Debt Settlement

Can I File Anything or Join a Lawsuit Against Freedom Debt Relief?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I am currently a client of FDR and have been highly suspicious of some of their actions, firstly, my largest account with them they did not come to a settlement of reduced debt, therefore when I applied for a loan to start my new business I found that BOA/Messerli & Kramer had filed a judgment against me in the amount of $13,274.23.

I had to ask my dad for a loan and personally wired the money to Messerli & Kramer immediately and sent a prompt “Satisfaction of Judgement”.

FDR wanted an extra $2,000+ to settle my debt and in no timely fashion. They continued to withdraw $230 bi-monthly and I believe they continued to collect the$2,000+ AFTER I had personally paid off the judgment, my payoff was not promptly reported to the credit bureaus!

Secondly, I feel they are not working with all my debt as promised and my credit scores continue to drop even though I am personally paying off bills in addition to paying them $460.00 a month.

Can I file anything against them or participate in any class action lawsuits?

Kirsten

Answer:

Dear Kirsten,

I’m assuming you are talking about Freedom Debt Relief when you say FDR.

It’s not clear from your question if your issue is one of unhappiness about the contract for services that you signed with Freedom Debt Relief or they just dropped the ball.

In 2017 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a suit against Freedom Debt Relief and claimed, “Freedom deceived consumers about its clout with creditors that it knows do not negotiate with debt-settlement companies, made some customers negotiate on their own, and misled consumers about its fees and their accounts. Today’s lawsuit seeks to stop the deception and get compensation for consumers Freedom cheated.”

It’s not clear if those allegations apply to your situation or not.

Rather than get explosive with Freedom Debt Relief in your opening salve with them I would suggest you first attempt to come to a clear understanding of how the situation with that particular debt arose.

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Did it just fall through the cracks or did you not have sufficient funds accumulated to settle it?

I have seen some client agreements with debt settlement companies that do say even if the consumer settles the debt on their own, the fee is still owed. You’d have to refer to your client agreement with FDR to see if that is what you did agree to.

If you approach Freedom Debt Relief in an attempt to better understand what happened in your specific situation and you feel they slipped up, then you can follow my guide, “How to Get Your Money Back From a Debt Relief Company if You Feel Like You’ve Been Scammed.”

Your concern over your credit scores is a bit more complicated. Unless you are maintaining current credit and your accounts or utilization is in the good range then your scores will decline.

Maintaining and rebuilding good credit scores is a process and does not happen magically.

The fact the payoff you made was not transmitted to the credit bureau(s) is not the fault of Freedom Debt Relief. That information is sent by the lender or collector of the account.

You mention that you are personally paying bills off at the same time you are paying them $460 a month. It seems what you need here is either a clear conversation with them to understand what they are doing for you and what fees are being charged. In addition, you may want to have someone you trust to take a look at the client agreement you signed to help review it and see if you are being treated accordingly.

I hope when you paid off the debt to Messerli & Kramer that you at least settled that on your own rather than paying the full amount.

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About the author

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.

3 Comments

  • Joyce Tausch. Feb 15, 2019 I am shocked. I owed approx $18,000 and contacted FDR. MY consultant and I agreed that I did not want to go beyond two years w FDR so I was told they had me on an accelerated program. I was told to make my first payment December 3, 2017. My monthly deposit to them was $621 and was told I had never skipped a payment in the first 3 months. Now I’m being told I faulted on a payment on Nov 3, 2017 when I joined FDR. I was encouraged to sign all settlements immediately or they’d lose it. I did. Becuz I did not understand that they were clearing all my debts themselves w my $622 monthly deposit to them, I signed a four year agreement w one company again w the understanding they were using my 2 year deposit to pay all the companies. My original graduation date from the program was Nov 3, 2019. My payments to them totaled _
    $14,927.51. Altho, this was only saving me $3,969.24, I was satisfied that this was a good move. I suddenly discovered they have changed my graduation date from Nov 3 2017 to 8/31/2022. So instead of paying FDR $14,927.51, I will now be paying them approx. $34,829.51 when I originally owed my creditors a little more than $18,000.

    In a total panic, I agreed to pay them a lump sum fee of $7,169.35. I requested a letter before paying this lump sum saying I no longer had any financial obligations w them. They refused. I asked if this meant they might continue to charge me more and they said yes.

    They have falsely advertised that they were saving me money and I suddenly find they intend to charge me almost double what I originally owed. I am 75 years old and have many health problems that include cancer, severe anemia, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis

    I have been hospitalized twice in the last year for severe depression and anxiety. These health problems contributed to my decision to use FDRs services and they have instead only exacerbated my conditions.
    Please advise me on any steps I can take to not only help my situation but stop this company from traumatizing further people with their fraudulent actions.

    Thank you
    Joyce

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