Here’s the scene.
Wide shot of Beverly Hills residents getting hammered in a bad economy, running up debt and losing retirement savings.
Cut to next scene where Donna Chavez of DEC Credit Corrections collects $1,000 from this out of work, senior, psychiatrist, who was disabled after back surgery. Donna is alleged to have made promises to cut their $100K debt and correct their credit report.
Fade to black.
We see a title, “Six months latter”. Fade title.
Show consumer feeling like a fool for losing $1,000 thinking that their credit would actually get corrected by a company with Credit Corrections in their name.
Jump cut to hand held shot of debt relief company running for cover after debt was not reduced and credit file not improved.
Damn, it’s a repeat. I thought it was going to be a new show.
From the L.A. Times.
The company, DEC Credit Corrections of Tehachapi, Calif., is run by Donna Chavez. DEC’s website says she started the business “after a bad experience with a credit repair agency who overcharged Donna for repairing her credit file.”
The Rademans paid $1,000 in advance for Chavez’s assistance, according to a copy of the contract provided by the couple. And then they waited for some word of progress.
About half a year later, they say they’re still waiting. Meanwhile, they remain buried in debt, struggling to pay their bills.
Chavez told me the Rademans have it all wrong. She said her office hasn’t received any calls or e-mails from the couple for months and has been awaiting additional paperwork related to their finances before proceeding with the case.
“We provide a service to our clients,” Chavez said. “We don’t stiff anyone.”
She also said she never told the Rademans that she could lower their debt. Rather, she said she could help improve their credit scores so they’d be in a better position to deal with lenders.
The Rademans dispute Chavez’s account, but what becomes clear after reviewing their contract with DEC is that they don’t have much to stand on.
The contract makes no promise for reducing debt and says that DEC offers “no guarantees regarding the amount of points credit scores will be raised,” and that the company “is not responsible if clients’ expectations are not reached.”
“It was dumb to sign it,” Rademan admitted. “Promises had been made verbally, but there was nothing in writing.”
For what it’s worth, the Better Business Bureaugives DEC Credit Corrections a grade of F. This is due in part to DEC’s failure to respond to a customer’s complaint and the bureau’s own inquiries, and partly to what the bureau describes as “concerns with the industry in which this business operates.”
Clearly the Rademans got in over their heads through a combination of mistakes and misfortune. In hindsight, they readily acknowledge that running up massive bills on multiple credit cards was a dangerous thing to do.
But consumer advocates and state officials say the Rademans made a bad situation worse by paying $1,000 upfront for a credit counseling service, with no real promise of action in return.
Frequently, they say, such services are little more than scams.
You can read the full article here.