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US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script – DOH!

A consumer who was investigating the debt relief services offered by US Legal Services Group received a surprise in their contract package sent to them to sign and enroll. Oops, it included the field agent sales script as well.

It appears from the documents turned over to me, the consumer was being sold an advance fee debt settlement program by US Legal Services Group where the fees are collected in the first 18 months with the help of Global Client Solutions.

But for the even bigger surprises, you have to read the entire story. It get’s even dumber than this.

It seems USLS Group was also relying on the face-to-face meeting exemption of the Telemarketing Sales Rules in an effort to be able to collect advance fees. The Federal Trade Commission says the face-to-face meeting rule should be to provide greater protection to consumers since it puts the consumer in direct touch with the company who makes the sales presentation in person.

The key to the face-to-face exemption is the direct and personal contact between the buyer and seller. The goal of the Rule is to protect consumers against deceptive or abusive practices that can arise when a consumer has no direct contact with an invisible and anonymous seller other than the telephone sales call. A face-to-face meeting provides the consumer with more information about — and direct contact with — the seller, and helps limit potential problems the Rule is designed to remedy. – Source

The US Legal Service field agent script sent to the consumer appears to offer up a mockery of the face-to-face protection the FTC intended. Not only is the face-to-face meeting arranged after the sale of debt relief services was essentially made on the phone first and documents prepared for signature, but the face-to-face meeting person is a notary “field agent” who has been paid to meet with the consumer.

I am a field agent of the law firm. A notary is required to notarize documents and is bound by state laws. The law firm hired me as a field agent to represent the law firm while conducting face to face meetings with prospective clients. Some field agents may have a notary license, but will not be acting as a notary in these instances.

I am a notary but will not be acting as a notary. What’s the point?

The script says the field agent represents “the law firm,” is a trained representative, and is “supervised by an individual state licensed attorney. Additionally, there is an attorney supervised in-house team that manages the field agent work force for the law firm.”

If the field agent is so highly trained and regulated then why would the script be sent?

The US Legal Service Group Field Agent Script

USLS Group Field Agent Presentation

My name is _____________. I am a Field Agent representing USLS Group. USLS Group is a law firm. It has affiliated lawyers who are admitted to practice law in almost every state, including this state. The firm is very experienced and is dedicated to helping consumers. The main practice of the firm is handling Debt Resolution and bankruptcy cases.

I would like to provide you with a presentation and then supervise the signing of your contract for Debt Resolution services with the law firm. Please hold your questions until I’m finished. If I am unable to answer any of your questions, I will make sure to get the answers for you. If you do need to speak with a lawyer, we can arrange that for you. Although USLS Group is a law firm, I am not a lawyer and cannot provide you with any legal advice or offer any legal opinions.

You have already spoken with a consultant and the compliance department of the law firm. Everything being covered today has already been presented to you at least once. You can also find this information in the contract that I have in front of me, which I’ll be asking you to sign once my presentation is complete.

The reason we are here today is because you have financial hardship and you are looking to try and resolve some of your financial issues. It is a serious situation and there are important ramifications for you. The option you are considering, which has been explained, is called Debt Resolution. Debt Resolution is similar to debt settlement with the main differentiating factor being that attorneys are involved. The objective of the program is to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

Debt Resolution is an aggressive approach to debt reduction. Now let me briefly explain how the USLS Group Debt Resolution program works. You will agree to set aside a specific amount of money each month. A portion of the amount will go to pay your monthly fee to the law firm and the remainder will go into some form of a savings. As the amount in your savings grows, the law firm will negotiate with your creditors to settle the debt. We will not be making monthly payments to your creditors on your behalf. When a proposed settlement is reached, it will be reviewed by a lawyer and then presented to you. If you accept it, the settlement will be processed and the funds will move out of your savings and will be paid to your creditor. Once the first debt is settled, we will move onto the next debt until all your debt is resolved. In our program, you will have a personal account manager assigned to you at all times. This person will be your primary point of contact, and you will be able to reach your account manager at any time by direct phone line, fax, or email.

The entire process is supervised by lawyers and lawyers get involved when it is necessary. Since there are many factors, individual results vary and we cannot make any guarantees, however we anticipate being able to settle debts in the range of 37 to 50 percent of the balance. In some cases, the settlement amount can be lower, and in some cases it could be higher. For the settlements completed by the law firm, the average settlement of actual settled accounts is in the 39% range (39 cents on the dollar).

There are some risks of participation that your consultant and our compliance rep already explained. The largest one is that the creditor could initiate legal action against you. If the creditor does pursue litigation, the probability is that we should still be able to settle at an amount less than the full value. Furthermore, under our program, you can file for bankruptcy and we have lawyers who are able to counsel you. One of the smaller concerns is that creditors may still call you after being enrolled, but in the event that creditor calls persist, your account manager will be able to send out correspondence directly from the law firm which should help slow the calls. I’d also like you to be aware that there are laws in place which protect you from creditor harassment. This is called the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). It is the belief of the law firm that our clients must be protected from collectors who violate state and federal collection law. For this reason, all USLS Group clients receive free legal representation in the event that it is determined that the collector violated FDCPA law. The law firm, through its network of lawyers, will provide an attorney at no additional cost to you to file suit against the collection office or creditor once the violation is proven to have taken place.

If you look at the other alternatives that your consultant reviewed with you, each has other problems, may not be available to you, or may be far more costly.

The costs for your program are fully listed in the fee section of the contract. Your consultant previously reviewed them with you.

Before I complete my presentation, since we are in your home, the Federal Trade Commission regulations require me to provide you with this Three Day Right of Rescission Notice. Under the Federal Trade Commission Notice, you have the right to obtain a full refund if within 3 days of my presentation you change your mind and do not proceed forward. I know the verbiage may not make sense, but we are required by law to provide it. That’s the end of my presentation. (Please have the consumer sign all three of the Three Day Right to Rescission Notices. Leave two copies with the consumer and return one signed copy to the law firm.)

[Call debt consultant if client has questions; if unavailable, contact Compliance Department of law firm.]

Now let’s go ahead and have you execute the contract. (Have client sign and initial in all required locations.)

Next, sign the contract and fill in all of the information in the signature block.

(If client notices any discrepancies in any of the information, it is okay for them to cross out and initial next to any corrections they need to make, such as phone numbers, incorrect account numbers, etc. Then, proceed with the execution of the rest of the contract).

If you’ve selected Global Client Solutions as your third party administrator, you will need to sign their Special Purpose Account Form. (At this point, please make sure to view one of the client’s bank checks to verify the account and routing numbers on page 3 of the Special Purpose Account Application. If there are any errors, please have client scratch out the mistakes, write in the corrections where the errors are, and initial next to the corrections. Send in all signed docs along with the Presentation Confirmation form once the signing is complete.)

Thank you very much for your cooperation. I am now going to be sending back all of your documents to the law firm for processing. As soon as they are received, you will be sent a Welcome Package, and a couple days after that, your personal account manager will be calling you. From this point forward, you can contact the firm directly at (866) 956-6882. (Please be sure to leave a copy of the agreements with the client. The client should receive 2 copies of the Notice of Right of Rescission.)

You can read the full document here.

Seriously?

So if the intent is the face-to-face meeting is supposed to be the primary sales presentation the consumer experiences then the script seems to create some real issues when it says:

  • Call debt consultant if client has questions; if unavailable, contact Compliance Department of law firm.
  • You have already spoken with a consultant and the compliance department of the law firm. Everything being covered today has already been presented to you at least once.
  • The option you are considering, which has been explained, is called Debt Resolution. Debt Resolution is similar to debt settlement with the main differentiating factor being that attorneys are involved.
  • If you look at the other alternatives that your consultant reviewed with you, each has other problems, may not be available to you, or may be far more costly.
  • The costs for your program are fully listed in the fee section of the contract. Your consultant previously reviewed them with you.

It certainly seems like the field agent is NOT making the primary sales presentation as an employee of the firm.

But Wait, There’s More!

Another document attached actually says:

DO NOT CHANGE THE APPOINTMENT DATE & TIME, without prior approval, unless requested by the client. If the client wants to change the appointment time, make arrangements with the client and call Cesar Rodriguez immediately at (714) 426-8520 or reply to the assignment email to confirm the new appointment date and time. USLS Group is open until 6:00 p.m. (PST)

If client is not available, refuses to sign or does not answer the phone, before leaving, call the Debt Consultant (Phone Number Provided on Order Confirmation Email). Please allow Debt Consultant 5-10 minutes to reach the client before leaving the signing.

So who is making the sale?

US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script   DOH!

US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script   DOH!

Legal Representation

And then there is the interesting statement as part of the field agent script “For this reason, all USLS Group clients receive free legal representation” yet the contract the consumer is asked to sign says “In the event a creditor or collector sues Client, whether related to a Target Debt or any other claim, USLSG is under no obligation to provide representation.”

Here is what the actual legal services part of the contract says:

“Supplemental Legal Services for Bankruptcy and Debt Defense: Subject to the limitations described below, this section applies only to services specifically set forth herein and not to any other type of product or service or any other type of legal service or representation. Specifically, this Agreement does not apply to Credit Repair, Debt Management/Credit Counseling or Credit Monitoring. USLS GROUP does not provide the services listed in the preceding sentence. The Law Firm does not manage, assume or pay any Client debts.

The Legal Services outlined below will only apply if all of the requirements are satisfied. The services described in this Section shall be referred to as Supplemental Legal Services. There are two (2) types of Supplemental Legal Services: Debt Defense and Bankruptcy Services. Debt Defense is legal assistance on a pro per basis (representation of oneself without an attorney) if Client is sued or forced into arbitration in connection with one of the accounts listed in the Contract. Bankruptcy Services include handling the legal work in connection with the filing of a bankruptcy. In each instance, Supplemental Legal Services do not include the payment of any costs or expenses. Client also understands that if there is a contribution toward a settlement, or any amounts advanced for fees or costs, Client will remain obligated to pay those amounts from Client’s Savings Account. Client agrees to provide instructions to the third party administrator, if applicable, to authorize payment of the expenses when Client’s Savings Account has sufficient funds in it.

Client understands that the Supplemental Legal Services will cover only legal fees and will not cover any expenses, such as filing fees, which may be incurred.

Client understands that the Supplemental Legal Services do not cover the amount of debt, or judgment and are only for legal fees.

If funds are advanced on Client’s behalf for cost or expenses other than legal fees, Client agrees to be responsible for reimbursement.

In order to continue to receive the Supplemental Legal Services, Client must continue to pay all of the monthly legal fees as described in this Contract.

Subject to any limitations imposed by a court or the legal cannon of ethics, the Supplemental Legal Services will stop if Client misses the payment of any of the monthly Legal Fees set out in this Agreement.

Once Supplemental Legal Services have commenced, if you miss any payments and services stop, they can be reinstated if you become current and maintain the payments.

The success and continuation of the Supplemental Legal Services are also dependent upon Client’s full cooperation. If Client does not return phone calls, e-mails or faxes in a timely manner, USLS Group has the right to discontinue providing the Supplemental Legal Services.

The process of accessing the coverage under this Section will require the Law Firm to evaluate Client’s situation after efforts to settle based upon the amounts in Client’s Savings Accounts and available from other sources do not succeed. Once those efforts have failed, the Law Firm will determine if Client meets the eligibility requirements as described below. If Client does, the Law Firm will review the situation with Client and make a recommendation based upon Client’s situation and the provisions described below as to whether Debt Defense or Bankruptcy Services is the appropriate path. The Law Firm will then try again to settle the matter possibly authorizing contribution of some funds toward settlement. If these efforts fail again, the Law Firm will also review with Client other than legal fees what costs could be involved depending upon the recommendation. The recommendation will be formulated taking into consideration what Client wants and collectively what the Law Firm acting in good faith believes is best. If there is a subsidization of settlement under Debt Defense, the amount of the subsidization shall be limited to the amount of the total Legal Fees Client has paid that are allocable to Supplemental Legal Services.

Debt Defense:

In order for Debt Defense to apply the following conditions must be satisfied:

a. Client must pay the Legal Fees set out in this Contract on time for at least three (3) consecutive months. If Client misses a payment or is late on a payment, the three (3) month eligibility requirement starts all over, beginning with the first new payment Client makes on time;

b. Client must be sued or forced into arbitration and deliver copies of all summons, complaints and notices of arbitration to the Law Firm on one or more debts listed in the Contract immediately once Client receives such information whether Client receives it in the mail or by personal service;

c. The date Client is served in the case of litigation or receives notice of arbitration cannot be prior to the date of the third monthly payment identified in condition 12a;

d. If, based upon the amount in Client’s Savings Account and the amount contributed to the Savings Account each month, it is not possible to settle with the creditor/collector who filed the lawsuit or sent a demand for arbitration on either a lump sum basis or in periodic payments over a period not to exceed twenty-four (24) months, provided Client meets these four (4) conditions, Client will be eligible for Debt Defense.

In the event Client is served with a summons and complaint by a Creditor (“Claim”), USLS Group will provide legal services and assistance on a pro per basis (representation of oneself without an attorney) at no additional cost to the Client. USLS Group will review the Claim and consult with the Client. In addition, USLS Group will endeavor to promptly resolve the Claim and settle the pending legal action. If the Claim cannot be resolved prior to the date a response to the complaint is due and the Client desires to defend the Claim, USLS Group will consult with Client and assist in document preparation to timely file a response to the Claim on a pro per basis. If, however, the Client wishes to receive full legal representation to defend the Claim, USLS Group will refer Client to affiliated local counsel. Affiliated local counsel will represent the Client at a discounted rate. It is the responsibility of Client to engage affiliated local counsel to defend the Claim, and to pay the additional discounted fees.

Client understands that even though USLS Group will provide legal services and assistance on a pro per basis (representation of oneself without an attorney), the likelihood is that if the matter goes to trial Client will lose and there will be judgment issued against them.

If Debt Defense is being provided, Client will continue to be a participant in the Program and continue to receive all of the regular services in the Program. Accordingly, even if Client is being provided Debt Defense it is important for Client to continue to fully fund Client’s Savings Account. If Client is provided Debt Defense and loses, Client will still be eligible for Bankruptcy Services provided Client still meets all requirements in this Section.

Bankruptcy Services:

In order for Bankruptcy Services to apply the following conditions must be satisfied:

a. Client must pay the Legal Fees set out in this Contract on time for at least six (6) consecutive months. If Client misses a payment or is late on a payment, the six (6) month eligibility requirement starts all over, beginning with the first new payment Client makes on time;

b. If Client qualifies and is otherwise in compliance, all fees paid into the Program (not savings) shall be credited against the cost of the Bankruptcy. If Client paid less than three thousand dollars ($3000.00) in legal fees to USLS Group, the Law Firm will still provide the services but Client will be responsible to pay additional fees until the total amount of fees paid equals three thousand dollars ($3000.00) or a lesser amount if under applicable rules in the judicial district where the Bankruptcy petition will be filed caps legal fees at a lower amount. In such cases, the cost shall be the maximum amount allowed. If Client has paid more than the required amount in fees prior to filing of the Bankruptcy Petition, Client will not receive a refund of any excess.

c. Neither USLS GROUP nor any other firm will be responsible for any costs incurred in a Bankruptcy proceeding. The costs incurred in a Bankruptcy proceeding are separate from legal fees and will be Client’s sole responsibility. If Client has met all requirements in Sections 12a-12d, and decides to file Bankruptcy, Client will need to provide USLS GROUP with a written statement advising that Client wants to file Bankruptcy, and pay a non-refundable one hundred dollar ($100.00) administration change fee plus all of the other fees and anticipated costs. There will be no filing until all amounts are paid.

d. In order to receive Bankruptcy services Client will be required to execute a new engagement agreement

c. Neither USLS GROUP nor any other firm will be responsible for any costs incurred in a Bankruptcy proceeding. The costs incurred in a Bankruptcy proceeding are separate from legal fees and will be Client’s sole responsibility. If Client has met all requirements in Sections 12a-12d, and decides to file Bankruptcy, Client will need to provide USLS GROUP with a written statement advising that Client wants to file Bankruptcy, and pay a non-refundable one hundred dollar ($100.00) administration change fee plus all of the other fees and anticipated costs. There will be no filing until all amounts are paid.

d. In order to receive Bankruptcy services Client will be required to execute a new engagement agreement acceptable to the Law Firm that will terminate and replace, in its entirety, this Agreement. In addition, Client understands that from the time of Client’s notification of Client’s desire to switch to Bankruptcy until the petition in Bankruptcy is filed, Client will be required to pay fees under this Agreement. If Client fails to make such payments, the Law Firm will have no obligation to provide Bankruptcy services.

Client will have the right upon written notice and satisfaction of all of the requirements in Section 12 to convert to Bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy filing is for individuals only and will not include any businesses. The coverage will include one filing, either a single or a joint filing as determined by the facts and circumstances and will be limited to the specific services identified in this Agreement in Section 12.

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Contract to the contrary, the financial terms for any Bankruptcy will be adapted to comply with the local rules where the Bankruptcy petition will be filed. If Client ends up filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the amount of the subsidization shall be limited to $1000.

Once Client has met all requirements in Section 12 and notifies the Law Firm in writing that Client wishes to file Bankruptcy before the filing of the petition, the Law Firm will not be providing Program services. Should the Client then change his or her mind and not want to file for Bankruptcy, upon payment of outstanding fees if any, Client will be restored in the Program.”

It looks like the actually legal representation is both different and expensive than the consumer may get from the field agent presentation.

You can read the full agreement, here.

There is Unbelievably More

The client agreement is between US Legal Services Group and the consumer. US Legal Services Group says they are located at

US Legal Services Group
655 Main St., # 200-408
Orange, CA 92868
Tel.: (866) 956-6882 Fax: (866) 956-6897

According to the State of California the registered company US Legal Services Group has been suspended to do business months before the consumer was presented with this contract to sign.

US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script   DOH!

US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script   DOH!

And while the company says it is located in Orange, California their website says they are located in San Francisco.

1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500,
San Francisco, CA 94104 – Source

The San Francisco address is a virtual office and the Orange address is a mailbox drop. – Source, Source

Where is anyone really located here?

And to make it even more confusing, the one attorney I could find who had any relation to US Legal Services Group was Mandip Singh Purewal who according to his California Bar record says USLS Group is actually located at:

7901 Stoneridge Drive
Suite 504
Pleasanton, CA 94588

He also says the web address of his firm is NationalConsumerLaw.com.

US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script   DOH!

As you can see he lists his specialities as real property law and taxation and not debt relief or bankruptcy.

The BBB Says National Consumer Law Group also operates under the name US Legal Services Group and USLS Group. He previously operated under the name Legal Network of America. The BBB gives the company an F rating. – Source

I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free 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
  3. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off

US Legal Service Group Sends Consumer Script   DOH!
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If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you totally for free.

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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.
  • guest

    These people sent me a letter back in 2012 saying it was a free service, but its not. I gave them all my information because I trusted them and when I got their contract there were fees. I said I thought it was a free service like the flyer says? The man said this is definitely a free service, all I pay is the monthly payment and the 299 is refunded on my last payment.

    He said it was a government regulated program, its free to see if I qualify. I said I was told it was free and that’s what the flyer said.

    I asked So what is the 18%? The man said as far as handling the legal cost there are costs involved with escrowing and transferring. I never pay more than your monthly premium.

    I never signed up and glad I didn’t. I found it was also being serviced by and maybe even owned by http://www.debtsettlementservicing.com

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