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Florida Legal Advocates Sends Deceptive Fax Offering Debt Relief

February 18, 2013 – We received a statement from a Heidy Barrios who states their company, Florida Legal Advocates, LLC is NOT the company that sent the fax.

A great reader sent in a copy of a fax that was received from Florida Legal Advocates which claims to be located in Florida at a Jacksonville office.

The offer appears to be some sort of debt settlement marketing piece. They claim to be able to lower the consumers debt from nearly $38,000 to $12,000. There is no indication if this includes fees.

What is interesting is the letter says the information was garnered from the credit bureaus. This seems to be problematic considering the issues raised in the recent settlements with Equifax for allowing access to credit report information that resulted in leads to debt relief companies.

The only active company in Florida right now under the name Florida Legal Advocates that is registered with the state is an LLC that was formed on July 26, 2012. The LLC appears to be a carry on group from Florida Legal Advocates, Inc.

A search of State of Florida records to see if the company had a telemarketing license, if that was the license they allude to in their marketing piece, could not be found.

Florida Legal Advocates Sends Deceptive Fax Offering Debt Relief

State records say the company, Florida Legal Advocates, is actually located at 13701 N. Kendall Drive, Suite 202, Miami, Florida 33186. The manager of the LLC is Robert S. Diaz. – Source. The telephone number they give is 866-900-1764.

Florida Legal Advocates Sends Deceptive Fax Offering Debt Relief

Heidy Barrios, the registered agent of Florida Legal Advocates, LLC was the CEO of Florida Legal Advocates, Inc. and Roberto Quevedo was the CFO – Source

Florida Legal Advocates, on Facebook, describes themselves as a paralegal service.

Florida Legal Advocates Sends Deceptive Fax Offering Debt Relief

As you can see the fax promises a number of unsupported benefits.

  • Reduce payments up to 60%.
  • A 68% total debt reduction or more.
  • Eliminate all debt in 24 months or less.
  • Stop collection calls.
  • Restore your credit.

I would be very interesting in seeing the companies supporting data to verify these benefits are the average obtained by all consumers, in accordance with Telemarketing Sales Rule marketing guidelines.

Of some concern is the fact the company appears to be a legal organization but there is no information available that this is actually from a lawyer. If it was you would also expect to see the Florida Bar marketing disclaimer on the fax.

A search of the Florida Bar could not locate an attorney licensed to practice law under the name of the LLC owner, Robert S. Diaz.

According to online records, the address used by Florida Legal Advocates, LLC is/was also used by a credit repair group, Resolutions Made Easy. – Source, Source

Overall I would have to say the mailer is deceptive and consumers should exercise extreme caution before falling for any unsupported claims as those made in the marketing piece.

I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following two guides.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. 10 Must Do Steps to Find the Best Credit Counseling or Debt Settlement Company for You

Update February 18, 2013

The site received the following statement from Heidy Barrios for publication.

Your website is erroneously listing my company, Florida Legal Advocates, in being involved in deceptive business practices.

The company you have listed on your site is the old Florida Legal Advocates which is located in Jacksonville, Florida and has not been registered under the Division of Corporations for the state of Florida.

My company DOES NOT mail any letters to consumers, nor are involved in any debt relief program.

I DEMAND for this information to be removed from your site immediately for its tarnishing my company’s reputation.

I also demand for my name, corporate information, and pictures of my office to be removed from your site.

I have contacted an attorney and will pursue a lawsuit which will involve compensation for damages should you not remove this damaging and erroneous information.

Your website is erroneously listing my company, Florida Legal Advocates, in being involved in deceptive business practices. The company you ha ve listed on your site is the old Florida Legal Advocates which is located in Jacksonville, Florida and has not been registered under the Division of Corporations for the state of Florida.

My company DOES NOT mail any letters to consumers, nor are involved in any debt relief program. I DEMAND for this information to be removed from your site immediately for its tarnishing my company’s reputation. I also demand for my name, corporate information, and pictures of my office to be removed from your site.

I have contacted an attorney and will pursue a lawsuit which will involve compensation for damages should you not remove this damaging and erroneous information. My company’s reputation is being compromised as a result of YOUR ERROR! Remove this information immediately.

Response:

The story did not say that the company owned by Heidy Barrios was the company that sent the fax but that a company named Florida Legal Advocates, LLC was the only company currently registered to do business in the State of Florida.

The information the company was the only registered company was found appears to be factual and not disputed.

As the story said, “The only active company in Florida right now under the name Florida Legal Advocates that is registered with the state is an LLC that was formed on July 26, 2012. The LLC appears to be a carryon group from Florida Legal Advocates, Inc.”

Florida Legal Advocates Sends Deceptive Fax Offering Debt Relief
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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.
  • jt

    I just got the CT version today.

  • http://twitter.com/KathysTweetness Kat

    Same exact letter here in Indiana, but the top only says Legal Advocates, bottom gives an 866 phone number and says South Bend Indiana. “this letter is to advise you that arrangements may be made with your creditors…”

  • Dave

    I I got one today and I live in Orlando, Florida. The telephone number on it 1-866-630-5399 and the same fax number as the one posted on here 1-888-988-6626.

  • mike

    I got the same exact letter and I live in CT. So it says the “Hartford Office” at the bottom too.

  • Chris

    I dont about this article but these people were great to me and my wife I can tell you that this is not an accurate article call them and youll see

  • http://www.facebook.com/benallfree Ben Allfree

    Got the same letter, with almost the same dollar amounts. Identical expiration dates and % claims. But I live in Reno, NV and it says “Henderson Office” at the bottom.

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