I tried to get a small biz loan to start my company around four years ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to do so (as even SBA wanted three or more years of tracek record). Long story short – I used credit cards for the start-up. For the payback, I was never, EVER late on any card, and always paid more than minimum payments. I consistently whittled away at all the cards – slowly, buy surely, reducing balances.
Fast forward to July of 2009. Every credit card company (all nine of them) changed my rates/credit line. Through reduction of credit lines my FICO went from 740 to 690. Interest rates soared as high as 31.99 on cards I had used for cash advances.
Out of desperation to get debt free – I contacted Lloyd Ward & Assoc. The salesman (who I naively thought was a credit counselor) convinced me that going with Best Debt Options was the best way to go. When I expressed concern over what this “solution” would do to my FICO, I was told my score would be BETTER than it was right now, two years after all debts were satisfied. I was also told the Firm would contact each creditor to alert them that the FIRM now had POA and would be working with them. The only downside would be I’d have to endure 60 – 90 days of phone calls – which I was not to answer.
Another long story short – none of the above played out as it had been promised. I contracted with the Firm in early Feb. of 2010. Six – Seven months later I (and my mother – who works with me and had taken out some cards) was still being hounded day and night by the CC companies. It was so bad I even had to have my mom’s phone number changed. My credit score is shot – with negative reports that will linger for seven years. When I began speaking with CC companies (six months into this) I found out not a SINGLE one had ever been contacted by Lloyd Ward and Assoc.
I truly tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. It was not until about the sixth month that I finally realized they were sucking $643 a month from me and I had nothing to show for it. At that point I began questioning the account exec – requesting documentation of what the Firm had done on my behalf since Feb. When it was clear nothing had been done – I contacted Note-World and told them to stop the monthly withdrawals. Note-World refunded approximately $1000 – but Lloyd Ward stills owes me approximately $3400.
I did as you suggested and sent a certified letter to the Firm in early September – asking for a refund. (Please see attachment) I gave them a list of the all the places to which I would send letters of complaints. I did not receive the refund checks (for me and my mom) so I sent one last email reiterating my plans. I wanted another week, and then followed through. Packaged were sent out to BBB, Texas Bar, Tex Attorny General, FTC and one other place that I don’t have on the tip of my fingers right now.
Here is my question. I would like to start a Class Action suit against this company – how do I go about doing this? I do not have the funds/time/energy to do a personal one-on-one suit. Neither would it be worth it for $3400. However, there are probably thousands of others like myself. As a matter of principle, I would like to ralley these “others” .
Stever, please give me your input. I am very busy with buildling my company – so I can not afford to divert my attention to too great of an extent.
Thank you so very much.
God Bless you Steve!
I’m so sorry you run in this situation. I’m glad you followed the process I laid out here.
I think now the best thing to do for you is not to embark on a class action suit, but to follow the rest of the process.
17. If you still have not received a fair and reasonable refund then contact your local court and find out how to sue the debt settlement company in small claims court for your refund. Typically the amounts claimed are eligible to be pursued by individuals this way. And if you go this route all those documents you’ve place in your special place will come in very handy, Take them all with you when you go for your court date.
18. If you are not confident to file your small claims suit then find a local consumer advocate attorney here.
19. If you have left the debt settlement program, remember to still take care of your debt. You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney, seek information about credit counseling, or seek out a performance fee based debt settlement company. Regardless of which avenue you choose, just do something. Doing nothing is not a viable option. – Source
Everything you have done up to this point in your refund process has laid the groundwork for you taking the final steps above if you want to get a refund.
I’m going to forward this page URL to folks associated with Lloyd Ward and see if that can’t get you some action as well.
If others come forward and post comments about similar experiences it will help you to find people to maybe one day create a class. For now let’s just focus on you winning here.
Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.