Debt Relief Industry Debt Relief Sales Material Debt Settlement Marketing Television Commercials

Simply Debt Free – Debt Relief Television Commercial

  • Commercial Name: Simply Debt Free
  • Record Date: 11-8-2010
  • Network/Channel: Retro TV
  • Description: This is the first television commercial I have seen that appears geared for debt settlement companies that are complying with the new FTC telemarketing sales rules and not charge an up-front fee. It is a good example of how debt settlement companies that comply will market themselves against companies that attempt to find loopholes around the law and continue to charge up-front fees. 1-800-948-5159.

    That being said there are some issues about some of the messages. For example, it says, “Are you considering bankruptcy but worry about the damaging effects it may have on your credit?” The commercial does not provide a similarly weighted message that the debt settlement program it is promoting may have a similar or worse impact on your credit.

    The commercial claims to be able to reduce your debt by nearly half, probably a marginally compliant statement. It says it is risk free, but that’s not accurate either. There is a risk to entering a debt settlement program and falling behind on your payments to creditors. You could be sued, have your wages garnished and hurt your credit for seven years. The commercial says you can avoid bankruptcy and save your credit, that’s just terribly misleading.

[quicktime]https://getoutofdebt.org/member/video/SimplyDebtFree-20101108.mov[/quicktime]

The debt relief commercial above is presented only as an example and archive of debt relief marketing and NOT AS AN ENDORSEMENT by this site. The commercial is archived for research purposes only.

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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.

2 Comments

  • I don’t think the advance fee compliance is going to be a get out of jail free card for companies making claims like this. The ruling was very clear about claims about savings- they have to be typical, they have to factor in fees and saying “as low as” or “as little as” doesn’t cut it as consumers will take that as meaning something is typical.

    I almost gave them a pass on the reference at the beginning to about “considering bankruptcy but worried about the damaging affect on your credit” since debt settlement does affect the credit report in a different way than bankruptcy, but then they freaking say “save your credit”. This is probably the worst violation in the ad.

    Also the fact they are saying “one payment” and “combine your payments” is implying that creditors are being paid on a monthly basis- a big no no. They need to say “Settlement plan” or similar.

    Last just the name “simply debt free” is misleading because debt settlement is by far an easy or simple process. The FTC commented about that sort of deception as well.

    If I was the FTC- I’d nail these guys for the many violations in their ad. And lets see if all of the companies getting these leads are really not charging advance fees.

    Furthermore, they say “WE don’t charge advance fees”, “If WE are not successful” ok if they are clearly a lead referral company, how the heck are they saying “WE” when all they do is sell the caller to another company?

    Last- where is the “clear and conspicuous” disclaimer about negative affects on credit (on that would contradict the message), lawsuits, creditors may not be willing to settle, affect on taxes, etc etc. I’ve got a feeling these guys will be getting a call from the FTC, or they will see this and quickly try to change their message and deal with the higher cost per a call from softer claims and proper disclaimers.
    Jason

  • I don’t think the advance fee compliance is going to be a get out of jail free card for companies making claims like this. The ruling was very clear about claims about savings- they have to be typical, they have to factor in fees and saying “as low as” or “as little as” doesn’t cut it as consumers will take that as meaning something is typical.

    I almost gave them a pass on the reference at the beginning to about “considering bankruptcy but worried about the damaging affect on your credit” since debt settlement does affect the credit report in a different way than bankruptcy, but then they freaking say “save your credit”. This is probably the worst violation in the ad.

    Also the fact they are saying “one payment” and “combine your payments” is implying that creditors are being paid on a monthly basis- a big no no. They need to say “Settlement plan” or similar.

    Last just the name “simply debt free” is misleading because debt settlement is by far an easy or simple process. The FTC commented about that sort of deception as well.

    If I was the FTC- I’d nail these guys for the many violations in their ad. And lets see if all of the companies getting these leads are really not charging advance fees.

    Furthermore, they say “WE don’t charge advance fees”, “If WE are not successful” ok if they are clearly a lead referral company, how the heck are they saying “WE” when all they do is sell the caller to another company?

    Last- where is the “clear and conspicuous” disclaimer about negative affects on credit (on that would contradict the message), lawsuits, creditors may not be willing to settle, affect on taxes, etc etc. I’ve got a feeling these guys will be getting a call from the FTC, or they will see this and quickly try to change their message and deal with the higher cost per a call from softer claims and proper disclaimers.
    Jason

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