of debt.  You might want a second opinion from someone that is unbiased before you make that plunge.  You might want to know if settlement really is your best option, since the sales guy didn’t really spend any time evaluating your actual situation.  Perhaps you want to know if you can settle the debts yourself and save the 7500.  Perhaps you want to know if this is a good company to hire.  Perhaps you want to know if there are other companies that you haven’t found that might charge less and do a better job.  Perhaps you have any number of questions.  Perhaps you might want to take advantage of significant discounts that I can get for consumers with debt settlement companies, since I DON’T COLLECT REFERRAL FEES FROM THEM.  I tell them to give the money to my client.  (Novel concept for you apparently)

        So before you make a major life decision based on the advice of a sales person who is about to make several thousand dollars if you take his advice, you might find it prudent to invest 147 and make sure you are not about to get taken for a ride, or that you have been given bad advice.

        Think of it as insurance that always pays out, because if it doesn’t, (meaning you don’t think talking to me just saved you much more than me fee) I offer 110% refund.

        How do you like them apples?

        You built and ran an advanced fee company and you are a consumer advocate?

        Ok, well this just must be one of those things I am not smart enough to understand.

      • Matt

        Damon: “Ok, well this just must be one of those things I am not smart enough to understand.”
        Matt: Agreed. I only say that because you aren’t and/or haven’t read a single thing I posted and are now officially going backwards. I already stated my position on all this.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Well the good news is that consumers can look at your position on the industry and then look at my position on it, and then decide for themselves who seems to be looking out for them. I wish you the best.

      • Matt

         Lol. I was expecting something more pointed. I was just giving you a hard time, Damon. I am a nice guy, so I hope you took that as a jab and not a personal insult. I know that if you are truly sincere and serious about helping, that we are ultimately on the same team. There are days when I just want to call the feds myself. There are plenty of atrocities in this space, but I am always going to look at the positives in every situation. The reason I have been successful in my endeavors is that I make integrity a high priority. I will never be afraid to look at anything in a transparent way starting with myself. I count every person I am in contact with as more important than myself. I am in this business for the people. I am for the people that run the businesses and fight to provide quality services and run clean, honest businesses. I am for the debt burdened people of America that need options and need someone to truly help them in their time of need. I serve people not money. That said, I will do everything in my power, using every skill and gift I have to that end. I am all about doing big things and successfully championing causes others deemed impossible. I was given the name “The Way Maker”. I will do my best and give my all to live up to that title. Have a great weekend guys!

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus  I don’t understand why you are hesitating and ignoring coming on over and joining the conversation on Can Any Debt Relief Company Afford to Do The Right Thing for Consumers? 

        It seems that these issues are at the very heart of the evolution or revolution of debt relief consumer advocacy you state you believe in. Why the silence? I’ve invited you and I would have thought that with your position of putting consumers first you’d be all over that topic. What gives? 

        You did say “I am certainly prepared to lead the way for those that TRULY CARE about the consumers…” How do people then interpret your hesitation and silence in joining the conversation on that article about those issues?

      • Matt

         I guess because I am not a full time blogger, lol. I have a life you know. When you are married with 4 children and run a full time business with staff that needs leadership and direction and have a giant sized project on your hands, the reality of answering every blog entry becomes painstaking. I am trying my best to keep up with you, though, and did make a comment over there. I will weigh in with a bigger article, stating my entire position on it, since I have been wanting to write one anyway. Would you consider letting me do a video entry that you could just post link or embed? I think it would be easier for me to give you what you want. Gotta run though for today… Have a good weekend.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        If you want to do a video then send me the transcript of the video to post
        with it or just write the guest post. I’m not trying to be difficult but
        this is a medium that is searched based on the written word.

      • Guest

        Nevermind, I get it… I will just plug away on a summary response. I don’t mind writing, but I tend to be an EXTREMELY lengthy writer, so be prepared for it…

  • Mike Reilly

    Dude, you need to read the thread from the begining.

  • Mike Reilly

    By the way, at $200 a head that’s $626,000 from the house…not bad!

  • Mike Reilly

    All no, many yes. Damon I will never worry about you.

  • Mike Reilly

    Damon, let me start by saying I don’t know how many people (debtors) you speak with in a given day, week, month or year so I don’t know what percentage of the debtors that are in trouble reach you or vice-versa. I would be interested to know those numbers as I think it will help me form a more informed/opinionated answer, for example;

     
    If you’re only speaking to 0.10% or less of the DSC target population your question to me is ridiculous, on the other hand if that percentage is much higher, let’s say 5 to 10% (which I know is not the case) then my answer would be totally different. At any given time there are about 8 million people who potentially could benefit from some type of debt relief service, drill down from there. If you where on the phone 10 hrs a day 6 days per week and did one consult per hour that 3,130 per year. Multiply that by your time in grade, 5-10 years (just guessing) and as you can see it like testing the flavor of the striped bass population in the Long Island sound by catching and eating one fish.

    So before I answer which is it, give me a ball park figure, nothing I’ll hold you to?

  • jjeffjackson

    Fanscinating Discussions!  As a business, you need to be prepared and able to adapt – this has all been great food for thought.  Steve mentions “I have no doubt that consumers would love to become indebted again if able.”  We are talking about habits and life style.  These are very difficult to change.  Likewise, banks are in the business of making money by “EXTENDING CREDIT”.  Yes they have tightened their belts, but they will return to their old habits and goals of making money and they will loosen their guidelines.  Will we see the huge mess again in our lifetime?  Probably not.  But banks will extend a lot of credit, consumers will become indebted, people will loose jobs and get older without sufficient income to support their lifestyle.

    Yes the ship will correct itself, then it will go fullsteam ahead.

  • jjeffjackson

    Fanscinating Discussions!  As a business, you need to be prepared and able to adapt – this has all been great food for thought.  Steve mentions “I have no doubt that consumers would love to become indebted again if able.”  We are talking about habits and life style.  These are very difficult to change.  Likewise, banks are in the business of making money by “EXTENDING CREDIT”.  Yes they have tightened their belts, but they will return to their old habits and goals of making money and they will loosen their guidelines.  Will we see the huge mess again in our lifetime?  Probably not.  But banks will extend a lot of credit, consumers will become indebted, people will loose jobs and get older without sufficient income to support their lifestyle.

    Yes the ship will correct itself, then it will go fullsteam ahead.

  • Matt

    I didn’t say the industry at large is doing it right. I said that they SHOULD be doing it the way I described. I just figured out why I can’t seem to get my point across no matter how clear I make it. We are not on the same level with regards to experience and knowledge. For instance, when you are talking to a sales rep from an executive level, they can never really get to the same conclusion or even grasp what your saying because they don’t have the same mindset or experience. It’s not that they are not intelligent, they just don’t speak the same language. They are trained and/or have trained themselves to believe and think one way to accomplish the job they are assigned. They don’t have the capacity to rise up to 30,000-40,000 feet and unfortunately most will never be able to. Leadership isn’t learned. You either are or you are not a natural born leader. So, no offense, but I don’t just don’t think we are able to see eye-to-eye. Fundamentally, we agree, so it really isn’t worth the battle with you. You still didn’t answer my question: Who do you refer clients to? What debt settlement firm do you refer them to and what bankruptcy attorney or network do you refer your clients to?

  • Steve Rhode

    @7b69c8f048045ade252cd916bd84453d:disqus Not sure if you saw my response to you so I’m using the new @ feature to try to reach you. Interested in your response to my comment, “Shouldn’t the debt relief industry be one that delivers advice and service to consumers in a fiduciary capacity for a fair and reasonable fee? Is there something in that vision that you find objectionable?”

  • Damon Day

    No problem, this is when I normally work. Kids in bed, so my day is just getting started.

    The thing that most people are missing is that I am not saying Matt doesn’t do a good thing. It certainly helps, but my point is, simply making companies compliant does not mean consumer protection.

    Just because someone can technically afford a payment on paper, doesn’t mean that sticking them on some settlement program for 4 years is in their best interest.

    During the sales call do they talk about the clients age, number of kids, potential college plans, what does retirement look like, what are their retirement plans, how steady is the job, what is going on with the house, and on and on.

    The answer is no.  They tend to zero in on the credit card debt and do a superficial budget, usually over the phone with the client completely guessing, and then proceed to dispense advice.

    If I am wrong, again, where is the evidence that I am wrong?  Where is all the success that we should be seeing?

    I know there are companies with good numbers, so I am not saying that this is what all companies do.  I am saying, this is what most companies do. 

    I provide a perspective that a consumer is not likely to get most anywhere else because I don’t have a financial incentive to push them one direction or the other.  I get paid to tell consumers what I think.  If they think I am full of crap they can get a refund.  I have never had a client tell me that a debt relief sales person already told them everything I brought up during the consult.
     
    What is wrong with a consumer talking to me, then talking to as many companies as they want and then deciding who makes sense and who might not?  The only person that should feel threatened by that are the ones that don’t want consumers looking at all the options.

    When did choice become a bad thing for consumers?

  • Damon Day

    That is great, but again, my point is that just looking at the numbers is only one small issue.  It is not a black and white deal.

    You can’t say well it looks like you can afford this payment so this program will work.

  • Robert S

    FYI, it’s super late and I probably have some spelling/grammar errors. Forgive me, I am trying to beat insomnia.

  • Damon Day

    This is going in circles and you are never going to address the fundamental flaw in your argument which makes this pointless.

    You tell me all these great things that are supposedly happening and how all the consumers are getting taken care of, properly screened and only referred to the best programs for them.

    Ok, lets go with that.  Where is the evidence?  Why did I only hear crickets over the last 5 years when regulators were begging for performance numbers?  After secret shopping the industry the government accountability office estimates that only about 10% of consumers ever complete a settlement program on average.  Which means some are doing worse than that.  TASC could only muster up a 34% success rate claim after changing the definition of success to mean basically people that were actually not a success.

    So if the industry for the most part is doing all of these wonderful things, why can nobody find the evidence?  This is simple stuff Matt. 

    I want to listen in to just one company sales training where I hear the floor manager training the sales staff to instruct the lead that they just paid 50 bucks to get on the phone, to take their time, call several programs, look at several options and then give us a call back when you have done your research.  Come on Matt, this is fantasy land and everyone knows it. The only companies that would possibly consider that are the ones that know they have one of the better programs, and even then, they can’t really do that because they know there will be some smooth talker out there trying to sell their potential client against them.

    The companies are out there selling against each other and the client becomes a wash in the sea of my programs the best because…

    I always tell my clients to talk to as many companies as they want and then let me know what they find. Why am I comfortable enough in my own advice to do that, but settlement companies for the most part are not? Weird right?

  • Robert S

    Damon, I’m gonna have to start calling around, but DSC I know wouldn’t enroll someone that is in the hole every month. In fact, even call a freedom rep. Once they see the income that low, it won’t get passed the review. I’m going to try this for myself and see what 1-2 companies say. 

    There are 2-3 major players on the internet. Freedom, Care-1 & Debt America. I’ll bet you tell a rep that you’re in the hole and they won’t enroll ya. Chances are that clients that speak to you spoke to one of those companies… 

    Plus, the people coming to you are naturally skeptical. I mean, I’m not doubting the advice you provide is sound, but that’s your demographic. So, by the time they get to you, yea they may have heard a “pitch” and probably never got passed the income part.

  • Damon Day

    Matt,

    Do you really believe that the majority of debt settlement sales people do as you claim?

    What do you think would happen if I secret shopped 10 random debt settlement ads on the internet?

    I will draw up a scenario that could go either way to BK or to settlement.  How many sales people are going to tell me that it could go either way and because this is a major financial decision that is going to effect me for years to come, I should first consult with a bankruptcy attorney and learn how that would effect me, and then come back and talk to them about settlement?  How many Matt?  Put me in for a big fat NONE OF THEM.

    I had a client today that needs to file BK.  She talked to 7 debt settlement sales people before she found me.  She is 800 dollars in the hole every month, with no savings.  She does not have any assets that she would lose in a chapter 7 and she is under the income cap.

    A BK would give her a fresh start with no debt and the ability to move forward in her life within a few months.  There is no argument that ch 7 was the right move.  She is going to meet with a local BK attorney and then report back to me so we can discuss how she feels about what she learned. 

    How many of the 7 sales people told her that she might want to at least consider consulting with a BK attorney first?  A big 0, Nada, zip, zilch, none.  The average payment that these clowns pulled out of their butts was 450 bucks a month.  I said, how did any of them look at these numbers and determine that you can afford to pay that?  Oh, none of them asked her to fill out a worksheet.  In fact, until I gave her one to fill out, she had no idea things were that bad.

    Now how many thousands of consultations do I have to do, that sound exactly like that before I am allowed to draw some conclusions about how a majority of this industry operates?

    Listen to my audio testimonials from my clients on my website.  They all say the same thing.

  • Matt

    PS: Most companies are offering referrals into other verticals if their program isn’t appropriate. One of the reasons Evolution is growing so fast is that we are truly uniting the various verticals and creating a more effective hybrid that will provide a more substantive and well rounded approach to debt relief. I have told countless people over the years to simply wait a few months and call us when the fog clears. If you can’t see the path, you shouldn’t go trouncing down it, right? Might be a snake in the way that will bite you and add to your problems. For the most part, the pre-qualifications process is pretty straight forward. Once you talk to them and hear their story, empathetically, of course, and weigh out their situation, it becomes pretty clear what they need to do. It isn’t always settlement. The other side of this is that these folks are someone elses mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. You have to treat people with compassion and truly care about them in order to help them. I have always said, “Do the right things and money will come”. If you are more worried about your bottom line and profits, you’re on the wrong track and need to re-evaluate your mission. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a business, but without the customers, you have no business, so you have to offer a solid product/service for a reasonable price and take amazing care of your clients. Do what you say you are going to do and run your business as if your first and last name and reputation were on the front of it. Anyway, I could go on for hours, but I am married. If I want to remain HAPPILY married, I should go to bed. Have a great night…

  • Damon Day

    Ha ha no, we are doing this in real time and I hit submit right after you said all that.  I can’t type that fast.

  • Matt

    Did you read my post before you said all that?

  • Damon Day

    It is quite a simple concept to understand for any objective observer that does not profit directly or indirectly from the sale of a debt settlement program.  You do it ass backwards.  The settlement company has a pre-formed solution.  The job of the sales person is to take specific elements (only specific elements) of a consumers problem and try to make them fit into the solution offered.  Why? Because that is what you sell.

    Instead, what a consumer actually needs is someone to take an overall look at the consumer’s situation first, without a pre concieved and ready made solution in hand.  Then advise the client based on what is best for the client.  And I don’t mean just bankruptcy, debt settlement or cccs.  I mean actually looking at everything, taking everything in, understanding where a consumer is at emotionally, life circumstances, goals, future earnings potential and the list goes on. Often times the best answer at the moment is to simply let the payments go and wait to see what happens with income. 

    How many debt settlement sales people say, “don’t do anything right now, call me in 3 months and we will take another look?” – None that have ever talked to any of my clients. 

    You telling me you take some sales guys from the mortgage business and after a few hours of training they have the education, life experience and the incentivized compensation to provide this service?

  • Matt

    Every client needs to be thoroughly assessed financially, I completely agree. If the agent hasn’t done a complete financial workup including a comprehensive budget, they have no idea whether the client is appropriate for settlement. Same needs to be said for the other verticals as well. Some are a candidate for settlement, some for DMP, some for bankruptcy, and even some for a good ol’ fashioned belt tightening and some financial education. If settlement is the best option, the agent needs to make absolutely certain that the client understands exactly what they are getting into. Every intricate detail of the debt settlement process needs to be disclosed and the client must understand and agree to those terms completely. This should be the standard protocol of any solid company. Stephanie Rosenthal from the FTC summed it up at the 2008 USOBA conference. It has to do with impressions. Whatever impression the client has about the program will supersede the fine print in the agreement. You have to manage the client’s expectations from the start. You can’t make a disclosure then schmooze it over, giving them a diminished understanding of a downside that they need to accept prior to enrolling. It’s counterproductive in the end. Client retention and success are created on the first call. I know Emerge America does that and that is exactly what we have been teaching for years. Mike knows what he’s doing. As far as the clients you speak with, Damon, what kind of advice do you give them. Which companies do you refer them too for the various programs you discover their need for. For instance, if you speak with a client and they are appropriate for settlement, who do you send them to? Who do you send them to for a bankruptcy consult? What about DMP or CCCS? Just curious who you recommend to these folks.

  • Damon Day

    Yes, are you?

  • Matt

    Wow. Are you all getting this??

  • Damon Day

    Yes, but I believe that most of them do it out of ignorance. They don’t realize how they are hurting consumers and think they are actually doing a good thing.

    You trained sales people that sold up front fee models before the law passed right?

  • Damon Day

    I totally agree with the practice of debt settlement for consumers in the right circumstances.  You will not find anything anywhere that I have ever written that says “Debt Settlement” is bad.  I always talk about companies, programs, and the way it is sold.  Never about the strategy implemented in the right way for the right people.

  • Matt

    Do you really think you and Steve and a “few others” are the only people that are watching out for the consumers while 10′s of thousands of ravenous debt settlement sales vultures are preying on the American consumers? That tells us all a lot….

  • Damon Day

    Mike let me ask you a question.

    Why do you think Debt Settlement Sales People almost never tell a client to at least consult with a Bankruptcy attorney? I am not saying you don’t.  I am just asking you to think about it.

    Every time I have a client that is a good case for a chapter 7, I ask them to at least meet with a bankruptcy attorney to get a full understanding of the option.  Then we can talk about alternatives once they know.

    I always ask them if any of the debt settlemen sales people told them to do that.  Every time the answer is no.  I then ask, well I am looking at your cash flow and I am confused where the debt settlement sales person thought this 1,000 a month payment for their plan was supposed to come from.  Answer, oh, they didn’t ask me for my numbers.

    Now this is how a majority of the players in this industry operate.  Unless as Matt suggets, every consumer that talks to me must have only been talking to the bad guys. 

  • Matt

    Just one question to clarify this and I’ll leave it alone:

    Damon, do you or do you not agree with the practice of debt settlement? The reason I ask is that if you fundamentally disagree with settlement, this entire conversation and blog is irrelevant to that industry. It would then indicate that you are going to find flaw with it regardless of how the program is marketed or deployed, right?

  • Damon Day

    Ya, what happened to the good old days when we could just rip off consumers as a matter of course and nobody would say anything?  Now this Steve guy is crashing the party and shining a light on our perfect little scam.  What a jerk.  Go do something else and leave us alone Steve.

    Ha ha. Pathetic.

  • Damon Day

    Balance?

    10′s of 1000′s of sales people pushing debt settlement.  Myself, Steve and a few others telling consumers to slow down and research it first.

    Tell me, on what side do we need more balance? 

    Come on man, lets start with a reality check.

  • Damon Day

    Mike,
    Are you actually suggesting that now because there is a law, that all of these bad actors that were perfectly fine ripping off consumers left and right before are suddenly going to just fall in line and we will just be left with a small group of people only looking out for the best interests of consumers?

    Why do we have cops?  Don’t we have laws that say people aren’t allowed to kill other people and steal from them and commit fraud?

    Someone should tell all of the cops that we have laws and therefore don’t expect there to be any more issues.

    Mike, don’t worry about me not having anything to warn consumers about. 

    You fail to understand the fundamental issue.

    As long as there is someone trying to sell a debt relief program, a consumer needs someone like me to offer a second opinion.  Then the sales person can do his thing, and I will give my opinion.  That way the consumer can see both sides and make up their own mind. Who knows, I might even agree with the sales person’s advice once in awhile. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

    The law simply made it a little harder for the consumer to spot the bad guys, thereby actually increasing the need for a service like mine.

    For crying out loud we have these companies, I won’t mention names but their initials are TASC, oops, I mean AFCC (changing the words) coming out and claiming to be consumer advocates, and changing the words around to tell consumers that they fought for and agree with the new consumer regulations.

    These are the same companies that spent millions fighting the new law up to the bitter end, and now, because of no other choice are suddenly consumer advocates looking out for their clients?

    If they believe upfront fees are bad as they now claim, what did they believe last year when they were doing it to their own clients?

    Last year they attacked me constantly for speaking out against their business model. This year they agree with everything they attacked me for last year.

    So last year were they just ignorant or where they knowingly screwing their clients?
    So don’t worry, the overwhelming demand for the service that I provide will keep me around for a long long time

  • Steve Rhode

    BTW, I wanted to let everyone know that Debt Relief Master Class I mentioned is now free for attendees. People attending will be asked for a voluntary donation that will go to help the local food bank.

    Many thanks to Scott Johnson and Michael Bovee, the co-hosts of this event for being gracious enough to donate their time and travel to help debt relief companies that attend.

    More information on the class is available here.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    BTW, I wanted to let everyone know that Debt Relief Master Class I mentioned is now free for attendees. People attending will be asked for a voluntary donation that will go to help the local food bank.

    Many thanks to Scott Johnson and Michael Bovee, the co-hosts of this event for being gracious enough to donate their time and travel to help debt relief companies that attend.

    More information on the class is available here.

  • Steve Rhode

    Shouldn’t the debt relief industry be one that delivers advice and service to consumers in a fiduciary capacity for a fair and reasonable fee? Is there something in that vision that you find objectionable?

  • Roger B

    Excellent post Mike! Great analogy, please continue to post your honest observations, Steve should go back to what he’s good at, giving debtors in trouble sound advice and quit trying to create his version of what the debt relief industry should be. This site is very one sided on this issue and it’s so obvious to anyone with experience in the debt relief space.

  • Steve Rhode

    Mike,

    We agree.

    Unfortunately there are many examples of companies that don’t believe that and instead take advantage of consumers and that in turn hurts the entire industry. The more we can warn consumers to avoid those companies and to find guys like you the better the world will be.

    The good guys can’t shine if we allow the bad guys to block the sun.

  • Mike Reilly

    I agree with everything you said Steve but, for the record let me say this; If you treat your customer the way you yourself wish, expect and demand to be treated 9.5 out of 10 times you’re in a good place. I agree you cannot please everyone so laws and regulations must be applied and followed.
    Those who choose not to will at some point pay the piper.

  • Steve Rhode

    There is no balance. The risks of the debt relief space far outweigh the rewards.

    Still looking for your good news guest post and happy to publish it.

  • Steve Rhode

    Mike,

    I was brushing my teeth this morning and thinking again about your comment. I wanted to share this with you about the industry.

    In 1994, after I quit my job at IBM and on my very first day as a debt counselor I went to my local consumer protection office to share with them what awesome help we were about to deliver to help people with debt problems. Instead of a glad you are here to help consumers I was put in a conference room, a woman came in, slammed a law book down, and told me I had better have packed my bags because I was headed to jail for getting into the debt relief space. She asked me if I preferred to be handcuffed in the front or the back as I was to be taken to jail from the government building. This is all true. Not a joke. I was not arrested.

    Years later I found out she did that to all new companies in the debt space to see who was serious and who was going to run. It was just her way to scare people and trust me, it scared me, but I stuck with helping people. The reason she did this was because in her 30+ years with the consumer protection agency she had dealt with debt relief scam after debt relief scam.

    In 2002 I got a cease and desist letter from California for providing services we were already exempt from registering for. To this day i still have to explain that issue over and over again on the internet. You can read the whole story here. This is a serious business that can haunt you for years to come.

    For those of us good people, and I’ll put you in that boat, that help consumers with debt problems, it’s not a rosy picture. It’s an all out war. On one side debt relief companies have to fight business realities and be good forecasters of times to come, and operate in compliance with state law and federal law. We have to fight back against the bogus lawsuits and charges. We have to stop the ripoffs and scammers that hurt the industry. And after all of that, our reward is only that we know we did the right thing and the best we could to help a person in trouble.

    If anyone reading this is wants to get into the debt relief world to make a lot of money, prepare to take on a substantial amount of risk. It seems to me all the high flyers have either descended out of the debt relief business or now have a series of lawsuits against them. Even the current big players are fighting back case after case.

    A long time ago when I first got into the debt relief world I was told there are only two types of companies, those that have been sued and those that will be sued. It’s true.

    in my career the biggest high flyer I first knew was Andris Pukke of Ameridebt. He started in a small office near where I started. He exploded his operation and marketed the hell out of it. He went for the big bucks. Today he’s in jail and so is his brother for the company he setup to provide debt relief services.

    So all of the stories of realities are warnings of what to avoid. They are all factual and debt relief executives need to be aware of them. You can’t avoid what you don’t know about.

  • Mike Reilly

    I’ll sum it up with one word…balance

  • Scott Johnson

    S&P/Experian Credit Default Indices Show Increases in Default Rates

    NEW YORK, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Data through April 2011, released today by S&P Indices and Experian for the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, a comprehensive measure of changes in consumer credit defaults, showed an increase in bank card and second mortgages default rates for the first time in at least five months. Bank Card defaults went up from 5.59% in March to 5.91% in April and Second Mortgages increased from 1.42% to 1.51%.  First Mortgages experienced a fairy large decrease in default rates down to 2.16% from 2.33%, while Auto Loan had a small decrease to 1.45%.
     
     
    http://www.creditandcollection

  • Scott Johnson

    S&P/Experian Credit Default Indices Show Increases in Default Rates

    NEW YORK, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Data through April 2011, released today by S&P Indices and Experian for the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, a comprehensive measure of changes in consumer credit defaults, showed an increase in bank card and second mortgages default rates for the first time in at least five months. Bank Card defaults went up from 5.59% in March to 5.91% in April and Second Mortgages increased from 1.42% to 1.51%.  First Mortgages experienced a fairy large decrease in default rates down to 2.16% from 2.33%, while Auto Loan had a small decrease to 1.45%.
     
     
    http://www.creditandcollectionnews.com/viewer.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prnewswire.com%2Fnews-releases%2Fspexperian-credit-default-indices-show-increases-in-default-rates-121992738.html
     

  • Mike Reilly

    Steve at no point in my post do I question the reality or factuality of the information you provide readers and believe me I realize the stress this industry is under. One look at this section of your site and anyone with five minutes would draw the same conclusion. I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) you started this site with a purpose, to stand up for consumers and help them with their debt issues for free, correct? Well, I think we all know the answer to that and I also believe most would say, mission accomplished, so far. I think the problem some are seeing, including me (yes I’ve heard it from others) is that you and others are getting what you wished for, which is great for consumers but, not so great for those at the wishing well and here’s why.

    Let’s talk about demand, this is simple really and I’ll use the most basic analogy; Tell the people there’s gold in the hills and rivers of California and many will hitch their horses to the wagons, pack their belongings and hit the trail. Tell stories or report news of the “wild west” I.E. Indians, gun fights, robbery, killing, rape and people lose confidence (not their desire or need) and question the long journey and the beginning of a new life, a fresh start. Conversely, tell folks about those who hit pay dirt, purchased the lumber to build a home and start a family etc and so forth….you get the point. Well I for one will tell you the stories and reports are out and they continue to flow, especially here at this centralized location, hey it’s your site post what you wish but remember the old saying.

    A long time ago I use to subscribe to the local news paper, not any more though, reason is the first 20 or so pages is all about everything I mentioned above, death, destruction and politics. Guess what; check your local news paper distribution, like most it’s probably in the tank.

    Let’s ad into the mix legislation, law, competition and the regulators. I read somewhere here that before the FTC amended the TSR the DSC count was somewhere around 3000, after to 850 and now rebounding to around 1200? Let’s say you really get what you wish for, my guess, equality for consumers engaged in debt relief service programs and the UDMSA is adopted in every state with slight variations, now what? More companies will drop out and the bad news stops, DSC’s providing clean service go on their merry way and Steve’s left to write about the bad boys of auto warranty… or diabetes testers to the elderly. Why not look for the sun peaking through the clouds and let consumers know its ok to come out now? I’m sure there are plenty of providers out there doing it right as compared to the small group you endorse/monetize. That my friend will be an interesting day, if you end up with the chance.

    Here again is what I see; I see that you saw (long ago) the opportunity to monetize consumer fear and despair, I don’t blame you, it’s a good business to be in (ask most news papers, distribution is down but, they still make a good buck) and if you can spread the fire by adding fuel (posting lots of it) so be it. You started off with consumer fear (that run is slowing down due to law and enforcement and I’m sure you realize it) and now, industry participant fear, (limited at best) which is clearly evident in this section of the site.

     
    I see some of the 800 lb gorillas are peeking their heads out now, willing to step up their game and be heard, sure now that it’s the only game in town.

    Go get em killer there’s money in those hills!

  • Steve Rhode

    People don’t submit positive questions, the readers are in a jam and I’ve yet to see a positive guest post submitted by you.

    As far as the reports on data, it just is what it is. When I start to see a turnaround in opportunity I’ll report on that as well. But all indicators point to hold on and prepare for some tough times. Right now we have a capacity problem. We have too many sellers and providers for the declining customer pool.

    I’m sorry you see it as all bad news but the reality is that debt relief is a serious business with terrible consequences if you get it wrong. It’s best for everyone to be aware of the potholes and problem areas so they can avoid them.

    The items you raised are not doom and gloom, it’s the reality of the debt relief landscape today. None of those items you mentioned are false, they are all true, sourced, and topical.

    If you’ve got data that shows things are exploding and debt relief companies don’t need to be cautious about the near future, post a link to the data. If you’ve got some insight about regulation is falling away or penalties for screwing up are getting smaller, I’d love to see those links as well.

    But putting on a happy face is not the best management look forward. Unless you know the risks and realities you can’t take appropriate action to avoid them. I’ve been in the debt relief world since 1994 and each year it gets harder, tougher, more regulated and more people are harmed.

    So give me a positive business story on the debt relief industry. What do you have for me to run that is not a “I used them they are wonderful” story? I look forward to your guest post. When do you want to submit it?

  • Mike Reilly

    Sorry to leave you hanging Steve, so to answer your question here is what I see;

    Archive for the ‘Debt Relief Industry’ Category
    Just looking back at the last 50 posts,  greater than 10% same topic, demand falling, demand falling, demand falling!
    49.  Latest Search Data Still Shows Falling Demand for Debt Relief Services

    32.  Credit Counseling Service Demand Down, Hard. Hold On.
    29. Consumer Demand for Credit is Historically Low
    28. Bankruptcy Filings Up Slightly. Still No Positive Signs for Debt Relief Providers.
    20.  Moody’s Releases News on Debt Relief Customer Pool
    Decline in Open Credit Card Accounts Helps to Show Why There is a Reduced Demand for Debt Relief Services
    On top of that; jail time, jail time, major creditors refusing escrow payments, kicked out, future of debt relief, threatens me, class action, game changer, refund all, license suspended etc..etc..etc 
    If this is not doom and gloom I don’t know what is. Is there a positive side to this industry or is that not good for the consumer retention? I can’t tell you the last time I read a review about a firm making a difference for the better or a technology review or even one of your consumer readers providing you a positive review on a relationship they have had that was highlighted for all in the industry to read. I’m not saying its all doom and gloom but under this category it’s running in the high 90 percentile.
    It would be nice more than just once and a while to read a few positives.

  • Damon Day

    Thanks for the props Mike.  I will jump in, but I don’t see it as jumping in from behind.  I am pretty direct :-)

  • Damon Day

    Ha ha, Touche Matt, Touche… :-)

  • Matt

    He will be at Evolution. You could meet him and ask those questions there…

  • Matt

    I got a bit bogged down yesterday and didn’t have a chance to read the post. I will be reading and posting my comments by the end of the week. Call if you want to discuss it personally. I am available to the industry by phone and email personally at nearly any time.

  • Matt

    Thanks for the support guys. I think the military calls this scenario “friendly fire”. Oh well, I have armor. Have a great week everyone!

  • Matt

    All of the companies you praise and every company that you don’t badmouth.

  • Guest

    Agreed…great observations and points Mike…people like Matt and yourself will hopefully continue to share your comments as this site desparately needs a more balanced view (a view from a business perspective as Steve says)

  • Guest

    Agreed…great observations and points Mike…people like Matt and yourself will hopefully continue to share your comments as this site desparately needs a more balanced view (a view from a business perspective as Steve says)

  • Steve Rhode

    OK, I’ve got to ask, what “doom and gloom” have I been “preaching?”

  • Mike Reilly

    I will be out of pocket most of the day so I will not be able to respond to the tounge lashing until later. Ha ha ha

  • Mike Reilly

    Thanks for the plug Matt…Your material is high quality and well used by Emerge and I’ll be happy to stand behind it. For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to see or work with Matt’s modules, you should not comment.
    Matt, if you have spent any time here then you know most everyone here walks in the same direction and those who do not… well you get the point. I think I saw that in a movie once…Midnight Express?
    For the record here is my opinion, lately Steve has been preaching doom and gloom to industry participants, it’s been going on for a while but, heavier now than I’ve seen in a while, maybe because of the up and coming class. I walked in a different direction on that one and several (including scheduled speakers) where compelled to comment. As far as Damon is concerned no one does it better when it comes to protecting the consumer and this site is his bread and butter, he will not go down without a fight and if he see’s Steve’s in one, be rest assured Damon will jump you from behind, he can’t help himself and I don’t blame him.
    Sorry gentlemen but, that’s the way I see it. By no means does that make you bad guys.. just keep walking to the right!

  • Damon Day

    You are confused Matt.

    Compliance does not equal consumer protection.

    That is where you are making a leap that is not supported by the evidence.

    You erroneously argue that you are the leader of compliance, compliance protects consumers, therefore you are a protector of consumers.

  • Damon Day

    Oh, that’s great to hear, who are your clients?

  • Damon Day

    Why didn’t you audit your own clients?

    You trained 15,000 agents and none of them were selling a front loaded debt settlement program that unquestionably screws consumers?

  • Matt

    I will be happy to read it over and will post my comments below this thread. I left my number below, but in the event you’d like to discuss anything at all, please don’t hesitate to call. (952) 388-0668

  • Matt

    Our clients don’t rip consumer’s off. You must be mistaking our client’s for some ill-equipped group of loopholers. Ask Mike Reilly about our training, Damon. I think he appreciated the content and I know Emerge America is as solid as they come. Come to Evolution, Damon, and we’ll talk face-to-face about it. Or just give me a call. (952) 388-0668… I bet we have a lot in common. Enjoy your night.

  • Matt

    The audits we conducted were not of our clients. What they all NEEDED to do was learn how to market their program accurately, which we teach. You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about. We are the AUTHORITY in compliance and compliant sales training. We are the hallmark of consumer protection. Go read our site and tell me that we aren’t all about the consumer. That’s why this industry exists in my opinion. Look before you leap, Damon. http://www.mstarsinc.com
    http://www.saftinetwork.com

  • Speak into the microphone

    Matt, can you read this thread on the site and comment:  http://getoutofdebt.org/27800/

    The attorney perspective hits some pretty heavy (and key) points. Does your material address his concerns? I think some of them are valid.

  • Damon Day

    I love how you throw out illogical bombs and then say you are done with this.

    Steve responds to your unsubstantiated allegation, then you just throw another illogical bomb and again claim you are done with this back and forth.

    So far I have counted 8 times you have done this.

  • Damon Day

    Matt says “I think you and Damon probably have far more enemies in the space than friends.”

    Captain Obvious says “Duh”

    We actually look out for consumers, and show them when your clients are ripping them off.

    THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER…

  • Matt

    This entire back-n-forth thing. Our company has always been a consumer focused and consumer protective company, you know that. My entire MO is consumer focused, do it right, be honest, be transparent, full disclosure and follow the rules. I teach people how to do it smart and to be creative and entrepreneurial as well. You’ll say I’m deflecting now, but do you like the Levin video? I love it. And yes, I do think the government is less than honest on a lot of topics. Yes, I think the banks are greedy and crooked in a lot of ways and yes, the media portrays the “news stories” in whatever light they want to slant it. That’s why the media outlets battle over whole “Right, left and balanced news”. How about just being straight up, honest, just the facts ma’am. (That was talking about the media in general.) I have to be done with this thread though. I have a lot to do. Call me on my cell if you want to talk more about it.

  • Steve Rhode

    I could care less about enemies among debt relief providers. As I said, I look at this first from a consumer protection point of view. Consumers come first. But I’m happy to help any company that wants to operate in such a way that the consumer comes first and is not harmed.

    Your new statement is that I said TASC was offering to “wine and dine” me is a bit different than the impression you were giving before of “You then accepted to be “wined and dined” by TASC…” So it appears you realize that I never did accept an invitation for that.

    I’ve have said we have talked by phone and I’m not distancing myself from that. If you read my comment again you will see I never denied we have talked and I’ll let you add up the amount of time we’ve talked.

    After you published your comment I am responding to I got a text message from you that said “Let it go.” What am I supposed to let go of?

  • Matt

    If you look at the lineup and the topics at Evolution, you’ll see it’s far from conspiracycon, my friend. The truth is, this conference will unite the industry and as the new face of debt relief unfolds, you’re site and legacy will be just a faded memory of one man’s opinions. Hey, Debtdebt0, who are you and why the jabs? What are you doing for the industry or the people of America that are struggling? I think you don’t want to come because it undermines your agenda. If you don’t want to be in the light, then stay in the dark. I know you think everyone in the industry sees these posts or are interested in what you are saying, but the truth is, you’re popularity is in your head. I think you and Damon probably have far more enemies in the space than friends. I actually appreciate what you do on several levels. I could do without the nonsense, but I guess it comes with the territory. With regards to our call about TASC, you said those words. Deny it if you want to, but you said to me on the phone that they were offering to “wine and dine” you. I also have phone logs to your phone showing beyond a couple of hours of talk. Why you are trying to put distance there is beyond me. It doesn’t matter anyway. As far as the current state of affairs in the world and the economy at large, think what you want to. There are a great many political minds that are unhappy with the way the banks and government are doing America right now and are questioning the processes. Are they all whack jobs too? Our Evolution 2011 conference is going to provide real information, tools, techniques and insights on a cooperative, transparent, consumer focused industry moving forward and we will teach the industry how to truly survive the transition. Financially. There are a lot of exhibitors and a huge swell of folks that will be there. If you don’t want to come and you want to hide in a cave, great. Who wouldn’t come to this? It’s not even a question of “should I come?” it’s a question of “why wouldn’t I come?” Anyway, come, don’t come, you do what you want. Your a grown man. Now, can we PLEASE let this childish bantering end? This is what kind of transparency I would like to see…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • Steve Rhode

    Matt,

    I never said we haven’t spoken or emailed. I acknowledge all the help you’ve given me in my work writing about the industry and I’m appreciative of that. Thank you for that. What I was clarifying was that on these topics we have not talked on the phone for hours.

    I never said that Birnbaum called me. I’ve never spoken to him either in person or by phone. I was invited to the TASC conference by Andrew Houser by email. What I take offense to is when you say things like “You then accepted to be “wined and dined” by TASC…” making it appear I was to receive some sort of compensation or favor from them. And to be clear, I did not attend the TASC conference.

    So when you say “we can talk at the conference” does that mean you are coming to my class on How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World? Because just to be clear, after all you’ve said and the approach you’ve taken here there is no way I’m going to Evolution 2011. I’ve got better things to do then fly to Vegas to attend a conference built on the apparent belief the government lies, no figures can be trusted from any source, the banks and media are engaged in a conspiracy and it’s all a big scam.

    But I stand behind my offer of allowing you to submit a guest post with your position on the debt relief industry and your vision forward and I’m happy to publish an article with information about your meeting.

  • Matt

    Interesting? She said she’d be there and she is booked to speak. She was waiting for their budget to be revealed to determine if they would fund her travel arrangements. I told her I would look for a non-profit organization to fund her expenses in the event the FTC didn’t have budget allotment for this. I don’t know that your comment about this being a “surprise” to her is accurate. And we certainly have spent hours on the phone discussing the issues of the day. Why you would try to claim we haven’t spent time on the phone together is strange to me. I have your cell number programmed into mine and have probably close to 50 or so personal emails back and forth between us. Are trying to say this isn’t true? Steve, you and I may be in disagreement over these issues but on the issues at large, we are certainly in agreement. Please don’t keep escalating this into a personal battle. It isn’t. I just disagree with you on these points. BTW, you told me on the phone when the TASC issue started that Birnbaum called you to invite you to speak and they were going to “wine and dine” you. You sounded excited about it and I gave you heat about that on the phone as well. Geeez dude, don’t be so offended by the fact that I disagree with you. People disagree alot. Doesn’t mean we can’t get along. To clarify, it is Evolution. I happened to make a type-o and thought it was clever so I have used it a couple of times. You know marketing, so I don’t know why this is a point of strangeness. Anyway, let’s let this die. We can talk at the conference.

  • Errick

    I’m not sure, but somewhere on this site is a letter from Croxson to the CA legislature saying Care One is doing debt settlement directly in 19 states now.  I assume they are still servicing the other states.  Also on this site is a document that says the lawyers only get $11 per client.

  • Debtdebt0

    Why not join the revolution and be involved

    Now it’s ” revolution?”

  • question

    Errick- I thought Care One only sent “Red States” to the law firm and they serviced the green states in house. Also I thought that they also serviced the law firm clients for the law firm.

    What is Care One doing with their green and red state Debt Settlement clients now?

  • Steve Rhode

    You incorrectly say I agreed to be “wined and dined” by TASC. Yes, TASC asked me to speak about the way forward and why all companies need to be compliant. TASC was not paying my way nor for my room. I was not accepting any money from TASC to speak. So I don’t know how you can accuse me of being “wined and dined.” Please tell me how you can make that libelous accusation?

    I’ve never said my way is the only valid way either. What I said was we look at things from two different directions. You appear to see things from a business protection point of view and I see thing from a consumer protection point of view. Labeling me by saying I only see it one way is wrong as well. I see the other approach but I elect to protect the industry by protecting consumers first. I acknowledge your point of view.

    Your accusation that I am trying to derail your credibility is incorrect also. I have not thrown insults at you your made any false claims about you.

    I fail to understand how if the ultimate goal is the betterment of the debt relief industry why my 25 member class impacts your 450 member convention. The message your protest sends is that you have the only message and the only way is your way and I need to “join the revolution” and get behind it. There is room for more than one approach and point of view.

    What in the world is revolutionary about protecting consumers and regulatory compliance? How is that a new approach?

    You took issue with me speaking at the TASC conference for some reason. Yet other speakers at your conference speak at other conferences as well. I can’t understand how a message of consumer protection should be limited to just one audience if we are truly putting consumers first.

    Yea, you have the largest get together but why can’t you celebrate all education and not just yours?

    Your statement that we’ve spent many hours on the phone discussing this is misleading and I want to set the record straight. We have not spent many hours on the phone discussing these issues.

    I am absolutely not afraid to debate you and have repeatedly asked you to send in your guest post with your points of view so we can have a public discussion over it and let the readers participate. You have not sent in your guest post. I’ve repeatedly asked you for your submission and have agreed to use this platform to share it.

    I really don’t think that my class is a duplication of your efforts. You have a big convention. I’m holding a small intimate class where student can work together to walk away with a business plan to move forward with. I’ve never said my class is better than yours but you appear to say yours is better.

    You say I’m not behind your Vegas meeting but I’ve repeatedly offered you to submit information about your meeting for and I’ve told people if they are interested in what you have to say they should attend your meeting and I’ve linked to it. Have you done the same for my educational efforts?

    You can make this about I threw a class before yours to scoop you, but it is absolutely not. When we (it was a group effort) planned the date of the class we wanted it to be in early June but due to dates and conflicts it got pushed to July 16-17. This was all planned without any awareness when your conference was. It was irrelevant to the class scheduling.

    Curious point. I was chatting with my friend Allison Brown today and she was surprised you still had her on your program and agenda. She said she’d let you know a while ago she was not coming. So what gives?

  • Matt

    As far as our personal conversations about your class versus the Evolution conference, well, we’ll just leave that opinion lay where it lies. I do think it’s in poor taste and apparently after reading the blog entries on your announcement page, so do others. It’s not a big deal, it’s just that this entire blog site is one big argument after another with you always making your opinion the only one that is valid. I just don’t understand how you can so subtly try to derail my credibility when I’ve done more for this industry and the consumers they serve than most people I know, including you and Damon. I just can’t argue the points with you when you clearly only see things one way. Like I said, the only way to clear the air is going to be by having a personal conversation, which you are clearly unwilling. It’s all very silly, Steve. If you want to be right, then just be right. If you want to paint me out to be a whack job, then you go for it. Too many people in this industry know me far better so it really is irrelevant. Honestly, you should just close down the comment sections in this site because you don’t really listen anyway. I don’t need to prove anything to you and Damon, because at the end of the day, I am making a difference for the consumers of this Great Country by doing what I do. I will simply continue what I am doing and continue to make a way for those in need. As far as the conference vs. your class, if you truly wanted to be a part of changing this industry you would have been on board with Evolution and helped unite the industry. I invited you to speak several months ago, you accepted. You then accepted to be “wined and dined” by TASC and speak at theirs which was being held prior to mine. I took issue with that. Then, when the speaker list grew and I had to make changes, I took you off the speaking list. I even made sure you knew that I certainly still wanted you to be involved and participate in our “Leadership Roundtable Meeting” with regulators and leaders in the space at the conference. You then decided it would be the right thing to do to throw a mini-conference prior to Evolution to basically duplicate what we are trying to do with Evolution. It’s certainly not a competition issue as we have the largest showing I’ve seen yet in this space. It has everything to do with what the intentions are behind hosting this and the timing of your “class”. It would have made more sense to get behind the major efforts in this industry, especially after the many hours of conversation we had about all this on the phone. Why not join the revolution and be involved? Regardless of all that. If you’ve ever heard the message I bring at the conferences, conference calls, webinars or read the emails I broadcast, you’d understand that I am truly changing the course of this ship called “Debt Relief”. Can we call this chain good now? It’s getting more ridiculous by the post. Let’s just agree to disagree on this.

  • Errick

    Until recently Care One sent all of their debt settlement accounts to a law firm and split the fees, I don’t know is 90,000 accounts big?  It sounds big.

  • Steve Rhode

    @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus I think I may have just had an ah ha moment spurned by something Damon said to you. 

    Your opinion appears to be the statistics I publish or things I say may hurt the debt relief industry.

    But I don’t approach the debt relief industry from the same direction you do. But that does not make my approach invalid.

    You appear to approach it from the sales side and that of the business as expressed by my publishing data and facts may hurt the industry. I on the other hand approach it from the consumer side first and use that in an effort to help good companies see what to avoid.

    My approach is that if we first educate and empower consumers to make good decisions in their moment of need we can protect them from a detrimental path that could negatively alter their path forward as they address their debt problem. If anyone truly proclaims to put the consumer first, that appears to be the only logical approach to achieve that goal. You can’t proclaim to put the consumer first and then not do it.

    You can’t just say that the the way to fix a bad intersection that leads to multiple accidents is to first fix the intersection design, you have to treat the accident victims that have been harmed and then put some warnings up about the dangerous intersection ahead while it is redesigned. What’s the excuse when more people are harmed, “Hey, we sent it out for bids and waiting to train the new engineers to fix it.”

    Part of debt relief education and empowerment is to warn consumers on what to avoid or more importantly, in their situation right now, here is the direction you should go.

    For example, far too many debt settlement websites in the past, and maybe even companies you trained, directed consumers away from bankruptcy and said many negative and untrue things about it in what appeared to be an attempt to sell debt settlement. My pointing out that those presentations were not accurate is not a slam on the debt settlement industry, it’s a warning to consumers that the information is not true.

    I am not pro bankruptcy, credit counseling, settlement, etc. I am for, first and foremost, the right tool at the right time to address the situation. Period. 

    I am not alien to the business side of debt relief. For a number of years I founded and ran a debt relief company. I understand the almost impossible patchwork of rules, regulations, making sales, etc. that comes along with that side of the industry. This is why my class, which you keep dissing is designed to help companies learn how to operate compliantly with the new regulator framework  and give them expert instruction by knowledgeable people in their field. You can see the day one agenda here.

    On some level I feel your disagreement with me and your insults tossed my way have some bearing on the fact I decided to offer this class to help companies find their way. 

    You’ve said my offering of the class was in bad taste and inappropriate. You’ve asked me to cancel my class and instead send people to your convention. And I’ve offered you to give me information to promote your Evolution convention in Las Vegas and to contribute a guest post to help promote it. But your approach seems to be that any other attempt but yours to help the debt relief industry, or a different approach to the industry is wrong.

    There is more than one way to reach the goal of a playing field that allows good debt relief companies to survive and thrive moving forward but in my opinion the underlying issue is that during that evolution, consumers need to be protected first as the businesses decide to alter and change.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

     @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus I think I may have just had an ah ha moment spurned by something Damon said to you. 

    Your opinion appears to be the statistics I publish or things I say may hurt the debt relief industry.

    But I don’t approach the debt relief industry from the same direction you do. But that does not make my approach invalid.

    You appear to approach it from the sales side and that of the business as expressed by my publishing data and facts may hurt the industry. I on the other hand approach it from the consumer side first and use that in an effort to help good companies see what to avoid.

    My approach is that if we first educate and empower consumers to make good decisions in their moment of need we can protect them from a detrimental path that could negatively alter their path forward as they address their debt problem. If anyone truly proclaims to put the consumer first, that appears to be the only logical approach to achieve that goal. You can’t proclaim to put the consumer first and then not do it.

    You can’t just say that the the way to fix a bad intersection that leads to multiple accidents is to first fix the intersection design, you have to treat the accident victims that have been harmed and then put some warnings up about the dangerous intersection ahead while it is redesigned. What’s the excuse when more people are harmed, “Hey, we sent it out for bids and waiting to train the new engineers to fix it.”

    Part of debt relief education and empowerment is to warn consumers on what to avoid or more importantly, in their situation right now, here is the direction you should go.

    For example, far too many debt settlement websites in the past, and maybe even companies you trained, directed consumers away from bankruptcy and said many negative and untrue things about it in what appeared to be an attempt to sell debt settlement. My pointing out that those presentations were not accurate is not a slam on the debt settlement industry, it’s a warning to consumers that the information is not true.

    I am not pro bankruptcy, credit counseling, settlement, etc. I am for, first and foremost, the right tool at the right time to address the situation. Period. 

    I am not alien to the business side of debt relief. For a number of years I founded and ran a debt relief company. I understand the almost impossible patchwork of rules, regulations, making sales, etc. that comes along with that side of the industry. This is why my class, which you keep dissing is designed to help companies learn how to operate compliantly with the new regulator framework  and give them expert instruction by knowledgeable people in their field. You can see the day one agenda here.

    On some level I feel your disagreement with me and your insults tossed my way have some bearing on the fact I decided to offer this class to help companies find their way. 

    You’ve said my offering of the class was in bad taste and inappropriate. You’ve asked me to cancel my class and instead send people to your convention. And I’ve offered you to give me information to promote your Evolution convention in Las Vegas and to contribute a guest post to help promote it. But your approach seems to be that any other attempt but yours to help the debt relief industry, or a different approach to the industry is wrong.

    There is more than one way to reach the goal of a playing field that allows good debt relief companies to survive and thrive moving forward but in my opinion the underlying issue is that during that evolution, consumers need to be protected first as the businesses decide to alter and change.

    • Matt

       As far as our personal conversations about your class versus the Evolution conference, well, we’ll just leave that opinion lay where it lies. I do think it’s in poor taste and apparently after reading the blog entries on your announcement page, so do others. It’s not a big deal, it’s just that this entire blog site is one big argument after another with you always making your opinion the only one that is valid. I just don’t understand how you can so subtly try to derail my credibility when I’ve done more for this industry and the consumers they serve than most people I know, including you and Damon. I just can’t argue the points with you when you clearly only see things one way. Like I said, the only way to clear the air is going to be by having a personal conversation, which you are clearly unwilling. It’s all very silly, Steve. If you want to be right, then just be right. If you want to paint me out to be a whack job, then you go for it. Too many people in this industry know me far better so it really is irrelevant. Honestly, you should just close down the comment sections in this site because you don’t really listen anyway. I don’t need to prove anything to you and Damon, because at the end of the day, I am making a difference for the consumers of this Great Country by doing what I do. I will simply continue what I am doing and continue to make a way for those in need. As far as the conference vs. your class, if you truly wanted to be a part of changing this industry you would have been on board with Evolution and helped unite the industry. I invited you to speak several months ago, you accepted. You then accepted to be “wined and dined” by TASC and speak at theirs which was being held prior to mine. I took issue with that. Then, when the speaker list grew and I had to make changes, I took you off the speaking list. I even made sure you knew that I certainly still wanted you to be involved and participate in our “Leadership Roundtable Meeting” with regulators and leaders in the space at the conference. You then decided it would be the right thing to do to throw a mini-conference prior to Evolution to basically duplicate what we are trying to do with Evolution. It’s certainly not a competition issue as we have the largest showing I’ve seen yet in this space. It has everything to do with what the intentions are behind hosting this and the timing of your “class”. It would have made more sense to get behind the major efforts in this industry, especially after the many hours of conversation we had about all this on the phone. Why not join the revolution and be involved? Regardless of all that. If you’ve ever heard the message I bring at the conferences, conference calls, webinars or read the emails I broadcast, you’d understand that I am truly changing the course of this ship called “Debt Relief”. Can we call this chain good now? It’s getting more ridiculous by the post. Let’s just agree to disagree on this.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        You incorrectly say I agreed to be “wined and dined” by TASC. Yes, TASC asked me to speak about the way forward and why all companies need to be compliant. TASC was not paying my way nor for my room. I was not accepting any money from TASC to speak. So I don’t know how you can accuse me of being “wined and dined.” Please tell me how you can make that libelous accusation?

        I’ve never said my way is the only valid way either. What I said was we look at things from two different directions. You appear to see things from a business protection point of view and I see thing from a consumer protection point of view. Labeling me by saying I only see it one way is wrong as well. I see the other approach but I elect to protect the industry by protecting consumers first. I acknowledge your point of view.

        Your accusation that I am trying to derail your credibility is incorrect also. I have not thrown insults at you your made any false claims about you.

        I fail to understand how if the ultimate goal is the betterment of the debt relief industry why my 25 member class impacts your 450 member convention. The message your protest sends is that you have the only message and the only way is your way and I need to “join the revolution” and get behind it. There is room for more than one approach and point of view.

        What in the world is revolutionary about protecting consumers and regulatory compliance? How is that a new approach?

        You took issue with me speaking at the TASC conference for some reason. Yet other speakers at your conference speak at other conferences as well. I can’t understand how a message of consumer protection should be limited to just one audience if we are truly putting consumers first.

        Yea, you have the largest get together but why can’t you celebrate all education and not just yours?

        Your statement that we’ve spent many hours on the phone discussing this is misleading and I want to set the record straight. We have not spent many hours on the phone discussing these issues.

        I am absolutely not afraid to debate you and have repeatedly asked you to send in your guest post with your points of view so we can have a public discussion over it and let the readers participate. You have not sent in your guest post. I’ve repeatedly asked you for your submission and have agreed to use this platform to share it.

        I really don’t think that my class is a duplication of your efforts. You have a big convention. I’m holding a small intimate class where student can work together to walk away with a business plan to move forward with. I’ve never said my class is better than yours but you appear to say yours is better.

        You say I’m not behind your Vegas meeting but I’ve repeatedly offered you to submit information about your meeting for and I’ve told people if they are interested in what you have to say they should attend your meeting and I’ve linked to it. Have you done the same for my educational efforts?

        You can make this about I threw a class before yours to scoop you, but it is absolutely not. When we (it was a group effort) planned the date of the class we wanted it to be in early June but due to dates and conflicts it got pushed to July 16-17. This was all planned without any awareness when your conference was. It was irrelevant to the class scheduling.

        Curious point. I was chatting with my friend Allison Brown today and she was surprised you still had her on your program and agenda. She said she’d let you know a while ago she was not coming. So what gives?

      • Matt

        Interesting? She said she’d be there and she is booked to speak. She was waiting for their budget to be revealed to determine if they would fund her travel arrangements. I told her I would look for a non-profit organization to fund her expenses in the event the FTC didn’t have budget allotment for this. I don’t know that your comment about this being a “surprise” to her is accurate. And we certainly have spent hours on the phone discussing the issues of the day. Why you would try to claim we haven’t spent time on the phone together is strange to me. I have your cell number programmed into mine and have probably close to 50 or so personal emails back and forth between us. Are trying to say this isn’t true? Steve, you and I may be in disagreement over these issues but on the issues at large, we are certainly in agreement. Please don’t keep escalating this into a personal battle. It isn’t. I just disagree with you on these points. BTW, you told me on the phone when the TASC issue started that Birnbaum called you to invite you to speak and they were going to “wine and dine” you. You sounded excited about it and I gave you heat about that on the phone as well. Geeez dude, don’t be so offended by the fact that I disagree with you. People disagree alot. Doesn’t mean we can’t get along. To clarify, it is Evolution. I happened to make a type-o and thought it was clever so I have used it a couple of times. You know marketing, so I don’t know why this is a point of strangeness. Anyway, let’s let this die. We can talk at the conference.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Matt,

        I never said we haven’t spoken or emailed. I acknowledge all the help you’ve given me in my work writing about the industry and I’m appreciative of that. Thank you for that. What I was clarifying was that on these topics we have not talked on the phone for hours.

        I never said that Birnbaum called me. I’ve never spoken to him either in person or by phone. I was invited to the TASC conference by Andrew Houser by email. What I take offense to is when you say things like “You then accepted to be “wined and dined” by TASC…” making it appear I was to receive some sort of compensation or favor from them. And to be clear, I did not attend the TASC conference.

        So when you say “we can talk at the conference” does that mean you are coming to my class on How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World? Because just to be clear, after all you’ve said and the approach you’ve taken here there is no way I’m going to Evolution 2011. I’ve got better things to do then fly to Vegas to attend a conference built on the apparent belief the government lies, no figures can be trusted from any source, the banks and media are engaged in a conspiracy and it’s all a big scam.

        But I stand behind my offer of allowing you to submit a guest post with your position on the debt relief industry and your vision forward and I’m happy to publish an article with information about your meeting.

      • Matt

         If you look at the lineup and the topics at Evolution, you’ll see it’s far from conspiracycon, my friend. The truth is, this conference will unite the industry and as the new face of debt relief unfolds, you’re site and legacy will be just a faded memory of one man’s opinions. Hey, Debtdebt0, who are you and why the jabs? What are you doing for the industry or the people of America that are struggling? I think you don’t want to come because it undermines your agenda. If you don’t want to be in the light, then stay in the dark. I know you think everyone in the industry sees these posts or are interested in what you are saying, but the truth is, you’re popularity is in your head. I think you and Damon probably have far more enemies in the space than friends. I actually appreciate what you do on several levels. I could do without the nonsense, but I guess it comes with the territory. With regards to our call about TASC, you said those words. Deny it if you want to, but you said to me on the phone that they were offering to “wine and dine” you. I also have phone logs to your phone showing beyond a couple of hours of talk. Why you are trying to put distance there is beyond me. It doesn’t matter anyway. As far as the current state of affairs in the world and the economy at large, think what you want to. There are a great many political minds that are unhappy with the way the banks and government are doing America right now and are questioning the processes. Are they all whack jobs too? Our Evolution 2011 conference is going to provide real information, tools, techniques and insights on a cooperative, transparent, consumer focused industry moving forward and we will teach the industry how to truly survive the transition. Financially. There are a lot of exhibitors and a huge swell of folks that will be there. If you don’t want to come and you want to hide in a cave, great. Who wouldn’t come to this? It’s not even a question of “should I come?” it’s a question of “why wouldn’t I come?” Anyway, come, don’t come, you do what you want. Your a grown man. Now, can we PLEASE let this childish bantering end? This is what kind of transparency I would like to see…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLx2Xc1EXLg

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I could care less about enemies among debt relief providers. As I said, I look at this first from a consumer protection point of view. Consumers come first. But I’m happy to help any company that wants to operate in such a way that the consumer comes first and is not harmed.

        Your new statement is that I said TASC was offering to “wine and dine” me is a bit different than the impression you were giving before of “You then accepted to be “wined and dined” by TASC…” So it appears you realize that I never did accept an invitation for that.

        I’ve have said we have talked by phone and I’m not distancing myself from that. If you read my comment again you will see I never denied we have talked and I’ll let you add up the amount of time we’ve talked.

        After you published your comment I am responding to I got a text message from you that said “Let it go.” What am I supposed to let go of?

      • Matt

         This entire back-n-forth thing. Our company has always been a consumer focused and consumer protective company, you know that. My entire MO is consumer focused, do it right, be honest, be transparent, full disclosure and follow the rules. I teach people how to do it smart and to be creative and entrepreneurial as well. You’ll say I’m deflecting now, but do you like the Levin video? I love it. And yes, I do think the government is less than honest on a lot of topics. Yes, I think the banks are greedy and crooked in a lot of ways and yes, the media portrays the “news stories” in whatever light they want to slant it. That’s why the media outlets battle over whole “Right, left and balanced news”. How about just being straight up, honest, just the facts ma’am. (That was talking about the media in general.) I have to be done with this thread though. I have a lot to do. Call me on my cell if you want to talk more about it.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         I love how you throw out illogical bombs and then say you are done with this.

        Steve responds to your unsubstantiated allegation, then you just throw another illogical bomb and again claim you are done with this back and forth.

        So far I have counted 8 times you have done this.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Matt says “I think you and Damon probably have far more enemies in the space than friends.”

        Captain Obvious says “Duh”

        We actually look out for consumers, and show them when your clients are ripping them off.

        THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER…

      • Matt

         Our clients don’t rip consumer’s off. You must be mistaking our client’s for some ill-equipped group of loopholers. Ask Mike Reilly about our training, Damon. I think he appreciated the content and I know Emerge America is as solid as they come. Come to Evolution, Damon, and we’ll talk face-to-face about it. Or just give me a call. (952) 388-0668… I bet we have a lot in common. Enjoy your night.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Oh, that’s great to hear, who are your clients?

      • Matt

         All of the companies you praise and every company that you don’t badmouth.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Ha ha, Touche Matt, Touche… :-)

      • Mike Reilly

        Thanks for the plug Matt…Your material is high quality and well used by Emerge and I’ll be happy to stand behind it. For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to see or work with Matt’s modules, you should not comment.
        Matt, if you have spent any time here then you know most everyone here walks in the same direction and those who do not… well you get the point. I think I saw that in a movie once…Midnight Express?
        For the record here is my opinion, lately Steve has been preaching doom and gloom to industry participants, it’s been going on for a while but, heavier now than I’ve seen in a while, maybe because of the up and coming class. I walked in a different direction on that one and several (including scheduled speakers) where compelled to comment. As far as Damon is concerned no one does it better when it comes to protecting the consumer and this site is his bread and butter, he will not go down without a fight and if he see’s Steve’s in one, be rest assured Damon will jump you from behind, he can’t help himself and I don’t blame him.
        Sorry gentlemen but, that’s the way I see it. By no means does that make you bad guys.. just keep walking to the right!
         

      • Mike Reilly

        I will be out of pocket most of the day so I will not be able to respond to the tounge lashing until later. Ha ha ha 

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        OK, I’ve got to ask, what “doom and gloom” have I been “preaching?”

      • Mike Reilly

        Sorry to leave you hanging Steve, so to answer your question here is what I see;

        Archive for the ‘Debt Relief Industry’ Category
        Just looking back at the last 50 posts,  greater than 10% same topic, demand falling, demand falling, demand falling!
        49.  Latest Search Data Still Shows Falling Demand for Debt Relief Services

        32.  Credit Counseling Service Demand Down, Hard. Hold On.
        29. Consumer Demand for Credit is Historically Low
        28. Bankruptcy Filings Up Slightly. Still No Positive Signs for Debt Relief Providers.
        20.  Moody’s Releases News on Debt Relief Customer Pool
        Decline in Open Credit Card Accounts Helps to Show Why There is a Reduced Demand for Debt Relief Services
        On top of that; jail time, jail time, major creditors refusing escrow payments, kicked out, future of debt relief, threatens me, class action, game changer, refund all, license suspended etc..etc..etc 
        If this is not doom and gloom I don’t know what is. Is there a positive side to this industry or is that not good for the consumer retention? I can’t tell you the last time I read a review about a firm making a difference for the better or a technology review or even one of your consumer readers providing you a positive review on a relationship they have had that was highlighted for all in the industry to read. I’m not saying its all doom and gloom but under this category it’s running in the high 90 percentile.
        It would be nice more than just once and a while to read a few positives.
         

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        People don’t submit positive questions, the readers are in a jam and I’ve yet to see a positive guest post submitted by you.

        As far as the reports on data, it just is what it is. When I start to see a turnaround in opportunity I’ll report on that as well. But all indicators point to hold on and prepare for some tough times. Right now we have a capacity problem. We have too many sellers and providers for the declining customer pool.

        I’m sorry you see it as all bad news but the reality is that debt relief is a serious business with terrible consequences if you get it wrong. It’s best for everyone to be aware of the potholes and problem areas so they can avoid them.

        The items you raised are not doom and gloom, it’s the reality of the debt relief landscape today. None of those items you mentioned are false, they are all true, sourced, and topical.

        If you’ve got data that shows things are exploding and debt relief companies don’t need to be cautious about the near future, post a link to the data. If you’ve got some insight about regulation is falling away or penalties for screwing up are getting smaller, I’d love to see those links as well.

        But putting on a happy face is not the best management look forward. Unless you know the risks and realities you can’t take appropriate action to avoid them. I’ve been in the debt relief world since 1994 and each year it gets harder, tougher, more regulated and more people are harmed.

        So give me a positive business story on the debt relief industry. What do you have for me to run that is not a “I used them they are wonderful” story? I look forward to your guest post. When do you want to submit it?

      • Mike Reilly

         Steve at no point in my post do I question the reality or factuality of the information you provide readers and believe me I realize the stress this industry is under. One look at this section of your site and anyone with five minutes would draw the same conclusion. I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) you started this site with a purpose, to stand up for consumers and help them with their debt issues for free, correct? Well, I think we all know the answer to that and I also believe most would say, mission accomplished, so far. I think the problem some are seeing, including me (yes I’ve heard it from others) is that you and others are getting what you wished for, which is great for consumers but, not so great for those at the wishing well and here’s why.

        Let’s talk about demand, this is simple really and I’ll use the most basic analogy; Tell the people there’s gold in the hills and rivers of California and many will hitch their horses to the wagons, pack their belongings and hit the trail. Tell stories or report news of the “wild west” I.E. Indians, gun fights, robbery, killing, rape and people lose confidence (not their desire or need) and question the long journey and the beginning of a new life, a fresh start. Conversely, tell folks about those who hit pay dirt, purchased the lumber to build a home and start a family etc and so forth….you get the point. Well I for one will tell you the stories and reports are out and they continue to flow, especially here at this centralized location, hey it’s your site post what you wish but remember the old saying.

        A long time ago I use to subscribe to the local news paper, not any more though, reason is the first 20 or so pages is all about everything I mentioned above, death, destruction and politics. Guess what; check your local news paper distribution, like most it’s probably in the tank.

        Let’s ad into the mix legislation, law, competition and the regulators. I read somewhere here that before the FTC amended the TSR the DSC count was somewhere around 3000, after to 850 and now rebounding to around 1200? Let’s say you really get what you wish for, my guess, equality for consumers engaged in debt relief service programs and the UDMSA is adopted in every state with slight variations, now what? More companies will drop out and the bad news stops, DSC’s providing clean service go on their merry way and Steve’s left to write about the bad boys of auto warranty… or diabetes testers to the elderly. Why not look for the sun peaking through the clouds and let consumers know its ok to come out now? I’m sure there are plenty of providers out there doing it right as compared to the small group you endorse/monetize. That my friend will be an interesting day, if you end up with the chance.

        Here again is what I see; I see that you saw (long ago) the opportunity to monetize consumer fear and despair, I don’t blame you, it’s a good business to be in (ask most news papers, distribution is down but, they still make a good buck) and if you can spread the fire by adding fuel (posting lots of it) so be it. You started off with consumer fear (that run is slowing down due to law and enforcement and I’m sure you realize it) and now, industry participant fear, (limited at best) which is clearly evident in this section of the site.

         
        I see some of the 800 lb gorillas are peeking their heads out now, willing to step up their game and be heard, sure now that it’s the only game in town.

        Go get em killer there’s money in those hills!

      • Mike Reilly

        I’ll sum it up with one word…balance 

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        There is no balance. The risks of the debt relief space far outweigh the rewards.

        Still looking for your good news guest post and happy to publish it.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Balance?

        10′s of 1000′s of sales people pushing debt settlement.  Myself, Steve and a few others telling consumers to slow down and research it first.

        Tell me, on what side do we need more balance? 

        Come on man, lets start with a reality check.

      • Matt

         Do you really think you and Steve and a “few others” are the only people that are watching out for the consumers while 10′s of thousands of ravenous debt settlement sales vultures are preying on the American consumers? That tells us all a lot….

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Yes, but I believe that most of them do it out of ignorance. They don’t realize how they are hurting consumers and think they are actually doing a good thing.

        You trained sales people that sold up front fee models before the law passed right?

      • Matt

         Every client needs to be thoroughly assessed financially, I completely agree. If the agent hasn’t done a complete financial workup including a comprehensive budget, they have no idea whether the client is appropriate for settlement. Same needs to be said for the other verticals as well. Some are a candidate for settlement, some for DMP, some for bankruptcy, and even some for a good ol’ fashioned belt tightening and some financial education. If settlement is the best option, the agent needs to make absolutely certain that the client understands exactly what they are getting into. Every intricate detail of the debt settlement process needs to be disclosed and the client must understand and agree to those terms completely. This should be the standard protocol of any solid company. Stephanie Rosenthal from the FTC summed it up at the 2008 USOBA conference. It has to do with impressions. Whatever impression the client has about the program will supersede the fine print in the agreement. You have to manage the client’s expectations from the start. You can’t make a disclosure then schmooze it over, giving them a diminished understanding of a downside that they need to accept prior to enrolling. It’s counterproductive in the end. Client retention and success are created on the first call. I know Emerge America does that and that is exactly what we have been teaching for years. Mike knows what he’s doing. As far as the clients you speak with, Damon, what kind of advice do you give them. Which companies do you refer them too for the various programs you discover their need for. For instance, if you speak with a client and they are appropriate for settlement, who do you send them to? Who do you send them to for a bankruptcy consult? What about DMP or CCCS? Just curious who you recommend to these folks.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Matt,

        Do you really believe that the majority of debt settlement sales people do as you claim?

        What do you think would happen if I secret shopped 10 random debt settlement ads on the internet?

        I will draw up a scenario that could go either way to BK or to settlement.  How many sales people are going to tell me that it could go either way and because this is a major financial decision that is going to effect me for years to come, I should first consult with a bankruptcy attorney and learn how that would effect me, and then come back and talk to them about settlement?  How many Matt?  Put me in for a big fat NONE OF THEM.

        I had a client today that needs to file BK.  She talked to 7 debt settlement sales people before she found me.  She is 800 dollars in the hole every month, with no savings.  She does not have any assets that she would lose in a chapter 7 and she is under the income cap.

        A BK would give her a fresh start with no debt and the ability to move forward in her life within a few months.  There is no argument that ch 7 was the right move.  She is going to meet with a local BK attorney and then report back to me so we can discuss how she feels about what she learned. 

        How many of the 7 sales people told her that she might want to at least consider consulting with a BK attorney first?  A big 0, Nada, zip, zilch, none.  The average payment that these clowns pulled out of their butts was 450 bucks a month.  I said, how did any of them look at these numbers and determine that you can afford to pay that?  Oh, none of them asked her to fill out a worksheet.  In fact, until I gave her one to fill out, she had no idea things were that bad.

        Now how many thousands of consultations do I have to do, that sound exactly like that before I am allowed to draw some conclusions about how a majority of this industry operates?

        Listen to my audio testimonials from my clients on my website.  They all say the same thing.

      • Robert S

         Damon, I’m gonna have to start calling around, but DSC I know wouldn’t enroll someone that is in the hole every month. In fact, even call a freedom rep. Once they see the income that low, it won’t get passed the review. I’m going to try this for myself and see what 1-2 companies say. 

        There are 2-3 major players on the internet. Freedom, Care-1 & Debt America. I’ll bet you tell a rep that you’re in the hole and they won’t enroll ya. Chances are that clients that speak to you spoke to one of those companies… 

        Plus, the people coming to you are naturally skeptical. I mean, I’m not doubting the advice you provide is sound, but that’s your demographic. So, by the time they get to you, yea they may have heard a “pitch” and probably never got passed the income part. 

      • Robert S

        FYI, it’s super late and I probably have some spelling/grammar errors. Forgive me, I am trying to beat insomnia. 

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        No problem, this is when I normally work. Kids in bed, so my day is just getting started.

        The thing that most people are missing is that I am not saying Matt doesn’t do a good thing. It certainly helps, but my point is, simply making companies compliant does not mean consumer protection.

        Just because someone can technically afford a payment on paper, doesn’t mean that sticking them on some settlement program for 4 years is in their best interest.

        During the sales call do they talk about the clients age, number of kids, potential college plans, what does retirement look like, what are their retirement plans, how steady is the job, what is going on with the house, and on and on.

        The answer is no.  They tend to zero in on the credit card debt and do a superficial budget, usually over the phone with the client completely guessing, and then proceed to dispense advice.

        If I am wrong, again, where is the evidence that I am wrong?  Where is all the success that we should be seeing?

        I know there are companies with good numbers, so I am not saying that this is what all companies do.  I am saying, this is what most companies do. 

        I provide a perspective that a consumer is not likely to get most anywhere else because I don’t have a financial incentive to push them one direction or the other.  I get paid to tell consumers what I think.  If they think I am full of crap they can get a refund.  I have never had a client tell me that a debt relief sales person already told them everything I brought up during the consult.
         
        What is wrong with a consumer talking to me, then talking to as many companies as they want and then deciding who makes sense and who might not?  The only person that should feel threatened by that are the ones that don’t want consumers looking at all the options.

        When did choice become a bad thing for consumers?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        That is great, but again, my point is that just looking at the numbers is only one small issue.  It is not a black and white deal.

        You can’t say well it looks like you can afford this payment so this program will work.   

      • Mike Reilly

        Damon, two quick question; 

        1. Do you view the consumers that get themselves into trouble financially as ignorant? 

        2. What about the creditors, are they ignorant too and just don’t realize how they are hurting the consumers?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         1. No
        2. No, they know exactly what they are doing.

      • Mike Reilly

        Dude, you need to read the thread from the begining.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         I don’t understand?

      • Roger B

        Excellent post Mike! Great analogy, please continue to post your honest observations, Steve should go back to what he’s good at, giving debtors in trouble sound advice and quit trying to create his version of what the debt relief industry should be. This site is very one sided on this issue and it’s so obvious to anyone with experience in the debt relief space.  

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Shouldn’t the debt relief industry be one that delivers advice and service to consumers in a fiduciary capacity for a fair and reasonable fee? Is there something in that vision that you find objectionable?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        @7b69c8f048045ade252cd916bd84453d:disqus Not sure if you saw my response to you so I’m using the new @ feature to try to reach you. Interested in your response to my comment, “Shouldn’t the debt relief industry be one that delivers advice and service to consumers in a fiduciary capacity for a fair and reasonable fee? Is there something in that vision that you find objectionable?”

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Ya, what happened to the good old days when we could just rip off consumers as a matter of course and nobody would say anything?  Now this Steve guy is crashing the party and shining a light on our perfect little scam.  What a jerk.  Go do something else and leave us alone Steve.

        Ha ha. Pathetic.

      • Matt

         Wow. Are you all getting this??

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Yes, are you?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         It is quite a simple concept to understand for any objective observer that does not profit directly or indirectly from the sale of a debt settlement program.  You do it ass backwards.  The settlement company has a pre-formed solution.  The job of the sales person is to take specific elements (only specific elements) of a consumers problem and try to make them fit into the solution offered.  Why? Because that is what you sell.

        Instead, what a consumer actually needs is someone to take an overall look at the consumer’s situation first, without a pre concieved and ready made solution in hand.  Then advise the client based on what is best for the client.  And I don’t mean just bankruptcy, debt settlement or cccs.  I mean actually looking at everything, taking everything in, understanding where a consumer is at emotionally, life circumstances, goals, future earnings potential and the list goes on. Often times the best answer at the moment is to simply let the payments go and wait to see what happens with income. 

        How many debt settlement sales people say, “don’t do anything right now, call me in 3 months and we will take another look?” – None that have ever talked to any of my clients. 

        You telling me you take some sales guys from the mortgage business and after a few hours of training they have the education, life experience and the incentivized compensation to provide this service?

         

      • Matt

         Did you read my post before you said all that?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Ha ha no, we are doing this in real time and I hit submit right after you said all that.  I can’t type that fast.

      • Matt

        PS: Most companies are offering referrals into other verticals if their program isn’t appropriate. One of the reasons Evolution is growing so fast is that we are truly uniting the various verticals and creating a more effective hybrid that will provide a more substantive and well rounded approach to debt relief. I have told countless people over the years to simply wait a few months and call us when the fog clears. If you can’t see the path, you shouldn’t go trouncing down it, right? Might be a snake in the way that will bite you and add to your problems. For the most part, the pre-qualifications process is pretty straight forward. Once you talk to them and hear their story, empathetically, of course, and weigh out their situation, it becomes pretty clear what they need to do. It isn’t always settlement. The other side of this is that these folks are someone elses mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. You have to treat people with compassion and truly care about them in order to help them. I have always said, “Do the right things and money will come”. If you are more worried about your bottom line and profits, you’re on the wrong track and need to re-evaluate your mission. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a business, but without the customers, you have no business, so you have to offer a solid product/service for a reasonable price and take amazing care of your clients. Do what you say you are going to do and run your business as if your first and last name and reputation were on the front of it. Anyway, I could go on for hours, but I am married. If I want to remain HAPPILY married, I should go to bed. Have a great night…

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        This is going in circles and you are never going to address the fundamental flaw in your argument which makes this pointless.

        You tell me all these great things that are supposedly happening and how all the consumers are getting taken care of, properly screened and only referred to the best programs for them.

        Ok, lets go with that.  Where is the evidence?  Why did I only hear crickets over the last 5 years when regulators were begging for performance numbers?  After secret shopping the industry the government accountability office estimates that only about 10% of consumers ever complete a settlement program on average.  Which means some are doing worse than that.  TASC could only muster up a 34% success rate claim after changing the definition of success to mean basically people that were actually not a success.

        So if the industry for the most part is doing all of these wonderful things, why can nobody find the evidence?  This is simple stuff Matt. 

        I want to listen in to just one company sales training where I hear the floor manager training the sales staff to instruct the lead that they just paid 50 bucks to get on the phone, to take their time, call several programs, look at several options and then give us a call back when you have done your research.  Come on Matt, this is fantasy land and everyone knows it. The only companies that would possibly consider that are the ones that know they have one of the better programs, and even then, they can’t really do that because they know there will be some smooth talker out there trying to sell their potential client against them.

        The companies are out there selling against each other and the client becomes a wash in the sea of my programs the best because…

        I always tell my clients to talk to as many companies as they want and then let me know what they find. Why am I comfortable enough in my own advice to do that, but settlement companies for the most part are not? Weird right?

      • Matt

         I didn’t say the industry at large is doing it right. I said that they SHOULD be doing it the way I described. I just figured out why I can’t seem to get my point across no matter how clear I make it. We are not on the same level with regards to experience and knowledge. For instance, when you are talking to a sales rep from an executive level, they can never really get to the same conclusion or even grasp what your saying because they don’t have the same mindset or experience. It’s not that they are not intelligent, they just don’t speak the same language. They are trained and/or have trained themselves to believe and think one way to accomplish the job they are assigned. They don’t have the capacity to rise up to 30,000-40,000 feet and unfortunately most will never be able to. Leadership isn’t learned. You either are or you are not a natural born leader. So, no offense, but I don’t just don’t think we are able to see eye-to-eye. Fundamentally, we agree, so it really isn’t worth the battle with you. You still didn’t answer my question: Who do you refer clients to? What debt settlement firm do you refer them to and what bankruptcy attorney or network do you refer your clients to?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Oh, well isn’t that convenient for you? Good thing I am not smart enough to understand your position, otherwise you would actually have to show some evidence to support it.  I guess just saying I am to dumb to get it lets you off the hook.  Ok, let’s go with that.

        Speaking of someone who doesn’t seem to get it, you keep asking me who I refer my clients to.  Have you not figured out yet that I don’t have a specific company that I refer clients to? I don’t have any skin in that game.  I know companies that are good and I know what I look for and will make suggestions for consumers to check out and compare, but I am not in the business of promoting this company or that company.  THAT IS THE POINT!!!!

        I go where my client needs to go regardless of where that is and then I make sure if they do need to hire a company or individual, then they are hiring someone that I would feel comfortable going to for help myself or recommending to my mother.  Obviously more than one company in any vertical can help my client, so it isn’t up to me who to hire, it is up to them, based on their research and how they feel about the service offered. 

        Now, speaking of not answer questions Mr. Compliance Training = Consumer advocate.  Did you or did you not train companies and sales reps who where and/or are selling a front loaded debt settlement program?

        This is the third time I have asked and it goes directly to the heart of your position.  So I can understand why you have avoided it thus far.

      • Matt

         See below. There is no room.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Mike,
        Are you actually suggesting that now because there is a law, that all of these bad actors that were perfectly fine ripping off consumers left and right before are suddenly going to just fall in line and we will just be left with a small group of people only looking out for the best interests of consumers?

        Why do we have cops?  Don’t we have laws that say people aren’t allowed to kill other people and steal from them and commit fraud?

        Someone should tell all of the cops that we have laws and therefore don’t expect there to be any more issues.

        Mike, don’t worry about me not having anything to warn consumers about. 

        You fail to understand the fundamental issue.

        As long as there is someone trying to sell a debt relief program, a consumer needs someone like me to offer a second opinion.  Then the sales person can do his thing, and I will give my opinion.  That way the consumer can see both sides and make up their own mind. Who knows, I might even agree with the sales person’s advice once in awhile. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

        The law simply made it a little harder for the consumer to spot the bad guys, thereby actually increasing the need for a service like mine.

        For crying out loud we have these companies, I won’t mention names but their initials are TASC, oops, I mean AFCC (changing the words) coming out and claiming to be consumer advocates, and changing the words around to tell consumers that they fought for and agree with the new consumer regulations.

        These are the same companies that spent millions fighting the new law up to the bitter end, and now, because of no other choice are suddenly consumer advocates looking out for their clients?

        If they believe upfront fees are bad as they now claim, what did they believe last year when they were doing it to their own clients?

        Last year they attacked me constantly for speaking out against their business model. This year they agree with everything they attacked me for last year.

        So last year were they just ignorant or where they knowingly screwing their clients?
        So don’t worry, the overwhelming demand for the service that I provide will keep me around for a long long time

      • Matt

        Just one question to clarify this and I’ll leave it alone:

        Damon, do you or do you not agree with the practice of debt settlement? The reason I ask is that if you fundamentally disagree with settlement, this entire conversation and blog is irrelevant to that industry. It would then indicate that you are going to find flaw with it regardless of how the program is marketed or deployed, right?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        I totally agree with the practice of debt settlement for consumers in the right circumstances.  You will not find anything anywhere that I have ever written that says “Debt Settlement” is bad.  I always talk about companies, programs, and the way it is sold.  Never about the strategy implemented in the right way for the right people. 

      • Mike Reilly

        All no, many yes. Damon I will never worry about you. 

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Mike,

        I was brushing my teeth this morning and thinking again about your comment. I wanted to share this with you about the industry.

        In 1994, after I quit my job at IBM and on my very first day as a debt counselor I went to my local consumer protection office to share with them what awesome help we were about to deliver to help people with debt problems. Instead of a glad you are here to help consumers I was put in a conference room, a woman came in, slammed a law book down, and told me I had better have packed my bags because I was headed to jail for getting into the debt relief space. She asked me if I preferred to be handcuffed in the front or the back as I was to be taken to jail from the government building. This is all true. Not a joke. I was not arrested.

        Years later I found out she did that to all new companies in the debt space to see who was serious and who was going to run. It was just her way to scare people and trust me, it scared me, but I stuck with helping people. The reason she did this was because in her 30+ years with the consumer protection agency she had dealt with debt relief scam after debt relief scam.

        In 2002 I got a cease and desist letter from California for providing services we were already exempt from registering for. To this day i still have to explain that issue over and over again on the internet. You can read the whole story here. This is a serious business that can haunt you for years to come.

        For those of us good people, and I’ll put you in that boat, that help consumers with debt problems, it’s not a rosy picture. It’s an all out war. On one side debt relief companies have to fight business realities and be good forecasters of times to come, and operate in compliance with state law and federal law. We have to fight back against the bogus lawsuits and charges. We have to stop the ripoffs and scammers that hurt the industry. And after all of that, our reward is only that we know we did the right thing and the best we could to help a person in trouble.

        If anyone reading this is wants to get into the debt relief world to make a lot of money, prepare to take on a substantial amount of risk. It seems to me all the high flyers have either descended out of the debt relief business or now have a series of lawsuits against them. Even the current big players are fighting back case after case.

        A long time ago when I first got into the debt relief world I was told there are only two types of companies, those that have been sued and those that will be sued. It’s true.

        in my career the biggest high flyer I first knew was Andris Pukke of Ameridebt. He started in a small office near where I started. He exploded his operation and marketed the hell out of it. He went for the big bucks. Today he’s in jail and so is his brother for the company he setup to provide debt relief services.

        So all of the stories of realities are warnings of what to avoid. They are all factual and debt relief executives need to be aware of them. You can’t avoid what you don’t know about.

      • Mike Reilly

        I agree with everything you said Steve but, for the record let me say this; If you treat your customer the way you yourself wish, expect and demand to be treated 9.5 out of 10 times you’re in a good place. I agree you cannot please everyone so laws and regulations must be applied and followed.
        Those who choose not to will at some point pay the piper.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Mike,

        We agree.

        Unfortunately there are many examples of companies that don’t believe that and instead take advantage of consumers and that in turn hurts the entire industry. The more we can warn consumers to avoid those companies and to find guys like you the better the world will be.

        The good guys can’t shine if we allow the bad guys to block the sun.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Mike let me ask you a question.

        Why do you think Debt Settlement Sales People almost never tell a client to at least consult with a Bankruptcy attorney? I am not saying you don’t.  I am just asking you to think about it.

        Every time I have a client that is a good case for a chapter 7, I ask them to at least meet with a bankruptcy attorney to get a full understanding of the option.  Then we can talk about alternatives once they know.

        I always ask them if any of the debt settlemen sales people told them to do that.  Every time the answer is no.  I then ask, well I am looking at your cash flow and I am confused where the debt settlement sales person thought this 1,000 a month payment for their plan was supposed to come from.  Answer, oh, they didn’t ask me for my numbers.

        Now this is how a majority of the players in this industry operate.  Unless as Matt suggets, every consumer that talks to me must have only been talking to the bad guys. 

      • Mike Reilly

         Damon, let me start by saying I don’t know how many people (debtors) you speak with in a given day, week, month or year so I don’t know what percentage of the debtors that are in trouble reach you or vice-versa. I would be interested to know those numbers as I think it will help me form a more informed/opinionated answer, for example;

         
        If you’re only speaking to 0.10% or less of the DSC target population your question to me is ridiculous, on the other hand if that percentage is much higher, let’s say 5 to 10% (which I know is not the case) then my answer would be totally different. At any given time there are about 8 million people who potentially could benefit from some type of debt relief service, drill down from there. If you where on the phone 10 hrs a day 6 days per week and did one consult per hour that 3,130 per year. Multiply that by your time in grade, 5-10 years (just guessing) and as you can see it like testing the flavor of the striped bass population in the Long Island sound by catching and eating one fish.

        So before I answer which is it, give me a ball park figure, nothing I’ll hold you to?

      • Mike Reilly

        By the way, at $200 a head that’s $626,000 from the house…not bad! 

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         First, I only charge 147, (that is gross revenue by the way) second I don’t do 3,000 consultations a year.  I am not a debt settlement company that hires an army of sales people to throw massive amounts of people in a program that likely isn’t right for them.

        I provide a very personalized and individual service.  I can’t save everyone, but nobody can say that it isn’t from a lack of trying.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         You know it is nowhere near that number of consults.  I don’t farm out my consultations.  It varies of course.  Some weeks I may only speak with 10 consumers others could be as many as 30.

        Now clearly I don’t speak with 5% of consumers who might need debt relief, but I certainly have spoken to a significantly large enough representative sample who have told me the same thing over and over, to be able to form an opinion, that based on other evidence clearly holds out to be true.

        So if you want to play with your numbers lets look at what the big boys do.  Take a Gallup poll for example.

        They usually speak to only 1,000 people to make an educated guess as to what the entire US population of likely voters is thinking.

        Ok 311,000,000 or so people in the US.  About a 65% turnout in the last election gives us 202,150,000 likely voters.  Divide 1,000 by the 202,150,000 and we get .0000049.  In other words .00049% of the population of likely voters, they deem a sufficient number to get a good idea of what people are thinking.

        Lets look at my number.  You claim 8 million people at any given time could benefit from debt relief options.  Don’t know where you got that number, but lets roll with it.  So lets say on a low average, I only speak with 15 consumers a week.  Lets round it down to just the last 5 years.  That would mean I have done about 3900 or so individual phone consultations.  Divide that by your 8 million number and we get .00049.  Which means I have sampled about .049% of the people which is more significant than what Gallup or any of the other pollsters use by a country mile .049% > .00049%.

        Basically I have talked to enough consumers to know what is going on in the real world.

      • Mike Reilly

        Damon are trying to compare yourself to this?

        About Gallup
        Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 75 years. Gallup’s reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world’s leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. Gallup consultants help organizations boost organic growth by increasing customer engagement and maximizing employee productivity through measurement tools, coursework, and strategic advisory services. Gallup’s 2,000 professionals deliver services at client organizations, through the Web, at Gallup University’s campuses, and in more than 40 offices around the world.Come on man. 

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Gimmie a break, I was making the point, that I have spoken to thousands of people and heard the same story after story.  I am definitely in a position to know and understand what the majority of the players in the industry are doing.  Matt may have some lofty ideals, but if he is teaching what he claims to teach, it appears most of it is left at the door when the companies are dealing with costs to doing business.

        You were claiming that I don’t talk to enough consumers to have a feel for what is going on.  Which is what people in the industry always do.  You are fighting a losing battle if you are going to try and defend the industry at large.  Go find some evidence that shows the overwhelming number of people that enroll into a debt settlement program are better off.

        I don’t mean go find a few isolated companies that do this.  Because I know there are some.  Which is my point.  A few companies do right by consumers, most don’t.

      • Mike Reilly

        Billions in debt has been settled, lives have changed in both directions (I get that), there are new sheriffs in town watching over the folks, thing will get better. Sure it will take some time but, the momentum is clearly growing.
         
        Damon, in life as you know we all deal with the past, the present and the future, it’s part of everything and nearly every choice we make. Because of whom you are, more so the path you chose to walk in debt relief I believe for the sake of your business you need to hold onto the past for as long as you can. So, I expect you will continue to sing the “bad boy, bad boy” song for as long as possible…you’d be foolish not to but, please try to understand most of us here get that…it’s ok.
         
        This industry is changing and while there will always be the few who believe they can get away with murder the field day you have enjoyed in the past to present will change, mark my words.
         
        On another note, I commend your efforts!
         

      • Guest

        Agreed…great observations and points Mike…people like Matt and yourself will hopefully continue to share your comments as this site desparately needs a more balanced view (a view from a business perspective as Steve says) 

      • Matt

         Thanks for the support guys. I think the military calls this scenario “friendly fire”. Oh well, I have armor. Have a great week everyone!

      • Guest

        Agreed…great observations and points Mike…people like Matt and yourself will hopefully continue to share your comments as this site desparately needs a more balanced view (a view from a business perspective as Steve says) 

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Thanks for the props Mike.  I will jump in, but I don’t see it as jumping in from behind.  I am pretty direct :-)

      • Debtdebt0

        Why not join the revolution and be involved

        Now it’s ” revolution?” 

  • Damon Day

    Matt,

    I don’t understand this you don’t know me I don’t know you stuff.  You
    made a statement, I disagree with what you are saying and am telling you why.  Why can’t we have a discussion unless we
    read each others biographies?

    You seem like a good guy and I appreciate your all your efforts to try and improve the industry for consumers.  Unfortunately your efforts are misguided and doomed from the start for one very simple reason.

    You generally cannot get a company to stop doing something that is profitable and switch to doing something that is not profitable. 

    We can debate that if you want, but just look at your results.  After years of creating all of these wonderful things for the industry and training 15,000 agents, you yourself said your results were piss poor when you audited the members.

    Might you leave room for the possibility that warning consumers against the bad practices of certain elements of the industry has much more benefit to them than unsuccessfully trying to change those practices? 

    I have saved my clients millions of dollars by educating them on the reality of how most debt settlement companies operate, your methods have generated anemic success rates for consumers among the companies that you have trained.  Which one of us is making a difference for consumers? 

    You claim I sit on the sidelines and bad mouth the industry instead of helping to fix the problem.  You just haven’t come to grips with the realities of the debt settlement business model yet, and therefore are not yet able to appreciate the major contribution that I do make to helping consumers, which is where my only focus lies. 

    Now, to your point about you train sales agents to present all options.  Are we going to waste space pretending that is what they actually do? Didn’t you mention your audited results were piss poor?

    I bet they do just as good of job educating consumers about credit counseling and bankruptcy, as credit counseling sales people and bankruptcy attorneys educate consumers on debt settlement. So let’s not pretend consumers are actually getting a financial consultation when they call a typical debt settlement company, CCCS program, or a BK attorney in many cases. (See I don’t just pick on settlement, I pick on the flawed sales process in all of them that screws consumers)

    Settlement sales people are going to sell debt settlement, Credit Counseling people are going to sell credit counseling, bankruptcy attorneys tend to lean toward bankruptcy.  How else can you explain the piss poor results among all of those industries?  Most of the time, they are going for the sale, and not putting the client’s interests ahead of their own. 

    If they only enrolled the right people, the current business model of most companies would not be appealing to an investor, so they are going to continue to enroll anyone they can, and find ways to make a profit or they will leave the space, period.  Your training can not change this fundamental fact as your results over the last few years have clearly proven out.

    Have a great weekend yourself.

  • Damon Day

    Not offended at all, just thought it was a convenient dodge to respond
    to my comment by saying since you don’t know me, what I say carries no
    weight.  As if my observation can only be valid if you allow it to be. I
    understand that is easier than responding to my observation and letting
    me know why it is not correct.  But I understand, you are in a bad
    position, and it would be impossible for you to acknowledge what is
    painfully clear to anyone that is not directly involved with or
    profiting on the industry.

    I was not taking shots at you, just pointing out the obvious errors in
    your perspective of the industry and the likely origins of said
    perspective.

    I just believe differently than you.  I do not believe that you are
    helping consumers by empowering the players in the industry as you
    yourself admitted in your comment below.  You said you did everything
    you could and then audited the results and they were piss poor.  So how
    exactly are you helping consumers when in spite of your best efforts to
    train 15,000 sales agents, they go through your class and produce
    success on a piss poor level?

    Enjoy your weekend as well.

  • Matt

    I’m sorry if I offended you, Damon. I am serious about not knowing who you are. Don’t be offended about it, there’s a lot of people I don’t know about. I’ve seen what you’ve posted and blogged about and it is a bit negative and crass, but as far as you and what you believe, I have no clue. Sorry.  I am going to carry on my business of helping consumers by empowering the players that serve them. I do things right. If you knew who I was and what I’ve done and continue to do, you wouldn’t take these types of shots at me. In any case, have a great weekend. Go enjoy your family and let all this pointless banter go.

  • Matt

    Yes, I was the one that designed and created the UCAP system (USOBA Compliance Audit Program) that TASC then copied and tried to run with. Yes, I was the one hosting the monthly compliance training call for their members. I was the one yelling from the mountain tops to straighten up and sell right. Meet the disclosures, make sure the clients are educated about their options and know what debt settlement really is before signing them in. And yes, John Ansbach is a friend of mine as well. He tried his best too. Where were you in the fight to help the industry? Oh yeah, you were the one sitting on the bench criticizing everyone and bad mouthing the space. If your going to put your two cents worth out there at least be involved. As much as you would like to insinuate that I was somehow involved in creating problems in this industry, I have been solving them and promoting the solutions before it was popular. And as far as USOBA is concerned, I did everything in my power to help their members. The problem as I see it with trade associations is that you can’t make paying members toe the line while theyt are funding your efforts. For instance, we audited the USOBA members along with random audits of the industry at large. It wasn’t good. Does that mean USOBA could then force them to comply? You would think so but as soon as it became a hard line issue the members threatened to stop membership. That’s why it’s impossible for them to work unless it actually MEANS something to the members. Anyway, like I said before, I really don’t even know who you are and what you’ve done, and you certainly don’t know me, so let’s cut this conversation off here.Thanks bud. Have a great weekend!

  • question

    How many large legal model backend companies that receive their business from front end sales offices are out there? The ones I know of off the top of my head are: LHDR- the 300 pound gorilla. I heard they have over 300 front end companies sending them business? Anyone know how many?Bay View LawWorld Law GroupConsumer Legal Services of America

  • Damon Day

    Wait… Don’t you want to know who I am?  Ba ha ha ha ha

    Not sure if I was offended or flattered :-)

  • Damon Day

    You are bragging about your involvement with Usoba over the last few years? Wow, John Ansbach dropped them from his resume like a hot patato and he is a really smart guy.

    You want to blame the banks, the media, Washington greed, and Steve Rhode’s kitchen sink, and now it appears you were a major part of the industry’s problem this whole time, funny how the facts slowly come out.

  • Damon Day

    How convenient for you. I didn’t realize that I was not worthy to question the great Matt Hearn.  Who I only know as the guy that makes a living blowing pink smoke up the arses of debt settlement companies. As I said, you are a great sales trainer, if you don’t have an answer, you deflect the hell out of the question and try to move on. Now I am having a better understanding of why there are 15,000 sales agents (the number you claimed to have trained) out there making life miserable for consumers. Deflect questions you don’t want to answer and continue through the sales process.

    I suspect I struck a nerve and whether you know who I am or not, are thinking that you are passing the last exit on the “I am really screwing myself express” and are thinking a quick and quiet exit is likely your best move.  You would be right of course.

    I will be a good sport and oblige you a quiet exit. If you want to talk about the facts I have brought up and how you and your 15,000 trained sales agents are a big part of the problem, you are more than welcome to stay and play ball.  I think we would have a bully good time.  Well, I think I will.

  • Matt

    I’m not trying to insult you. I am sorry if I offended you in any way. I do get heated about this stuff. Oh and pound for pound I’ll match my tax returns with both of yours. I do a LOT of pro bono work. It isn’t about money for me. The real money is back in direct sales where I came from over 7 years ago prior to falling in love with this industry. I am leaving this bantor alone now. It isn’t accomplishing anything positive for the space. In the words of Fez: “I say Good Day!” Lol. Have a good weekend guys.

  • Matt

    Damon, you are not even on my radar. Nothing you say to me has any weight or credibility. Who are you?

  • Matt

    I have been extremely active in creating and aiding USOBA’s efforts over the last several years. Jenna and Krysten could tell you more about that. I have a large volume of information I can give you regarding operations in the debt space. I have spoken at all the USOBA events over the last 3-4 years and have a VAST amount of experience in this arena. Despite Ting and Tang’s opinions, I know what I’m talking about. Call me Monday and I’ll give you what I have. (952) 388-0668
    Matt

  • Steve Rhode

    Still with the insults?

    I’ll let you have the last word.

  • Speak into the microphone

    The link is well and good. AN additional post about training settlement companies was more informative.

    You mention being a guide to your clients for the last many years and having vision to make changes in advance. Can you be specific other than template disclosures? I want to know the value you bring.

    Can you provide a link to you participation at a level no associated with sales?

    What I am trying to get at is whether to attend Evolution. I know of USOBA and their past efforts. Were you part of those efforts?

  • Damon Day

    Matt I was really pulling for you on the whole “not delusional” card, but whats that old saying?

    Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought of as delusional, then to open it and remove all doubt.

    Ok, I just modified that into my own saying.

    Just so you know, it was a joke, it is funny, and I mean come on man, you are really hot and bothered over something.  Are you really that pissed off about Moody’s saying the credit card defaults are approaching a 20 year low?

    You are not showing well.  It is really clear as day that you are just talking your own book and I get that.  I talk my own book all the time, everyone does, but the first two chapters of my book are facts and reason.

    Dude, you make money training debt settlement companies.  Your job is to stay the course and convince all of these guys that you are going to lead them to the promise land.  At this point, you have convinced me that you would be the guy on the back of the Titanic asking Leo and Rose to buy a ticket for the return voyage as the band fell into the sea. 

    I am not saying the industry is going down, but I have read enough of your stuff to conclude that if it was, you would never admit it until you were floating in the Atlantic. In fact, at this point, I am not so sure you wouldn’t catch a life boat back to shore and start selling tickets for the next voyage.

    Sorry, that is just how it is playing out here on my screen.

  • Damon Day

    No way, Steve is on the side of the banks.  Down with the banks.

    Ba ha ha ha

  • Damon Day

    Matt it seems you misunderstood my joke and I apologize.  It had nothing to do with Steve. Also you missed the point of my comment or ignored it on purpose, not sure which. I was talking specifically about your theory that the debt settlement industry has been unfairly targeted.  Now, I could go point counter point with you, but then you are going to start going off about the banks and Washington greed or whatever. 

    I am not understanding how that is relevant to my comment other than as a way to deflect. We are talking about debt settlement companies screwing clients, and you are saying… Oh ya, well, the banks are much worse. Justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior?  Classic deflection.  You are a good sales trainer I can tell.

    I don’t think you are delusional, I assume you say what you say because it is your business to make people in the settlement industry feel bullish about the prospects for making money in it moving forward.  Whether you say these things because you believe them or because it makes you money, I don’t know, nor do I care. 

    So lets be clear, it shouldn’t be a big mystery to anyone why you get a bee in your bonnet every time Steve releases information that says demand for settlement might be down, or that most Debt Settlement companies are not the wonderful Angels swooping in to save consumers from the big bad banks.  Why don’t you go give Moody’s an earful? Steve just reported their information.

    You make money by encouraging new people into the industry and putting a positive spin on everything is in your best financial interest.  Lets just be upfront about this. Nothing wrong with that, it just is.

    You and I are not that different really.  I created a business and get paid to teach consumers the truth as I see it.  And you created a business to teach debt settlement companies the truth as it appears you see it.  The only difference is that I just have the luxury of being right.

    However, you make much more money by making settlement companies feel justified in their bad acts, than I do by telling consumers the unfortunate truth about large elements in the debt relief space.  So I guess it all balances out.

  • Matt

    More rhetoric. I love how you dance around with words but won’t “man up” and have a live conversation. So, you want to charge people $1500.00 plus travel and a room to teach them what? Based on your constant barrages against the industry I can’t figure it will be very informative. According to all your posts, the consumers don’t need help anyway. The number of people in debt or looking for services is way down. Besides, they brought this on themselves anyway, right? As far as flooring it into a blind curve, MSTARS has trained over 350 solid companies and are servicing over 100 clients that are doing very well right now despite the challenges. We also created the “Fundamental Shift” over 3 years ago and created the first and only Section5 compliant training system for the field. Our clients are some of the most successful in the industry. It’s because we know what works and how to do it right. Why? Because we have done it successfully ourselves. As a matter of fact, it’s MSTARS that created the first and now most circulated mandatory disclosure list in the space. We were changing the game even before it was a hot topic. We were years ahead of the challenges and helped many, many companies get ahead of it as well. We are simply way ahead of the curve and in 95% of the cases so far have been dead-right. We also have a training system based on transparency, truth and consumer focused consulting. Our credentials are impeccable and our reputation is truly unblemished and highly respected. Sure, leads and marketing are an issue and volume is down, mostly because of all the negative attention. Truth be told, Steve, what we have been doing is effective, honest and relevant. We are also being the motivating force behind those that can see the big picture beyond all this. I personally don’t think you are qualified to teach people about how to “Survive, Thrive and Arrive” with their debt relief businesses in the new economy. What do you really know about it? Are you actively working in the field or are you just trying to make a quick buck on those that still think you are on their side? Be real. You have been a naysayer from the beginning and your true colors are certainly showing now. Your approach just isn’t relevant to today’s debt settlement players. I appreciate your Vesta venture experience, but come on. After all you’ve had to say on these posts and the “sky is falling” attitude, what are you really bringing to the table to help? As far as your comments on “Nor are they the supported theories of the FTC, CFPB, legitimate
    consumer advocates, and any other government or regulatory official who
    you are excited will speak at your conference.” I beg to differ. I know these folks personally and like I said have family in Washington. I speak to regulators and legal experts every day. I know what I am talking about and so do most of the people operating in this space. I also love how you twist and turn every word away from the messages I am bringing. You’d love to paint the picture that I am not credible or into some left field conspiracy program, but I really am above reproach with all this. One more reason people can’t trust you. I say it how it is, I call it how I see it and I don’t BS people. I personally think you should just stick to journalism and helping the people that come to your site with your “advice”. Try to be a more positive reporter, though. It will help those of us that are trying to change the future. I am, however, done with this conversation. Nothing informative can be gleaned here. You have shown your colors, it is apparent you have nothing new to say and this is keeping me from much more important projects. I wish you all the best of luck with your blog, Steve and would welcome an intellectual CONVERSATION any time. Keep in mind this as well: We are fellow human beings here on this rock and we only have so many rotations to make a difference in the world around us. I won’t take all this personally even if you decide to. I’m genuine and truly wish you no ill will.

  • Steve Rhode

    Matt,

    I’m happy to have a discussion with you on any point and my responses to you have been professional and cordial so why do you feel it strengthens your position to insult me and slander my integrity in your answers? Is that really the approach of a leader?

    My focus is helping people that have found themselves in a difficult position. And I can do that in a holistic way, incorporating their goals and direction they need their life to go. At that particular time it is not helpful to huddle a mob with torches against the banks. People don’t need to be made powerless as bank victims nor do they need to be victimized by the entities that are supposed to assist them in a fiduciary capacity. It is my opinion the best way forward is to empower people with real solutions that provide the best solutions considering the financial, emotional and life goals.

    If you want to focus your energy against the bank conspiracy then good on you but most people understand the banking environment is what it is and are aware of the basics. The details you said to me that are disclosed in the fine print are actually not. They are prominently displayed in the Schumer Box large print disclosures. For example, here is one online. People understand that if they take out a credit card there will be interest charged, if they pay late there will be charges and if they default on the bill it will go into collections. They also understand to drive their car without crossing the painted line and not to kill people with kitchen knives. Some things are obvious to most.

    You made a lot of accusations against me about how this site earns money. I’m open and transparent about it and everything is disclosed in the site terms.

    You say I only suggest two options, but that is not true. What i said was “This can either be done though a mutual negotiation with the bank or legal intervention through bankruptcy.”

    Mutual negotiation can include internal hardship plans, credit counseling, debt settlement, maybe a consolidation loan, etc.

    I do suggest that people appropriate for debt settlement can use that when it makes sense. As I’ve said before my nonprofit group used to settle debt. I’ve done it and for a select group of people, it can work.

    You want people to stop listening to negative messages but don’t you also want them to be realists about the current climate and prepare for the days ahead or is the only approach to floor it into a blind alley?

    When I asked you to link to any numbers by an independent party that support your position, you don’t. Instead you tell me to go look for them. But that’s the issue, I can’t find them and don’t see them. If you do, please link to them. I beginning to believe that you can’t source any.

    After reading your comments it appears you believe the government lies, no figures can be trusted from any source, the banks and media are engaged in a conspiracy and it’s all a big scam.

    We obviously have two completely different views of the way forward for a healthy debt relief industry of responsible players and don’t be shocked, that your scam and conspiracy theories are not my approach. Nor are they the supported theories of the FTC, CFPB, legitimate consumer advocates, and any other government or regulatory official who you are excited will speak at your conference.

    Instead my approach is to help people in pain and trouble today to find a good solution to their bad problem by realizing that the system we have is what it is at this moment and the solutions in the quiver are the ones on hand right now, today.

    Yes, I do point out problem areas in the debt relief world. If we don’t try to clean them up and make them go away, you know what the result is, regulation. The cleaner the industry can be the less regulation will be needed to restrict it. And the more providers can be aware of the pitfalls, the more they can avoid them.

    If your messages resonate with readers I encourage them to make arrangements to attend your Evolution conference. http://www.evolution2011.com

    For anyone that feels a realistic and pragmatic way forward makes more sense then I invite them to come to the upcoming Debt Relief Master Class “How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World” – Learn more about this upcoming class to help debt relief companies find success in a future uncertain world. I look forward to meeting you there.

  • Steve Rhode

    I’ve been speaking up about your seminar, are you going to reciprocate and mention my class to your readers? The link is http://getoutofdebt.org/27620/

  • Matt

    Oh, my apologies. I assumed that everyone knew who I was. I am Matt Hearn of MSTARS.

    Site: http://www.mstarsinc.com
    LinkedIn MSTARS LLC
    And as Steve mentioned above, we are hosting the Evolution2011 Conference
    http://www.evolution2011.com

  • Speak into the microphone

    I see your passion Matt. Keep hold of it. It will serve you well.

    Those that read this deep into comments on a thread topic like this are the choir and your preaching to them.

    Matt, what does the Evolution consist of? What tweaks and tuning are you helping the good guys make? It would be helpful to have some context to accompany your passion, rather than what amounts to a soap box.

    Stuff sucks for many people. We all know and get that. You want to rail against banks who are admittedly an easy target. I get that. But what substantive detail can you provide that you are involved with that is going to make a difference?

    You talk about making changes and helping the good guys, but in what way? Who are the good guys? What is your actual message? I am asking because it is not clear in your posts.

    Help a brother out…

  • Damon Day

    Captain Obvious says that Matt has a Bur under his saddle.

    If you disagree with Matt, (who happens to make money by training settlement companies), than you are on the side of the banks. Just don’t go calling him one of those conspiracy nuts. He hates that.

  • Matt

    Spoken like a true credit counselor. It’s obvious now that you are on the bank’s side of this. It should have been obvious by the slanted tone of all your “debt relief” related articles.

    You say:

    “You seem upset by the fact banks can increase the interest rates but the
    reason they can is because the consumers who entered into those card
    agreements agreed they could by agreeing to the terms and using the
    cards.”

    Yet Elizabeth Warren, (we all know who she is, right?) said in her interview on the “Secret History of The Credit  Card” that the average consumer could never understand the agreement or all the terms in their entirety. It is obvious that you agree that the consumers got what they were asking for and should’ve been more careful. It’s obvious that you have no real concern for the people being taken advantage of so why even have this site? I thought you had been there before. Did you know what you’d gotten into? Were you treated fairly by the credit card companies? It’s the same deceptive strategies you abhor about the settlement industry but with the banks it’s ok? “The bold print giveth (or the sales rep pitching the card) and the fine print taketh away.” So I guess as long as all the disclosures are on the contract then it’s fine to charge them whatever they want even if it wasn’t clearly laid out in the actual sales process. Didn’t you take issue, (as most of the rest of us did), with the settlement companies schmoozing over the sales pitch and leaving the disclosures to the fine print? Bad actor: “Hey, Joe consumer signed it and everything was in the agreement so it’s all fair. They should’ve read it more carefully before they signed it. Not our fault they didn’t understand that we were taking their first 4 payments as a fee.”

    Next you say:

    “The ability for consumers to avoid “abuse” at the hands of credit card
    companies is simple, don’t carry balances on credit cards. So when you
    have a consumer that has for some reason incurred a balance that can’t
    be repaid, for whatever reason, the ability to workout a suitable
    repayment arrangement or repay the debt is the way to deal with the
    situation. This can either be done though a mutual negotiation with the
    bank or legal intervention through bankruptcy.”

    Interesting that you make yourself so involved in the debt settlement/debt relief industry but continue to promote only 2 options (1) work a payment plan directly with the bank or (2) force it “legally” through bankruptcy. It’s becoming more clear why the information you generally post is so completely biased against the debt relief industry. Of course, you always promote your friends in the debt relief business because, well…. who knows exactly. Maybe because they want to keep their friends close and their enemies closer or perhaps because they too have an agenda or are benefiting from the relationship. How many people have you referred to your friends from this site and the inquiries it generates? How do they reciprocate? How are you compensated by this site? I know you have have monetized referral agreements with the providers you send clients to, right? How do you and Damon fit together financially? The answers to these questions may also be quite telling.

    Then you also said:

    “If the Federal Reserve, Google, and others are lying, I invite you to
    provide all of us with a link to any third party entity that can show a
    different set of measurable numbers.”

    Back to my favorite quote: “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I surely don’t” – Abraham Lincoln
    You are the journalist, right? Why don’t you dig deeper and find the numbers for yourself. You ask if the government or the information posted on the internet are all true? Are you serious? Of course the government lies. It’s made up of human beings, right? Are those human beings trying to reach higher levels of power, money, influence and status? Have any of the government agencies ever used the media to spin information so we will do the things it needs us to do? OMG! Please don’t ask questions like that. It hurts my feelings.

    You also said:

    “Banks are under a significant amount of regulation in a number of areas”
    Poor banks. I bet it’s really putting an end to their evil schemes to rape the public. Give me a break. Look at the mess they caused. Too big to fail. Come on! I am paying for their BS schemes.

    Look, I could go on and on, but this article and the comment you just wrote is the most revealing to date. It shows how you really feel and truly exposes your real opinion and motives. It actually saddens me but certainly doesn’t surprise me. I guess that means the show is over for Mr. Rhodes. I for one am no longer interested in hearing anything else that you have to say in regards to this industry. There is no credibility for us. It’s great that you can find dirt on companies and dig up everyone’s mistakes and magnify them, but if at the end of the day it doesn’t benefit anyone, why keep listening? We all know what’s going on in our back yard and most of us aren’t too proud of the ways that the bad actors did what they did. We just don’t need to hear about it every single day. One of my favorite sayings is: “If you aren’t a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem”. Good people and good companies are trying very hard to help consumers get out of difficult financial challenges and stay positive through all this. If everything people read from this site discourages them from doing whats right because at your very core you don’t agree with them, either those people need to stop listening or you need to stop posting it. I for one can just as well be done with all this. I have WAY too much going on helping the good guys stay financially viable, tweak their models and Evolve. You are obviously unwilling to seek out and find the truth and will most likely keep clouding the waters with speculations and the opinions of others. Even when very valid points are made, you shrug them off and move in the same old direction you always have. If you don’t like the business, then stop pretending you are somehow on board with it. Don’t pretend to be someone who wants to help but secretly doesn’t agree with it. Just be real.

    If you are in the debt relief space, stop listening to all the negativity and speculations and join us in Evolving this industry and changing the future. People in America need us. I don’t need a report to tell me that the economy is in trouble or that people are suffering. I don’t live in a mansion in a segregated neighborhood. I live in a decent, average suburban neighborhood with people that work hard and still believe they have a future despite the hardships they are facing. They are hurting. The businesses in my town are hurting. People are still out of work. People are still in debt. They still get credit card offers and are still fighting to pay them down. The trouble is, they don’t know where to go and aren’t reaching out anymore. Too many people telling them it’s a scam and not to do it. When you don’t know who to trust, you don’t reach out, you just keep mudding along. It’s time to get creative in reaching the people of America struggling under debt. It’s time to put the right face on this industry and let them know that good companies they can trust are waiting for them. It is not a downward death spiral, it’s an Evolution. The future is what WE make of it.

  • Steve Rhode

    I would disagree that credit counseling did not go through a similar tough time. Between the FTC action against Ameridebt and others, the Congressional hearings, GAO studies, and IRS crackdown, it was very aggressive. In fact a number of credit counseling companies are still dealing with the IRS over those audits which have continued for the last six years. The resulting IRS regulations 501(q) were a game changer for credit counseling companies and the TSR has been in different ways for the debt settlement world.

    I fail to see any coordinated effort by media outlets to engage in a “nuke” strike against the debt settlement industry. It was news, it made news, it’s now mostly out of the news and the hot topic of the day is something else. All you have to do to see that is have a Google alert for “Debt Settlement” and the results have dropped dramatically.

    It’s a stretch to say the advanced fee debt settlement companies collectively worked for the consumer when people paid a significant amount of money upfront for services and received neither the service or a refund.

    You say “In regards to the comment about lenders not being legally obligated to work with a 3rd party, that’s right, but let’s not forget about the power of the people. If [banks] don’t want to play fair, then they can get nothing.” And then you say “The message is this: “You don’t have to pay back what you owe”. That’s a dangerous message if it isn’t stewarded right. The truth is, you shouldn’t have to be fleeced and taken advantage of and should have the right to stand up for yourself if you are.” Which is it? Should banks be entitled to what the terms the consumer agreed to or not?

    The message that there is a grand conspiracy/scam (“It’s all a huge scam”) by banks, media and other that needs to be exposed seems like an attempt to direct attention away with villainy. The defect in the argument is nobody put a gun to the head of the consumer to apply for credit, the motives of the banks are profit and the issues with the lack of desire for a creditor to work with a debt settlement company is basic, they don’t have to.

    You seem upset by the fact banks can increase the interest rates but the reason they can is because the consumers who entered into those card agreements agreed they could by agreeing to the terms and using the cards. Each time I’ve reviewed a cardholder agreement when there was an issue with universal default, etc. the terms have been in there. I’ve done reviews on this site pointing out the problem areas of those written agreements but the downsides of the agreement are clearly laid out in writing in the agreement.

    Banks are under a significant amount of regulation in a number of areas but there is no legal requirement that a bank must work with any third except for a bankruptcy attorney. No other debt relief provider has any authority to alter the terms of the agreement or intervene unless a bank allows them to step into the process. Even credit counseling groups must receive bank approval to act as an intermediary.

    The ability for consumers to avoid “abuse” at the hands of credit card companies is simple, don’t carry balances on credit cards. So when you have a consumer that has for some reason incurred a balance that can’t be repaid, for whatever reason, the ability to workout a suitable repayment arrangement or repay the debt is the way to deal with the situation. This can either be done though a mutual negotiation with the bank or legal intervention through bankruptcy.

    Your objection to this and other articles I’ve written about data showing a decreasing pool of consumers for debt relief seems to be summed up in your statement “So back to the original premise: The numbers being portrayed are simply not accurate and the more they are propagated, the more solid people in this industry that start moving to other verticals based on misinformation.” If the Federal Reserve, Google, and others are lying, I invite you to provide all of us with a link to any third party entity that can show a different set of measurable numbers.

    “We need them to fight the good fight and we need YOU to expose the truths behind the banking industry like you have about THIS industry.” I’d be glad to but outside of the banks goal is to make a massive profit and the written terms in the agreement control the relationship between the banks and consumers, what do you feel needs to be exposed about the banks?

  • Steve Rhode

    Matt,

    Who are you claiming has a hidden agenda?

    I welcome the public discussion you suggested and I have accepted your offer to do that publicly on the site. I prefer to do it in writing so that we each have a chance to respond with research and the ability to source our facts.

    I am always accountable for what I say. I put my name on all I say and you will also with your guest post.

    You are more than welcome to invite Damon out to participate in whatever you want but he is his own person.

    Might be a good idea to do a Google search next time before you lump me in an assumption. See http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/

  • Matt

    I assumed you were “Captain Obvious” calling your partner Damon on his “Secret Line”. I apologize for the mistake. Look, don’t try to portrait me as some whack job conspiracy theorist. That’s not the point to all this. I am quite sane and very level headed. The problem is that when someone has a hidden agenda, be it selfish or simply money driven, the truth becomes impossible to find. I don’t feel like typing book after book on your blog, Steve, I would rather have an intellectual CONVERSATION using a direct communicative approach. It’s so easy to hide behind a computer keyboard and say whatever you feel. I am a direct person and prefer face-to-face communication. That way, you have to be accountable for what you say. I would welcome both you and Damon to come on out to Evolution and we’ll have a public discussion with a team of experts and professionals in the field of debt relief. As a matter of fact, I’ll let you both in for free just to have this public conversation with the other leaders in the space. What do you guys think? I know I’d love to hear your opinions on all of this in person, and I’m sure there are plenty of your fans that would too.

  • Steve Rhode

    Matt, the reference to “Captain Obvious” is an expression and is not related to me. 

    If I have something to say I will say it openly and directly. There is no need for you to infer, from anyones comment, my opinion, something I may say, etc. 

    I’m confused why you are responding to Damon but addressing your remarks to me. Not everything is a conspiracy theory. Damon made a comment to you and that’s it.

    Matt, I’ve extended the offer and I’m just waiting for you to send in your written guest post with your point of view and look forward to that discussion in the comments on your post. The balls in your court on that.

  • Matt

    Well, Damon, I thank you for being Steve’s mouthpiece. And Steve, I appreciate you sharing your insights on my opinion. The fact of the matter, Steve, is that there are far more people out there that believe that you are far more delusional than I. The thing is Damon, I have friends and family in Washington and I know all too well what is happening in our economy and the corruption that exists within the government and political scene. If you can’t see greed at work on every level you’re blind. I have also read and responded to many, many articles that seem to be absolutely mindless in regards to the debt settlement option. I have also spoken to some executives in the finance and banking industry at length and I am telling you they are completely brainwashed into one way of thinking. I sometimes fee that common sense is completely gone in America. Steve, like I said before I would love to have a public conversation and discuss all this in more length. Trust me, ask around and you will find very swiftly that I am anything but delusional. I am very well respected and trusted in this industry. It’s because I put truth and transparency first.

  • Damon Day

    @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus  now don’t be upset with me, I wasn’t going to interject myself into this, but Captain Obvious called me on our secret line and wanted me to mention that your perception of reality as it pertains to the debt settlement industry not getting a fair shake is boarding on delusional.

    His words not mine.

  • Matt

    Credit counseling didn’t go through anything quite like this. I agree they went through their fair share of regulatory challenges, changes and processes, but there were never this many media outlets making that industry out to be crooks, thieves and scammers like the settlement industry is seeing. I would definitely call it a tactical “nuke” strike. It poisoned the arena on so many levels and keeps poisoning it slowly with it’s radioactive fallout. It is penetrating every aspect of the business. As far as the way the credit counseling organizations were set up, they were playing lapdog with the creditors, so of course they got screwed in a lot of ways. Credit counseling organizations worked for the creditors, plain and simple. Debt settlement firms work for the consumers (or are supposed to) and operate as “independents”. They only have to play by the rules of the land and don’t have to cater to the creditor’s demands and policies. I am not looking to get into a conversation on the functions and operations of the settlement business as I could share all day about how important amicable arrangements and relationships with creditors are and can be. It’s just a completely different play. As far as the general attitude on debt settlement, if you aren’t seeing the “debt settlement is a scam” message being propagated, I don’t know where you are looking. It’s in nearly every single “news report” and article being published by the media and government. In regards to the comment about lenders not being legally obligated to work with a 3rd party, that’s right, but let’s not forget about the power of the people. If they don’t want to play fair, then they can get nothing. Our country was created by debtors not creditors. These credit card companies are the biggest crooks of them all in my opinion. Inflating interest rates to exorbitant levels for no reason at all other than profits is criminal. You have seen the “Secret history of the Credit Card” right? They are screwing people left and right and we are on this post talking about which industry got pegged the hardest? It’s ridiculous. We need to be asking the question, “Who is really regulating the banks and holding them accountable?” “Is it a majority or a minority of political players making the decisions based on what’s right?” “Why is the government, BBB and media so slanted against debt settlement?” “Why can the credit card companies get away with so much abuse?” “Why are elected representatives so biased against settlement?” “Why does the banking industry have more lobbying power than any other industry?” “Why do they need it if the rules are fair?” I say it’s because the message can be dangerous. I think the message we spread is still misunderstood by even the largest and oldest players in the space. The message is this: “You don’t have to pay back what you owe”. That’s a dangerous message if it isn’t stewarded right. The truth is, you shouldn’t have to be fleeced and taken advantage of and should have the right to stand up for yourself if you are. The issue I see as a whole is that a lot of folks pushed anybody and everybody into settlement based on that mentality. If the credit card companies hadn’t done what they did (and continue to even when the public cried “mercy”), settlement/negotiation wouldn’t be necessary. It’s all a huge scam and I for one will stand for what’s right regardless how unpopular or difficult the road is. I don’t play politics because they are completely corrupt at their very core. The easiest way for the banks to get the settlement option out of the game is for them to stop abusing the consumers. That will never happen. Problem is that greed can’t be reasoned with. You can either be bought or you can’t. I will never serve money. I would rather be homeless and broke standing for whats right then get rich turning a blind eye. So back to the original premise: The numbers being portrayed are simply not accurate and the more they are propagated, the more solid people in this industry that start moving to other verticals based on misinformation. We need them to fight the good fight and we need YOU to expose the truths behind the banking industry like you have about THIS industry. I will post a video blog and you can use it as a guest post next week if that works. Then we can really dig in.

  • Angelo

    @10989f7460f2358f04630b2442c0892c:disqus If most consumers knew what options were available the attorney model would have failed already and if you include the attorney model, there are way too many providers :)

  • Steve Rhode

    Nukes?

    Credit counseling went through a very similar gauntlet back in the early 2000s. You want to talk about a highly regulated industry. Whew! These days IRS 501(q) rules their lives. In fact credit counseling is mandated to provide service even if someone can’t pay for it.

    I certainly don’t hear the “debt relief is a scam” message and that does not seem to be the practice of the banks and debt owners that are more than willing to work with what they view as legitimate debt relief providers.

    Let’s not forget that their is nothing that legally requires any lender to work with any third party, unlike in bankruptcy, if they don’t want to.

    If the battle is more banks should be legally required to work with debt relief providers then that should be the focus of a legislative effort. In other countries, like the UK, their are binding debt relief plans available to consumers such as the Individual Voluntary Arrangement or Debt Relief Orders. We just simply don’t have those here in the U.S.

  • Steve Rhode

    The reason for the offer of the guest post is so we can have a public discussion in the comments in response to it.

  • Matt

    I will put a guest post together, but certainly welcome the opportunity to share my insights with you verbally for the benefit of this industry… Surprisingly, I really don’t like the typing business… Can’t understand why my teenagers would rather type each other than make a call. It’s so much more efficient. They think, “Hey, I know, as if having a device that can allow us to speak directly to each other wherever we are, let’s type words on this tiny phone and I’ll tell you what I could’ve told you in 10 seconds over the next several minutes.” And they buy into this stuff… Weird. Let me know details on when and how we can have this public discussion..

  • Matt

    I agree on the point that there were PLENTY of unscrupulous debt settlement players that took full advantage of the consumers. What I truly question is why the nukes? This industry got pounded in a very aggressive way by every single group. Were not a portion of the credit counseling players equally abusive in their practices? Why didn’t they get the overall bad rap and aggressive regulation? Oh yeah, they work FOR the creditors and keep the consumers in the creditors mitts. Don’t get me wrong, credit counseling has come a long way and many of the big players are seeing the reality of their unbalanced “allegiances”. The creditors aren’t doing them any favors right now unless they are completely yielded to their practices. The banks DO see this as a threat to their very model. There was far too great an effort against this industry to see it as “consumer protective business as usual”. If it was a major concern, they could have found amicable terms and regulated it properly like any other industry and shut down the bad guys with good intel. Instead, they aggressively and relentlessly propagated the “debt relief is a scam” mentality despite the field being full of good, solid, hard working, ethical and effective debt relief companies. There is FAR more to this story than what we are all being led to believe. Armor up people! If you really care about the consumers and are in this for the right reasons, it’s time to draw your swords, expose truth and get creative. It’s time for Evolution!

  • Steve Rhode

    On one hand the banks have a point about the last few years of advanced fee debt settlement sales. Companies were making 15% of the value of the debt but in all settling little of the overall debt.

    I just hope the CFPB can make it through this wave of Congressional attempts to defund it and remove its teeth before it even launches. That is where the future power lies against bad bank practices.

    In talking to regulators and others in the enforcement world I never hear the message of “the banks want us to protect their profits.” Time and time again regulation and enforcement actions are born out of unfair or deceptive behavior that is perceived to take advantage of a disadvantaged class of citizens, those in debt.

    There will never be a time when all are out of debt and the volumes of indebted needing help will peak and valley. I just think that we are in a valley at this point as evidenced by the many indicators I have published.

  • Steve Rhode

    Bankruptcy stats are up slight but in my experience many bankruptcy filers are at the end stage of the debt relief cycle and not candidates for either credit counseling or other options. The debt relief target client is most likely one that still has some resources and has finally hit the wall, either just behind or soon to be behind.

    I agree, the basis of moving forward needs to first be to tackle all of the compliance and regulatory issues first to reduce liability and move forward with confidence. It is one of the hallmarks of our July master class, “How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World”

    I have no doubt that consumers would love to become indebted again if able. It’s a behavioral economics issue. Consumers are attracted more to spending than saving. But until the doors open that allow consumers to load up again, they just simply can’t. And it’s those consumers that are the base clients for debt relief companies looking forward.

  • Steve Rhode

    I welcome a public discussion and invite you to submit a guest post.

    The link is on the right hand side of the site.

  • Mike Reilly

    Do any of you believe there are enough debt relief companies to handle the current demand for service?
    Do you also believe there are consumers out there both young and old that don’t know what options they truly have?

  • Matt

    I wasn’t talking about you, Steve, but I will say that your site and the consumers that write you every day are a testament to the need for debt relief. I also am very much looking forward to the Evolution that is coming and I am certainly prepared to lead the way for those that TRULY CARE about the consumers that have been crippled by the greed in America. I would love to have a conversation with you about all this in a public forum. Thoughts?

  • Matt

    I wouldn’t say that’s whats happening. What I was saying anyway is that every Tom Dick and Harry is trying to discourage this industry with the media and “reporting” firms being the biggest culprits. I keep asking myself “why”? I believe the reason is that the banks, once again, see this as a threat to their profits. They have not been honest, they trashed the economy, bilked consumers out of billions and left us holding the bag. Now as the credit card giants and banks reap huge profits dishonestly by trapping Americans under huge amounts of debt, an industry emerges that brings the message that they don’t have to pay back that unfair payload. That message is dangerous. Especially for the banks that want the American “sheeple” to shut up, keep spending and make them rich. The point is, there are millions of Americans in debt, major political players with their pockets lined by the banks tried to squelch this industry unsuccessfully. Regulation didn’t shut it down either and now they are just trying to make the players pack up and go home by discouraging them with this mentality that “Well, everyone’s out of debt now, so go find a new game to play”, just waiting for the Americans to once again be defenseless and strip them down all over again. What the world needs is a journalist that will stand up for whats true, just and right even if it means fearing a bank paid hitman. The problem is that most “journalists” have an agenda, mainly money, power, political clout, recognition, status, etc… Ego or cash driven information can’t deliver the truth. So, not bashing these articles, just hate seeing their lies posted…

  • Sleepless

    Didn’t you just post an article about bankruptcy being slightly up? That would represent a need. I for one get your point but until 74 billion dollars gets settled or diminished the micro level for consumer demand will be the same.

    Any big picture article will have little significant implications on what is now a much smaller industry. The main concern is marketing, providing services, licensing among other micro issues. Running a sucessfull budget and company is more important then the idea.of consumer demand dwindling and having an impact on any company or any one industry.

    So these are just my thoughts. I understand your article and do take note for sure. I just wouldn’t get worried or nervous about it. This is just a discussion with various view points.

    2 cents.

    Seattle

  • Steve Rhode

    What I find puzzling with these discussions every time I publish data that urges caution or shows declining demand in debt relief right now is that my underlying message is to prepare for some tough times ahead so companies can survive though those days and emerge out the other side. Yet some seem to take exception to those messages. If someone else can point me to independent data that shows a growing need for debt relief services across the marketplace right now, I’d really love to see the link.

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    What I find puzzling with these discussions every time I publish data that urges caution or shows declining demand in debt relief right now is that my underlying message is to prepare for some tough times ahead so companies can survive though those days and emerge out the other side. Yet some seem to take exception to those messages. If someone else can point me to independent data that shows a growing need for debt relief services across the marketplace right now, I’d really love to see the link.

    • Sleepless

      Didn’t you just post an article about bankruptcy being slightly up? That would represent a need. I for one get your point but until 74 billion dollars gets settled or diminished the micro level for consumer demand will be the same.

      Any big picture article will have little significant implications on what is now a much smaller industry. The main concern is marketing, providing services, licensing among other micro issues. Running a sucessfull budget and company is more important then the idea.of consumer demand dwindling and having an impact on any company or any one industry.

      So these are just my thoughts. I understand your article and do take note for sure. I just wouldn’t get worried or nervous about it. This is just a discussion with various view points.

      2 cents.

      Seattle

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Bankruptcy stats are up slight but in my experience many bankruptcy filers are at the end stage of the debt relief cycle and not candidates for either credit counseling or other options. The debt relief target client is most likely one that still has some resources and has finally hit the wall, either just behind or soon to be behind.

        I agree, the basis of moving forward needs to first be to tackle all of the compliance and regulatory issues first to reduce liability and move forward with confidence. It is one of the hallmarks of our July master class, “How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World

        I have no doubt that consumers would love to become indebted again if able. It’s a behavioral economics issue. Consumers are attracted more to spending than saving. But until the doors open that allow consumers to load up again, they just simply can’t. And it’s those consumers that are the base clients for debt relief companies looking forward.

    • Matt

      I wouldn’t say that’s whats happening. What I was saying anyway is that every Tom Dick and Harry is trying to discourage this industry with the media and “reporting” firms being the biggest culprits. I keep asking myself “why”? I believe the reason is that the banks, once again, see this as a threat to their profits. They have not been honest, they trashed the economy, bilked consumers out of billions and left us holding the bag. Now as the credit card giants and banks reap huge profits dishonestly by trapping Americans under huge amounts of debt, an industry emerges that brings the message that they don’t have to pay back that unfair payload. That message is dangerous. Especially for the banks that want the American “sheeple” to shut up, keep spending and make them rich. The point is, there are millions of Americans in debt, major political players with their pockets lined by the banks tried to squelch this industry unsuccessfully. Regulation didn’t shut it down either and now they are just trying to make the players pack up and go home by discouraging them with this mentality that “Well, everyone’s out of debt now, so go find a new game to play”, just waiting for the Americans to once again be defenseless and strip them down all over again. What the world needs is a journalist that will stand up for whats true, just and right even if it means fearing a bank paid hitman. The problem is that most “journalists” have an agenda, mainly money, power, political clout, recognition, status, etc… Ego or cash driven information can’t deliver the truth. So, not bashing these articles, just hate seeing their lies posted…

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        On one hand the banks have a point about the last few years of advanced fee debt settlement sales. Companies were making 15% of the value of the debt but in all settling little of the overall debt.

        I just hope the CFPB can make it through this wave of Congressional attempts to defund it and remove its teeth before it even launches. That is where the future power lies against bad bank practices.

        In talking to regulators and others in the enforcement world I never hear the message of “the banks want us to protect their profits.” Time and time again regulation and enforcement actions are born out of unfair or deceptive behavior that is perceived to take advantage of a disadvantaged class of citizens, those in debt.

        There will never be a time when all are out of debt and the volumes of indebted needing help will peak and valley. I just think that we are in a valley at this point as evidenced by the many indicators I have published.

      • Matt

        I agree on the point that there were PLENTY of unscrupulous debt settlement players that took full advantage of the consumers. What I truly question is why the nukes? This industry got pounded in a very aggressive way by every single group. Were not a portion of the credit counseling players equally abusive in their practices? Why didn’t they get the overall bad rap and aggressive regulation? Oh yeah, they work FOR the creditors and keep the consumers in the creditors mitts. Don’t get me wrong, credit counseling has come a long way and many of the big players are seeing the reality of their unbalanced “allegiances”. The creditors aren’t doing them any favors right now unless they are completely yielded to their practices. The banks DO see this as a threat to their very model. There was far too great an effort against this industry to see it as “consumer protective business as usual”. If it was a major concern, they could have found amicable terms and regulated it properly like any other industry and shut down the bad guys with good intel. Instead, they aggressively and relentlessly propagated the “debt relief is a scam” mentality despite the field being full of good, solid, hard working, ethical and effective debt relief companies. There is FAR more to this story than what we are all being led to believe. Armor up people! If you really care about the consumers and are in this for the right reasons, it’s time to draw your swords, expose truth and get creative. It’s time for Evolution!

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Nukes?

        Credit counseling went through a very similar gauntlet back in the early 2000s. You want to talk about a highly regulated industry. Whew! These days IRS 501(q) rules their lives. In fact credit counseling is mandated to provide service even if someone can’t pay for it.

        I certainly don’t hear the “debt relief is a scam” message and that does not seem to be the practice of the banks and debt owners that are more than willing to work with what they view as legitimate debt relief providers.

        Let’s not forget that their is nothing that legally requires any lender to work with any third party, unlike in bankruptcy, if they don’t want to.

        If the battle is more banks should be legally required to work with debt relief providers then that should be the focus of a legislative effort. In other countries, like the UK, their are binding debt relief plans available to consumers such as the Individual Voluntary Arrangement or Debt Relief Orders. We just simply don’t have those here in the U.S.

      • Matt

         Credit counseling didn’t go through anything quite like this. I agree they went through their fair share of regulatory challenges, changes and processes, but there were never this many media outlets making that industry out to be crooks, thieves and scammers like the settlement industry is seeing. I would definitely call it a tactical “nuke” strike. It poisoned the arena on so many levels and keeps poisoning it slowly with it’s radioactive fallout. It is penetrating every aspect of the business. As far as the way the credit counseling organizations were set up, they were playing lapdog with the creditors, so of course they got screwed in a lot of ways. Credit counseling organizations worked for the creditors, plain and simple. Debt settlement firms work for the consumers (or are supposed to) and operate as “independents”. They only have to play by the rules of the land and don’t have to cater to the creditor’s demands and policies. I am not looking to get into a conversation on the functions and operations of the settlement business as I could share all day about how important amicable arrangements and relationships with creditors are and can be. It’s just a completely different play. As far as the general attitude on debt settlement, if you aren’t seeing the “debt settlement is a scam” message being propagated, I don’t know where you are looking. It’s in nearly every single “news report” and article being published by the media and government. In regards to the comment about lenders not being legally obligated to work with a 3rd party, that’s right, but let’s not forget about the power of the people. If they don’t want to play fair, then they can get nothing. Our country was created by debtors not creditors. These credit card companies are the biggest crooks of them all in my opinion. Inflating interest rates to exorbitant levels for no reason at all other than profits is criminal. You have seen the “Secret history of the Credit Card” right? They are screwing people left and right and we are on this post talking about which industry got pegged the hardest? It’s ridiculous. We need to be asking the question, “Who is really regulating the banks and holding them accountable?” “Is it a majority or a minority of political players making the decisions based on what’s right?” “Why is the government, BBB and media so slanted against debt settlement?” “Why can the credit card companies get away with so much abuse?” “Why are elected representatives so biased against settlement?” “Why does the banking industry have more lobbying power than any other industry?” “Why do they need it if the rules are fair?” I say it’s because the message can be dangerous. I think the message we spread is still misunderstood by even the largest and oldest players in the space. The message is this: “You don’t have to pay back what you owe”. That’s a dangerous message if it isn’t stewarded right. The truth is, you shouldn’t have to be fleeced and taken advantage of and should have the right to stand up for yourself if you are. The issue I see as a whole is that a lot of folks pushed anybody and everybody into settlement based on that mentality. If the credit card companies hadn’t done what they did (and continue to even when the public cried “mercy”), settlement/negotiation wouldn’t be necessary. It’s all a huge scam and I for one will stand for what’s right regardless how unpopular or difficult the road is. I don’t play politics because they are completely corrupt at their very core. The easiest way for the banks to get the settlement option out of the game is for them to stop abusing the consumers. That will never happen. Problem is that greed can’t be reasoned with. You can either be bought or you can’t. I will never serve money. I would rather be homeless and broke standing for whats right then get rich turning a blind eye. So back to the original premise: The numbers being portrayed are simply not accurate and the more they are propagated, the more solid people in this industry that start moving to other verticals based on misinformation. We need them to fight the good fight and we need YOU to expose the truths behind the banking industry like you have about THIS industry. I will post a video blog and you can use it as a guest post next week if that works. Then we can really dig in.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         @e98b42eacbbbcb6e26c4157f735bde0f:disqus  now don’t be upset with me, I wasn’t going to interject myself into this, but Captain Obvious called me on our secret line and wanted me to mention that your perception of reality as it pertains to the debt settlement industry not getting a fair shake is boarding on delusional.

        His words not mine.

      • Matt

         Well, Damon, I thank you for being Steve’s mouthpiece. And Steve, I appreciate you sharing your insights on my opinion. The fact of the matter, Steve, is that there are far more people out there that believe that you are far more delusional than I. The thing is Damon, I have friends and family in Washington and I know all too well what is happening in our economy and the corruption that exists within the government and political scene. If you can’t see greed at work on every level you’re blind. I have also read and responded to many, many articles that seem to be absolutely mindless in regards to the debt settlement option. I have also spoken to some executives in the finance and banking industry at length and I am telling you they are completely brainwashed into one way of thinking. I sometimes fee that common sense is completely gone in America. Steve, like I said before I would love to have a public conversation and discuss all this in more length. Trust me, ask around and you will find very swiftly that I am anything but delusional. I am very well respected and trusted in this industry. It’s because I put truth and transparency first.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Matt, the reference to “Captain Obvious” is an expression and is not related to me. 

        If I have something to say I will say it openly and directly. There is no need for you to infer, from anyones comment, my opinion, something I may say, etc. 

        I’m confused why you are responding to Damon but addressing your remarks to me. Not everything is a conspiracy theory. Damon made a comment to you and that’s it.

        Matt, I’ve extended the offer and I’m just waiting for you to send in your written guest post with your point of view and look forward to that discussion in the comments on your post. The balls in your court on that.

      • Matt

         I assumed you were “Captain Obvious” calling your partner Damon on his “Secret Line”. I apologize for the mistake. Look, don’t try to portrait me as some whack job conspiracy theorist. That’s not the point to all this. I am quite sane and very level headed. The problem is that when someone has a hidden agenda, be it selfish or simply money driven, the truth becomes impossible to find. I don’t feel like typing book after book on your blog, Steve, I would rather have an intellectual CONVERSATION using a direct communicative approach. It’s so easy to hide behind a computer keyboard and say whatever you feel. I am a direct person and prefer face-to-face communication. That way, you have to be accountable for what you say. I would welcome both you and Damon to come on out to Evolution and we’ll have a public discussion with a team of experts and professionals in the field of debt relief. As a matter of fact, I’ll let you both in for free just to have this public conversation with the other leaders in the space. What do you guys think? I know I’d love to hear your opinions on all of this in person, and I’m sure there are plenty of your fans that would too.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Matt,

        Who are you claiming has a hidden agenda?

        I welcome the public discussion you suggested and I have accepted your offer to do that publicly on the site. I prefer to do it in writing so that we each have a chance to respond with research and the ability to source our facts.

        I am always accountable for what I say. I put my name on all I say and you will also with your guest post.

        You are more than welcome to invite Damon out to participate in whatever you want but he is his own person.

        Might be a good idea to do a Google search next time before you lump me in an assumption. See http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Captain_Obvious

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Matt it seems you misunderstood my joke and I apologize.  It had nothing to do with Steve. Also you missed the point of my comment or ignored it on purpose, not sure which. I was talking specifically about your theory that the debt settlement industry has been unfairly targeted.  Now, I could go point counter point with you, but then you are going to start going off about the banks and Washington greed or whatever. 

        I am not understanding how that is relevant to my comment other than as a way to deflect. We are talking about debt settlement companies screwing clients, and you are saying… Oh ya, well, the banks are much worse. Justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior?  Classic deflection.  You are a good sales trainer I can tell.

        I don’t think you are delusional, I assume you say what you say because it is your business to make people in the settlement industry feel bullish about the prospects for making money in it moving forward.  Whether you say these things because you believe them or because it makes you money, I don’t know, nor do I care. 

        So lets be clear, it shouldn’t be a big mystery to anyone why you get a bee in your bonnet every time Steve releases information that says demand for settlement might be down, or that most Debt Settlement companies are not the wonderful Angels swooping in to save consumers from the big bad banks.  Why don’t you go give Moody’s an earful? Steve just reported their information.

        You make money by encouraging new people into the industry and putting a positive spin on everything is in your best financial interest.  Lets just be upfront about this. Nothing wrong with that, it just is.

        You and I are not that different really.  I created a business and get paid to teach consumers the truth as I see it.  And you created a business to teach debt settlement companies the truth as it appears you see it.  The only difference is that I just have the luxury of being right.

        However, you make much more money by making settlement companies feel justified in their bad acts, than I do by telling consumers the unfortunate truth about large elements in the debt relief space.  So I guess it all balances out.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I would disagree that credit counseling did not go through a similar tough time. Between the FTC action against Ameridebt and others, the Congressional hearings, GAO studies, and IRS crackdown, it was very aggressive. In fact a number of credit counseling companies are still dealing with the IRS over those audits which have continued for the last six years. The resulting IRS regulations 501(q) were a game changer for credit counseling companies and the TSR has been in different ways for the debt settlement world.

        I fail to see any coordinated effort by media outlets to engage in a “nuke” strike against the debt settlement industry. It was news, it made news, it’s now mostly out of the news and the hot topic of the day is something else. All you have to do to see that is have a Google alert for “Debt Settlement” and the results have dropped dramatically.

        It’s a stretch to say the advanced fee debt settlement companies collectively worked for the consumer when people paid a significant amount of money upfront for services and received neither the service or a refund.

        You say “In regards to the comment about lenders not being legally obligated to work with a 3rd party, that’s right, but let’s not forget about the power of the people. If [banks] don’t want to play fair, then they can get nothing.” And then you say “The message is this: “You don’t have to pay back what you owe”. That’s a dangerous message if it isn’t stewarded right. The truth is, you shouldn’t have to be fleeced and taken advantage of and should have the right to stand up for yourself if you are.” Which is it? Should banks be entitled to what the terms the consumer agreed to or not?

        The message that there is a grand conspiracy/scam (“It’s all a huge scam”) by banks, media and other that needs to be exposed seems like an attempt to direct attention away with villainy. The defect in the argument is nobody put a gun to the head of the consumer to apply for credit, the motives of the banks are profit and the issues with the lack of desire for a creditor to work with a debt settlement company is basic, they don’t have to.

        You seem upset by the fact banks can increase the interest rates but the reason they can is because the consumers who entered into those card agreements agreed they could by agreeing to the terms and using the cards. Each time I’ve reviewed a cardholder agreement when there was an issue with universal default, etc. the terms have been in there. I’ve done reviews on this site pointing out the problem areas of those written agreements but the downsides of the agreement are clearly laid out in writing in the agreement.

        Banks are under a significant amount of regulation in a number of areas but there is no legal requirement that a bank must work with any third except for a bankruptcy attorney. No other debt relief provider has any authority to alter the terms of the agreement or intervene unless a bank allows them to step into the process. Even credit counseling groups must receive bank approval to act as an intermediary.

        The ability for consumers to avoid “abuse” at the hands of credit card companies is simple, don’t carry balances on credit cards. So when you have a consumer that has for some reason incurred a balance that can’t be repaid, for whatever reason, the ability to workout a suitable repayment arrangement or repay the debt is the way to deal with the situation. This can either be done though a mutual negotiation with the bank or legal intervention through bankruptcy.

        Your objection to this and other articles I’ve written about data showing a decreasing pool of consumers for debt relief seems to be summed up in your statement “So back to the original premise: The numbers being portrayed are simply not accurate and the more they are propagated, the more solid people in this industry that start moving to other verticals based on misinformation.” If the Federal Reserve, Google, and others are lying, I invite you to provide all of us with a link to any third party entity that can show a different set of measurable numbers.

        “We need them to fight the good fight and we need YOU to expose the truths behind the banking industry like you have about THIS industry.” I’d be glad to but outside of the banks goal is to make a massive profit and the written terms in the agreement control the relationship between the banks and consumers, what do you feel needs to be exposed about the banks?

      • Matt

         Spoken like a true credit counselor. It’s obvious now that you are on the bank’s side of this. It should have been obvious by the slanted tone of all your “debt relief” related articles.

        You say:

        “You seem upset by the fact banks can increase the interest rates but the
        reason they can is because the consumers who entered into those card
        agreements agreed they could by agreeing to the terms and using the
        cards.”

        Yet Elizabeth Warren, (we all know who she is, right?) said in her interview on the “Secret History of The Credit  Card” that the average consumer could never understand the agreement or all the terms in their entirety. It is obvious that you agree that the consumers got what they were asking for and should’ve been more careful. It’s obvious that you have no real concern for the people being taken advantage of so why even have this site? I thought you had been there before. Did you know what you’d gotten into? Were you treated fairly by the credit card companies? It’s the same deceptive strategies you abhor about the settlement industry but with the banks it’s ok? “The bold print giveth (or the sales rep pitching the card) and the fine print taketh away.” So I guess as long as all the disclosures are on the contract then it’s fine to charge them whatever they want even if it wasn’t clearly laid out in the actual sales process. Didn’t you take issue, (as most of the rest of us did), with the settlement companies schmoozing over the sales pitch and leaving the disclosures to the fine print? Bad actor: “Hey, Joe consumer signed it and everything was in the agreement so it’s all fair. They should’ve read it more carefully before they signed it. Not our fault they didn’t understand that we were taking their first 4 payments as a fee.”

        Next you say:

        “The ability for consumers to avoid “abuse” at the hands of credit card
        companies is simple, don’t carry balances on credit cards. So when you
        have a consumer that has for some reason incurred a balance that can’t
        be repaid, for whatever reason, the ability to workout a suitable
        repayment arrangement or repay the debt is the way to deal with the
        situation. This can either be done though a mutual negotiation with the
        bank or legal intervention through bankruptcy.”

        Interesting that you make yourself so involved in the debt settlement/debt relief industry but continue to promote only 2 options (1) work a payment plan directly with the bank or (2) force it “legally” through bankruptcy. It’s becoming more clear why the information you generally post is so completely biased against the debt relief industry. Of course, you always promote your friends in the debt relief business because, well…. who knows exactly. Maybe because they want to keep their friends close and their enemies closer or perhaps because they too have an agenda or are benefiting from the relationship. How many people have you referred to your friends from this site and the inquiries it generates? How do they reciprocate? How are you compensated by this site? I know you have have monetized referral agreements with the providers you send clients to, right? How do you and Damon fit together financially? The answers to these questions may also be quite telling.

        Then you also said:

        “If the Federal Reserve, Google, and others are lying, I invite you to
        provide all of us with a link to any third party entity that can show a
        different set of measurable numbers.”

        Back to my favorite quote: “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I surely don’t” – Abraham Lincoln
        You are the journalist, right? Why don’t you dig deeper and find the numbers for yourself. You ask if the government or the information posted on the internet are all true? Are you serious? Of course the government lies. It’s made up of human beings, right? Are those human beings trying to reach higher levels of power, money, influence and status? Have any of the government agencies ever used the media to spin information so we will do the things it needs us to do? OMG! Please don’t ask questions like that. It hurts my feelings.

        You also said:

        “Banks are under a significant amount of regulation in a number of areas”
        Poor banks. I bet it’s really putting an end to their evil schemes to rape the public. Give me a break. Look at the mess they caused. Too big to fail. Come on! I am paying for their BS schemes.

        Look, I could go on and on, but this article and the comment you just wrote is the most revealing to date. It shows how you really feel and truly exposes your real opinion and motives. It actually saddens me but certainly doesn’t surprise me. I guess that means the show is over for Mr. Rhodes. I for one am no longer interested in hearing anything else that you have to say in regards to this industry. There is no credibility for us. It’s great that you can find dirt on companies and dig up everyone’s mistakes and magnify them, but if at the end of the day it doesn’t benefit anyone, why keep listening? We all know what’s going on in our back yard and most of us aren’t too proud of the ways that the bad actors did what they did. We just don’t need to hear about it every single day. One of my favorite sayings is: “If you aren’t a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem”. Good people and good companies are trying very hard to help consumers get out of difficult financial challenges and stay positive through all this. If everything people read from this site discourages them from doing whats right because at your very core you don’t agree with them, either those people need to stop listening or you need to stop posting it. I for one can just as well be done with all this. I have WAY too much going on helping the good guys stay financially viable, tweak their models and Evolve. You are obviously unwilling to seek out and find the truth and will most likely keep clouding the waters with speculations and the opinions of others. Even when very valid points are made, you shrug them off and move in the same old direction you always have. If you don’t like the business, then stop pretending you are somehow on board with it. Don’t pretend to be someone who wants to help but secretly doesn’t agree with it. Just be real.

        If you are in the debt relief space, stop listening to all the negativity and speculations and join us in Evolving this industry and changing the future. People in America need us. I don’t need a report to tell me that the economy is in trouble or that people are suffering. I don’t live in a mansion in a segregated neighborhood. I live in a decent, average suburban neighborhood with people that work hard and still believe they have a future despite the hardships they are facing. They are hurting. The businesses in my town are hurting. People are still out of work. People are still in debt. They still get credit card offers and are still fighting to pay them down. The trouble is, they don’t know where to go and aren’t reaching out anymore. Too many people telling them it’s a scam and not to do it. When you don’t know who to trust, you don’t reach out, you just keep mudding along. It’s time to get creative in reaching the people of America struggling under debt. It’s time to put the right face on this industry and let them know that good companies they can trust are waiting for them. It is not a downward death spiral, it’s an Evolution. The future is what WE make of it.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Captain Obvious says that Matt has a Bur under his saddle.

        If you disagree with Matt, (who happens to make money by training settlement companies), than you are on the side of the banks. Just don’t go calling him one of those conspiracy nuts. He hates that.

      • Speak into the microphone

        I see your passion Matt. Keep hold of it. It will serve you well.

        Those that read this deep into comments on a thread topic like this are the choir and your preaching to them.

        Matt, what does the Evolution consist of? What tweaks and tuning are you helping the good guys make? It would be helpful to have some context to accompany your passion, rather than what amounts to a soap box.

        Stuff sucks for many people. We all know and get that. You want to rail against banks who are admittedly an easy target. I get that. But what substantive detail can you provide that you are involved with that is going to make a difference?

        You talk about making changes and helping the good guys, but in what way? Who are the good guys? What is your actual message? I am asking because it is not clear in your posts.

        Help a brother out…

      • Matt

         Oh, my apologies. I assumed that everyone knew who I was. I am Matt Hearn of MSTARS.

        Site: http://www.mstarsinc.com
        LinkedIn MSTARS LLC
        And as Steve mentioned above, we are hosting the Evolution2011 Conference
        http://www.evolution2011.com

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I’ve been speaking up about your seminar, are you going to reciprocate and mention my class to your readers? The link is http://getoutofdebt.org/27620/debt-relief-master-class-how-to-survive-thrive-arrive-in-the-new-debt-relief-world

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         No way, Steve is on the side of the banks.  Down with the banks.

        Ba ha ha ha

      • Matt

         Damon, you are not even on my radar. Nothing you say to me has any weight or credibility. Who are you?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        How convenient for you. I didn’t realize that I was not worthy to question the great Matt Hearn.  Who I only know as the guy that makes a living blowing pink smoke up the arses of debt settlement companies. As I said, you are a great sales trainer, if you don’t have an answer, you deflect the hell out of the question and try to move on. Now I am having a better understanding of why there are 15,000 sales agents (the number you claimed to have trained) out there making life miserable for consumers. Deflect questions you don’t want to answer and continue through the sales process.

        I suspect I struck a nerve and whether you know who I am or not, are thinking that you are passing the last exit on the “I am really screwing myself express” and are thinking a quick and quiet exit is likely your best move.  You would be right of course.

        I will be a good sport and oblige you a quiet exit. If you want to talk about the facts I have brought up and how you and your 15,000 trained sales agents are a big part of the problem, you are more than welcome to stay and play ball.  I think we would have a bully good time.  Well, I think I will.

      • Matt

        I’m sorry if I offended you, Damon. I am serious about not knowing who you are. Don’t be offended about it, there’s a lot of people I don’t know about. I’ve seen what you’ve posted and blogged about and it is a bit negative and crass, but as far as you and what you believe, I have no clue. Sorry.  I am going to carry on my business of helping consumers by empowering the players that serve them. I do things right. If you knew who I was and what I’ve done and continue to do, you wouldn’t take these types of shots at me. In any case, have a great weekend. Go enjoy your family and let all this pointless banter go.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Not offended at all, just thought it was a convenient dodge to respond
        to my comment by saying since you don’t know me, what I say carries no
        weight.  As if my observation can only be valid if you allow it to be. I
        understand that is easier than responding to my observation and letting
        me know why it is not correct.  But I understand, you are in a bad
        position, and it would be impossible for you to acknowledge what is
        painfully clear to anyone that is not directly involved with or
        profiting on the industry.

        I was not taking shots at you, just pointing out the obvious errors in
        your perspective of the industry and the likely origins of said
        perspective.

        I just believe differently than you.  I do not believe that you are
        helping consumers by empowering the players in the industry as you
        yourself admitted in your comment below.  You said you did everything
        you could and then audited the results and they were piss poor.  So how
        exactly are you helping consumers when in spite of your best efforts to
        train 15,000 sales agents, they go through your class and produce
        success on a piss poor level?

        Enjoy your weekend as well.

      • Matt

         The audits we conducted were not of our clients. What they all NEEDED to do was learn how to market their program accurately, which we teach. You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about. We are the AUTHORITY in compliance and compliant sales training. We are the hallmark of consumer protection. Go read our site and tell me that we aren’t all about the consumer. That’s why this industry exists in my opinion. Look before you leap, Damon. http://www.mstarsinc.com
        http://www.saftinetwork.com

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Why didn’t you audit your own clients?

        You trained 15,000 agents and none of them were selling a front loaded debt settlement program that unquestionably screws consumers?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        You are confused Matt.

        Compliance does not equal consumer protection.

        That is where you are making a leap that is not supported by the evidence.

        You erroneously argue that you are the leader of compliance, compliance protects consumers, therefore you are a protector of consumers.

      • Speak into the microphone

        The link is well and good. AN additional post about training settlement companies was more informative.

        You mention being a guide to your clients for the last many years and having vision to make changes in advance. Can you be specific other than template disclosures? I want to know the value you bring.

        Can you provide a link to you participation at a level no associated with sales?

        What I am trying to get at is whether to attend Evolution. I know of USOBA and their past efforts. Were you part of those efforts?

      • Matt

         I have been extremely active in creating and aiding USOBA’s efforts over the last several years. Jenna and Krysten could tell you more about that. I have a large volume of information I can give you regarding operations in the debt space. I have spoken at all the USOBA events over the last 3-4 years and have a VAST amount of experience in this arena. Despite Ting and Tang’s opinions, I know what I’m talking about. Call me Monday and I’ll give you what I have. (952) 388-0668
        Matt

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         You are bragging about your involvement with Usoba over the last few years? Wow, John Ansbach dropped them from his resume like a hot patato and he is a really smart guy.

        You want to blame the banks, the media, Washington greed, and Steve Rhode’s kitchen sink, and now it appears you were a major part of the industry’s problem this whole time, funny how the facts slowly come out.

      • Matt

         Yes, I was the one that designed and created the UCAP system (USOBA Compliance Audit Program) that TASC then copied and tried to run with. Yes, I was the one hosting the monthly compliance training call for their members. I was the one yelling from the mountain tops to straighten up and sell right. Meet the disclosures, make sure the clients are educated about their options and know what debt settlement really is before signing them in. And yes, John Ansbach is a friend of mine as well. He tried his best too. Where were you in the fight to help the industry? Oh yeah, you were the one sitting on the bench criticizing everyone and bad mouthing the space. If your going to put your two cents worth out there at least be involved. As much as you would like to insinuate that I was somehow involved in creating problems in this industry, I have been solving them and promoting the solutions before it was popular. And as far as USOBA is concerned, I did everything in my power to help their members. The problem as I see it with trade associations is that you can’t make paying members toe the line while theyt are funding your efforts. For instance, we audited the USOBA members along with random audits of the industry at large. It wasn’t good. Does that mean USOBA could then force them to comply? You would think so but as soon as it became a hard line issue the members threatened to stop membership. That’s why it’s impossible for them to work unless it actually MEANS something to the members. Anyway, like I said before, I really don’t even know who you are and what you’ve done, and you certainly don’t know me, so let’s cut this conversation off here.Thanks bud. Have a great weekend!

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Matt,

        I don’t understand this you don’t know me I don’t know you stuff.  You
        made a statement, I disagree with what you are saying and am telling you why.  Why can’t we have a discussion unless we
        read each others biographies?

        You seem like a good guy and I appreciate your all your efforts to try and improve the industry for consumers.  Unfortunately your efforts are misguided and doomed from the start for one very simple reason.

        You generally cannot get a company to stop doing something that is profitable and switch to doing something that is not profitable. 

        We can debate that if you want, but just look at your results.  After years of creating all of these wonderful things for the industry and training 15,000 agents, you yourself said your results were piss poor when you audited the members.

        Might you leave room for the possibility that warning consumers against the bad practices of certain elements of the industry has much more benefit to them than unsuccessfully trying to change those practices? 

        I have saved my clients millions of dollars by educating them on the reality of how most debt settlement companies operate, your methods have generated anemic success rates for consumers among the companies that you have trained.  Which one of us is making a difference for consumers? 

        You claim I sit on the sidelines and bad mouth the industry instead of helping to fix the problem.  You just haven’t come to grips with the realities of the debt settlement business model yet, and therefore are not yet able to appreciate the major contribution that I do make to helping consumers, which is where my only focus lies. 

        Now, to your point about you train sales agents to present all options.  Are we going to waste space pretending that is what they actually do? Didn’t you mention your audited results were piss poor?

        I bet they do just as good of job educating consumers about credit counseling and bankruptcy, as credit counseling sales people and bankruptcy attorneys educate consumers on debt settlement. So let’s not pretend consumers are actually getting a financial consultation when they call a typical debt settlement company, CCCS program, or a BK attorney in many cases. (See I don’t just pick on settlement, I pick on the flawed sales process in all of them that screws consumers)

        Settlement sales people are going to sell debt settlement, Credit Counseling people are going to sell credit counseling, bankruptcy attorneys tend to lean toward bankruptcy.  How else can you explain the piss poor results among all of those industries?  Most of the time, they are going for the sale, and not putting the client’s interests ahead of their own. 

        If they only enrolled the right people, the current business model of most companies would not be appealing to an investor, so they are going to continue to enroll anyone they can, and find ways to make a profit or they will leave the space, period.  Your training can not change this fundamental fact as your results over the last few years have clearly proven out.

        Have a great weekend yourself.

      • Speak into the microphone

        Matt, can you read this thread on the site and comment:  http://getoutofdebt.org/27800/debt-settlement-attorney-wants-to-know-if-debt-settlement-companies-suffer-from-a-fundamental-flaw

        The attorney perspective hits some pretty heavy (and key) points. Does your material address his concerns? I think some of them are valid.

      • Matt

         I will be happy to read it over and will post my comments below this thread. I left my number below, but in the event you’d like to discuss anything at all, please don’t hesitate to call. (952) 388-0668

      • Matt

         I got a bit bogged down yesterday and didn’t have a chance to read the post. I will be reading and posting my comments by the end of the week. Call if you want to discuss it personally. I am available to the industry by phone and email personally at nearly any time.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Matt,

        I’m happy to have a discussion with you on any point and my responses to you have been professional and cordial so why do you feel it strengthens your position to insult me and slander my integrity in your answers? Is that really the approach of a leader?

        My focus is helping people that have found themselves in a difficult position. And I can do that in a holistic way, incorporating their goals and direction they need their life to go. At that particular time it is not helpful to huddle a mob with torches against the banks. People don’t need to be made powerless as bank victims nor do they need to be victimized by the entities that are supposed to assist them in a fiduciary capacity. It is my opinion the best way forward is to empower people with real solutions that provide the best solutions considering the financial, emotional and life goals.

        If you want to focus your energy against the bank conspiracy then good on you but most people understand the banking environment is what it is and are aware of the basics. The details you said to me that are disclosed in the fine print are actually not. They are prominently displayed in the Schumer Box large print disclosures. For example, here is one online. People understand that if they take out a credit card there will be interest charged, if they pay late there will be charges and if they default on the bill it will go into collections. They also understand to drive their car without crossing the painted line and not to kill people with kitchen knives. Some things are obvious to most.

        You made a lot of accusations against me about how this site earns money. I’m open and transparent about it and everything is disclosed in the site terms.

        You say I only suggest two options, but that is not true. What i said was “This can either be done though a mutual negotiation with the bank or legal intervention through bankruptcy.”

        Mutual negotiation can include internal hardship plans, credit counseling, debt settlement, maybe a consolidation loan, etc.

        I do suggest that people appropriate for debt settlement can use that when it makes sense. As I’ve said before my nonprofit group used to settle debt. I’ve done it and for a select group of people, it can work.

        You want people to stop listening to negative messages but don’t you also want them to be realists about the current climate and prepare for the days ahead or is the only approach to floor it into a blind alley?

        When I asked you to link to any numbers by an independent party that support your position, you don’t. Instead you tell me to go look for them. But that’s the issue, I can’t find them and don’t see them. If you do, please link to them. I beginning to believe that you can’t source any.

        After reading your comments it appears you believe the government lies, no figures can be trusted from any source, the banks and media are engaged in a conspiracy and it’s all a big scam.

        We obviously have two completely different views of the way forward for a healthy debt relief industry of responsible players and don’t be shocked, that your scam and conspiracy theories are not my approach. Nor are they the supported theories of the FTC, CFPB, legitimate consumer advocates, and any other government or regulatory official who you are excited will speak at your conference.

        Instead my approach is to help people in pain and trouble today to find a good solution to their bad problem by realizing that the system we have is what it is at this moment and the solutions in the quiver are the ones on hand right now, today.

        Yes, I do point out problem areas in the debt relief world. If we don’t try to clean them up and make them go away, you know what the result is, regulation. The cleaner the industry can be the less regulation will be needed to restrict it. And the more providers can be aware of the pitfalls, the more they can avoid them.

        If your messages resonate with readers I encourage them to make arrangements to attend your Evolution conference. http://www.evolution2011.com

        For anyone that feels a realistic and pragmatic way forward makes more sense then I invite them to come to the upcoming Debt Relief Master Class “How to Survive, Thrive & Arrive in the New Debt Relief World” – Learn more about this upcoming class to help debt relief companies find success in a future uncertain world. I look forward to meeting you there.

      • Matt

         More rhetoric. I love how you dance around with words but won’t “man up” and have a live conversation. So, you want to charge people $1500.00 plus travel and a room to teach them what? Based on your constant barrages against the industry I can’t figure it will be very informative. According to all your posts, the consumers don’t need help anyway. The number of people in debt or looking for services is way down. Besides, they brought this on themselves anyway, right? As far as flooring it into a blind curve, MSTARS has trained over 350 solid companies and are servicing over 100 clients that are doing very well right now despite the challenges. We also created the “Fundamental Shift” over 3 years ago and created the first and only Section5 compliant training system for the field. Our clients are some of the most successful in the industry. It’s because we know what works and how to do it right. Why? Because we have done it successfully ourselves. As a matter of fact, it’s MSTARS that created the first and now most circulated mandatory disclosure list in the space. We were changing the game even before it was a hot topic. We were years ahead of the challenges and helped many, many companies get ahead of it as well. We are simply way ahead of the curve and in 95% of the cases so far have been dead-right. We also have a training system based on transparency, truth and consumer focused consulting. Our credentials are impeccable and our reputation is truly unblemished and highly respected. Sure, leads and marketing are an issue and volume is down, mostly because of all the negative attention. Truth be told, Steve, what we have been doing is effective, honest and relevant. We are also being the motivating force behind those that can see the big picture beyond all this. I personally don’t think you are qualified to teach people about how to “Survive, Thrive and Arrive” with their debt relief businesses in the new economy. What do you really know about it? Are you actively working in the field or are you just trying to make a quick buck on those that still think you are on their side? Be real. You have been a naysayer from the beginning and your true colors are certainly showing now. Your approach just isn’t relevant to today’s debt settlement players. I appreciate your Vesta venture experience, but come on. After all you’ve had to say on these posts and the “sky is falling” attitude, what are you really bringing to the table to help? As far as your comments on “Nor are they the supported theories of the FTC, CFPB, legitimate
        consumer advocates, and any other government or regulatory official who
        you are excited will speak at your conference.” I beg to differ. I know these folks personally and like I said have family in Washington. I speak to regulators and legal experts every day. I know what I am talking about and so do most of the people operating in this space. I also love how you twist and turn every word away from the messages I am bringing. You’d love to paint the picture that I am not credible or into some left field conspiracy program, but I really am above reproach with all this. One more reason people can’t trust you. I say it how it is, I call it how I see it and I don’t BS people. I personally think you should just stick to journalism and helping the people that come to your site with your “advice”. Try to be a more positive reporter, though. It will help those of us that are trying to change the future. I am, however, done with this conversation. Nothing informative can be gleaned here. You have shown your colors, it is apparent you have nothing new to say and this is keeping me from much more important projects. I wish you all the best of luck with your blog, Steve and would welcome an intellectual CONVERSATION any time. Keep in mind this as well: We are fellow human beings here on this rock and we only have so many rotations to make a difference in the world around us. I won’t take all this personally even if you decide to. I’m genuine and truly wish you no ill will.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

         Matt I was really pulling for you on the whole “not delusional” card, but whats that old saying?

        Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought of as delusional, then to open it and remove all doubt.

        Ok, I just modified that into my own saying.

        Just so you know, it was a joke, it is funny, and I mean come on man, you are really hot and bothered over something.  Are you really that pissed off about Moody’s saying the credit card defaults are approaching a 20 year low?

        You are not showing well.  It is really clear as day that you are just talking your own book and I get that.  I talk my own book all the time, everyone does, but the first two chapters of my book are facts and reason.

        Dude, you make money training debt settlement companies.  Your job is to stay the course and convince all of these guys that you are going to lead them to the promise land.  At this point, you have convinced me that you would be the guy on the back of the Titanic asking Leo and Rose to buy a ticket for the return voyage as the band fell into the sea. 

        I am not saying the industry is going down, but I have read enough of your stuff to conclude that if it was, you would never admit it until you were floating in the Atlantic. In fact, at this point, I am not so sure you wouldn’t catch a life boat back to shore and start selling tickets for the next voyage.

        Sorry, that is just how it is playing out here on my screen.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Still with the insults?

        I’ll let you have the last word.

      • Matt

         I’m not trying to insult you. I am sorry if I offended you in any way. I do get heated about this stuff. Oh and pound for pound I’ll match my tax returns with both of yours. I do a LOT of pro bono work. It isn’t about money for me. The real money is back in direct sales where I came from over 7 years ago prior to falling in love with this industry. I am leaving this bantor alone now. It isn’t accomplishing anything positive for the space. In the words of Fez: “I say Good Day!” Lol. Have a good weekend guys.

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Wait… Don’t you want to know who I am?  Ba ha ha ha ha

        Not sure if I was offended or flattered :-)

    • Mike Reilly

      Do any of you believe there are enough debt relief companies to handle the current demand for service?
      Do you also believe there are consumers out there both young and old that don’t know what options they truly have?

      • Angelo

        @10989f7460f2358f04630b2442c0892c:disqus If most consumers knew what options were available the attorney model would have failed already and if you include the attorney model, there are way too many providers :)

      • question

        How many large legal model backend companies that receive their business from front end sales offices are out there? The ones I know of off the top of my head are: LHDR- the 300 pound gorilla. I heard they have over 300 front end companies sending them business? Anyone know how many?Bay View LawWorld Law GroupConsumer Legal Services of America

      • Errick

        Until recently Care One sent all of their debt settlement accounts to a law firm and split the fees, I don’t know is 90,000 accounts big?  It sounds big.

      • question

        Errick- I thought Care One only sent “Red States” to the law firm and they serviced the green states in house. Also I thought that they also serviced the law firm clients for the law firm.

        What is Care One doing with their green and red state Debt Settlement clients now?

      • Errick

        I’m not sure, but somewhere on this site is a letter from Croxson to the CA legislature saying Care One is doing debt settlement directly in 19 states now.  I assume they are still servicing the other states.  Also on this site is a document that says the lawyers only get $11 per client.

      • Matt

         He will be at Evolution. You could meet him and ask those questions there…

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        @10989f7460f2358f04630b2442c0892c:disqus

        This is in response to a comment you made below about soon the industry will only have “good guys” and there will not be a need for someone like me to look out for consumers.

        Mike clearly we are going to have to agree to disagree on the point that you think the industry will soon be filled with just good guys only looking out for consumers.

        You fail to understand a key issue that it seems neither you nor Matt care to address.

        The issue is that you can’t serve two masters.  At the end of the day, you have a business to run, and when the interests of the business conflict with the interests of consumers, a choice must be made.

        You can deny it all you want, but the bottom line is that your advice, although potentially offered with the best of intentions will be bias toward how you are paid.

        Consumers will always need an experienced voice on the other side of the coin to keep that in check. 

        I don’t understand why that bothers you if as you say, you only put consumers first.  Then nothing I say should cause you to lose business, but only those companies who do not put consumers first, which is your competition.

        Unless of course, you are aware that you can’t serve two masters and those times when a decision must be made, you would prefer to not have me around to draw attention to it?

  • Robert Stevenson

    yea, i’ve kept a few debts at low interest in the instance we see it… But oddly, I believe we’ve seen it in areas very critical to us… Housing/Rent (not housing prices, but cost of living. CA reference), GAS, various foods, entertainment. Folks, let’s look at movie prices. 10 years ago they were $5. Gas? $1/Gallon… I must believe the rises in prices are due to weak dollar. Of course, gas will effect everything else.

    If you can, buy more gold more silver. Don’t worry about the corrections as of late. Look longer term 2-3 years and its going to be great.

  • Damon Day

    obviously that was a given
    assumption

  • Steve Rhode

    Matt,

    First off I wish you all the best with your upcoming Evolution conference in Las Vegas. In your recent press release on the conference you say “It may not be clear why the media is so blatantly biased against debt relief, but is clear that this industry is experiencing an evolution. Prior to the FTC’s changes to their TSR in October 2010, there were a reported 2,100 debt settlement companies. After the change that number dropped to around 850. As of April 1st, 2011, the numbers are now over 1,300 companies and growing. The numbers reflect resurgence and a new momentum within the industry despite the challenges. “Misconceptions abound when discussing the debt relief arena,” says Keehnen. “This event will help to peel back the layers of misconception to reveal the common goals of consumer protection and assistance and regulatory compliance.” – Source

    I get the fact your position is optimistic growth in the debt relief space and according to the press release, the number of debt relief providers has risen by about 52% between the end of 2010 and now (from 850 to 1300).

    I’m very interested in any data you can direct me to that is reported by an independent source that shows a significantly increasing level of consumer revolving debt, with increased evidence of defaults. Otherwise, where do all of the consumers come from that are flooding these 1,300 companies with a need for debt relief services due to delinquency demand?

    The debt settlement and credit counseling companies I talk to are all reporting a decline in enrollments from this time last year between 30-60%. The search volume appear to show less consumer interest in all debt relief areas. Defaults and charge offs are dropping (source), outstanding revolving debt (source) is declining or now possibly flat and all of that is according to the Federal Reserve data. Employment looks to have stabilized (source) and while not enough, hundreds of thousands of new jobs are being added each reporting period now.

    I think I’ve provided quite a number of well sourced facts and I’m interested in what “substantiated and fact based intel” you have that leads you to see the pool of consumers needing debt relief services isn’t smaller than before, that demand for debt relief services is rapidly increasing and intel that supports a need for a 52% increase in companies when the major players are all saying demand is down. Are these new companies processors or marketers?

    As far as your “sub-prime” friend getting a card the article did not say cards were not issued but I would be interested to know what the limit on the card is.

    According to the latest senior loan officer survey in April, 2011 the conclusion was “Only a modest net fraction of banks reported an increase in the number of credit card applications over the past three months. Moreover, just a small net percentage of banks reported an improvement in the credit quality of individuals or households submitting credit card applications during the same period.” – Source

    It wasn’t clear to me if you were calling me out and saying that my reporting of this data was blind, self-serving, hypocritical, gossip, and had no real moral or factual compass. Maybe you could clarify that for me please.

  • Sleepless in Seattle

    “In 2009 and 2010, defaults totaled a combined $74.5 billion at just the top six banks that issue credit cards — Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp., American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services, according to Moody’s. That doesn’t take into account smaller banks or retail cards. The default, or charge-off, rate peaked in the second quarter of 2010 at 10.9 percent.”

    74.5 bill. Um, how is that not a strong market? How many over nights went out of business. 74.5 bill divided by a hundred or so companies is a good thing.

    We tend to track consumer spend metrics as well. (For obvious reasons)

  • Sleepless in Seattle

    “In 2009 and 2010, defaults totaled a combined $74.5 billion at just the top six banks that issue credit cards — Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp., American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services, according to Moody’s. That doesn’t take into account smaller banks or retail cards. The default, or charge-off, rate peaked in the second quarter of 2010 at 10.9 percent.”

    74.5 bill. Um, how is that not a strong market? How many over nights went out of business. 74.5 bill divided by a hundred or so companies is a good thing.

    We tend to track consumer spend metrics as well. (For obvious reasons)

  • Merovingian TV

    only if wage increases followed inflation. Now that would be rational!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt

    Here is what I find VERY interesting: Journalists and media outlets alike are still not in touch with the street level realities of the economy, or even business as a whole, and can’t be trusted to provide accurate information. They need to be TRULY willing, on an unbiased, selfless level, to SEEK out that “absolute truth”. The thing about truth is that it will always be what it is. facts are facts. Absolutes are absolutes.That can be a hard concept for many as there are certainly perceptions and agendas at play that inhibit the truth from being promoted. Many of these “so-called-journalists” and media outlets blindly report what others are promoting with no real sense of whats really happening because of a lack of self researched/substantiated fact based intel. I have seen “sub-prime” friends being issued credit cards as late as last week. These “experts” are merely slanting the information to benefit themselves. Isn’t that what the media has now become? A self serving, hypocritical, gossip posse with no real moral or factual compass? They simply promote whatever agenda you want/need propogated to suit their goals/needs politically or financially and steer the “herd” whichever direction they want them herded. It’s like watching a movie. The plot and course are already decided. If people blindly follow along they will end up exactly where “they” want them. It’s silly. Think for yourself. Do your homework. Break records. Do the “impossible”. Love people, stand for truth and be strong and courageous. I for one am not a sheeple and won’t believe everything I read. I am desperate for REAL TRUTH. Here is a fantastic quote from one of my favorite authors:

    “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I surely don’t” – Abraham Lincoln

  • Matt

    Here is what I find VERY interesting: Journalists and media outlets alike are still not in touch with the street level realities of the economy, or even business as a whole, and can’t be trusted to provide accurate information. They need to be TRULY willing, on an unbiased, selfless level, to SEEK out that “absolute truth”. The thing about truth is that it will always be what it is. facts are facts. Absolutes are absolutes.That can be a hard concept for many as there are certainly perceptions and agendas at play that inhibit the truth from being promoted. Many of these “so-called-journalists” and media outlets blindly report what others are promoting with no real sense of whats really happening because of a lack of self researched/substantiated fact based intel. I have seen “sub-prime” friends being issued credit cards as late as last week. These “experts” are merely slanting the information to benefit themselves. Isn’t that what the media has now become? A self serving, hypocritical, gossip posse with no real moral or factual compass? They simply promote whatever agenda you want/need propogated to suit their goals/needs politically or financially and steer the “herd” whichever direction they want them herded. It’s like watching a movie. The plot and course are already decided. If people blindly follow along they will end up exactly where “they” want them. It’s silly. Think for yourself. Do your homework. Break records. Do the “impossible”. Love people, stand for truth and be strong and courageous. I for one am not a sheeple and won’t believe everything I read. I am desperate for REAL TRUTH. Here is a fantastic quote from one of my favorite authors:

    “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I surely don’t” – Abraham Lincoln

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Matt,

      First off I wish you all the best with your upcoming Evolution conference in Las Vegas. In your recent press release on the conference you say “It may not be clear why the media is so blatantly biased against debt relief, but is clear that this industry is experiencing an evolution. Prior to the FTC’s changes to their TSR in October 2010, there were a reported 2,100 debt settlement companies. After the change that number dropped to around 850. As of April 1st, 2011, the numbers are now over 1,300 companies and growing. The numbers reflect resurgence and a new momentum within the industry despite the challenges. “Misconceptions abound when discussing the debt relief arena,” says Keehnen. “This event will help to peel back the layers of misconception to reveal the common goals of consumer protection and assistance and regulatory compliance.” – Source

      I get the fact your position is optimistic growth in the debt relief space and according to the press release, the number of debt relief providers has risen by about 52% between the end of 2010 and now (from 850 to 1300).

      I’m very interested in any data you can direct me to that is reported by an independent source that shows a significantly increasing level of consumer revolving debt, with increased evidence of defaults. Otherwise, where do all of the consumers come from that are flooding these 1,300 companies with a need for debt relief services due to delinquency demand?

      The debt settlement and credit counseling companies I talk to are all reporting a decline in enrollments from this time last year between 30-60%. The search volume appear to show less consumer interest in all debt relief areas. Defaults and charge offs are dropping (source), outstanding revolving debt (source) is declining or now possibly flat and all of that is according to the Federal Reserve data. Employment looks to have stabilized (source) and while not enough, hundreds of thousands of new jobs are being added each reporting period now.

      I think I’ve provided quite a number of well sourced facts and I’m interested in what “substantiated and fact based intel” you have that leads you to see the pool of consumers needing debt relief services isn’t smaller than before, that demand for debt relief services is rapidly increasing and intel that supports a need for a 52% increase in companies when the major players are all saying demand is down. Are these new companies processors or marketers?

      As far as your “sub-prime” friend getting a card the article did not say cards were not issued but I would be interested to know what the limit on the card is.

      According to the latest senior loan officer survey in April, 2011 the conclusion was “Only a modest net fraction of banks reported an increase in the number of credit card applications over the past three months. Moreover, just a small net percentage of banks reported an improvement in the credit quality of individuals or households submitting credit card applications during the same period.” – Source

      It wasn’t clear to me if you were calling me out and saying that my reporting of this data was blind, self-serving, hypocritical, gossip, and had no real moral or factual compass. Maybe you could clarify that for me please.

      • Matt

        I wasn’t talking about you, Steve, but I will say that your site and the consumers that write you every day are a testament to the need for debt relief. I also am very much looking forward to the Evolution that is coming and I am certainly prepared to lead the way for those that TRULY CARE about the consumers that have been crippled by the greed in America. I would love to have a conversation with you about all this in a public forum. Thoughts?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I welcome a public discussion and invite you to submit a guest post.

        The link is on the right hand side of the site.

      • Matt

        I will put a guest post together, but certainly welcome the opportunity to share my insights with you verbally for the benefit of this industry… Surprisingly, I really don’t like the typing business… Can’t understand why my teenagers would rather type each other than make a call. It’s so much more efficient. They think, “Hey, I know, as if having a device that can allow us to speak directly to each other wherever we are, let’s type words on this tiny phone and I’ll tell you what I could’ve told you in 10 seconds over the next several minutes.” And they buy into this stuff… Weird. Let me know details on when and how we can have this public discussion..

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        The reason for the offer of the guest post is so we can have a public discussion in the comments in response to it.

  • Damon Day

    Not sure, but if there is massive inflation. What a great time to have debt huh? Borrow in yesterdays dollars and pay off with tomorrows inflated dollars. He who has more debt wins. My what crazy times we are living in.

  • http://northeast-properties.com Andy Faria

    Blind cheerleader? Does such a thing exist?

  • Andy Faria

    Blind cheerleader? Does such a thing exist?

  • Mike Reilly

    Just an FYI…Don’t believe everything you read or hear….BusinessWeek.com Chris is one of the editors for a real estate/mortgage blog for BusinessWeek
    Moody’s Predicts Housing Bottom
    Posted by: Chris Palmeri on January 26, 2009
    Moody’s Economy.com Chief Economist Mark Zandi is coming out with a new study on the housing market. He’ll discuss it in a conference call with clients on Feb. 5. Moody’s offered a sneak peak. Among the conclusions:
    · Home prices will stabilize by the second half of this year.· The national Case-Shiller home price index will decline by another 12% from the third quarter of last year for a total peak-to-trough decline of 30%.· By the end of this unprecedented downturn, house prices will have declined by double digits peak to trough in nearly 62% of the nation’s 381 metro areas. In about 10% of metro areas, price declines will exceed 30%.
    Don’t trust Mark Zandi or any “experts” from rating agencies such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor and others. These rating agencies have repeatedly failed to do their job. They failed to warn investors about the collapse of BearStearn, MerrilLynch, LehmanBros, Countrywide, AIG, Wachovia, WaMu, IndyMac, Fannie-Freddie, CitiBank, BoA, etc, etc, because they are either inept or drinking too many Kool-aides with clients. As a matter of record, just days before the collapse of BearStearn, Moody’s announced publicly that all is well at BearStearn. The writing is on the wall. Like NAR’s discredited and former chief economist, David Lereah, who pushed the virtue of real estate investment even as the bubble was collapsing, some of these so called “chief economists” at the rating agencies were encouraging equity positions in the financial companies even as the banking sector had imploded. They are no better than used car salesmen. It is these self-anointed “experts” of the economy and corporate managers whose greed and excesses are cause of America’s biggest economic disaster. Remember the WorldCom/Bernie Ebber, Enron/Ken Lay, Tyco/Koslowski, Adelphi/Rigas, Lincoln S&L/Keating, OmniMedia/Martha Stewart and today’s Madoff ponzi scam? These corporate scam artists have costed the taxpayers at least a trillion dollars–so far. The time has come for American investors to ignore these imposters.

  • Mike Reilly

    Just an FYI…Don’t believe everything you read or hear….BusinessWeek.com Chris is one of the editors for a real estate/mortgage blog for BusinessWeek
    Moody’s Predicts Housing Bottom
    Posted by: Chris Palmeri on January 26, 2009
    Moody’s Economy.com Chief Economist Mark Zandi is coming out with a new study on the housing market. He’ll discuss it in a conference call with clients on Feb. 5. Moody’s offered a sneak peak. Among the conclusions:
    · Home prices will stabilize by the second half of this year.· The national Case-Shiller home price index will decline by another 12% from the third quarter of last year for a total peak-to-trough decline of 30%.· By the end of this unprecedented downturn, house prices will have declined by double digits peak to trough in nearly 62% of the nation’s 381 metro areas. In about 10% of metro areas, price declines will exceed 30%.
    Don’t trust Mark Zandi or any “experts” from rating agencies such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor and others. These rating agencies have repeatedly failed to do their job. They failed to warn investors about the collapse of BearStearn, MerrilLynch, LehmanBros, Countrywide, AIG, Wachovia, WaMu, IndyMac, Fannie-Freddie, CitiBank, BoA, etc, etc, because they are either inept or drinking too many Kool-aides with clients. As a matter of record, just days before the collapse of BearStearn, Moody’s announced publicly that all is well at BearStearn. The writing is on the wall. Like NAR’s discredited and former chief economist, David Lereah, who pushed the virtue of real estate investment even as the bubble was collapsing, some of these so called “chief economists” at the rating agencies were encouraging equity positions in the financial companies even as the banking sector had imploded. They are no better than used car salesmen. It is these self-anointed “experts” of the economy and corporate managers whose greed and excesses are cause of America’s biggest economic disaster. Remember the WorldCom/Bernie Ebber, Enron/Ken Lay, Tyco/Koslowski, Adelphi/Rigas, Lincoln S&L/Keating, OmniMedia/Martha Stewart and today’s Madoff ponzi scam? These corporate scam artists have costed the taxpayers at least a trillion dollars–so far. The time has come for American investors to ignore these imposters.

  • Robert Stevenson

    no doubt we’ll see massive inflation… inflation we’ve never seen before in our lives.. but what does this mean in relation to this?

  • Steve Rhode

    Massive inflation.

  • Angelo

    can you say massive inflation ….

  • Angelo

    can you say massive inflation ….

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Massive inflation.

    • Robert Stevenson

      no doubt we’ll see massive inflation… inflation we’ve never seen before in our lives.. but what does this mean in relation to this?

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        Not sure, but if there is massive inflation. What a great time to have debt huh? Borrow in yesterdays dollars and pay off with tomorrows inflated dollars. He who has more debt wins. My what crazy times we are living in.

      • http://twitter.com/MerovingianTV Merovingian TV

        only if wage increases followed inflation. Now that would be rational!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • http://DamonDay.com Damon Day

        obviously that was a given
        assumption

      • Robert Stevenson

        yea, i’ve kept a few debts at low interest in the instance we see it… But oddly, I believe we’ve seen it in areas very critical to us… Housing/Rent (not housing prices, but cost of living. CA reference), GAS, various foods, entertainment. Folks, let’s look at movie prices. 10 years ago they were $5. Gas? $1/Gallon… I must believe the rises in prices are due to weak dollar. Of course, gas will effect everything else.

        If you can, buy more gold more silver. Don’t worry about the corrections as of late. Look longer term 2-3 years and its going to be great.

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