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Legal Helpers Debt Resolution Was Marketing Using the Economic Stimulus Act. – Mary

I’m in a bind, where I’m having trouble paying two massive (29.99 percent) credit card bills and have lots of other expenses (three kids and their assorted expenses). I got a solicitation that, after calling the 877 number and asking as many questions as I could, turned out to be from Legal Helpers Debt Resolution.

I’m dubious, because the solicitation said nothing about the company, had an “official” looking seal and a Washington DC address, and a pitch that started out “With the recent passage of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 on February 1st a Consumer Debt initiative was created bo assist consumers like you to become debt free in as little as 12-36 months.” I’m relatively well-informed, and I even don’t know what they’re talking about. After making two or three calls to them for more information, I now have four different phone numbers, a weird excuse for the Chicago firm not being on the BBB list and a statement that, if I qualified, they would charge 15 percent of the settlement and a $500 retainer…

Is that fair? Are these people for real? I have no way of knowing. I’m so confused. And while I liked them the first time I talked to them, I’m really nervous now. Is it worth pursuing?

Mary




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About the author

Steve Rhode

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.

4 Comments

  • Hello Mary,

    I will admit ahead of time, that I don’t think very highly of the programs I have seen legal helpers enroll clients into. So my information is biased. Recently a new law was passed that went into effect 2 hours ago actually that will ban debt settlement companies from charging all of their fees upfront which was what the sales person was pitching to you.

    This was done to protect consumers that for the most part simply got taken advantage of. Now there are certain loop holes in this law that some companies are trying to exploit to continue to charge these large upfront fees because in my opinion they care more about raking in money than helping consumers.

    I do not know the new model that Legal Helpers will be using, but whatever it is they will have to start telling people from today forward. I have read that they were going to try to send local people out to meet with new clients face to face as a way to skirt the new law and continue to charge clients a lot of money upfront. If they try this, I would say forget it.

    Also my guess is that legal helpers was using an advertising company to send out those bogus mailers designed to trick and confuse consumers into thinking it was some sort of government program. However, in my opinion, whether they did it directly or hired someone that did it, ultimately they are responsible for any deception that is going on in the name of promoting their program.

    Given what you have disclosed, the misleading mailers and the fact that they still seem to be charging all of their fees in a front loaded manner, I would seriously consider looking at other options.

    All that being said, at this time have you looked at other options other than debt settlement? Often times consumers learn that debt settlement really isn’t the rosy picture that the sales people present it as, and given your circumstances there may be better options available to you. It certainly will not hurt to take a step back and make sure to research all options before making a decision.

  • Hello Mary,

    I will admit ahead of time, that I don’t think very highly of the programs I have seen legal helpers enroll clients into. So my information is biased. Recently a new law was passed that went into effect 2 hours ago actually that will ban debt settlement companies from charging all of their fees upfront which was what the sales person was pitching to you.

    This was done to protect consumers that for the most part simply got taken advantage of. Now there are certain loop holes in this law that some companies are trying to exploit to continue to charge these large upfront fees because in my opinion they care more about raking in money than helping consumers.

    I do not know the new model that Legal Helpers will be using, but whatever it is they will have to start telling people from today forward. I have read that they were going to try to send local people out to meet with new clients face to face as a way to skirt the new law and continue to charge clients a lot of money upfront. If they try this, I would say forget it.

    Also my guess is that legal helpers was using an advertising company to send out those bogus mailers designed to trick and confuse consumers into thinking it was some sort of government program. However, in my opinion, whether they did it directly or hired someone that did it, ultimately they are responsible for any deception that is going on in the name of promoting their program.

    Given what you have disclosed, the misleading mailers and the fact that they still seem to be charging all of their fees in a front loaded manner, I would seriously consider looking at other options.

    All that being said, at this time have you looked at other options other than debt settlement? Often times consumers learn that debt settlement really isn’t the rosy picture that the sales people present it as, and given your circumstances there may be better options available to you. It certainly will not hurt to take a step back and make sure to research all options before making a decision.

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