I received a tip that was sent to me about a site AmericanCreditAssociation.com. After looking at the site it looked like the typical B.S. fake government debt relief site approach I’ve seen hundreds of times. Nothing to write about there.
But I poked around a bit more a discovered that the American Credit Association is part of a much larger network of web sites that appear to be nothing more than lead collection sites, with testimonials and information that appear to not accurately tell the consumer who they really are.
What was not story became a question worth us all pondering, what information should a consumer know before giving up their personal information? What duty do legitimate debt relief companies have to inform consumers who they really are and what they really do?
Maybe I’m stuck in a traditional mindset of thinking that a company that holds itself out as providing debt relief services should tell the truth. Those companies don’t need a vast network of sites with different names and approaches, they need to focus on delivering quality services to help people.
Let’s look at the American Credit Association as an example.
American Credit Association
The web site says “Debt relief information and services are provided by American Credit Association, an established, Nationally recognized debt relief organization.” – Source.
But here is the thing, the American Credit Association, that says they are located in Florida is not an active or registered business according to the State of Florida. So who are they and how can they be licensed and bonded as they claim?
They claim to be located at 8601 4th Street N. Suite 309 Saint Petersburg, Florida 33702 and have a call center at 7260 Azure Drive Suite 140-523 Las Vegas, NV-89130. The Las Vegas address is actually a mail drop for a company called Mostly Mail and the Florida address links back to the company that actually owns the American Credit Association domain name, TSSR Financial, Joseph Sammarco, 8601 4th Street North, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33702. – Source
So far, it’s still your average run of the mill misdirection story but when I saw the number of sites they were running along with the American Credit Association, I took notice.
Well it appears that TSSR Financial also owns a number of other domains also. At the time of this article all domain names below are owned by TSSR Financial except where noted.
Tssrfinancial.com – Owned by CreditSettle, Joseph Sammarco at same address.
TSSR Financial Doesn’t Even Really Exist
According to the State of Florida there is no company called TSSR Financial. There is a TSSR Corp that was registered on April 14, 2009. TSSR Corp listed their address as 8601 4th Street North, Suite 305, Saint Petersburg, FL 33702 and is owned by Joseph P. Sammarco as president. – Source
Now I am in no way calling TSSR Corp or TSSR Financial a scammer but I did find this warning to consumers on their site, interesting.
There’s nothing worse than a horrid company preying on the financially hurt, nonetheless giving real debt companies a bad name. On a better note, we can help you point out these scammers so their meaningless pitch gets struck-out and straight exposed. – Source
And that seems to return me to my original question I was pondering.
Let’s Look at Some of the TSSR Corp/TSSR Financial Sites
Below you will see some screen shots from some of the sites owned and run by TSSR Financial with some interesting statements from them.
“American Debt Association is an established, Nationally recognized organization in partnership with the American Credit Association and the US Debt Bureau.” – Source. An alliance between your own two companies. Really?
“Discover the debt settlement difference with a debt settlement company that render 0 complaints from the BBB, and continue’s to provide excellent customer service.” – Source. Could it be that it is because there is no real company called DebtSettle.us?
They display the logo of The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) but they are not a TASC member. – Source
“If your looking for a nationally licensed and bonded service provider in the debt management industry? Look no further.” – Source. The curious fact is there is no national license for debt relief companies and as far as I can tell TSSR Corp is not a service provider.
“Our services help consumers avoid bankruptcy, lower monthly payments, and reduce the total debt by 50%.” – Source. Making promises to reduce total debt by 50%? Hum, I’m sure the Federal Trade Commission would like to see that.
I noticed a number of the TSSR Corp web sites have the Trust-e, Verisign, and BBB Reliability logos on them but they are just there for show, they actually don’t link anywhere. – Source
A search of the Trust-e site could find no authorization to display the logo or confirm membership. This particular site is also not authorized to display the BBB logo since it is not a BBB accredited business. In fact the BBB report for this site gives it an F and says:
On April 27, 2009 the BBB requested this company to substantiate advertising claims made on its website, www.DebtNegotiate.us.
The specific claims being challenged by the BBB are:
1) “100% Legal debt Relief Done Right, Attorney Based Debt Negotiation Company.”
2) “Proven Results”
3) “Eliminate Collections”
4) “Reduce Debt by 70%”
5) “Become Debt Free Fast”
The company has failed to reply and failed to substantiate their advertising claims listed above. – Source
The BBB Report also lists a couple of additional addresses for the company:
4773 58th Ave N Ste E
Saint Petersburg, FL 33714-1025
12520 102nd Ave
Seminole, FL 33778-3400
1105 Pine Ridge Cir W
Brandon, FL 33511-6278 – Source
Anyway, You Get The Point
So I ask you, does TSSR Financial bend the truth enough in different places, misrepresent the facts of their programs and not provide consumers with enough information to be open, transparent and honest with consumers that visit their sites? Do you feel secure and confident that they are providing reliable debt relief services or just saying what they can to generate leads that will be sent who knows where?
As an industry, debt relief providers need to ask themselves what are the distant borders between puffery and fraud? What truth should consumers have when visiting a web site? Should the statements made be supported, factual, reliable?
For example, the TSSR sites are all over the board on the amount of debt they claim to reduce. It hardly feels those statements are based on fact and if they are not, should they be accepted by the debt relief industry as the mark of a good company, or a fraud?
So post your comments below, at what point do consumers deserve the truth in order to make fully informed and educated decisions about who to seek to professionally represent them with their debt concerns?
I can always use your help. If you have a tip or information you want to share, you can get it to me confidentially if you click here.