This is an unusual review. I’m not quite sure what is going on here, but it is odd. This began with a tip from someone for me to look into TheDebtAnswer.com and what I found is interesting.
It seems TheDebtAnswer.com is hosted on the same server with these domains on it.
- AAADebtRelief.com – Source
- ABCDebtRelief.com – Source
- BestDebtOptions.com – Source
- BestOptionsBenefits.com – Source
- BestRateOptions.com – Source
- DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net – Source
- Debthelp-Consolidation.com – Source
- FastDebtConsolidation.com – Source
- LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com – Source
- NetDebtHelp.com – Source
- TheDebtAnswer.com – Source
What makes this interesting is that some of the domains appear similar but have different lawyer names on them as the providers of debt settlement services.
- BestDebtOptions.com – Lloyd Eugene Ward, Lloyd Ward & Associates
- DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net – Lloyd Eugene Ward, Lloyd Ward & Associates
- Debthelp-Consolidation.com – Ronald M Simon, Simon & Bocksch
- FastDebtConsolidation.com – Ronald M Simon, Simon & Bocksch
- LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com – Lloyd Eugene Ward, Lloyd Ward & Associates
- NetDebtHelp.com – David Otto & Affiliates
- TheDebtAnswer.com – Ronald M Simon, Simon & Bocksch
Out of all of these companies, the one that appear to be the most identified is ABC Debt Relief.
12655 North Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75243
A network of debt settlement sites.
ABC Debt Relief Ltd Co is Lloyd Regner of 9330 Amberton Parkway #2322, Dallas, TX 75243. The company was registered on May 25, 2007. Lloyd Regner is the CEO of ABC Debt Relief. – Source
Lloyd Regner is the verifiable owner of DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net, BestOptionsBenefits.com, and LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com.
Lloyd Eugene Ward, Esq.
Lloyd Ward, Esq.
Ronald M Simon, Esq.
Ronald Simon, Esq.
David Otto, Esq.
In my opinion it appears that ABC Debt Relief has created a number of debt settlement websites with the intention of sending these leads to different attorneys as identified above. It’s very hard for the average consumer to figure out who they are actually dealing with.
Take for example the web site LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com. The domain name is owned by Lloyd Regner but the site appears to be that of Lloyd Ward, Esq. It mentioned that it is an affiliate of the Nationwide Attorney Group but a web search for Nationwide Attorney Group revels no entity by that name. – Source. A call to the telephone number on the site, 888-200-3236 was answered by George who said it was actually ABC Debt Relief. Yet the address on the web site says it is 17120 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 235, Dallas, TX 75248-1144 which is the office of Lloyd Eugene Ward. – Source
So then I dialed the number on NetDebtHelp.com 800-899-9003 that says it is the site for David Otto, Esq and his debt settlement services and it was answered by the office of Lloyd Ward, Esq. I then dialed the number listed on the site for a free quote, 888-670-0101 and it was answered by an employee at ABC Debt Relief. – Source
On several of the sites that say they are lawyer debt settlement sites, like TheDebtAnswer.com, I saw the following statement on the FAQ page:
When should I consider bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is very serious and will stay with you for the rest of your life. Nothing is as damaging as Bankruptcy and the negative impact on your credit can be overwhelming. Bankruptcy is for consumers who are in serious financial hardship and for those that generally cannot even save minimal amounts to settle their obligations. – Source
That seems like an awful misleading statement to be made by the Law Office of Simon & Bocksch, David Otto & Affiliates, and Lloyd Ward & Associates. These lawyers either have their names on sites that say this or answer the telephone number for sites that say this.
If you do go bankrupt and some asks you’ll have to say ‘yes’, but so what? The statement that nothing is as damaging as bankruptcy is not true. Bankruptcy in fact would be less traumatic than going into a debt settlement program, having collectors still call you, have your credit trashed with late payments, get sued by creditors, and deal with the exceptionally high fees of debt settlement as compared with bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not just for people that can’t save enough to settle their debts. It’s for people that might even be able to eventually save enough to pay high debt settlement fees and offer settlements to their creditors. Bankruptcy is actually a legal solution for financial situations when there is no expectation someone will be able to pay their debt as agreed and they want legal protections from creditors and a fresh start.
There is nothing on the FAQ page that talks about lawsuits while in debt settlement or the potential tax implications.
When you listen to the audio from some of these sites that plays as the site loads, like DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net it seems to give a very misleading impression of the services offered. It makes it sound like debt can be settled for just a few pennies on the dollar and that there is some money back guarantee offered, since they say it is the “strongest in the industry.” You also get the impression this site and lawyer have handled thousands of these cases. But there is no guarantee listed anywhere on the site.
In looking just at the ABDDebtRelief.com site I spotted the following glaring issues.
Once the debt has been paid in full on the settled amount, the creditor will issue a letter to the credit bureaus stating the debt has been “Paid”, “Settled”, and/or “Settled for less than full amount.” – Source
This makes it sound like settling the debts isn’t an issue but fails to mention that the amount of debt forgiven will be reported to the IRS and reported as a bad debt on your credit report.
The About Us page contains the same copy that some of the attorney sites do. Either the claims made by ABC Debt Relief are inaccurate or the claims made by the attorneys are inaccurate, they can’t both be true. – Source, Source, Source, Source.
Then you will be asked to make affordable, monthly deposits into your own bank account, to save the money to pay the settlements, and our fee. Settlements are typically paid out in a one lump sum payment once the total settlement amount has been accumulated.
Our very affordable fee is deducted from your bank account electronically. The savings portion stays in your account until the settlements are ready to be paid. – Source
They mention their “affordable fee” but fail to say how much it is. Also, they will deduct their fees from your bank account but it appears this will be before you have enough money to settle the debt. They don’t say how the fee will be paid. Will it be paid up front, before any settlements will be made, are refunds available if you change your mind and want out, etc?
The testimonial pages on these different sites are a lie, at least one is potentially true. The rest of the sites with testimonial pages are just copies of ABC Debt Relief testimonials. It is impossible that the attorney based sites can have the same testimonials as the ABC Debt Relief site. some of these sites are not telling the truth. – Source, Source, Source, Source.
Here is the bottom line for me. At the very least I have no clue which of these sites to trust. The lawyer sites appear to just be a cookie cutter approach to debt settlement and I take exception to the statements made on the sites. What I find exceptionally hard to believe is that these lawyers would jeopardize their law licenses and good names by offering debt settlement services under such dubious marketing and false statements like the obviously coped testimonials.
BBB Reviews & Ratings
Quite frankly I’m not even sure who to check on the rating of. There are just so many different players mixed up in this I’m not sure where to start.
The State of New Hampshire cited Lloyd Regner and ABC Debt Relief for the following:
This Consent Order (hereinafter referred to as “Consent Order”) is entered between the New Hampshire Banking Department (“the Department”) and Respondent ABC Debt Relief, Ltd. Co. (“Respondent”). Respondent does hereby stipulate and agree to the following:
- The term “this matter” shall refer to Respondent’s alleged unlicensed debt adjustment activity in the State of New Hampshire from at least 2007.
- The Department is authorized by New Hampshire RSA 399-D:1 to regulate debt adjustment services performed in the State of New Hampshire or on behalf of a person located in the State of New Hampshire.
- RSA 399-D:19,IV authorizes the Department to investigate alleged violations of laws or rules or orders to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of RSA Chapter 399-D, rule or order given under RSA Chapter 399-D or other applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
- RSA 399-D:22 authorizes the Department to perform examinations of Respondent’s debt adjustment business.
- Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:2,IV(e) states the definition of debt adjustment includes a person engaging in the debt adjustment business including but not limited to
acting upon outstanding debt adjustment contracts.
- Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:3,I states that any person that, in its own name or on behalf of other persons, engages in the business of debt adjustment in New Hampshire or with New Hampshire consumers shall be required to obtain a
license from the Department.
- Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:3,III states that if a person, or a person’s members, officers, directors, agents, and employees, violates RSA 399-D:3,I, the debt adjustment contract shall be void and the person shall have no right to collect, receive, or retain any interest or charges whatsoever whether paid or received directly or indirectly. Any such direct or indirect compensation received by the person shall be refunded to the consumer.
- Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:14,I states in part that “No licensee shall be entitled to any fee against the debtor, upon any contract, until the debt adjustment program is arranged and approved by the debtor.”
- This matter concerns at least seventy-six (76) New Hampshire consumers (“debtors”) whose fees Respondent shall refund pursuant to the Department’s initial investigation of this matter.
- The Department and Respondent would like to avoid formal proceedings, and further expense, and to finally resolve this matter under the terms and conditions set forth below.
- The terms of this Consent Order are a fair and reasonable disposition of this matter and are in the public interest.
Is This Your Company?
If this is a review is about your company and you would like to respond to the information I’ve presented here to possibly put it into a broader context or make a correction, please feel free to post your response in the comments section below. I invite you to read my Debt Relief Company and Site Review Policy first.
Update: July 9, 2010
Today, through their agent, ABC Debt Relief had this server shutdown for three hours because of a DMCA notice they sent to my hosting provider regarding this article.
In my opinion it was a low blow and a cheap trick to prevent this article from being read by the public.
The letter claimed that ABC Debt Relief is a trademarked name and thus could not be used in the article. A search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office could not locate any such registered trademark.
Additionally, the use of the name falls under the fair use provisions of both the copyright and trademark laws as used in the context of the article.
They also objected to the screenshots I had of the front pages of the various web sites claiming they were a similar violation. However, those images also fall under the same fair use laws for journalists.
The move by ABC Debt Relief and related parties and sites should make you wonder what the real purpose was. Interestingly, they did not state that any of the facts presented above were false or incorrect.
Here is what happens when people file a frivolous DMCA notice.