Is Advocate Debt Relief a Legitimate Organization?


Dear Steve,

I have about $15,000 in credit card and other debt.

Advocate Debt Relief, a division of Start New Financial, reached out to me and offered me a program. Are they legit?

In order to do their program, they have to close your credit cards. Is that worth the credit score hit?

It will lower my monthly payment and total payoff amount according to them.



Dear Elliot,

These kinds of questions are always so difficult to answer because I’m never sure what the words scam or legit mean to each person.

Let me start by giving you these links to check the company out for yourself.

I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free guides.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. 10 Must Do Steps to Find the Best Counseling or Settlement Company for You
  3. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off

The fact they reached out to you seems to indicate they are attempting to sell you a product or service, and you should evaluate the offer through that lens.

The only person that can determine if something is right for you is you.

For example, if you have debt but you are paying it off, and your credit score is important to you, then intervening might have consequences you don’t wish to happen.

However, if you are struggling and have cash available, then debt settlement might be right for you. So again, might a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that would eliminate your debt in 90-120 days for less than $2,000 in fees.

Overall I think the page on their site that describes different debt relief options has a couple of issues I’d pick at. They list debt settlement as “Top Choice,” but they also don’t seem to provide a clearer explanation of bankruptcy. – Source

See also  Debt Settlement Industry CDRI Fighting Debt Settlement Industry AFCC

There is no way that debt settlement is always a “Top Choice” for every consumer since it is dependent on the situation and future goals.

The items I think they missed with bankruptcy are the fact a Chapter 7 bankruptcy only takes 90-120 days and not the 3-6 months they state. The statement that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is “difficult to qualify for” seems inaccurate since the vast amount of bankruptcy filings are Chapter 7. And the statement that bankruptcy results in “significant, long-term damage to credit” seem misleading. It is actually relatively easy to rebuild credit after bankruptcy.

Your question prompted me to look around their site, and I was kind of surprised that on their page “Why Our Team Will Help You Win” that the team picture is actually a stock photo. – Source

On that same page is this statement, “Our team at Advocate Debt Relief has partnered with the nation’s leading debt relief companies.” So is Advocate Debt Relief actually a debt relief provider, or are they sending you off to someone else?

But the footer on the site says, “We do not provide loan modification, debt adjustment, foreclosure services or short term loans of any kind. Advocate Debt Relief, LLC (ADR) is a private organization and is not a government entity. ADR, does not repair credit, is not a debt management company and does not give legal advice. *Results are individual and vary.”

So they are not a debt management company. Hum. So what are they?

Well, the footer gives us a bit more information. It says, “advocatedebtrelief.com does not provide debt relief services. advocatedebtrelief.com matches consumers with debt consolidation companies in our network. By submitting your information you agree to be contacted by our partner debt consolidation providers via phone, text messaging and / or email.”

So my best guess is they are a sales and marketing company. You can see why the question about being legit is so difficult. What part are you looking for them to be legit about? Is it sales and marketing or debt relief?

See also  Start New Financial - Consumer Complaint - July 21, 2021

You might want to speak with some more people that directly provide bankruptcy, credit counseling, debt management, or speak with a debt coach like Damon Day. It is important to speak with different direct providers of debt relief services to make an informed and educated decision about what is right for you.

I don’t know. It kind of feels like talking to a salesperson to decide what is the best surgery for a medical problem you are having is not the best approach. But then again that’s just my opinion.


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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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.
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6 thoughts on “Is Advocate Debt Relief a Legitimate Organization?”

  1. My wife had a conversation with a “representative” from Advocate Debt Relief today, and they are almost certainly running a scam. They claimed they could not complete the deal unless my wife gave them her full Social Security number and her bank account and routing numbers over the phone.

    They also claimed on the phone and in their emails that they are a member of the American Fair Credit Council Accreditation (AFCCA) and that they have an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. However, neither of these claims are on their website, and this company cannot be found on the AFCCA or BBB websites. Furthermore, the AFCCA link in their email points to another company’s (Start New Financial) AFCCA page.

    I will give this “company” some credit. This is one of the most elaborate scams I have encountered, but please, avoid them at all costs!

      • Hey Steve to clarify, Advocate Debt Relief is in fact a division of start new financial. Advocate debt relief is the enrollment center and Start New Financial negotiates and settles the accounts with creditors. It’s a federally regulated program, it’s surprising you don’t know more about it.

        • I’m not clear on what part of my answer you are disagreeing with? Are you saying that either Advocate Debt Relief or Start New Financial is a “federally regulated” program? In what way? What federal regulator are they registered with that monitors them directly?


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