In the fall of 2018, I acquired the assistance of Colonial Law Group to help settle my debt. At that time like most debt settlement companies I was informed that they would help settle my debt for a fraction of the cost as well as help to remove the negative items from my credit report.
In the past year and a half, I have been making payments to Colonial Law Group in amounts no less than $350 a month. Throughout this time, I was under the assumption that in the background they had been working on settlements and paying creditors off. Also throughout this time, I requested to have additional accounts added to my account to be settled. I was fully aware that these requests would increase my total debt balance with Colonial. Therefore, I increased my payment amount to make up for this. I was never advised by Colonial that I needed to do so nor was I given an updated amount to what the increase in fees would be by adding these additional accounts.
On 9/1/2017 a payment was sent to Colonial in the amount of $1,180.10. This amount was need to settle an account, Lift Credit totaling $1,458.50. This should of been a red flag however again I figured that there was a low balance in my account because they had used the funds from my monthly payments to settle other accounts. On 10/31/2017 an additional payment of $1,000 was sent to give the company more money for negotiating settlements. All in all since August 2016, I sent Colonial a total of $5,961.38. A total of $1,558.50 has been used to settle my debts. The remaining $4,402.88 has been used to pay retainer fees, service fees, maintenance fees and account surcharges.
On 4/20/2017, I received a call from one of my creditors. I was informed that a judgement would be placed against me. I informed the creditor as instructed by Colonial to let them know I was working with them. I also informed the creditor of who to speak with directly about my account. Immediately, I contact Colonial and asked them the status of this account since I had previously sent them correspondence regarding this creditor. On 4/25/2017, I was contacted by Colonial stating that they had negotiated a settlement with the creditor in the amount of $1,055.66 which had to be paid in a lump sum immediately. This was when I began looking into my account history with Colonial. Ironically the same day the creditor contacted me again because they had not received any updates. I explained what was going on with Colonial to the creditor and how they were ripping me off in fees. The creditor also stated that nowhere on my case was there notes that they had been contacted. As a result the creditor negotiated with me that if I made payments they would not charge any fee on top of the balance and could settle the account for less than what Colonial presented. The creditor advised me to stop working with Colonial because in all honestly with the amount they had charged me in fees the account could have already been paid in full. As of 4/26/2017, my account with Colonial has a balance of $12.32 and no additional accounts are being paid or worked on because there are no funds to do so.
Ultimately, I would have been able to negotiate my debt directly with the creditors and would have been able to settle for lesser amount as I did with the most recent creditor that contacted me.
Finally, upon research I discovered that the account servicing company that Colonial Group uses, Global Client Solutions, had been involved in a lawsuit back in 8/2014 for similar practices. I feel that if Colonial Group would have begun working with the creditor upon receiving the accounts my account balances would have not increased. Every time the account was sold to a 3rd party creditor the fees increased. Also I would have not been served judgement.
Consumer Action Taken:
I contacted the company multiple times. I was unable to speak to anyone in upper management, therefore I was forced to speak with, Nikki La, the Operations Manager. During our phone conversation, Nikki went into detail how a contract is in place and that no refund will be given. I expressed how by paying $4,250.56 in fees out of the $5,821.38 I paid to them was ridiculous. I felt a fair resolution would be to have either my service fees or maintenance fees refunded.
Nikki rebutted by stating that along the process that anyone with common sense would have asked questions to where about their money was going. I told Nikki at that point I was offended as she made the claim that I have no common sense. I told her that this conversation was over. I wanted a list of all my creditors including balance, contact information and their current status.
Nikki said I can get you that information but I am very busy. She also stated that she would look into giving me a refund but refunds are based on three parts. She also stated that she would relay this information to Alex who is the Compliance Officer and get back to me by the end of the day. Needless to say, I did not receive a phone from Nikki and when I emailed her she stated that he hand my file over to Alex and he would be in contact with me. I still have not heard back from anyone at Colonial.
Date This Problem Happened: April 23, 2018
State You Live in: Utah
Age Range: 21-35
Total Amount of Fee Paid: $4250.56
Company Name: Colonial Law Group
One Oxford Center
301 Grant Street, Suite 4300
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Company Telephone Number: 866-839-0065
Website of Company: coloniallawgroup.com
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