California based Centerdon Group bills itself as a “multi-jurisdictional law firm providing an attorney-based solution to get you debt free.” – Source
The State of Delaware, which never makes much of an appearance in debt relief cases, has filed a lawsuit against the company.
The administrative lawsuit against Centerdon Group, Inc. n/k/a Hilvanim Group, Inc., a California corporation, for violating the Delaware Uniform Debt-Management Services Act, the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act and the Delaware Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
A press release from the States says, “The suit alleges that Centerdon used misleading advertising directed to Delaware residents and then arranged for a Delaware notary to travel to the victims’ homes and present its debt settlement contracts as a “representative” of Centerdon. The agreements repeatedly referred to Centerdon as a “Law Firm” and were styled as “Legal Services Agreement” despite the fact that Centerdon employed no attorneys admitted to practice law in Delaware. Centerdon’s agreements also contained hidden, duplicative, and misleading fees designed to enrich Centerdon at the expense of Delaware consumers.”
From their description, it sounds as if Centerdon Group is operating like an advance fee attorney model debt settlement company.
One Michigan-based consumer contacted me and said, “I’m being scammed by Centerdone and Hilvarim group. I’ve been paying $400 for almost 4 years and my credit cards haven’t been paid off. Please help me to stop all payments till I get an answer. I’m currently unemployed.”
I can certainly understand the frustration experienced by this person. What makes these situations even more problematic is when people jump to stopping payments before having a plan on how to deal with the situation.
The last thing we want to do is compound an already bad situation without investigating the consequences of just defaulting. For example, what money will you be able to recover from your escrow account? Are there creditor arrangements already in place? Will your creditors be informed of the default and resume contacting the debtor?
At the very least any consumer in a similar situation should contact the Attorney General’s office of their state to ask if there is any assistance they can provide. Additionally, talking to a local bankruptcy lawyer might be a smart thing to do. Filing bankruptcy will stop any potential collection activity and lawsuits from the creditor if the situation explodes on the consumer.
Especially if you are currently unemployed.
You can find a good local bankruptcy attorney and have a free discussion about what bankruptcy would mean for you. Bankruptcy is the fastest way to get a fresh start for the least amount of money.
The State of Delaware says, “Delawareans who are struggling with debt deserve our help, not exploitation,” said Attorney General Jennings. “Centerdon targeted elderly and low-income victims in our State who were looking for assistance with getting out of debt. Centerdon strung them along and charged them high fees through illegal debt-management contracts, all without providing meaningful assistance. We will hold Centerdon accountable for their illegal and misleading debt management services along with any other providers of illegal debt management services.” – Source