We signed up with a debt settlement company called Boulder Legal Group about a year ago in order to pay off nearly $50,000 in credit card debt. Most of that debt was incurred through investment in a business venture with Cypress Creek Organic Farms which turned out to be a scam. We thought we were going to be growing organic tomatoes. They took the money & ran, so then we tried to make lemonade out of lemons & use our new hoop houses to become organic farmers on our own, leading to even more debt.
We were excited, thinking that in just 4 years we could pay off all the debt & be free until the county sheriff arrived at our door with a court summons for me from Discover Bank on $7500 of unpaid debt. We were stunned. Scanned a copy of the summons to Boulder Legal as instructed & have had multiple unsatisfactory phone calls since then.
It seems they will provide legal representation IF we agree to pay $360 now & an additional $237 a month from October thru June 2018. That is on top of the $675.12 per month we’ve already been paying.
Before we enrolled in this program our credit scores were near 800 & we were never late on a payment & definitely never missed a payment. The thought of going to court terrifies me and I feel as though I am being blackmailed to have to pay more money than agreed upon in order to stay out of court.
Do we file a complaint with the BBB to try & get our money back?
Do we hire a lawyer?
Do I call Discover (Boulder previously advised us to have no contact with creditors)?
What do we do to begin to resolve this situation?
Thank you Steve, so very much for your time. I am grateful to have stumbled upon you today.
Thank you for contacting me.
I always prefer consumers try to workout differences with the company they hired before starting a chain of complaints. It sounds like you are in the process of trying to do just that. You might want to find some step-by-step suggestions on what to do next in my guide How to Try to Get a Refund From a Debt Relief Company.
I’m almost 100% confident you were asked to sign a lengthy contract when you became a client of Boulder Legal Group. Often buried in the fine print are things like you will have to pay extra fees for representation and enrolling will damage hurt credit. People are typically rushed through these documents and overlook this information. Eager salespeople trying to earn their commission for making the sale tend to paint a different picture of reality than what will actually happen.
In your case a debt settlement approach was always going to tank your credit because you stopped making the contractual monthly payments to your creditors. Once you get delinquent in your payments the creditor absolutely has the right to enforce the agreement by suing you and seeking a judgment or wage garnishment.
Since you are being sued you need legal advice from an attorney who is licensed in your state. If you disregard the lawsuit you will lose. If there is a defense to be raised you will either need to do it yourself and wing it or hire an attorney licensed in your state with the legal experience necessary to represent you.
From what I see you have two distinct issues. The first is your relationship with Boulder Legal Group, the services your purchased, what you contracted for and your concerns about their customer service. The second issue is the fact you have now been sued, have to deal with the lawsuit, and this suit will be reported on your credit report which will further wound your credit score.
The lawsuit MUST not be ignored and it may be an opportunity to enter into a settlement with Discover to begin making payments on the debt. The suit is not the end of the world but it is clearly evidence that things may not be as you assumed they were. For example, is their another suit coming?
Now that you’ve been sued, one way to stop the lawsuit and dispose of all of the debt is to consider filing for bankruptcy. The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs about $1,450 and eliminates your unsecured debt in about 90 days, stops all suits over the debt and eliminates collection activity. You can compare that against whatever fees you’ve already paid for debt help.
Boulder Legal Group says on their website they also assist with bankruptcy so when and if you get through to them you should inquire how they can assist you with that. – Source