I recently contacted Freedom Debt Relief to try and get out of around 8000.00 in debt. I felt comfortable talking to them because they didn’t ask for any fees right away and seemed like they were better than a lot of the stories out there made them seem. I have been struggling with this debt for 7 years and it has only gone up over the years (the interest rates too). I just wanted some help trying to get it under control. They told me that they would work with my creditors to reach settlements that could help me get out of this hole I’m in. They set up an account that I would be transferring $250.00 to each month in an attempt to reach settlements with the companies. I have 5 credit cards – HSBC, American Express, Chase, Capital One and Bank of America and they said they were all tier 1 companies that they work with all the time with great results. They told me that it would be difficult to get a loan for 18-24 months but that after everything got paid off my credit score would probably be better than it is now (about 550). The fees are charged out of the account I pay $250 dollars into and they are very small.
I received some forms welcoming me but was confused because they say Century Negotiations Inc all over them. I have never contacted Century Negotiations before and have no idea how this happened. They deducted $250 from my account as expected but I am still getting daily calls from my creditors which I was told by CNI to ignore because they were going to take over negotiations with them. I am afraid of what might be happening here. I don’t have enough money to pay all the credit card companies because of the massive interest and minimum payments so I’ve been just paying CNI like I was told to. They also sent me a letter telling me that American Express may be more aggressive than other creditors in trying to retrieve a debt.
Am I being scammed? Is this how debt negotiation companies always operate or is this unusual? Should I be paying CNI and the other Creditors (especially American Express) simultaneously against CNI direction or will this make it harder for them to reach a settlement? Are there heavy penalties for settling this way? Why are my credit card companies still calling me so often if they are being negotiated with? Will this hurt my credit score worse than they say it will? How did CNI get this account from Freedom Debt Relief?
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