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AFCC Member 1st Financial Center Allegedly Sends Out Deceptive Advertisement. Consumer Calls AFCC Mailer Misleading.

Written by Steve Rhode

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.

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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
888-755-4096
www.1stfc.com

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?

A search of the California Secretary of State records can not locate any company named 1st Financial Center that is registered to do business in the state. Despite of that people answering the phone from the mailer say, and even their own website, it appears the real company is not even identified in their privacy policy. Although they do name Robby Birnbaum as their attorney. – Source

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

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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.

4709 Wyndview Way

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

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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.





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.

16 Comments

  • 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!

      • 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.

        Thanks,

        guest

  • 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.

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