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I Think I’ve Been Scammed by The Debt Answer and Simon & Bocksch. – Marie

“Dear Steve,

I just read Kevin’s story & I think I have also been scammed! I signed up with the Debt Answer program in December 2009 and my monthly payment of $271.78 is being debited from my checking account by noteworld since January 2010. I have been paying for the last 6 months thinking that the law offices of Simon & Bocksch are talking to my creditors to arrive at a settlement.

Yesterday, I was so surprised to receive a summon from one of my creditors to answer the complaint they filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York County of Ulster.

I contacted the Law Offices of Simon & Bocksch and they advised me to fax the summon documents to them so they could contact the creditor. Since this thing happened and after reading Kevin’s story, I have a strong feeling that I am a victim of consumer fraud and scam.

Please take time to read the email that was sent to me on the day that I signed up for the Debt Answer Program and let me know your thoughts on this.

With my current situation, I would like to seek your advise whether I should just cancel the debt settlement program and demand back all the payments I have made to noteworld. This situation has stressed me so much and I’m so furious at these companies who are operating dubiously and are victimizing consumers who are desperate to get debt relef. I look forward to your best advise Steve.

Marie
Arizona

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Congratulations Marie! You have completed The Debt Answer enrollment process.

Your first payment of $ 271.78 is due in your account on the 15th of each month starting 01/15/2010.

Initially, you will be contacted by the Law Office of Simon & Bocksch via email. Upon your first draft (which begins your enrollment) You will be contacted via telephone for your orientation. Of course, should you have any questions prior to this time, please do not hesitate to call them… they are here to help.

If you miss their call, please call them within two business days at 1-866-446-0969.

We also need you to collect all correspondence that you get each month, other than statements, and send a copy to us by fax or email at the end of the month.

Although Please Fax Over your most recent statements now that you have enrolled ASAP to 305-402-0396.

Also remember to contact us if you decide to change your phone numbers, so we will be able to stay in contact with you for important information regarding your settlements. Some clients never change their numbers and some do, so please remember to let us know if you do.

Law Office Primary Contact Information
Law Office of Simon & Bocksch
1001 Brickell Bay Drive Suite 1200
Miami, Florida 33131
Client Services: 1-866-446-0969
FAX: 305-402-0396
Email: customerservice@thedebtanswer.com

We have provided the following information for you file:

1) Enrollment Package – A copy of your enrollment package has been emailed to you. Please review your enrollment packet. If you have questions about your payment due-date and/or payment, please contact me. To be successful in this program, it is imperative that you follow through with your responsibilities as a client.
•Save your low monthly payment every month until there is enough money to pay a balloon payment to each creditor down the road. This is held for you by NoteWorld, our A+ BBB rated service provider.
•Be strong and remember that these are your debts. Although we cannot pay them for you, we can help you stick with your plan and save the funds to eventually pay off your debts.
•Please return our calls and emails promptly…communication with the Law Firm is critical!
•You are able to allow the Law Firm do all the communicating with your creditors. We know how to work well with them.

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2) A copy of the Fair Debt and Collecting Act – You have federal rights given to you by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Please read at your earliest convenience. (See Attachment)

We are excited about the opportunity to help you get out of debt with the least amount of time and the least amount of money. Rest assured that with the combination of resources at the Law Office of Simon & Bocksch and the A+ Rated NoteWorld, we will help get you and your family through this tough situation.

Thank you for allowing us to help start you on the path to being debt-free.

Regards,

Melissa LaRoach
Senior Debt Analyst

THE DEBT ANSWER / The Industry Leader in Debt Reduction
www.TheDebtAnswer.com / melissal@thedebtanswer.com
All Client Correspondence to:
1001 Brickell Bay Drive Suite 1200, Miami, Florida 33131
1-888-300-9232 EXT. 142”

Dear Marie,

Your question gave me the impression that you may have thought although you were paying the Law Office of Simon & Bocksch for help with your debt that somehow meant you had legal representation when it appears you don’t.

Even though the Simon & Bocksch says:

Because many clients are hesitant about signing on with a debt settlement company that does not have lawyers negotiating their debt, your potential new clients feel more confident and secure knowing that lawyers are handling the negotiations for your company.

When you read that statement a reasonable person could come to the conclusion that the lawyers negotiating my debt are legally representing me. They are not.

I could find no record of the attorneys (Ronald M. Simon, Rachelle Bocksch, or Marina Braginskaya) at Simon & Bocksch being admitted to practice law in Arizona or New York.
I did find it ironic that the Simon & Bosch site says “No Fee if No Recovery” but yet I think you will find you’ve already been charged a lot for the debt settlement program even though you’ve received no settlements.

If you were under the impression that signing up with a law office gave you any sort of legal protection to prevent creditors from suing you, you were mislead. As it appears, the law office that is collecting your money has no authority to even legally defend you in Arizona or New York.

I would not be surprised to learn that Noteworld has been paying the company out of the money you have deposited so far. I would be very surprised to find that the majority of the $1,630.68 you have paid in to date was not already deducted to pay debt settlement service fees in advance of services being delivered.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.
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In order to get legal advice to deal with the court summons you have received in Arizona you must speak to an attorney licensed in Arizona. A summons is nothing to disregard. If you miss the deadline or don’t show, you will automatically lose the case and potentially wind up with a judgment and wage garnishment.

Remember this, being in a debt settlement program does NOT prevent you from being sued. The only way to block lawsuits from all your creditors is by seeking protection under bankruptcy. It would be a good idea for you to click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney, contact them, and discuss your situation. A local bankruptcy attorney can give you legal advice.

For the amount you’ve spent so far in this debt settlement program it would probably have paid all or most for filing bankruptcy and that would have blocked this suit and potentially others on the way, from happening.

Here is what I would suggest doing.

  1. Call Simon & Bocksch and ask them if they can legally represent you in New York or Arizona.
  2. If they say they can, which I can find no evidence of, then ask them how they plan to “legally stop this lawsuit” and prevent any others.
  3. Ask them the balance available in your Noteworld account for a refund.
  4. If you don’t like the answers you hear then tell them you wish to terminate the service and you expect a full refund.
  5. Let them know that if you do not receive a full refund by X date you will file complaints with the Florida Attorney General, Florida Bar Association, Arizona Attorney General, Arizona Bar Association, and the Federal Trade Commission.

I bet they will come back and say you signed an agreement saying you understood all this stuff, and buried down in the fine print it will probably say your payments go first towards debt settlement fees and they don’t provide legal representation. Regardless, file the complaints if you don’t get your refund.

Please update me on your progress by

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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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