Worrying about being scammed by a debt relief provider is a real fear. But what is a scam? That question is surprisingly more challenging than you might imagine.
In this podcast, Damon Day and I discuss why calling any debt rescue company a scam is so tricky. For example, if a company provides you with bad advice but doesn’t take your money, does that make them a scam?
And then we start talking about how easy it can be for people of all incomes to make an extra $800 a month with some side gig or side hustle. We share an update about our efforts at PennyStupid.com.
Visit The Penny Stupid Project YouTube channel and subscribe.
Listen to the Podcast
[00:00:00] Steve Rhode: Hey, you’re back with Steve Rhode and Damon Day on the Get Out of Debt Guy podcast. Today we’re talking about hurdles, not the kind you jump over, but the kind you have to deal with when you’re having financial problems. Hello, Damon.
Damon Day: Hey, Steve.
Steve Rhode: You know, one of the things that I. As true over the many years is people keep repeating the same, dysfunction is probably a good word, when they have financial problems that they, they run into the same brick wall every time, and they all do it individually.
[00:00:33] but you and myself that help people with financial problems have seen it over and over and over again. It’s like the day that you wake up and you’re worried about your finances, all of a sudden you’re almost paralyzed from making good decisions about how to deal with it. And you’ve seen people in that situation many times, haven’t you?
[00:00:53] Damon Day: Oh yeah. And it’s a very emotional situation. There’s way too much emotion. Wrapped around money, and that’s why it people end up getting themselves into deeper and deeper trouble when they’re just trying to fix the initial problem. So, you know, I know it’s easy to say, Hey, take the emotion out of it. It’s just, what do you call it?
[00:01:13] Math wrapped in emotion.
[00:01:14] Steve Rhode: Math wrapped in emotion. That’s debt. Yeah. Just thinking about forget making good, logical decisions that make the best sense for you. How about thinking about the way that people react? I had a reader question this morning. A guy said, Hey, is this company a scam? And those things drive me crazy because.
[00:01:35] The definition of scam is different for everybody. And if you’re asking a stranger on the internet, I mean, I appreciate people’s trust and confidence in me, but if you’re asking somebody on the internet, if some other company is a scam, you’re more likely to get taken for a ride by some debt relief company.
[00:01:57] When the salesperson blows smoke up your ass and you believe everything that they say,
[00:02:03] Damon Day: Yeah, and honestly it’s not really even the right question. You don’t really necessarily need to know if they’re a scam. Cause like you said, I mean, what’s the definition of a scam? But what you really should be asking is, Hey, is this solution that this company is proposing to me a good idea or a good fit for the problems I have and what I’m trying to.
[00:02:24] Right, that’s the question you need to ask is, is this a good fit for me? They’re proposing to do this. I don’t know if I should do that or not. Is there some better options that I should look at first before making a decision? That’s the right question, and it’s also
[00:02:36] Steve Rhode: very difficult for me to answer that question.
[00:02:39] Forget about what it means to you. Yeah. I mean, think about the legal consequences of me just coming out and saying, Hey, X company is a scam. They’re a bunch of assholes. You need to stay away from ’em. They’re just gonna take your money. I can’t come out and do that. Yeah, even,
[00:02:53] Damon Day: even when we know it’s a hundred percent true, like what we think and what we’ve seen in the last 20 years, and some of these companies have been around that long and we’ve seen it time and time.
[00:03:03] Where we see the horror stories and someone will ask a question about a company that we’ve known for a decade, right? And we’re just like, oh shit, this company again. And we just wanna say, run away screaming, but we can’t just put that on the internet. Right. So, uh, you know, the best advice, and this is complete bias advice, but if you’re questioning, uh, you know, whether or not some debt relief company is proposing a good solution or a good option for you, and you want a second opinion, schedule a, an actual one-on-one call with me.
[00:03:36] I don’t charge anything for the initial consultation. You talk to the sales guy for free, right? You got their opinion. Now you can talk to me, you can tell me what your problem is and tell me what they’re. And I can tell you why. What they’re proposing is bullshit and then right . I mean, I hate to be that blunt about it, but that’s the reality.
[00:03:53] I can say things to a consumer one-on-one on a phone call. That I couldn’t really go out there and put online and put ’em on blast, right? So if you want the real scoop, just schedule a consultation with me. I know it’s com completely biased advice to offer you that. But if you’re gonna talk to a whole bunch of salespeople, you might as well at least talk to one professional.
[00:04:13] And when I talk to you and I tell you why, whatever you’re looking at probably is not the best solution. Now, maybe it is, maybe, you know, you could get lucky, but usually it’s not. Boy, you can take the information and the advice you got. And you could take all the information and we’ll call it advice that you got from all the sales people, and then you just make a decision that’s right for you.
[00:04:33] That’s it. All I’m saying is try to get as much information and a couple different opinions first, and then you can decide who probably knows what they’re talking about, me or any of these other salespeople that you talk to. I’m gonna win that argument every time.
[00:04:48] Steve Rhode: So I think that we could both agree that a company that just takes your money, It’s probably a scam.
[00:04:54] I mean, it’s criminal, right? It’s fraud. Uh, so what about a company that has a good reputation but continues to give people the wrong advice that causes them more harm than good? Is, is that a scam?
[00:05:09] Damon Day: Yeah. So, I mean, I don’t think that would fit under the definite, you know, traditional definition of a scam.
[00:05:14] It, it would fit under the definition of, hey, not a good solution for. Right? Mm-hmm. , but you can’t expect the person that is gonna get a commission when you hire that company or sign up. You can’t expect them to be the arbiter of truth on that, you know? That’s not what they’re trained to do. They’re not gonna sit there and say, Hey, let’s take a look at your situation.
[00:05:34] Let’s talk about this strategy versus this strategy versus this strategy. Their job is to say, oh, you have. I’ve got this great solution, let me tell you all about it. And then they throw up on you all these great things that they’re gonna do, and then they want you to hurry up and sign up right now before somebody else throws up on you about all the great things that their program is supposed to do for you.
[00:05:54] So is that a scam? No. It’s technically not a scam. But if you’ve got 50 grand in debt, do you just want to do what a salesperson says to do before thoroughly researching it and kind of walking yourself through it and say, How exactly does this process work? What are the real pros and cons to it? Because salespeople tend to really over exaggerate what they would consider pros and really under report what is really gonna be a con.
[00:06:21] Like, oh yeah, you probably gonna get sued if you hire us, but nah, it’s not that big a deal. Don’t worry about it. Only 5% of the people that hire us ever get sued. You know, so they kind of gloss over that kind of stuff. But this important information that you need to know, If you’re gonna make an important financial decision that could affect you and your family for many, many years.
[00:06:41] Steve Rhode: Well, here’s an example. Reader who contacted me recently said, Hey, is this company that says they specialize in dealing with payday loans? A scam? We’ve been around long enough that we know that we hear from a lot of people that they never really get all their payday loans dealt with, so, Is it a scam? If you enroll five payday loans and they take care of three and leave you with two and say goodbye, it’s
[00:07:07] It’s just a bad solution. Well,
[00:07:09] Damon Day: I’ve got a good story for you. This happened yesterday, and we’re not gonna mention any names of companies or anything like that, but this was a new one on me. I mean, the level of. Balls on, uh, this, uh, attorney, a debt relief attorney, and she’s a female, so I could say the balls on her.
[00:07:25] So the scenario was, uh, a client had hired her at her firm and I, I don’t know all the details, but basically several of the accounts went to litigation. Now, from, based on what the consumer said, the attorney would not represent the consumer because it was, the consumer lived in a different. Then the firm was based it.
[00:07:44] Mm-hmm. . So the consumer ended up having to try to negotiate these multiple lawsuits on her own without the help. And again, I’m just talking about the, I’m, I’ve got the information from the consumer side, right. So I’m taking it at face value. Yeah. So she stopped paying the fees to this debt relief company because she needed the money.
[00:08:02] To save up and try to work a deal out with these three, uh, creditors that were coming after her because the debt relief company did not resolve those accounts for her. That happens every day. Right? That’s, that’s pretty much we, we see that stuff all the time. Like, you know, every day I paid all this money for two years into this company, then I got sued, and now they’re saying I need to have more.
[00:08:26] And I’m like, what happened to the 20 grand I already gave you? Oh, well if you really break it down, this was fees and this was this and this was that, and therefore there’s no money left, so you gotta come up with more money. But this, this debt relief company took a step further, so she stopped paying the fees a few months ago and said, okay, I gotta just deal with this on my own cuz they’re not gonna help me.
[00:08:44] Mm-hmm. , the debt relief attorney just filed a lawsuit against the consumer for, for not paying, not paying. And I just, I just found this out recently. I’m like, this is gonna get, I haven’t heard of that before. Usually the debt relief companies that don’t do a good job or don’t satisfy their client, I mean, it’s their client.
[00:09:07] They need to like, you know, I mean, there is a, a, a, an expectation there or a level of service that, you know, you have to make your client happy. And I, I know there’s exceptions to that in certain cases. I, have you ever heard of a debt relief company? Actually, you know, a situation like that where the client had to stop paying the fees so they could take the money and try to resolve the debt on their own.
[00:09:28] Now the client is being served with the lawsuit by the debt relief company claiming the unpaid fees. So this is gonna get interesting. That
[00:09:38] Steve Rhode: is ridiculous. That’s so stupid. Look, I gotta know. I’ll tell you after. I’m gonna beep it out. I’ll tell you after. I’m gonna beep it out. I’ll
[00:09:48] Damon Day: tell you after. I’ll tell you after.
[00:09:50] Okay. Because we’re gonna look into this. Cause this is gonna be interesting. I meant to tell you yesterday, and I forgot I was busy with softball and baseball yesterday. But yeah, it’s okay. It’s gonna be a
[00:09:59] Steve Rhode: doozy. Well, here’s a doozy. It doesn’t even compare to that one. Yesterday I was, uh, waiting. To pick up my pizza order and the, the one that I bit my lip on , uh, and, and my phone rang and it was a local number and I’m just sitting there waiting, so I figured.
[00:10:19] Oh, okay. Hello. Hi, this is Betty from the Visa and MasterCard Debt Relief Department. Oh yeah. Okay. Go on
[00:10:31] It’s like come into the layer. Yeah. . Yes. I’m calling you about a special program from the government using the Fair Credit Reporting Act that will eliminate all of your debt if you have a Visa or MasterCard. Sweet. Oh. Awesome. Tell me more. So, and yeah, tell me more. And she went on and, and like you said, using all sorts of terms and phrases and stuff that meant absolutely nothing.
[00:10:57] I mean, what does the Fair Credit Reporting Act have to do with eliminating your debt anyway? Sounds good. Yeah, it’s a great sales tool. Yeah. And she made the mistake of saying, Does it sound good to you? Mm-hmm. , and I said, it sounds amazing. Who’s the service provider? Do you have a website address? And she didn’t know what to do.
[00:11:16] She literally went back to the beginning of the script and started again. Now I’m sitting in this pizza place all by myself, you know, one of those lonely tables for, for. And there are other people in there, and now I’m just laughing out loud, , I look like a, a complete bozo sitting there waiting. And I said, no.
[00:11:40] Let me ask you just the one question. What is the website? And after the second time through this, she now never gave me a gap to talk and said, hold on please. I’m gonna transfer you to my manager. And the call was transferred. This is a live transfer, Lee.
[00:11:58] Damon Day: They probably made a dollar on you. Yeah.
[00:12:00] Steve Rhode: Maybe talk to a very nice man in an Indian call center.
[00:12:05] Damon Day: How do you know is an Indian call center? Steve, how could
[00:12:07] Steve Rhode: you tell? Uh, well, I’m determining by the accent. Oh, okay. And by the background noise, the background accents as well. That’s the way,
[00:12:15] Damon Day: yes. Yeah. A lot of James and Marks in there talking. Yeah. Yeah. This is Jesse.
[00:12:22] Steve Rhode: I remember this one guy from an Indian call center.
[00:12:24] I said, so what’s your name? And he said, John Doe. And I said, can I speak to your manager? Is Jane Doe the manager? No, no. John Smith. Oh,
[00:12:34] Damon Day: John Smith . Well you’re
[00:12:37] Steve Rhode: kidding.
[00:12:38] Damon Day: John, come on. I’m John. Try harder. I’m John Doe .
[00:12:43] Steve Rhode: So anyway, the guy at the, the call center that I got transferred to, he started out, you know, our program’s great.
[00:12:49] It’s gonna eliminate all your debt, everything else. Do you have any questions before we continue and I. Yes, I’d like to know who the service provider is and what the website is so that I can look at the company. And he said, that’s ridiculous. Why are you asking me that? I said, well, you called me . You sh you should be able to tell me what company you’re with.
[00:13:14] And we went around and around. I beat him out on the, on the long pause. I just . I just put the photo. You’re
[00:13:21] Damon Day: Steve. I’m teaching you. I’m teaching you. I know the long pod gets ’em every time.
[00:13:26] Steve Rhode: Put him down on the table. Just waited and waited. Waited. Finally, he came back and he said, what else do you need to know the website?
[00:13:34] He goes, okay, here’s the website. Zero L three X. Come on . That’s your company’s website address and all I. Yeah. So again, if you’re just gonna blindly trust somebody, you’re going to get what you paid for. You’re gonna get nothing for nothing.
[00:13:56] Damon Day: Yeah. You remember that one I had a couple years ago where they called me?
[00:13:59] I love when debt relief people call me. It’s so fun to just kind of play with ’em for a while. They have no idea what they’re talking about. And it was for student loan relief and it was, uh, I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but I recorded the call and it was about 45 minutes. I had a great time with it, and I had the guy on the phone and he was telling.
[00:14:16] All these great things about the student loan relief. He was pitching and he was explaining a fed, I think he was explaining public service loan forgiveness. But I, I kept saying, well, my loans are private. Right? They’re, they had, you know, basically the loans that I have cuz he was calling a client of mine and I called back pretending to be that client with the client’s permission.
[00:14:36] Cause I, you know, I wanted to see what it was all about. I kept explaining to him, I think you have the program confused. You’re telling me about federal loan forgiveness and you, and you know, I have private loans. He goes, yes. I’m like, okay, my private loans don’t qualify for that. So, so then they transferred me to, you know, the manager or wherever, and we went round and round and I finally got the lady to admit, yes, that program, that that guy was talking, It.
[00:15:03] You are correct. They don’t apply to that, but we have this other great program for private loans, . I’m like, well wait a minute. You just spent a half an hour telling me that you know, you have this great solution for me, and it took me a half an hour to figure out and get you to figure out that everything you were pitching me had nothing to do with my situation.
[00:15:24] So now I’m supposed to trust you with now. Oh, okay. Now that you figured it out, here’s this other program. That’s what you’re getting with these debt relief companies. You have a salesperson that 99 times out of a hundred has no fucking idea what the hell they’re talking about. They’re trying to make a sale.
[00:15:40] They maybe watched a video. They were probably doing, you know, driving for Lyft last month and now they’re selling debt relief, . And I said driving for Lyft because I’ve been driving for Lyft for a month as our experi. Right Steve Penny stupid.com. Oh yeah. That’s why it’s taken us so long to do a debt podcast.
[00:15:58] Steve and I have been having a blast doing all these side hustles. We got this new idea about trying all these different side hustles and seeing how much money we can make and sharing that with consumers because hey, one way to get outta debt is to make more money and a little teaser to go check out penny sticker dot.
[00:16:14] My first month with Lyft in the evenings part-time, I made over $6,000 driving people around. That’s the teaser. So if you’re not making this look at 50 grand a year, Go to penny stupid.com. Extra. Yeah, extra, extra. Check out all these side hustles we’re trying out. You might find one that fits your personality that you might wanna do.
[00:16:36] We’re we’re trying ’em all
[00:16:37] Steve Rhode: and we’ve got a, a whole bunch of videos out on our YouTube channel also all about these side hustles. We’ve got side hustles for if you wanna deliver people, if you wanna deliver food, if you wanna deliver packages, or if you don’t wanna deal with people at all. So penny stupid.com.
[00:16:54] You can solve your financial problem by making a little extra cash each month rather than. Worrying and distressing about your debt or falling into one of these unfortunate scams that we’ve been
[00:17:07] Damon Day: talking about? Yeah. What was it, Monday or Tuesday? Amazon Flex paid me $78 to go home. Yeah, I got paid $78.
[00:17:16] You drove, they went home. Yeah. To drive to the warehouse and they said, sorry, we don’t have anything left for you today. Go home, don’t worry. You still get paid 78 bucks. I went, okay, and then I went and I drove Lyft and made another a hundred bucks on the way home.
[00:17:30] Steve Rhode: You know, I know we’re a little bit on time here, and if you’re interested in this extra money that we’re talking about, Hey, look, we’re not trying to sell you anything.
[00:17:37] There’s nothing to sell. No, no, no. On the penny, stupid
[00:17:39] Damon Day: Do We’re com website. We want you to subscribe. We got 107 subscribers now on our YouTube, so we’re selling. We’re selling you on the idea of clicking a button so you can subscribe cuz we’re gonna grow the shit outta this channel. It’s gonna be awesome.
[00:17:52] Steve Rhode: it’s 108 right now.
[00:17:53] Damon Day: 108, yes. . Yeah. Woo.
[00:17:56] Steve Rhode: Go subscribe. But I mean, think, think about this. Does this sound reasonable to you? If you are $800 a month short for meeting your obligations, would you contribute 20 hours a. Of side hustle work on your off time when you’re not working and make the $800. I mean, that’s, oh, we
[00:18:16] Damon Day: could show how to make an extra 800 Easy.
[00:18:20] 800 for the month is nothing. I know , dude, I, I, I’m, I’m doing like 1200 a week driving Lyft part-time. I mean, it’s, and I’m not even working that. Well, we got a bunch
[00:18:31] Steve Rhode: of videos over there, so lot of ’em. Okay, so is this debt relief company a scam? I don’t know. And I do know , but I can’t tell you . But I encourage you, I encourage you to do all your research.
[00:18:42] I have all these free guides for you to take a look at a company and say, does that look right? Smell right, sound right? If you have a particular pitch that you want to know about or talk about, Damon does personal consultations and you can talk to him on the phone and you can get the the straight scoop.
[00:19:00] The horse’s mouth . I was gonna say the other end, but I was being nice. You can reach Damon Damon Day, DamonDay.com, or hey, you can always drop by my site. Get out of debt.org. Happy to help you any way I can, Damon. Thank you so much.
[00:19:19] Damon Day: You’re welcome.
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