A reader just sent me a tip about a mailer they just received. The reader said, “Just wanted to forward you the attached mailing I received from American Fair Credit Council that I found to be appallingly misleading.”
The message really caught my eye. For those of us familiar with the American Fair Credit Counsel (AFCC) we recognize it as a trade association for the debt settlement industry, not a debt relief provider.
So what would lead a consumer to believe the mailer was from the AFCC? Luckily the reader sent along a scanned copy of the mailer.
As you can see below, the mailer doesn’t even identify the AFCC member that sent this out and while it uses the AFCC logo, down in the fine print is this statement, “This is not an AFCC approved or endorsed advertisement. Company is a member of AFCC.” That’s good news because if the AFCC approved this mailer I’d have a stroke!
The mailer is descriptive, in my opinion, in a number of ways. First, it gives the impression that the “Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009” is somehow related to this offer and it claims that 40-60% reductions of debt are available. We can’t overlook the deceptive issue that the AFCC member that sent this mailer, that gives a telephone number of 888-959-6460, never identify themselves. Even the outside of the mailer bears no identity.
All we learn from the outside is that it was sent from 92677 with postal permit 1099.
The AFCC makes the following claim.
What Sets American Fair Credit Council Members Apart?
FAIRNESS, TRUST, CLARITY, ADVOCACY & LEGITIMACY
Our members are held to a strict code of conduct which we monitor and enforce strictly. We do this to ensure that all consumers working with our members have the security of knowing that they are working with a company that is held to the highest ethical standards in our industry. – Source
Based on this mailer I would not say this AFCC member is of the highest ethical standards. I’m going to send this article to the AFCC and ask them to publicly identify this member and out them to show they will not tolerate such deceptive behavior from their alleged members.
I did call the number on the mailer and was connected to a company that identified themselves as 1st Financial Center in Sacramento. This company does appear to be a member of AFCC, but not an accredited member: – Source
1st Financial Center
1900 Point West, Suite 204
Sacramento, CA 95815
The 1st Financial Center website even makes a claim right on their home page that they are an FTC rules compliant company. I wonder how the FTC would view all of this?
According to the BBB the company may actually be Financial Resolution Center, LLC. The BBB provides a link to the Sacramento County website and from their you can check to see if the company has registered to use 1st Financial Center as a fictitious name. They have not according to county records.
The BBB lists the COO of this company as Jeff Miller, and the Principal as Jason Nichols. – Source. Ray Cordano is listed as a manager as well of the LLC
The California registration for Financial Resolution Center lists their business address as:
4709 Wyndview Way
Sacramento CA 95835
They are also registered as a foreign corporation in Texas under the name Financial Resolution Center (source) and list their business address as 4709 Wyndview Way according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. – Source. This address appears to actually be the home of someone rather than their actual business address. Nice solar panels.
In Texas I was able to locate a fictitious name filing for the company as 1st Financial Center that was registered on April 9, 2012 for use in Texas. – Source
If these guys are going to be part of the AFCC and legitimate debt relief industry they should have known better than to send out this mailer. It’s shameful.
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16 thoughts on “AFCC Member 1st Financial Center Allegedly Sends Out Deceptive Advertisement. Consumer Calls AFCC Mailer Misleading.”
I keep getting letters like this, and the debt balance is much higher than anything I owe. Is there any legitimacy to this unsolicited letter? I don’t want to dismiss it as a scam and have it come back to haunt me.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the only difference between this mailer showing here and the one I received was the phone # was 1-888-202-6088
I had received this exact same notice prior to receiving it again today, 10/23/2012. Was skeptical about it the first time, this time I thought I’d take a look into it, and at the moment I thought I was finally convinced I found this web posting, I’m so glad I did too! Obviously a scam of sorts!
they say on their own site to use an FTC compliant company but don’t follow the rules themselves.
Any news? What should one do if their parents gave these people personal info, but haven’t signed anything.
I traded emails with Robby Birnbaum on this yesterday and he says the matter has been referred to some member committee.
since Freedom and AFCC dont think it is necessary to respond, what is the next step?
What do you think the next step should be?
Not sure. Just doesn’t seem right that companies are blatantly ignoring the FTC guidelines and nothing is done about it. This hurts the industry and the companies that are trying to do things the right way. I don’t have a dog in the fight but since you seem to stay on top of things like this i was asking you.
have you requested comment from the 3 listed in the article (Jeff Miller, Jason Nichols and Ray Cordano)?
No. I requested an official comment from AFCC from Robby Birnbaum, and Andrew Houser.
Any official word from the AFCC on this? I would love to see how they plan to handle this…
Please keep everyone posted as to how the AFCC responds to your request.
There has been no response.
How does a company get away with verified and credible and then strategically using the “FTC” under that which to many would invoke the impression of government approved?
Using the CARD Act in the mailer further implies a government approved process for a debt program. Sure, the defense is that there is a CARD Act. But the banks listed, as well as all the others, no longer get to raise interest rates just because they put their pants on this morning. Has nothing to do with a debt program. Just another tricky marketing mailer gimmick.
Not sure I care about the rest of the issues. Settlement company is as settlement company does.
Invoking GOV approval in the messaging should be dealt with swiftly. Far too many people fall for this stuff.