New Leaf Debt Settlement Won’t Return Our Money. – Vicki

“Dear Steve,

We cannot thank you enough for giving those, like us, somewhere to turn for honest help and answers.
We signed with New Leaf Debt in February, 2010. Before I closed the account with Global Client Solutions in December, 2010, this account was debited by New Leaf a total of $5395.42 for monthly maintenance fees, an initial set-up fee and monthly enrollment fees.

They had only settled (after we faxed them the letter stating the collection agency was offering a reduced settlement) a small Menard’s account. That is how they “settle” accounts. I can do that myself!

After missing 2 payments, we were sued by American General and basically New Leaf gave us ways to stall, so they would have more time to negotiate.

The attorney for American General said they never negotiate with debt settlement companies. Surely New Leaf knows which companies will negotiate with them and American General was not one of them, yet they took the fees anyway.

My husband’s wages are now garnished for over $500 a month. In addition, since we were dragging it out, it just added to the court costs and attorney fees we owe.

Before we signed the contract, New Leaf said they would be contacting our creditors within 3-4 months; they did not.

We are following the steps you listed to recover our money. Attached is a copy of the certified letter we sent to New Leaf Debt, showing the address where we sent it. A week after it was mailed, we received an email from them, saying they hadn’t heard from us. I emailed them back, attaching a copy of the certified letter. We have not heard anything from them or GCS.

How do we know the cerified letter or email went to someone that had the authority to offer us a refund? We are sending the complaint letters/forms today. We want to be sure when we send New Leaf copies, they make it into the hands of the person that has the authority to respond and make the decision to offer us a refund. How can we find out who to address the letter?

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I found out the Federal Trade Commission passed a law that debt settlement companies can no longer charge any fees until they have settled the debt. This went into effect on October 27, 2010, yet New Leaf Debt continued to debit our account and charge us fees on accounts they did not settle. Are they allowed to do this, since our contract began prior to the new law going into effect?

In March, 2010, when we were one payment behind, a representative from American General came to our door. My husband answered the door and told him that as soon as we had the money he would pay it. The following night, the same thing happened. Three times within a one week period of time, a representative from American General was at our front door. We have their business cards; one representative came twice, the other once. We have 2 boys, ages 9 and 13, that were asking what was going on.

We try to keep our financial problems away from them. From what I have read, they are allowed to come to our home, but at what point does that become harassment? Is there anything we can do about it?

Thanks, Vicki ”

Dear Vicki,

It looks like you need a two stage approach.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

First, we need to tackle the underlying debt problem. In order to stop the wage garnishment and prevent any further suits you are probably going to need to file bankruptcy. Please consult with a local bankruptcy attorney.

Second, hopefully you sent your first letter by certified return receipt requested mail. The return receipt card is all the proof you need as evidence they received it. If they then claim they did not get it, they are simply stalling.

To pursue the refund, keep following the process. It sounds like you’ve made some initial progress but only up to step 10. The refund process is not a sprint. I need for you to take a tortoise approach, slow but steady.

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My friend Damon Day is now offering a service to help consumers recover money on a no win / no fee basis. Please contact Damon Day if you would rather have someone else pursue this for you. Otherwise. keep following the process. Be the tortoise.

Oh yes, the new FTC telemarketing sales rule on fees does not apply to people that enrolled before October 27, 2010.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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