A reader that wanted to be identified as The Machine sent in the following statement and mailer they received through my I Buy Junk Mail program.
The Machine said, “These are for both me and my wife. We have a large amount of credit card debit and get stuff like this ALL the time. It’s tough to know when you’re getting scammed or if these sort of mailers can be good option. It feels like we’ll be swimming in this debt until we start making a lot more money.”
So let’s look at the envelopes. Post your impression of them in the comments section below.
Now, this is just my opinion but given the current pandemic, the message on the front and the design of the envelope could be seen as a government mailer about a new program for consumers.
The phrase, “Financial Relief for Affected Families” says a lot and nothing at all. But it is the design of the envelope that mimics official-looking correspondence.
Just from the envelope, my concerns are up for what will lay within.
So let’s run through them one at a time.
The mailer says it comes from Credit Associates and I’ve written about other mailers from them in the past.
The fine print says the mailer is an attempt to sell debt settlement services and unsecured loans. The example numbers above do not include fees. While Credit Associates says the offer is an attempt to also sell unsecured loans they also say they are not a lender.
It appears the figures used as a program example are a very loose and gross estimation of actual results the consumer may experience.
Credit Associates does say they are a member of the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) so I am a bit surprised their mailer program example seems to be totally not complimented with the Telemarketing Sales Rule guide put out by the FTC.
It’s just an interesting observation that the address used by Credit Associates, 5050 Quorum Drive, Suite 700, Dallas, TX is a Regus virtual office space.
Clear Cost Debt Relief – CCDR
Now you would never know the mailer below came from Clear Coast Debt Relief unless you looked up the address like I did.
Clear Cost also says they are a proud member of the AFCC.
I’m surprised that the company name is not fully identified on the mailer.
The example of benefits seems very confusing to me as well. The same monthly payment is suggested for debt anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000. And again, not sure how the mailer deals with those Telemarketing Sales Rule guidelines for debt relief services. If I’m wrong, I would love for the companies to post a comment below and correct me.
I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free guides.
- The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
- 10 Must Do Steps to Find the Best Credit Counseling or Debt Settlement Company for You
- How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off
Readers have sent in Freshstart mailers before.
The offer appears to be an offer for a loan, but is all that it is? A concern that has been brewing has been attractive loan offers that wind up being lead generators for other debt relief programs.
The language used in this mailer leads me to believe this might be the case here when it says, “Options Available for ALL Credit Scores.”
But it’s not till we get to the hard to read fine print on the back that things become clearer.
It might be hard to read so click on the image and make it bigger. But here are some interesting statements:
- “works with over 50 different lenders and debt service providers to allow you to look at every debt relief option available.” I wonder if that includes bankruptcy as well? Hum. If not, why not?
- “Some programs may negatively impact your credit score and credit worthiness, could increase collection activity and debt amounts due to creditor fees and interest.”
- “The is no guarantee creditors will settle accounts or lower interest rates.”
- Interestingly, Freshstart spells their name Fresh Start on the back. That seems like an odd error.
And so it does seem the mailer may lead to alternative debt relief options and hopefully one of those will be a recommendation for bankruptcy since the mailer says, “We have a goal of making sure every customer that calls us is given the best guidance possible and allow them to make the best financial decision.”
All of these mailers have one thing in common. They are advertising pieces that want to cause the consumer to contact the company, provide personal information, and purchase the debt relief services.
Consumers should evaluate all such offers using that filter.
Earlier in the post, I gave links on how you can evaluate a debt relief company. At the end of the day, only you, the consumer, can do the research and make the decisions about who to trust. I can’t do that for you. You have to do it yourself.