Date This Problem Happened: September 15, 2010
State You Live in: Michigan
Age Range: 36-50
Total Amount of Fee Paid: $6,000
Company Name: Good Shepherd / Trinity Financial
Website of Company: TrinityFinancialMission.org
My husband and I were scammed by Trinity Financial Debt Reduction and Good Shepherd Debt Relief. We paid $400/mo. for 15 months and were told to stop paying our c.c. bills. They would negotiate a settlement on our behalf.
We committed to a 3 year program and Good Shepherd deducted the money from our account each month. When we were given an offer from our c.c. company after many harrassing phone calls and letters of a settlement of $1500.00 on an account that we owed $5700.00 on, we were ready to settle.
We contacted Good Shepherd with the news and they told us to forward the info. After a month of no communication, we emailed them back to find out that they were still in negotiations. One month later, we were told by the c.c. company that we were being sued.
Apparently Good Shepherd never did anything.
We had to have a lawyer handle the lawsuit and ended up settling our account without Good Shepherd and without the money that was paid in to Good Shepherd.
When we let Good Shepherd know that we wanted a refund, they told us that we never filled out a form that they mailed us to give them the right to act as power of attorney. This was never sent to us; and all they offered us was $2700.00 of the $6000.00 we paid into them and the $2000.00 we spent to settle our account.
We are in the process of suing Good Shepherd but our lawyer/friend would like to know if there are others who would like to join in a class action lawsuit. Would you be able to help us get one started?
To: Trinity Financial/Good Shepherd Debt Relief. Owner: Allen Morrow
From: Mike and Stena
This is to notify you that we plan to file a lawsuit in the small claims court of Saginaw County, Michigan for the following reasons:
1. Defendants Trinity Financial Mission and Good Shepherd Debt Relief are doing business in the state of Michigan, including Saginaw County.
2. Plaintiff is a resident of the State of Michigan residing in Saginaw County, Michigan.
3. The amount in controversy is less than $10,000.00.
4. The Defendants are holding themselves out to the public as a credit services agency as well as a nonprofit organization.
5. Defendants proposed a debt relief settlement plan whereby I would pay $400 per month to Trinity Financial/Good Shepherd Debt Relief for three years and in return would settle my debt.
6. Defendants informed Plaintiff not to discuss outstanding payments or potential resolutions directly with the creditors.
7. I entered into the agreement on November 17, 2009 and began making payments to the Defendants.
8. I received letters in the mail concerning settlements from the creditors and forwarded the letters to Defendants as instructed.
9. In September 2010, I received a letter from creditor PNC Bank, successor to National City, offering to settle an outstanding credit card in the amount of $1500.00.
10. I forwarded the proposed PNC settlement to Defendants and was informed that this was a good offer.
11. Pursuant to the agreement with Defendants, I expected the Defendants to settle the account for the $1500.00 amount and begin forwarding payment.
12. On November 30, 2010, I was informed that Defendants never took any action with PNC to settle the credit card or to forward the payment that I had been forwarding the Defendants.
13. Defendants at this point indicated that they were working on the settlement and I was told to be patient and they would get back with me.
14. On January 21, 2011, I received papers that I would be sued by PNC Bank for the outstanding credit card debt.
15. Defendants fail to return my phone calls or respond to my letters requesting the return of payments.
16. At this point, I have mailed Defendants $_6,000.00_.
17. I have demanded repayment and Defendants have recently sent a check in the amount of $2537.40 as repayment justified as fees for services prior to membership/start up costs, coaching fees, and early termination fees but have failed, refused, or neglected to return the rest of the funds.
18. As a credit services organization, MCLA 445.1823 applies.
19. Defendants violated MCLA 445.1823 when it failed to do the following:
a. Charging money before completing the services promised.
b. Failed to perform the agreed services within 90 days following the date the buyer signs the contract for services
20. Defendants have breached the contractual relationship by failing to negotiate settlement with Plaintiff’s outstanding creditors as promised.
21. Defendants have fraudulently conveyed to the Plaintiffs that they are a non-profit organization and that it will negotiate settlements and that the payment plans will eliminate the need to file bankruptcy and clear their debts.
22. As a result of Defendants conduct, Plaintiff has paid _$6,000_ to Defendants and not received any of the promised services.
23. In addition, Plaintiffs have not entered into agreements with potential creditors which will cost Plaintiffs additional money.
24. Plaintiff attaches the contract as exhibit A. (This is required)
Wherefore, Plaintiff requests immediate payment of $_$6,000__, and the difference between the proposed settlement with credit and amount Plaintiff will now have to pay, plus costs and interest.
Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated Currentness
Chapter 445. Trade and Commerce
Credit Services Protection Act (Refs & Annos)
445.1823. Credit services organizations; prohibited activities
Sec. 3. A credit services organization, a salesperson, agent, or representative of a credit services organization, or an independent contractor who sells or attempts to sell the services of a credit services organization shall not do any of the following:
(a) Charge or receive from a buyer who is seeking a loan or extension of credit any money or other valuable consideration before the closing of the loan or extension of credit.
(b) Charge a buyer or receive from a buyer of services money or other valuable consideration before completing performance of all services the credit services organization has agreed to perform for the buyer.
(c) Charge a buyer or receive from a buyer money or other valuable consideration solely for referral to a retail seller who will or may extend credit to the buyer if the credit that is or may be extended to the buyer is substantially the same as that available to the general public.
(d) Make or use a false or misleading representation in the offer or sale of the services of a credit services organization.
(e) Engage, directly or indirectly, in a fraudulent or deceptive act, practice, or course of business in connection with the offer or sale of the services of a credit services organization including, but not limited to, both of the following:
(i) Guaranteeing or otherwise stating that the organization is able to delete an adverse credit history unless the representation clearly discloses, in a manner equally as conspicuous as the guarantee, that this can be done only if the credit history is inaccurate or obsolete and is not claimed to be accurate by the creditor who submitted the information.
(ii) Guaranteeing or otherwise stating that the organization is able to obtain an extension of credit regardless of the buyer’s previous credit problems or credit history unless the representation clearly discloses, in a manner equally as conspicuous as the guarantee, the eligibility requirements for obtaining an extension of credit.
(f) Fail to perform the agreed services within 90 days following the date the buyer signs the contract for services.
(g) Counsel or advise a buyer to make a statement that is known, or should be known, to be untrue or misleading to a consumer credit reporting agency, a person who has extended credit to a buyer, or to a person to whom the buyer is applying for an extension of credit.
(h) Remove, assist, or advise the buyer to remove adverse information from the buyer’s credit record which is accurate and not obsolete.
(i) Create, assist, or advise the buyer to create a new credit record by using a different name, address, social security number, or employer identification number.
(j) Submit a buyer’s dispute to a consumer credit reporting agency without the buyer’s knowledge.
(k) Provide a service to a buyer that is not pursuant to a written contract that complies with this section.
I have certainly written about these groups before. You can find related articles about them in the links below.
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