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Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

A tipster (send in your tips here) sent in a copy of a contract they purport to be from Thomassen Law Group for debt settlement services. Their concern was over the fees being charged.

Thomassen Law Group appears to be charging a fee that is not directly linked to the performance of debt settlement services. Most companies are not allowed to do this following the passage of the FTC Telemarketing Sales Rules for debt relief companies. I’m not sure how Thomassen Law Group is justifying this but possibly they are claiming that since they are a “law firm” they would then be exempt from the rules.

They do claim the fee charged, which is 5% of the debt enrolled, is a retainer.

Just yesterday I covered a settlement between the State of North Carolina and the Consumer Law Group where the State did not feel arms length relationships between a local lawyer and the purported debt settlement law firm met their standards. While not admitting any guilt, in the case, Consumer Law Group paid $600,000 to the State of North Carolina to settle charges. I do see that Thomassen Law Group lists they provide services in North Carolina as well. – Source

One claim of the tipster (send in your tips here) was that an attorney in California, Emilio Francisco, was actually behind Thomassen Law Group. It was an allegation I was not going to mention until I noticed that the link that takes you to the page on the Thomassen Law Group site (http://vcwsolutions.com/thomassenbck/lawyers-list.php) was actually for a domain vcwsolutions.com. – Source

According to public domain records vcwsolutions.com is owned by none other than:

Emilio Francisco
17532 Von Karman
Irvine, CA 92614

Francisco has an F rating with the BBB and is listed under “Debt Relief Services – non-compliant with FTC Rule.” – Source

Francisco also has a pending action against him by the California State Bar. The action states:

Respondent’s firm provided debt negotiation/reduction services. In general terms, the written retainer agreement with respondent’s clients was that the clients agreed to pay 10% of the total debt to be negotiated, plus earned fees of 15% of the amount by which the debt was reduced at the time of settlement. A projected monthly payment schedule was provided, the firm’s 10% fee was to be paid to the firm from those payments prior to any portion of the clients’ payments being used to negotiate and resolve the debts. The contingency portion of the fee was to be paid to the firm after a particular debt was negotiated. Further, if it became necessary to respond to a lawsuit in another state, the firm charged an additional $350 for the work of the outof-state attorney. The client was free, however, to hire any attorney the client chose in the other state.

It was found that “By failing to adequately supervise his employee debt analyst, by not arranging for Jewell to speak with an attorney prior to retaining the firm, and by failing to provide Jewell with legal advice regarding his specific situation and regarding the potential advantages of filing for bankruptcy as opposed to engaging in debt reduction, Respondent repeatedly failed to perform legal services with competence in willful violation of Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 3-110(A).”

In additional consumer complaints included it states, “By failing to promptly refund the $6,794.83 advanced fee to the Murrays that had not been eamed, Respondent failed to refund promptly any part of a fee paid in advance that had not been earned in willful violation of Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 3-700(D)(2).” – Source

There may be more to this relationship. One poster on DebtConsolidationCare.com stated:

You are absolutely right. Thomassen Law Group (A+ BBB rating) takes the initial info, then turns your file over to Emilio Francisco’s group of Debt Reduction Law Ctr. (F Rating with BBB). I found out by accident when I asked for an email address and they gave me one for the Debt Reduction group.. They never returned phone calls, never spoke to my creditors on my behalf. – Source

But I Digress

I have no knowledge about the relationship, if any, between the two firms. I just found it very interesting that the background domain names that power the Thomassen Law Group site are owned by Emilio Francisco with his recent background.

Thomassen Law Group has an A+ rating with the BBB. – Source

I did write about Thomassen Law Group before, click here.

Back to the client agreement sent in by the tipster (send in your tips here).

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement
Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement
Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement
Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

I found it interesting that the agreement appears to state the legal representation to “make an answer and appearance on behalf of the Client” is included at what appears to be no additional charge.

There appears to be an advanced fee required for these debt settlement services since “The initial portion of retainer fee (First month’s payment) must be paid to activate this agreement.”

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement
Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

The non-refundable fee is 5% of the debt enrolled. This is called a retainer fee and the payment of the fee “does not depend on the amount of work performed or the results obtained.” Additionally the “retainer fee shall be paid by Client in advance of performing the services and will be satisfied in the first months of the Client’s program.”

This seems to clearly state that before any debt settlement services are performed the client must pay 5% of their debt in a non-refunable fee.

The agreement also says the consumer will have to pay 20% “of the amount by which the debt is reduced at the time of settlement.” What it does not say is that the reduction is not calculated on the initial balance enrolled but could be calculated from the inflated balance created by additional creditor fees and penalties.

In an example where a consumer owes $50,000 and the average settlement is 40% of the debt I would estimate the fees in this case would be:

Retainer: $2,500
Settlement Fees Assuming Inflated Balance of 15% = $57,500: $6,900
Approximate Total Fees: $8,500

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

The client is asked to understand that no guarantee of of the outcome of the negotiations can be give. The fact the retainer is non-refundable is explained again but this time we learn that the client settlement account won’t even be established until the non-refundable retainer fee is paid.

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement
Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement
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Update: 1-28-2012

I have received the additional Thomassen client agreement.

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt SettlementThomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

Thomassen Law Group Appears to Charge Advanced Fees for Debt Settlement

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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.
  • 1911man

    Kevin,

    Nothing appears to be registered with CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen for the purpose of do business in California under the names of Law Office of Marilyn Thomassen, Thomassen Law Group, Thomassen & Associates, etc., etc., etc.  What is the corporate ID number of the company you represent as “Thomassen Law Group”?What is the true legal name of your company and with what state and Secretary of State is that name registered?  Could you explain the telemarketing and, I am speaking of the numerous unsolicited prerecorded call other people and I have gotten, that lead directly back to “Thomassen Law Group”?Also, with respect to the unsolicited prerecorded calls that appear to violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, could you explain to us how the “Thomassen Law Group” dodges the California Bar Rules of Professional Conduct at Rule 1-400 (A) and (B) and (C), Advertising and Solicitation, which prohibit solicitation by or on behalf of a member or law firm to a prospective client…etc.?  

  • Only The Truth!

    To all readers…Thomassen Law Group does not charge ANY UPFRONT FEES of any kind…They have an A+ rating with the BBB…Steve feeds off of creating fear for people who are in desperate need of financial help…He is a fraudulant journalist who has been through personal bankruptcy & ran & owned a debt settlement company that was loaded with heavy fees years ago which he openly admits in other posts on this site…Is this the person that you want to put your trust in when it comes to making a decision about what to do with your financial crisis?..Everything on this site is here for one purpose, for Steve to make money off it…If debt settlement is an option that you are considering, go with a company who charges not a dime until the debt is reduced & has an impecable reputation…Steve or his cronies are none of the above…Do your research on Steve & you will find that I have provided you with only the truth, unlike Steve…Debt is a nasty trap that many of us have been caught up in, but there is honest help out there…Do your due dilegence & please disregard Steve…It’s obvious that he is biased & only out to profit from other peoples misfortunes.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I’m happy to address anything in the article that you feel is incorrect, but you have not pointed anything specifically out. What in the article is incorrect?

      • Only The Truth!

        How about acknowledging that Thomassen Law Group does not charge upfront fees?..Why would you post something from a “tipster” without contacting Thomassen to confirm?..Thomassen had to reach out to you, Kevin asked you to call him & gave you his direct line…Why did you not call him?..Why is the agreement from the “tipster” clearly readable with BOLD RED ARROWS everywhere & the “CORRECT” agreement that was sent to you is unreadable unless you click on each individual page?..Wouldn’t you agree that if a potential client were to read this post the most prevelant thing that they will see is the out dated pre FTC TSR ruling agreement with red arrows everywhere?..Wouldn’t you agree that that is very misleading to your readers who are currently considering using Thomassen’s services?..Wouldn’t you want to post the correct agreement in the same manner that you did the incorrect agreement?..Is your purpose to report the truth or spread fear?..If you want to report the truth then report that Thomassen Law Group does not charge a penny until the debt is successfully reduced?..If you are not willing to do the research before making these false claims you are an irresponsible journalist…I can be a tipster & send you anything you want, does that mean that you will report on it without contacting the firm that you are making these claims about?..That makes zero sense Steve…What does make sense is that you do these things to drive traffic to your site so you can profit from it…Am I off base for being upset about the way you report debt companies without doing proper research?..Thomassen has repeatedly reached out to you to advertise on your site as well as request that you report their services accurately, but you continue to leave these very misleading posts on your site & have never contacted Thomassen directly…Why, what is your purpose Steve?..Thomassen is a very reputable law firm & it is very easy for an expert like you to verify this so why haven’t you done something to rectify this, but you choose to leave false claims from a so called “tipster” on your site?..Potential clients go to your site & trust what they read which is very sad because clearly you were incorrect in your article about Thomassen & have made no attempt to report the truth!..My request to you is that you clarify what services that Thomassen is offering to their clients…If you are not willing to properly research this issue, remove your misleading posts…You can’t have it both ways…Your readers are interested in truthful advice, that is what you promote yourself as, isn’t it?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Regarding the images: I pulled out the 9 pages and highlighted the issues I described in the article. For the contract Thomassen sent later I published the entire 15 page document. I elected to show it as a gallery to show all the pages rather than just pull some out.

        Regarding Misleading: I keep asking you what part of the article was not factual at the time the article was written. Was that not the agreement used by Thomassen that was sent to consumers?

        Updates: I’ve not limited your ability to express your opinion and share information so everyone can understand your point of view and any information you want to update as a representative of Thomassen Law Group.

        Unfortunately future readers may be turned off by your rants and accusations and come away with the conclusion that if Thomassen Law Group condones your behavior and approach, what kind of services are they going to get? I think you are scaring people away with your actions.

        Research: Back to the old point again. You appear to claim the agreement sent in by the consumer was not a factual agreement but never say that. The consumer has proof they received that agreement I reviewed in December, 2011. So is your claim that it is a fake? If so, please give me your full name and position at Thomassen Law Group and I’ll add that statement to the story as an update.

        You just appear upset that I wrote about a contract a reader sent in and that I reviewed. In fact the point that it was not an actual agreement has never been made. Kevin did say that it was now outdated and I did publish the new agreement, as you noted.

      • Only the Truth

        I am a debt survivor who successfully graduated from a debt relief program with Thomassen Law Group…I am not a representative from Thomassen….You make statements that would lead readers to believe that I am some how affiliated with Thomassen…Wouldn’t you agree that you are attempting to fraudulantly associate Thomassen by falsely elluding that I am a Thomassen rep?..You said “that readers will conclude that Thomassen condones my behavior & approach????????”..Since I am in no way affiliated with Thomassen why do you make these false statements?..My point is well proven that you easily jump to conclusions, correction ASSUMPTIONS & make false accusations without obtaining true facts…Your readers need to be informed of the type of journalism that you practice…You have repeatedly proven that reporting the truth is way down your list of priorities just by the accusations that you made about me in this thread not to mention your many years of false journalism…It would take years to point out all of your false reports, statements, articles ect…I am very interested in educating your readers about your past since you have so much influence on the web…I am only interested in the truth Steve nothing more…You have such a vendetta against the debt industry because you make so much money feeding off of your readers fears that you assume that anybody who speaks the truth about your past must somehow be affiliated with the debt industry…Just read this thread & your assumptions about me…All of your articles are based on assumptions becasue you NEVER really investigate anything…If you hear something that you feel will generate traffic to your site you write about it without obtaining facts…You do use documents & make references to actual facts the way con artists do to gain credability…Your past speaks for itself Steve…Tell your readers the truth about your past…I am also sure that your readers would be interested in how much money you make off of this site each year…Your journalism motivations are based on filling your bank accounts, not reporting the truth…I know who you really are & your readers that take your advice should know exactly who is advising them.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        So let’s be truthful.

        I answered two of your questions and asked you one, which you blew off. Do you need for me to repost it? Do you not know your name and identity?

        I think you claim that I associated you with Thomassen are way off base. Let’s look at my entire statement, “Unfortunately future readers may be turned off by your rants and accusations and come away with the conclusion that if Thomassen Law Group condones your behavior and approach, what kind of services are they going to get? I think you are scaring people away with your actions.”

        That’s a far cry from saying you are associated with Thomassen or a Thomassen representative. All that says is you are probably chasing more business away from them with your actions and comments. A company can publicly not condone the behavior of someone who is not an employee. And I will state for the record that you are hopefully for their sake and probably not an employee for Thomassen.

        I’m happy to answer more of your crazy allegations but you need to answer my question back to you first.

        And let me state for the record, unless you take your wild accusations, lies and unfounded claims down a notch and have a civil discussion, I reserve the right to block you from the comments. I’ve been very tolerant of your behavior but you need to bring it back to normal now so we can have a reasonable discussion.

        One issue at a time.

      • Cry Me a River

        So let me see if I understand your rant?

         You rip people off for years until you and your scammer friends are
        finally caught, outed, shamed, and ultimately outlawed. You decide to
        wake up one day and in order to survive, claim that you no longer are
        going to do these things.

         You want everyone to forget that you have no problem ripping people off,
        but now that it is outlawed, you demand that everyone be given the
        impression that you are a saint and damn Steve “the liar” journalist for
        exposing your past (used very loosely) transgressions.

         I am not sure what world you live in, but here on earth, what you have
        done to people should never be forgotten and new consumers should be
        aware of how you took money from consumers upfront with little service delivered.
        Fool me once…

         Luckily for the world, someone like Steve is out there so that corrupt
        programs can’t simply waive their wand, change their agreement and start
        to pretend they were just looking out for the little guy all along.

         Shame on you. It’s your past, own it.

      • Only the Truth

        Your response is the very reason that I get so upset with this site…I am a debt survivor who used Thomassen’s program…Where do you get off throwing around outrageous claims that I “Rip people off?”.You have no clue who I am so your entire post is fraudulant just like the majority of what Steve posts & allows other people to post…Do you know Steve’s background since you put him on such a high pedastal?..He filed BK, was investigated for fraud, he admittedly owned a debt settlement company that charged upfront fees…Now who has ripped people off for years & continues to profitt from people in debt?..I certainly have never profitted from any type of debt service, but I did receive relief in a debt program…”Luckily for the world someone like Steve is out there?!!”Really?!!Bankruptcy, fraud, California state investigation is Steve’s background & you say your glad Steve is out there to prevent corruption?..For those of us who know the truth, SHAME ON YOU!!!What do you have to say about all of Steve’s clients from years ago that got raped with fees?..You forget Steve’s past, but point fingers @ someone who has never been in the debt industry?..Again, you, Steve & Steve’s other cronies who post on here proves my point to the tee!..You guys bash A+ BBB rated law firms that have an impecable 20 year record without any evidence, but yet you stick to your high horse on Steve’s past!..What a joke…readers, please beware of this site…everything on this site is intended to do 1 thing, generate money for Steve & his cronies by spreading lies & half truths…I should be ashmaed of myself for telling the truth?..I think not, ask Steve himself about all of his past transgressions before you go throwing stones!

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        What in the world are you alluding to? I have no idea what you are talking about. What fraud?

        And I did found and manage a non-profit credit counseling group, but I did not own a debt settlement company.

        Can you please be specific and I’d be happy to answer your allegations. In fact to save time you can refer to the FAQ of untrue stuff. http://getoutofdebt.org/the-getoutofdebt-org-and-steve-rhode-faq/

        You also make the allegation that the majority of stuff posted on this site is fraudulent but I welcome the opportunity to talk specifics. Please point out what specifically you feel is fraudulent and let’s discuss it, one point at a time.

      • Only The Truth

        Ok, let’s be specific one question at a time since you selectively choose what to respond to…Question number one, did you file bankruptcy?..Question number two, were you ever under investigation from the state of California regarding your business dealings?..Since I know the answer to question number two, please elaborate on what you were investigated for…After you answer these questions I will specifically ask questions one at a time so you can answer them accurately…Because you have such a huge web presence it is imperative that readers know exactly who is giving them advice on their financial situations.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        You do realize that’s two questions. So much for one at a time.

        I did file bankruptcy and all that information and the video of our experience is right on the about page. http://getoutofdebt.org/about-steve-rhode/

        Regarding California. There was no investigation. As I say on the site FAQ page that I provided you the link to before, “In 2002 the State of California sent the nonprofit group I founded a cease & desist letter over an issue that involved clarification we had been trying to get for a couple of years. You can read the full story, here. There was no accusation of fraud or scam.” See http://getoutofdebt.org/16877

        So since we are playing this game. Let me ask you one question. What is your real name? You know mine.

      • Only the Truth

        You are one of the pettiest journalist I have ever seen…I did ask two questions, but I asked them one at a time…You really are that petty & immature aren’t you?..Why did you leave the state of California?..Please elaborate more on what happened with the state of California because there is so much more to what transpired isn’t there Steve?..Why exactly was your Non-profitt company issued a cease & desist letter Steve?..What triggered that aggressive of a response from the state of California?..Most people would agree that for that type of action to be taken against a DEBT RELIEF company that you found is very alarming since you are “THE GET OUT OF DEBT GUY”..Wouldn’t you agree?..My name is Bert Miller

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Well hello Bert.

        Sorry if ask one question at a time was not clear but it means just what it says, ask one question at a time. Of course you have to ask them individually, you are writing them. One question per comment. Is that clear enough?

        I posted the link for the long explanation of the California issue for you to read. Follow the link.

        Now my turn. What dates were you in the Thomassen program?

      • Only the Truth

        I am not interested in your pettiness…You act like a five year old child with your responses…No one reading this except you are interested in petty remarks about what one question at a time means…Who cares Steve, I certainly don’t…Why are you so hung up on childish remarks?..Seriously who really cares???I think your readers are more interested in hearin more about your past…I certainly am…You filed bankruptcy, your non-profitt debt relief company was shut down by the state of California…Where there is smoke, there is fire…You have a questionalble past that readers need to know about…I don’t give advice & make money doing it…I am just a retired private investigator that knows what you are truly about Steve…Are you going to attack verbally me again Steve?..Anyone can tell by your defensiveness that you graze the truth about your past, but if you truly elaborated on all of your past not the sugar coated version on your links people would know the truth wouldn’t they Steve?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Bert,

        I was not trying to be petty, just make sure our conversation was clear so their could be no confusion. That’s why I ask that we address one question at a time. I wanted to avoid the “you didn’t answer my question” response from you that you gave me before.

        Let me clearly state, I did file bankruptcy in 1990, I answered your question about that directly and I provided you with the link to my video about my bankruptcy.

        In 2002, the non-profit group I ran did get a letter from California. Again the link to that issue and long explanation is at http://getoutofdebt.org/16877

        I asked you politely to be civil and it appears you can’t do that. You just keep rehashing the same questions I’ve already answered but failed to answer mine.

        I find it hard to believe I’m being defensive when I’m answering your questions and providing you links to detailed information about the issue.

        Out.

      • Only the Truth

        News flash Steve, for California to issue a cease & desist letter they had to conduct some form of fact finding investigation correct?..The results of that fact finding investigation resulted in you recieving the cease & desist letter correct?..At that time your company charged people for debt relief correct?..You abruptly left the state of California at that time correct?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        See previous link I posted explaining the situation. All the details are there.

        Now my turn.

        How did Thomassen eliminate your debt?

    • Trustworthy

      You probably work for Thomassen, Steve doesn’t make anything off of me, Thomassen did.  I still have trouble with their customer service, returning phone calls, emails and they are always about to do something when I do reach them.  My contract and fee statements reflect what others have stated on this forum.

      • Only The Truth!

        Thank you for your response…Steve makes money off of this site…He will admit it himself…If you truly are a client & not a competitor making false claims like many people do on this site call Kevin @ (866) 450-1440 ext. 306 & all of your concerns will be addressed…You posted that Thomassen settled 2 accounts in 13 months…That in & of itself is proof that you are getting your debts settled…Can you share with us how much Thomassen reduced your debts for?..You say that you are in waste deep, but yet you have attorney representation & your debts are getting paid off…Isn’t that why you enrolled into the program?..The program works, anyone can write anything on this site pertaining to fees ect…Again the correct agreement is posted below the innacurate agreement that Steve posted 1st & if you look @ each page you will see that Thomassen does not charge any upfront fees…I wish you continued success on your path to being debt free.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I think what the commenter was saying was that the site nor myself charge any fees. The full site terms are at http://getoutofdebt.org/terms/

      • Anon

        Trustworthy…did you sign up with them after Oct 2010? If so and they charged u advance fees you should send your contract to Steve.

  • Only the Truth!

    Steve,

    Why do you repeatedly feed off of & make money off of spreading fear?..If you truly did any research on Thomassen Law Group you would have found that they do not charge any upfront fees whatsoever…Tipster?..Give me a break!..If you are not promoting companies who fill your coffers you blast other legitmate FTC compliant companies without remorse!..You should be ashamed of yourself!..Your false claims costs hard working people business because you manipulate search engines to get to the top of any debt search & then you provide all of these people with lies & false information…What you can do is make this right by truly doing the research on Thomassen’s program that is 100% contigency based!..They don’t even charge a monthly service charge for banking or anything else!..Show me that you are an honest journalist!..Based on the things I have read on your site you put just enough truth in your articles & posts to make peole believe you are the debt expert, but then you blatantly lie about companies who are doing the right thing so your readers will go to your cronies who offer programs charging more money, charging monthly maintenace fees ect…Correct the falsehoods that you have blasted about Thomassen Law Group & prove to us that you are only interested in the truth & not fear mongering!..Or maybe you can’t make your millions telling the truth, but you can spreading lies…Which is it Steve?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Sorry I missed this past comment.

      I reported that the agreement submitted by the consumer. The company may now be not charging an advanced fee but are you saying the agreement provided by the consumer was not used with consumers?

      It appears that at the time the consumer was given the agreement the agreement was being used. Do you dispute that fact?

      The company may be no longer charging fees in advance but this article was not written today, it was written at the start of 2012. The consumer states the contract was received in December, 2011.

      It is seemingly hard to say the article is lies and half-truths when it is based on a client agreement that the company has never claimed isn’t real or used and that the consumer has confirmed on several occasions was received in December, 2012.

      If you will notice, all of my facts and allegations in my articles are supported with documentation. Yet you rant and rave with all sorts of false allegations about me and support none of them with facts.

      I’ll let that record speak for itself when others read your comments.

  • http://twitter.com/ThankYouJesus Jesus F Christ

    So does debt settlement work or not? I have friends a few months in complaining nothing is happening and another friend said he’s almost done and 4 of 6 debts are settled for under 35%. One of which was settled for under 17%.

    I tried to negotiate an small HSBC debt of $540 to get out of Chex Systems and couldn’t get them under $400 and they wouldn’t verify where the $540 even came from.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Dear Jesus,

      Can you please be more vague? Need specifics about each situation to comment.

      Seems there is little motivation or policy to support a steep settlement in Chex Systems. That’s a different issue all together.

      • http://twitter.com/ThankYouJesus Jesus F Christ

        Sorry, don’t have specifics on their situation.  Just general things I’ve heard from friends about their financial woes. 

        I had to close a business when Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers fell apart as no one was shopping.  I had about $40,000 in different credit cards and loans and they were all basically called. 

        American Express capped my $24k limit to about $200 of my balance of $16k knowing I was spending about $400 monthly, I’m assuming in an effort to force me to go over my limit.  I was stupid enough to pay about $5k of the $16k and then was capped again somewhere at $11k.  Discover closed my account altogether with a $14k balance.

        I figured my credit was taking a major hit anyway and just decided to stop paying everyone.

        Now I’m wondering what my option are to get my life together.

        Do I want to mess with bankruptcy and have it on my record for another 7 years. 

        Isn’t there a statute of limitations for collections.  Some like Bank of America and Capital One didn’t sue at all for the small balances.  Do those just go away after the statue of limitations?

        Do I hire a debt settlement company? Even with fees it beats having to deal with calls and negotiating.  I’ve heard good and bad things although the bad things seem to be the people that were scammed entirely and I suspect may even be bank propaganda to keep people in debt for as long as they can.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I know you say you don’t want to mess around with bankruptcy because it will be listed for 7 years but you do realize your defaulted debt will be listed for 7 years as well?

        Let’s start with the basics.

        I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.

        Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

        After that, come back here and comment about what seems to make the most sense and let’s discuss that.

        Does that sound like a reasonable approach?

        Steve

      • http://twitter.com/ThankYouJesus Jesus F Christ

         Thanks.  Will do.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        You’re welcome Jesus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/supriya.singh.779 Supriya Singh

    After reading this whole web page
    I got some interesting information about Thomassen Law Group which is a high
    reputed debt settlement company. But there are various debtors who have no
    capability to pay advance fee before using services. [removed]

     

     

     

    • Shameless_plug

      Nice plug Supriya.  Whats worse is that every link on the site is broken. 

  • Guest

    It appears the savings fee in the new agreement still doesn’t comport w/ the FTC rule.  If I’m reading it correctly, the savings percentage is based on the debt’s balance at time of settlement whereas the FTC Rule mandates it must be based on debt at time of enrollment.  So, this is really like a 40% contingency fee.

    • Trutalent02

      Actually the agreement states Section III Setup and Fees, Paragraph B, that the projected settlement is based on the Total Enrolled Debt Amount… Please review your statement…

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    I received a new agreement from Thomassen Law Group and have updated the post with it.

    • Trustworthy

      I have been under contract with them since Jan 2011, out of 4 accounts, it took 13 months to settle two – just did them this month!  They do not return calls, answer phones and with much tenacity I finally got someone to answer an email.  The website where I get my statements is listed Thomassen Law Group but the person pulling my payments from my bank is Francisco Thomas.  They charged an upfront retainer fee which they pulled out of the account as soon as there was enough money in the account.  It looks to be about 8% of original amounts, after the settlement they charged  a settlement fee that looks about to be 35% of the settled amount.  Overall the actual fee per account looks like 19.8% of original balance.  If I wasn’t already waist deep – I’d cut my losses and run!

    • john

      Steve,
      Are they a good company to deal with or not? I am very confused, I have been looking into companys to help for probably 3 weeks and still am scared to death! I am current on payments, but owe around 40,000! I have learned a hard lesson in debt and need help out. Thanks

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Help with what specifically? What is your situation?

      • john

        Steve,
        My problem is I am loosing ground on keeping up on my payments. I am currently paying around 1,200 a month on cards and see no light at the end of the tunnel. The only light im seeing is an oncoming train! It seems impossable to pay any down due to the fact I have no extra money to pay towards them. Thats when I decided to look into such companys that “say” they can help. It seems like once you contact one you have a hundred other companys calling you? That also scares me. I feel that if its a good company,they dont need to call people, as the people will call them.Thank you very much for showing interest on my situation. Im sorry for the late response. Look forward to hearing from you

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Let’s start with the basics.

        I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.

        Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

        After that, come back here and comment about what seems to make the most sense and let’s discuss that.

        Does that sound like a reasonable approach?

        Steve

      • john

        Steve,
        Thank you for the information. I will look at it,and if I have any more questions i will look you up again. I cant thank you enough. Thanks again! Best wishes to you and your family.

    • Hickscoachbob

      Steve, I started debt settlement with Thomassen Law Group I made one payment of 427.00 on my debt. I’m having second thoughts. I feel I can do better negotiating with credit companies myself.I want out. Please advise.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Give them a call and discuss it with them first.

  • ken

    i paid 2896.50 also asked if this was allowed under new debt settlement law and was told law firms are allowed to charge the fee which was 10% of projected settlements. My forms are the same from 4/2011  also 20% of settlement due when they get a settlement. I read the other day that outside lawyers were not allowed to do debt settlement in oh do you know anything about that?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      If you want to check particular state laws you can sign up for free to use the compliance module here.

    • Jason

      Ken, you can upload ur contract on this site where it says “submit a tip” as it might be useful. Some might suggest u could be entitled to a refund of fees paid in advance.

  • Kevin Jackson

    Steve,

    You are using an outdated copy of the Thomassen agreement. Per the FTC Final rule Thomassen currently and since their ruling have not charged any upfront or monthly fees. As for the tie to Emilio Francisco that is old and played out. The Thomassen Law Group acquired the client base for the former Emilio Fransisco’s debt practice which are currently being serviced by Thomassen Law Group. Mr. Francisco’s name is still there to avoid any potential panic from his old clients with the Thomassen take over. Instead of putting up unconfirmed information on Thomassen Law Group, why don’t you simply call us at (866) 450-1440 ext. 306 and I will be happy to answer all of your questions and even forward you some current forms so you can speak with truthful authority.

  • Kevin Jackson

    Steve,

    You are using an outdated copy of the Thomassen agreement. Per the FTC Final rule Thomassen currently and since their ruling have not charged any upfront or monthly fees. As for the tie to Emilio Francisco that is old and played out. The Thomassen Law Group acquired the client base for the former Emilio Fransisco’s debt practice which are currently being serviced by Thomassen Law Group. Mr. Francisco’s name is still there to avoid any potential panic from his old clients with the Thomassen take over. Instead of putting up unconfirmed information on Thomassen Law Group, why don’t you simply call us at (866) 450-1440 ext. 306 and I will be happy to answer all of your questions and even forward you some current forms so you can speak with truthful authority.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Please forward a copy of your current client agreement and I’ll update the post. You can use the contact information here.

      The argument that Francisco is still the registered owner of the domain to avoid client panic is a bit far fetched. How many potential clients check the WHOIS database? Please update the ownership on the domain name I referenced and post a comment here. I’ll verify it has been updated and report on that.

      • Kevin Jackson

        That is not what I was saying. When a client calls in to customer service that was originally an E.Fransisco client Thomassen Client services will answer as E.Francisco to avoid confusion and panic by the clients Thomassen are now servicing. I never mentioned VCSolutions. I will forward you updated forms

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I was not aware how you answered the phone. Thanks for sharing. In the story the connection I made was through the domain name ownership for vcsolutions.com.

        Steve

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Please forward a copy of your current client agreement and I’ll update the post. You can use the contact information here.

      The argument that Francisco is still the registered owner of the domain to avoid client panic is a bit far fetched. How many potential clients check the WHOIS database? Please update the ownership on the domain name I referenced and post a comment here. I’ll verify it has been updated and report on that.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Kevin,

      I just heard from the tipster. The contract posted was sent to the consumer in December of 2011.

      • Kevin

        That makes no sense since we have no upfront fees. I just sent you the agreement we use

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Have not received the new forms yet.

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