Not long ago I published a story about how Nationwide Financial Center had charged a consumer $1,295 to join a debt management plan. Read it here.
Just a few minutes ago a reader completed a scam report and shared information on how they were charged $1,495 in a similar ploy.
The reader sent in the following email they had received prior to paying the $1,495.
I also wanted to provide you with the link to Member Service Provider’s A rating with the BBB.
You will see that MSP has been accredited with the BBB for over 8 years, and has been in business for 18 years.
40,000 clients have successfully completed this program, and I hope that you can benefit from our services as well. 4800 creditors participate in this program, ensuring that you will receive the lowest fixed interest rate possible.
Please take a look at this link, and then give me a call so that we can get you started on your path toward financial freedom today!
If you would like to research how a Debt Management Program will effect your credit, feel free to go to http://myfico.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/70 to learn more.
Here’s a video from MyFico.com that provides more detail on how Consumer Credit Counseling will not affect your FICO score…
Paying your cards on time every month, and committing to pay your cards in full actually has the best effect on your credit. This shows the creditors that you have assumed responsibility for your debts. You have options to eliminate your debt, including Debt Settlement (which will destroy your credit because you have to fall behind on all of your payments), Bankruptcy (which I know you don’t want to do), continuing down the path you’ve been on (which clearly isn’t optimal since you called me in the first place), or Debt Management-which will permanently reduce your interest rates, keep you current on your payments, and have you debt free in 3-5 years max while keeping your credit score in tact.
In the end, I’m here to assist you in choosing a program that makes the most sense for you and your financial needs and goals. Please give me a call so that we can work together and achieve your own personal goals for 2011.
Andrew L Smith
Nationwide Financial Center, LLC
6390 Greenwich Dr #140
San Diego, CA 92122
(800) 901-3550 x137 Toll Free
(916) 873-1566 Local
(916) 880-5384 Fax
The reader was subsequently charged $1,495 to a Discover card for a service he believed was required to join the debt management plan. The fee states it is for a “One-Time CEBA Membership Enrollment & Financial Education Fee.”
The reader said:
I was assured that this would not affect my credit and that I would be out of debt in less than 4 years. In addition to the $1495 charged to my Discover card, which I am trying to pay off, they will also be taking $49.95 per month bank draft until the balance is paid off.
The promise to me was that they had pre-negotiated interest rates of 5.99% and 6.99% with each of the two credit cards that i carry a balance on, compared to the 20-30% that the cards are charging. I spoke to Discover and they say this is not legal and they have never heard of them.
I feel like such an idiot for getting talked into this. I just want my Discover card credited back the $1495 and to stop any bank drafts (none have started yet).
What is apparent is that Nationwide Financial Center does not have a relationship with creditors as a credit counseling group, because they are not a non-profit credit counseling group.
It was actually hard to find the actual credit counseling group because the link the sales representative at Nationwide provided went to a company called Member Service Provider. How generic of a name can there be? Thankfully the BBB made a small reference that it was associated with National Budget Planners of South Florida, Inc.
According to the BBB, Member Service Provider lists their address as 6278 N. Federal Hwy., #289, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308. – Source
Interestingly, National Budget Planners says they are located the same address and also 4101 Dublin Blvd., Ste. F142, Dublin, CA 94568 and the company says they can be reached “Our office operations are from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.” – Source
In fact they portray the California address as their primary address.
That address returns a BBB listing in California that gives the company no rating. – Source
The BBB reports the website of Member Service Provider is mspus.org. There is no apparent address for MSP but I did find one on a newsletter they put out and wouldn’t you know it’s the same as reported by NBP.
Member Services, the name they go by on their website, says they are a non-profit organization.
Even though Member Services claims to be a tax exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization the IRS has no listing for them. – Source
The IRS also lists no current recognized non-profit entity under the name National Budget Planners in their official publication of charities. – Source. So I called the IRS and they are currently recognized as a 501(c)3 and could not disclose to me why they were listed as not recognized as of the last data export in January, 2011 on their website.
The last 990 tax return for National Budget Planners that is public is for 2009. That return lists the website for National Budget Planners of South Florida as mspus.org the website of Member Service Provider. So it appears NBP is in fact the underlying claimed non-profit of that entity.
The 990 return tells us some more about this company. It shows the president claims to only work two hours per week. – Source
They state the revenue that year was $3,043,585.
On their annual return, National Budget Planners says they provide consumer education free of charge.
Which makes you wonder then why a consumer would be charged $1,495 for education by the introductory company if Nationwide Financial Center knew National Budget Planners would provide education for free.
Repeated calls to National Budget Planners at 954-785-8618 only went to voicemail so I was unable to speak to anyone there to clear up the non-profit claims. You would think that a company that claims to have 45 employees (see 990 return) would at least have someone to answer the phone.
I did find that National Budget Planners of South Florida was listed as registered debt adjusters in several states.
The president of National Budget Planners is listed as Bhopinder Singh. – Source. And then there is a second Florida registered company that matches the name they claim of National Budget Planners of South Florida. The people involved with that company are Bhopinder Singh and Porus Engineer. – Source
It turns out the mailing address listed for National Budget Planners of South Florida of 4101 Dublin Blvd., Ste. F142, Dublin, CA 94568 is actually the address for a mail drop at the Postal Annex.
Other information online connected this with National Family Financial Solutions, 866-665-3328, Financial Education Network – Source
There is no need to pay to join a non-profit credit counseling program. In fact, fees about about $50 are illegal if charged by the non-profit. In this case it looks like Nationwide Financial Center is charging consumers for help and advice they could have obtained for free by contacting a nonprofit credit counseling group directly.
I would suggest members of the AACC for help and/org Cambridge Credit Counseling who would provide access to a debt management plan for free.
I would not recommend the Nationwide Financial Center program to anyone.
By the way, Nationwide Financial Center, Inc. officers include Amir-Ali Omid. Nationwide Financial Center, Inc. filed as a Articles of Incorporation on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 in the state of California and is currently active. Behdad Rad serves as the registered agent for this organization.
Amir-Ali Omid is also the registered agent of Landmark Financial, Inc. has a location in Irvine, CA. Active officers include Nima Momayez. Landmark Financial, Inc. filed as a Articles of Incorporation on Monday, May 11, 2009 in the state of California and is currently active.
To the reader, I suggest you contact Discover and dispute the charge. I would also contact Nationwide Financial Center immediately and request a refund. To make sure your bank account is not drafted, you should talk to your bank about changing your account number.