Debt Relief Industry Marketing

Let’s Play, Do They Comply, With NewsOn11.com and Debtmerica Relief

It has been a while since we played “Do They Comply” but a tipster (send in your tips here) sent in the following information and wanted me to share it with you.

I think we have a new winner in the DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT

http://www.newson11.com/debt.php

Check it out, they prepare it like its a REAL SITE and a Real News story, check the site www.newson11.com EVERY PAGE takes you to debtmerica.com they claim there is a government program!!

What I’d like to see on your site is a place to send this site and sites like it to the FTC. IF this is not DECEPTIVE advertising then I dont know what is!!

The NewsOn11.com site looks like this.


Click on image for larger view.

And when you click on the official website links it takes you to this.


Click on image for larger view.

From the looks of the URL that takes visitors to their landing page it appears they are just benefiting from the NewsOn11.com site and it is not theirs. http://x.azjmp.com/4cGz5?azauxurl=69362 is a domain registered to Azoogle.com which links to EpicDirect which describes itself as:

“Epic Direct is a division of the Epic Media Group and is the company’s flagship performance-based ad network focused primarily on customer acquisition and pay-for-performance online advertising campaigns.” – Source

So What Do You Think?

What do you think about the NewsOn11.com site and it’s advertising claims and compliance with FTC debt relief advertising rules? Post your comment below and vote now.


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.

READ  New York Attorney General Announces Nationwide Investigation Into Debt Settlement Industry



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.

39 Comments

  • yup, and this is one of the more deceptive ad’s that i’ve seen. Gotta watch out cause 1) its confusing consumers 2) these are HUGE fines.

  • Haha alright thanks for shot across the bow, message received lol. This post has been syndicated on some pretty big sites, yikes.

  • Dude, Just learn from the mistake and do it better next time. There are a lot of people here that would be happy to lend their expertise and feedback if you wanted to launch a new campaign.

    Just keep a photo of that one handy as a great example of what not to do again. 🙂

    Steve

  • You guys are right. I truly do apologize. I actually saw this article on another affiliate site, and decided to use it without really thinking. My bad, the site’s down and won’t be up again. I’m just a young affiliate marketer following examples of other affiliates who’ve claimed they make money this way, and I figured putting the appropriate disclaimers on the site made it ok.

  • “Dude” there are a lot thing non-compliant about this ad including that it suggests specific savings percentages that a debtor may or may not save – not to mention that the whole ad itself is just one big misrepresentation. While you might be making a quick buck with lead gen you’re not stopping to realize that a lot of people’s jobs are on the line if Debtmerica were to be reprimanded for non-compliance.

  • A review of advertising claims from the FTC

    Making Truthful and Substantiated Claims
    If you provide debt relief services, it’s illegal to misrepresent any material aspect of your services, either explicitly or by implication. A material aspect of a debt relief service includes any information that is likely to affect someone’s decision to sign up for your program or to choose one program over another. Some examples of claims that would be material:

    •the amount of money or the percentage of the debt someone may save by using your service;
    •the amount of time necessary to get the results you represent;
    •the amount of money or the percentage of each outstanding debt the customer must accumulate before you’ll begin your attempts to negotiate, settle or modify the terms with creditors;
    •the amount of money or the percentage of each outstanding debt the customer must accumulate before you’ll make a bona fide offer to negotiate, settle or modify the terms with creditors;
    •the effect of your service on the customer’s creditworthiness;
    •the effect of your service on the collection efforts of any creditors or debt collectors;
    •the percentage or number of customers who have gotten the results you represent; and
    •whether your business is a bona fide nonprofit entity.
    May I base my advertising claims on the experiences of some previous customers?
    Yes, but your sample must be representative of the entire relevant population of your past customers. To accomplish this you must, among other things, use appropriate sampling techniques, proper statistical analysis, and safeguards for reducing bias and random error. You can’t cherry-pick the most successful examples to inflate your results.

    If you advertise or represent that your customers will save a certain amount of money or reduce their debt by a certain percentage – for example, “We can settle your debts for 40% to 60%” – your statements must be truthful, and you must have objective proof to back them up. Your claims must accurately reflect the results you’ve achieved for previous customers. It’s important to consider the message your claims convey. Under the law, the FTC looks at claims from the point of view of reasonable consumers. Therefore, what matters isn’t the literal accuracy of the words you use, but rather your proof to support the “net impression” your message conveys. For example, claiming that your past customers have achieved “up to 60% savings” is likely to convey to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 60%. If you don’t have solid proof to back that up, the claim is deceptive.

    Here are several important requirements for making sure your savings claims are truthful and not deceptive:

    1.State the savings based on the customer’s debt when he or she signs up for the program. You may not inflate savings figures or percentages by including interest and fees the credit card company adds after a customer signs up for your program.

    Example 8: Andy signs up with a debt relief service offered by Company H, owing $10,000 on his credit card. One year later, following negotiations with the credit card company, Company H negotiates a settlement allowing Andy to pay $6,000 to resolve the debt. However, since Andy enrolled, the credit card company has charged him interest and late fees totaling $2,000, so that Andy now owes $12,000. By getting a settlement for $6,000, Company H has saved Andy $4,000 ($10,000 minus $6,000) or 40% of the debt at the time of enrollment. It would be deceptive for Company H to claim to have saved Andy $6,000 ($12,000 minus $6,000) or 50% of his debt.

    2.Include the impact of your fees on the claimed savings. You may not inflate your savings claims by excluding the fees your customers paid you.

    Example 9: Betty owes $10,000 on her credit card, and signs up with Company J’s debt relief service. Company J gets a settlement allowing Betty to pay $5,000 to resolve the debt. However, at the time of settlement, Company J charges Betty a $1,000 fee for its work. It would be deceptive for Company J to claim to have saved Betty $5,000 – or 50% of her debt – because Betty also had to pay $1,000 in fees. Instead, Company J may truthfully state Betty’s savings as $4,000 ($5,000 minus $1,000) or 40% of Betty’s debt.

    3.In calculating the results you’ve achieved over time, you must include customers who dropped out or otherwise failed to complete the program. Don’t base your savings claims only on customers who successfully completed your program.

    Example 10: Company K had 10 customers signed up for its service. Each one had $10,000 in unpaid credit card debt for a total of $100,000. Five of the customers completed the program, and each saved $5,000 – for a total savings of $25,000. The remaining five customers dropped out of the program, each one still owing the $10,000 they owed when they signed up with the program. Taken together, Company K has saved its customers $25,000 – or 25% – of the total $100,000 debt they had when they signed up with the program. It would be deceptive for Company K to exclude the drop-outs and claim that it saved its customers 50% of their debt.

    4.Include all debts enrolled by your customers, not only those that have been settled successfully. In calculating your savings claim, you may not exclude accounts you failed to settle, even if the failure was due to customers dropping out of your service.

    Example 11: Company L has 10 customers, and each of them enrolls two $1,000 debts in the program – totaling 20 debts or $20,000. Company L is able to settle 10 of the 20 debts, each for $500. However, it was unable to settle the remaining 10 debts before those customers either completed or dropped out of the program. Thus, Company L has saved its 10 customers $5,000 or 25% of their debts in the program. It would be deceptive for Company L to exclude the 10 accounts that weren’t settled and claim a savings rate of 50%.

  • A review of advertising claims from the FTC

    Making Truthful and Substantiated Claims
    If you provide debt relief services, it’s illegal to misrepresent any material aspect of your services, either explicitly or by implication. A material aspect of a debt relief service includes any information that is likely to affect someone’s decision to sign up for your program or to choose one program over another. Some examples of claims that would be material:

    •the amount of money or the percentage of the debt someone may save by using your service;
    •the amount of time necessary to get the results you represent;
    •the amount of money or the percentage of each outstanding debt the customer must accumulate before you’ll begin your attempts to negotiate, settle or modify the terms with creditors;
    •the amount of money or the percentage of each outstanding debt the customer must accumulate before you’ll make a bona fide offer to negotiate, settle or modify the terms with creditors;
    •the effect of your service on the customer’s creditworthiness;
    •the effect of your service on the collection efforts of any creditors or debt collectors;
    •the percentage or number of customers who have gotten the results you represent; and
    •whether your business is a bona fide nonprofit entity.
    May I base my advertising claims on the experiences of some previous customers?
    Yes, but your sample must be representative of the entire relevant population of your past customers. To accomplish this you must, among other things, use appropriate sampling techniques, proper statistical analysis, and safeguards for reducing bias and random error. You can’t cherry-pick the most successful examples to inflate your results.

    If you advertise or represent that your customers will save a certain amount of money or reduce their debt by a certain percentage – for example, “We can settle your debts for 40% to 60%” – your statements must be truthful, and you must have objective proof to back them up. Your claims must accurately reflect the results you’ve achieved for previous customers. It’s important to consider the message your claims convey. Under the law, the FTC looks at claims from the point of view of reasonable consumers. Therefore, what matters isn’t the literal accuracy of the words you use, but rather your proof to support the “net impression” your message conveys. For example, claiming that your past customers have achieved “up to 60% savings” is likely to convey to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 60%. If you don’t have solid proof to back that up, the claim is deceptive.

    Here are several important requirements for making sure your savings claims are truthful and not deceptive:

    1.State the savings based on the customer’s debt when he or she signs up for the program. You may not inflate savings figures or percentages by including interest and fees the credit card company adds after a customer signs up for your program.

    Example 8: Andy signs up with a debt relief service offered by Company H, owing $10,000 on his credit card. One year later, following negotiations with the credit card company, Company H negotiates a settlement allowing Andy to pay $6,000 to resolve the debt. However, since Andy enrolled, the credit card company has charged him interest and late fees totaling $2,000, so that Andy now owes $12,000. By getting a settlement for $6,000, Company H has saved Andy $4,000 ($10,000 minus $6,000) or 40% of the debt at the time of enrollment. It would be deceptive for Company H to claim to have saved Andy $6,000 ($12,000 minus $6,000) or 50% of his debt.

    2.Include the impact of your fees on the claimed savings. You may not inflate your savings claims by excluding the fees your customers paid you.

    Example 9: Betty owes $10,000 on her credit card, and signs up with Company J’s debt relief service. Company J gets a settlement allowing Betty to pay $5,000 to resolve the debt. However, at the time of settlement, Company J charges Betty a $1,000 fee for its work. It would be deceptive for Company J to claim to have saved Betty $5,000 – or 50% of her debt – because Betty also had to pay $1,000 in fees. Instead, Company J may truthfully state Betty’s savings as $4,000 ($5,000 minus $1,000) or 40% of Betty’s debt.

    3.In calculating the results you’ve achieved over time, you must include customers who dropped out or otherwise failed to complete the program. Don’t base your savings claims only on customers who successfully completed your program.

    Example 10: Company K had 10 customers signed up for its service. Each one had $10,000 in unpaid credit card debt for a total of $100,000. Five of the customers completed the program, and each saved $5,000 – for a total savings of $25,000. The remaining five customers dropped out of the program, each one still owing the $10,000 they owed when they signed up with the program. Taken together, Company K has saved its customers $25,000 – or 25% – of the total $100,000 debt they had when they signed up with the program. It would be deceptive for Company K to exclude the drop-outs and claim that it saved its customers 50% of their debt.

    4.Include all debts enrolled by your customers, not only those that have been settled successfully. In calculating your savings claim, you may not exclude accounts you failed to settle, even if the failure was due to customers dropping out of your service.

    Example 11: Company L has 10 customers, and each of them enrolls two $1,000 debts in the program – totaling 20 debts or $20,000. Company L is able to settle 10 of the 20 debts, each for $500. However, it was unable to settle the remaining 10 debts before those customers either completed or dropped out of the program. Thus, Company L has saved its 10 customers $5,000 or 25% of their debts in the program. It would be deceptive for Company L to exclude the 10 accounts that weren’t settled and claim a savings rate of 50%.

  • For the record, it was a reader that sent in the tip and posted the comment above. I made no comment on the pages but instead asked others if they thought the pages complied.

    But your comment is puzzling. The disclaimer you are falling on here is, by your own admission, at the very bottom of a long page. I would suspect that most viewers do not scroll down past the comments.

    And by the way, are those comments real? And why if they were all added just today are the comments already closed. Or are the comments just fringe and not real reader comments?

    The page is designed to look like something else, something it is not, and sticking “Advertisement” on it in medium contrast type, in a small font, above all of the content is most likely not a sufficient warning that it is not real. You know what is, THE CONTENT ON THIS PAGE IS FICTION.

    So let’s talk about the message for a bit. I’d love to hear your feedback on the message.

    The site says “Today [lawmakers] reveled the official site where cardholders can eliminate that debt and get their money back.”

    Which lawmakers today appointed Debtmerica Relief the official site and what government program is giving money back?

    So the savings claims you are making are not representative of the results consumers experience from Debtmerica and are fictitious representations? Is Michelle Gonzalez a real Debtmerica customer?

    The FTC says, “If you advertise or represent that your customers will save a certain amount of money or reduce their debt by a certain percentage – for example, “We can settle your debts for 40% to 60%” – your statements must be truthful, and you must have objective proof to back them up. Your claims must accurately reflect the results you’ve achieved for previous customers. It’s important to consider the message your claims convey. Under the law, the FTC looks at claims from the point of view of reasonable consumers. Therefore, what matters isn’t the literal accuracy of the words you use, but rather your proof to support the “net impression” your message conveys. For example, claiming that your past customers have achieved “up to 60% savings” is likely to convey to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 60%. If you don’t have solid proof to back that up, the claim is deceptive.” – Source

    So “some people are getting as much as 50% of their credit card debt erased” Some as in a lot or some as in a few. Is that statement “likely to convey to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 50%”

    And those savings claims, they do include fees, right?

    So what is “the new loophole” you talk about? A loophole?

    And while the little disclaimer may say “This site is not affiliated with a news publication” the much larger graphic that overpowers the disclaimer is for freaking News Channel 11.

    Breaking news? Really?

    And that’s just for starters.

    But hey, that’s just my opinion on it. Maybe someone else has a different opinion.

    Harry, what do you think?

  • Dude Harry, why are you blowing up my spot? There’s nothing wrong with creative advertising that is 100% compliant. The site says “ADVERTISEMENT” at the top, “This site is not affiliated with a news publication” and “THE STORY DEPICTED ON THIS SITE AND THE PERSON DEPICTED IN THE STORY ARE NOT REAL. RATHER, THIS STORY IS BASED ON THE RESULTS THAT SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THESE PRODUCTS HAVE ACHIEVED. THE RESULTS PORTRAYED IN THE STORY AND IN THE COMMENTS ARE ILLUSTRATIVE, AND MAY NOT BE THE RESULTS THAT YOU ACHIEVE WITH THESE PRODUCTS. THIS PAGE RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE” at the bottom.

    I’m not being deceptive, I’m being compliant.

  • What’s wrong with a creative advertisement? This site is just a creative way to promote debt relief to people who need it, and it’s 100% compliant! What’s wrong with you people. And shame on you Debtmerica for allowing this man to influence you.

  • What’s wrong with a creative advertisement? This site is just a creative way to promote debt relief to people who need it, and it’s 100% compliant! What’s wrong with you people. And shame on you Debtmerica for allowing this man to influence you.

  • Harry,

    And that’s the kind of response you expect from a company that cares.

    Awesome. Thank you for jumping on this and posting the comment.

    Steve

  • Robert, James:
    Thanks for your comments.

    Steve:
    Our marketing team has been testing a couple of new advertising partners recently, and one of them was just terminated for this. We were unaware of this particular campaign, which was very short-lived, and those links to our site should be cut off now.

    We do take our compliance very seriously. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    Harry Langenberg
    Managing Partner, Debtmerica

  • Robert, James:
    Thanks for your comments.

    Steve:
    Our marketing team has been testing a couple of new advertising partners recently, and one of them was just terminated for this. We were unaware of this particular campaign, which was very short-lived, and those links to our site should be cut off now.

    We do take our compliance very seriously. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    Harry Langenberg
    Managing Partner, Debtmerica

    • Harry,

      And that’s the kind of response you expect from a company that cares.

      Awesome. Thank you for jumping on this and posting the comment.

      Steve

      • Dude Harry, why are you blowing up my spot? There’s nothing wrong with creative advertising that is 100% compliant. The site says “ADVERTISEMENT” at the top, “This site is not affiliated with a news publication” and “THE STORY DEPICTED ON THIS SITE AND THE PERSON DEPICTED IN THE STORY ARE NOT REAL. RATHER, THIS STORY IS BASED ON THE RESULTS THAT SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THESE PRODUCTS HAVE ACHIEVED. THE RESULTS PORTRAYED IN THE STORY AND IN THE COMMENTS ARE ILLUSTRATIVE, AND MAY NOT BE THE RESULTS THAT YOU ACHIEVE WITH THESE PRODUCTS. THIS PAGE RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE” at the bottom.

        I’m not being deceptive, I’m being compliant.

        • For the record, it was a reader that sent in the tip and posted the comment above. I made no comment on the pages but instead asked others if they thought the pages complied.

          But your comment is puzzling. The disclaimer you are falling on here is, by your own admission, at the very bottom of a long page. I would suspect that most viewers do not scroll down past the comments.

          And by the way, are those comments real? And why if they were all added just today are the comments already closed. Or are the comments just fringe and not real reader comments?

          The page is designed to look like something else, something it is not, and sticking “Advertisement” on it in medium contrast type, in a small font, above all of the content is most likely not a sufficient warning that it is not real. You know what is, THE CONTENT ON THIS PAGE IS FICTION.

          So let’s talk about the message for a bit. I’d love to hear your feedback on the message.

          The site says “Today [lawmakers] reveled the official site where cardholders can eliminate that debt and get their money back.”

          Which lawmakers today appointed Debtmerica Relief the official site and what government program is giving money back?

          So the savings claims you are making are not representative of the results consumers experience from Debtmerica and are fictitious representations? Is Michelle Gonzalez a real Debtmerica customer?

          The FTC says, “If you advertise or represent that your customers will save a certain amount of money or reduce their debt by a certain percentage – for example, “We can settle your debts for 40% to 60%” – your statements must be truthful, and you must have objective proof to back them up. Your claims must accurately reflect the results you’ve achieved for previous customers. It’s important to consider the message your claims convey. Under the law, the FTC looks at claims from the point of view of reasonable consumers. Therefore, what matters isn’t the literal accuracy of the words you use, but rather your proof to support the “net impression” your message conveys. For example, claiming that your past customers have achieved “up to 60% savings” is likely to convey to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 60%. If you don’t have solid proof to back that up, the claim is deceptive.” – Source

          So “some people are getting as much as 50% of their credit card debt erased” Some as in a lot or some as in a few. Is that statement “likely to convey to new customers that they, too, will get savings of around 50%”

          And those savings claims, they do include fees, right?

          So what is “the new loophole” you talk about? A loophole?

          And while the little disclaimer may say “This site is not affiliated with a news publication” the much larger graphic that overpowers the disclaimer is for freaking News Channel 11.

          Breaking news? Really?

          And that’s just for starters.

          But hey, that’s just my opinion on it. Maybe someone else has a different opinion.

          Harry, what do you think?

        • “Dude” there are a lot thing non-compliant about this ad including that it suggests specific savings percentages that a debtor may or may not save – not to mention that the whole ad itself is just one big misrepresentation. While you might be making a quick buck with lead gen you’re not stopping to realize that a lot of people’s jobs are on the line if Debtmerica were to be reprimanded for non-compliance.

          • You guys are right. I truly do apologize. I actually saw this article on another affiliate site, and decided to use it without really thinking. My bad, the site’s down and won’t be up again. I’m just a young affiliate marketer following examples of other affiliates who’ve claimed they make money this way, and I figured putting the appropriate disclaimers on the site made it ok.

          • Dude, Just learn from the mistake and do it better next time. There are a lot of people here that would be happy to lend their expertise and feedback if you wanted to launch a new campaign.

            Just keep a photo of that one handy as a great example of what not to do again. 🙂

            Steve

          • Haha alright thanks for shot across the bow, message received lol. This post has been syndicated on some pretty big sites, yikes.

          • yup, and this is one of the more deceptive ad’s that i’ve seen. Gotta watch out cause 1) its confusing consumers 2) these are HUGE fines.

  • yes, but this first page is outrageous. I agree with you in that they are reputable and have a lot on the line to make such a huge error. This is probably something where Debtmerica doesn’t know was posted.

  • The Debtmerica site itself is fully compliant.. I happen to be in the debt business for years…they are actually one of the legitimate debt companies… their website is clear and seems fully compliant…

  • The Debtmerica site itself is fully compliant.. I happen to be in the debt business for years…they are actually one of the legitimate debt companies… their website is clear and seems fully compliant…

          • Debtmerica is as bad as the rest of the debt settlement companies !!! They lie to their customers, not telling them how they can be sued for defaulting on credit cards. Their fees are high and by the time you do the math, the consumer is neck high in problems with a very low savings. Debtmerica is run by a bunch of ego-maniac crooks who pressure their boiler room sales staff to meet quotas regardless of what it takes. Now I understand they are in the IRS Tax Relief business and that is even more dangerous as you are dealing with the Federal Government. Shame on you Debtmerica !!! Stay away from these crooks !!!

    • yes, but this first page is outrageous. I agree with you in that they are reputable and have a lot on the line to make such a huge error. This is probably something where Debtmerica doesn’t know was posted.

Share a Comment / Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: