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I’m Working With Craig Zimmerman and His Debt Relief Group and Want Out. – Anna

“Dear Steve,

I’ve been paying into an escrow acct. for the past year with craig zimmerman’s debt relief company – after paying $1400 as an attorney fee, they told me I would be called when a settlement was reached (and after I had accumulated more in the acct. towards the principle).

I have been basically getting harassed by them over the last 3 days calling me and leaving messages (after I spoke to two different reps over the phone and they were putting too much pressure on me to feel comfortable) telling me a very equitable settlement was reached which will come out of the escrow acct plus two more payments and then I have to pay a fee to them equal to the amount of the settlement – which means paying at least another year.

What I find strange about this is I’ve been told 3 seperate times, once in person and twice on phone messages, that I only have two hours to make up my mind and this kind of settlement won’t happen again. That makes me suspicious.

I’ve really been good about making the payments even though we desperately need to get health insurance and I fall short on paying bills (primarily a doctor who treatment me last October who continues to see me).

I want to back out but I’m not sure what the consequences will be. We are in bankruptcy and it is a credit card debt for money loaned to me by a parent, which I promised to pay. My parent is elderly, does not answer the phone and doesn’t worry about their credit scores – they own everything they have and live on social security plus my help. I have been paying it as a matter of principle and to avoid any harrassment for my parent. Any advice would be helpful.

Is it ever a good idea to bail our of a debt relief program – how do you know when you are getting scammed – can you get any of the money back from the “escrow acct.”

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Dear Anna,

In person? Who have you meet from this group in person?

It all does sound very odd and high pressure. Disturbing.

I understand why you didn’t include the debt in your bankruptcy, you couldn’t. But at this point my opinion is your health MUST come before this debt. You need to health insurance as a prudent and safe way to protect yourself moving forward.

You basically have two choices.

First Choice: You could see what refund possibilities you have, probably none for fees. You could withdraw the funds in escrow that you have been saving and notify them you are bailing from the program. You may have an issue that should be filed with the state bar association against Zimmerman if he took advance fees for services not yet delivered. See the Allegro Law situation for a similar case.

Second Choice: You could gamble with your health and life without insurance and continue on the path you are on.

Regardless your parent would only be facing a potential lawsuit by the creditor for non-payment and a judgment but if they have no assets to speak of and only living on benefits then there is nothing for the creditor to go after and it would end there.


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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.

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