Legal Helpers Debt Resolution Steps Up and Answers Questions Raised by Tipster

Not long ago I published a list of questions about Legal Helpers Debt Resolution. See Working on Legal Helpers Story. Need Help With These Questions.

I received an answer from Jason Searns, Esq., Managing Partner, from Legal Helpers. Below you will find his answers to the questions posed to the public.

The questions in that previous story looking for information on Legal Helpers were:

  1. Is the main Chicago office a “call center”?
  2. Are employees penalized for spending too much time on the phone with consumers?
  3. Are employees penalized for making notes that are too detailed?
  4. Is it a sales driven environment or is the emphasis on providing the best advice for the consumer?
  5. What is the “First Call Resolution” approach?
  6. Is there an emphasis to ” just set the appt up and get them to pay that damn retainer fee and lock them in somewhat?”
  7. How much training do representatives get before they begin to offer advice to consumers?
  8. What options are explained to consumers?
  9. Since Legal Helpers provides both bankruptcy and debt settlement solutions, is there one that is promoted more than the other to consumers?

Legal Helpers Answers

Mr. Rhode[sic],

We read your request for information to be used in your article regarding Legal Helpers Debt Resolution. Frankly, we have significant concerns that it will not be possible to engage you in a fair and even-handed discussion regarding our company. You have repeatedly singled-out and attacked LHDR on your website and published information that is simply false. Moreover, those questions you posed to your audience regarding our company are completely one-sided and self-serving. We can only assume that you are engaging in an LHDR “witch-hunt” because two of your most important advertisers and supporters are competitors of LHDR: Freedom Financial and Total Bankruptcy. That being said, however, we are going to take the chance that, despite any personal financial motives you may have, you are at heart a fair “journalist” and will publish this response in its entirety (including this paragraph) in order to provide full disclosure to your readers.

  1. The main office of our law firm, Legal Helpers Debt Resolution (LHDR) is in Chicago and it has both administrative offices and a call center. Our call center answers potential client questions about the services of the law firm and provides an administrative review of potential client files to determine if one of the law firm’s debt resolution services may be appropriate.
  2. All LHDR staff are trained to solicit from potential clients a list of objective criteria to determine if the law firm’s debt resolution services are appropriate. All LHDR staff are encouraged to spend as much time as necessary reviewing this information preliminarily with the client. At the end of the phone call, potential clients are offered the opportunity to sit down with one of our partners in their home state for a free consultation. The attorney reviews the file and allows the client to choose the appropriate resolution option. Only then is a retainer for services signed.
  3. See answer to #2
  4. Steve, clearly you are a business man as evidenced by all of the ads on your site for our competitors, so surely you understand that without a sales force you have no business. We sell debt relief. We, as a full service law firm, can monetize each of the three main debt resolution options. So when a person calls us, if they need or want a debt management plan that’s what they can get. Can you say that about Freedom Financial or Total Bankruptcy. Do you even realize that Total Bankruptcy is just a giant lead generation site selling its leads to hundreds of different unaffiliated attorneys around the county. There is no centralized quality control around the performance of these bankruptcy attorneys.

    As a business, LHDR will have more satisfied clients and goodwill moving forward by matching a client’s financial situation to the appropriate legal service.

  5. Any good company with good customer service tries to resolve a customer’s questions on a “first call”.
  6. As explained in #2 above, we do not take any money nor have any type of retainer signed by our clients until after the face to face consultation in which we provide bona fide legal services.
  7. As I am sure you realize, non-attorneys cannot offer specific legal advice. Our support staff is trained to provide general information to clients when requested, and gather information from clients to use as a basis for the potential legal services we can provide.
  8. Information is given to the clients on debt negotiation, debt management and bankruptcy. In fact, important disclosures are provided in our retainer agreement that the client signs acknowledging that they have been advised about all three debt resolution options. The firm uses a specifically designed software program to determine initially which debt resolution option may be appropriate for the client. In addition, our clients are provided, as a part of the our retainer, with full service litigation defense. Finally, we advise our clients to be aware of any FDCPA violations by collection groups and provide representation for such claims to recovery damages.

    There are law firm models out there that do not take the steps we do to ensure compliance with state and federal standards or to protect our clients with assurances such as our minimum performance standard. They haven’t gone to the trouble of setting up a partnership with over 300 attorneys across the country to properly service and meét with their clients. They don’t offer litigation defense, bankruptcy or advocacy on FDCPA claims.

    As for the performance model companies out there, they don’t have the options we have nor do they have an attorney sit down with their clients. Of critical importance is that they do not provide clients with full defense on collection lawsuits as we do. They use low paid call center employees who give advice to consumers and then provide a “one size fits all” debt settlement plan. Many of these consumers will fail in their attempt to save funds and will be eventually meeting with an attorney to explore all their options.

    After considering the above, maybe you can investigate those companies that sell a “product”, just to avoid compliance with the FTC rule, as a way to make money enrolling someone in a debt management plan or all of the “non-profits” that take money from both the creditors AND the consumer knowing that a large percentage of those consumers will never finish their debt management program.

  9. LHDR provides its clients with a full range of bona fide legal services for debt resolution, including debt management plans and financial workouts, debt negotiation, collection litigation defense, representation in FDCPA enforcement actions, and bankruptcy. We perform an initial review of each potential client’s financial circumstances and determine which of our offered services is consistent with our client’s goals. We have over 300 partners and offices in every state, so our attorneys are able meet with each client in their own community. In the event of a change in a client’s financial position or circumstance over time, it sometimes becomes apparent that a different legal service would be a more cost-effective, and perhaps the only truly viable, option for that individual. Examples include a client moving from a debt management plan to debt negotiation, or, if appropriate, from negotiation to bankruptcy. – Source

Jason E. Searns, Esq.
Managing Partner/General Counsel
Legal Helpers Debt Resolution, LLC
Macey, Aleman, Hyslip & Searns
303 East 17th Avenue
Suite 340
Denver, CO 80203

My Response

Mr. Searns,

If I have ever published anything that was “simply false” please bring to my attention and I will gladly investigate the fact in question. If you ever have such a concern in the future, the quickest way to raise such a concern is to post it in the comments on the story in question.

Your observation about the ads that are displayed is interesting. For information about ads on the site, click here. I have no control over what ads you or anyone may see most often.

I have no important advertisers since I don’t personally run the ads or exercise control over them. I have no advertising relationship with the entities that appear through the ads. In fact I remember seeing a LHDR ad appear at least once.

Typically the ads displayed for the individual user are heavily weighted by the page you are on and the sites they have previously visited. I don’t remember seeing a display advertisement for Total Bankruptcy while surfing the site.

Your assumption that I was working on a “witch-hunt” story is an incorrect assumption. But since you’ve raised that allegation let me respond openly to it so you will understand how it came about.

My questions were an attempt to independently research the statements I received from a tipster (send in your tips here) who said they were a previous employee of Legal Helpers.

I did not seek out the story. It was sent in unsolicited by the tipster (send in your tips here). The tipster (send in your tips here) said:

I just wanted to say thank you for having this site up. I was actually just fired from Legal Helpers at their main Chicago “office” (basically just a call center.) They didn’t give me any exact reason but I’m pretty sure it was because I was giving the potential client too much info and basically being honest even with current clients. I guess they want me to be as vague as possible, even in the client’s notes.. because I would type out long entries because they ALWAYS call back, regardless. First Call Resolution was something not even mentioned in our pointless ONE WEEK TRAINING and ONE WEEK WITH A MENTOR (on phones with them.) Two full weeks of training for something so delicate to someone’s LIFE?! Unbelievable, they wanted us to just set the appt up and get them to pay that damn retainer fee and lock them in somewhat.

Disgusting.

I published the questions previously in an effort to independently investigate the allegations raised by the tipster (send in your tips here) so I could report on them fairly. I was hoping to hear from others regarding these issues to hear what they had to say. I am most appreciative of your response. Thank you.

I do feel I am a fair journalist and always try to be factual in my reporting. As you will see I have published your response in its entirety, but I would have done that anyway without the challenge.

I’ve written previously at length about the success or failure rates of the different debt relief options. In your response you said “knowing that a large percentage of those consumers will never finish their debt management program,” which made me wonder what it the success rate of the Legal Helpers Debt Resolution program is?

Can you please share what percentage of consumers that enroll, eliminate 100% of their debt through your debt settlement program alone and please provide detailed statistics I can publish, which I will gladly do, to help inform consumers so they can compare your solution effectiveness against that of the solution you mentioned?

In your response you also said, “Examples include a client moving from a debt management plan to debt negotiation, or, if appropriate, from negotiation to bankruptcy.”

I’d also be very interested in the success rate of consumers that moved from a debt management program to your debt settlement program and eliminated 100% of their debt that way. And those that moved from negotiation to bankruptcy. It would be very interesting to look at the effectiveness of doing that as you mentioned you do.

Feel free to post your responses directly in the comments section below.

Sincerly,


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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.

See also  Stratton & Feinstein Account Was Taken Over by Legal Helpers Debt Resolution But Creditor Won't Settle

63 thoughts on “Legal Helpers Debt Resolution Steps Up and Answers Questions Raised by Tipster”

  1. Well, looks like after a trip to Chicago to go down with Legal Helpers Debt Resolution and then their partner company The Mortgage Law Group that they had Steve Vanderhoof work, old Vanderhoof is back in Orange County, California SO BUYERS BEWARE !!! Word on the street has it that old Steve Vandercrack is RENTING (of course) in Huntington Beach, California…..now that is a long ways’ from the RENTED mansion in Laguna Beach and the RENTED home in Chicago with the LEASED exotic cars…..again, BUYERS BEWARE CUZ HE IS BAAAACCCCCKKKKK !!!!

    Reply
  2. Good.

    Each and every day that Legal Helpers continues to exist, they wage a blatant affront against the FTC, the consumers they aim to protect and every company that is compliant with the FTC rule.

    Legal Helpers and their affiliates should pack it up now and sneak out the back door under cover of night. If they’re patient, I’m sure they’ll find plenty of other opportunities to prey on consumers and circumvent the law.

    Reply
    • Good.

      Each and every day that Legal Helpers continues to exist, they wage a blatant affront against the FTC, the consumers they aim to protect and every company that is compliant with the FTC rule.

      Legal Helpers and their affiliates should pack it up now and sneak out the back door under cover of night. If they’re patient, I’m sure they’ll find plenty of other opportunities to prey on consumers and circumvent the law.

      Reply
      • I was a ex-employee of The Credit Exchange in Orange County, CA.  I saw the massive harm Vanderhoof did with that company and was relieved when I heard about the over $16M judgment that had been awarded innocent people associated with Hess-Kennedy.  I am sure that was ONLY the tip of the ice berg as Steve had numerous companies involved.  The employees at The Credit Exchange were assured that the enrolles were being given excellent advice and successful programs.  We knew that was not true after unfortunate victims would start calling in months later in desperation.  The wiser employees bolted as new opportunities arrived and the more unfortunate employees would stay out of desperation for a mediocre income.  And the employees, believe me, were cheated as much as the consumers were.  I know many ex-employees tried in vain to collect past wagesThen came MoveMyNetWorth after The Credit Exchange crumbled and the doors were closed by the authorities.  I believe when The Credit Exchange closed their doors Steve owed the landlords over at Hutton Centre hundreds of thousands of dollars for back rent on his “penthouse office suites”.  MoveMyNetWorth went down the drain quickly as the concept was easily exposed as a convoluted scheme.The next Vanderhoof adventure was Legal Helpers Debt Resolution in Chicago, their main headquarters.  Legal Helpers Debt Resolution was already in trouble for basically the same reasons as The Credit Exchange.  They brought Steve Vanderhoof to Chicago to escape the heat he was being experiencing in Southern California after The Credit Exchange shut down and they basically needed someone to run their boiler room enrollment operations for debt settlement.  Vanderhoof has no legal background, no legal degree much less even a minimal junior college degree, but this was new fluff to get back into the debt settlement arena.  The laws had changed to try and protect consumers, stating that licensed attorneys could only collect upfront fees for debt settlement.  But Legal Helpers Debt Resolution was and is just as jaded at The Credit Exchange except they are obviously much larger and powerful.Last but not least with the mortgage foreclosure crisis sweeping over the country, Vanderhoof invented The Mortgage Law Group as the debt settlement arena at Legal Helpers Debt Resolution started to sink.  And remember again, Vanderhoof needed to stay out of California because of The Credit Exchange collection issues from various judgments.  Within virtually less than a year, The Mortgage Law Group has lead into the same diseased path of victims as other Vanderhoof smoke-and-mirror companies.  You will find many, many reports throughout numerous sites on these companies and 99.9% of the reports are accurate and true stories of innocent consumers that were victimized and lied to which resulted in their original problems becoming the real nightmares they were trying to avoid, i.e. bankruptcies, judgments and foreclosures.  The rare and few “success stories” are fabricated by Vanderhoof company employees for rebuttals.I am amazed this man can sleep at night, pretending to live the celebrity-party life and also portray a lavish and affluent family lifestyle.  Vanderhoof’s bragging on Facebook is almost a slap in the face to the probable hundreds of thousands of people he victimized.  The only remaining loyal followers are fellow employees who will bow to Steve, follow his commands and unfortunately also participate in his reported and well-known drug habits.I blame our legal system for not stepping in.  I blame The Federal Trade Commission for not putting the brakes on this before his fourth company was born.  If you read this and you have more to include, please do so.

        Reply

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