A reader received the following mailer and was concerned about the promises made. You know, at some point, after years of covering these things it feels like it will never end. It’s just one deceptive and misleading mailer sent after another.
I begrudgingly picked up the phone and called the number on the “Resolution Pending” mailer and it was answered by Tim, a representative who said he was with World Law at worldlawdebt.com.
Why begrudgingly you might ask, well I’ve made so many of these secret shopper calls that I tend to cringe in advance about what I’m going to hear.
The mailer, which you will see below, makes all sorts of unsubstantiated promises to consumers about their debt. It says there are:
- possible reductions of payments up to 50%
- reduce credit card debt in 12 to 36 months
- is an alternative to bankruptcy
- limits calls from bill collectors
- allow you to make only 1 payment per month
- allows you to avoid costly debt management or credit counseling
The claims made certainly appear to be in the ballpark with many of the claims made by companies the Federal Trade Commission went after and were the focus of new Telemarketing Sales Rules regarding debt relief services. There isn’t even any representation in the flyer that the claims are actually received by enrolling consumers. It’s more of a wish list of claims even though it lists them as “Facts About the Nationwide Debt Program.” Obviously in this case, “Facts” and “Truths” are two completely different things.
Some inside the debt relief industry will get pissy with me for my opinions about what appears to me to be a misleading mailer. And I understand those feelings as trying to protect their meal ticket. But the underlying problem here is not debt settlement, which can be a valid tool to use in some situations, but the cloaking of debt settlement under layers of statements that are not reasonably expected to be achieved. In this case the mailer is limited truth wrapped in false information and cloaked with deception.
I’ve heard the arguments before, “You are hurting our debt relief industry”, “I’m just trying to earn a living”, or “You’re just looking for the smallest thing to jump on.” But I have to ask, isn’t it reasonable to expect consumers to be told the truth when they are seeking debt help?
The saving grace here could have been that even though the mailer sucked, once a consumer picked up the phone and called the number on the flyer they would be connected with a representative that could paint a more realistic picture. Oh, I was so hoping that’s what would happen. When I make these secret shopper calls I really want to catch a sales person offering exceptional advice. I really do. Sadly, that’s not what I typically get on the first call.
You can listen to my secret shopper call I made on on August 23, 2012.
If you listen to the call what you will hear is Tim, a very personable and nice sales representative, providing absolutely horrible advice. Either Tim is just making stuff up as he goes or he has been trained to provide incorrect information to steer trusting consumers into his debt settlement attorney program.
The representative makes the claims:
- Bankruptcy would require me to make payments. – Not true for 70% of bankruptcy filers in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy will freeze my credit for seven to ten years. – Not true.
- Even though I am current on my payments and not expressing any trouble I will have to go delinquent. – He glosses past this twice. I never said I was having problems making the payments.
- They are a California law firm. – This appears to be not true.
- He will “qualify” me for the law firm services and then “sign me up” online.
- They are a national law firm. – Doubtful as well.
- My credit will be better if I use their services. – Can’t see how that would be since I will have purposefully gone delinquent, accounts would be closed, and a negative notation made about the balance forgiven that will remain on my credit report for seven years.
- Makes claim that debts will settle for 35-45 percent of the total debt.
- The fee is mostly paid in advance and is 15 percent of the enrolled debt. – Sets consumer up for failure since they will not begin settling debt immediately.
- I will not be paying any interest if I enroll. – Not true. Interest and fees will continue to accrue by creditors. This will increase my balance owed.
- A wage garnishment might happen but I don’t need to worry about it. – A garnishment should not be disregarded.
- Settled debts are only reported on credit report until they are settled and then credit improves and you get your credit back. – No mention of the fact they will remain for 7 years as negative items.
- The alleged law firm calls credit counseling, “probably the biggest scams.”
- Making payments on time impacts your credit because you are not eliminating the debt or improving your debt to income ratio.
- “Best bargin to pay off your debt is a debt settlement program.” Says safest way is to use a law firm. – Not true. An unsupported claim.
- Says they are based in California. – Changes his tune on this in next call and also gives an Arizona address as well.
- States all back office business operations come out of San Francisco, California.
- Will not go to court and represent me because there is no real defense. – So why use a law firm?
- If you are sued and get a judgment you don’t need to worry because they claim to be able to settle that.
- Representing me in court would be a waste of money and time. – So why use a law firm?
- Representative has to check to find out what their website is. Comes back and says it is WorldLawDebt.com.
It’s at this point I should have pulled out my list of questions to ask a debt relief company.
I found much of the advice given about other debt options to be inaccurate and certainly not beneficial for the average consumer who might be trusting the representative to give them honest advice.
The sales representative is certainly painting a picture of the attorney based debt settlement program to be the “best” option for dealing with debt. He’s going for the close, which is how he is compensated and probably reviewed.
That sales call led me to now want to take a deeper look at the company and what was going on. While I was doing my research I made a second followup call.
Second Secret Shopper Call
I placed a second secret shopper call on August 24, 2012. Coincidently Tim answered the phone again. The second call uncovered that even though the company identifies themselves as World Law Debt they also work with another firm called Apple Law Group.
Tim gives me a couple of addresses they operate out of. He says he is located in San Francisco but the company is in Orange County, California
He says the San Francisco address where he is located and where the “underwriting” is done:
444 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tim tells me the California attorney responsible is Jack Karpeles who has a California Bar number of 134478.
The State Bar of California provides the following information on the attorney.
The California address Tim also gives for the company is:
19687 East Valley Blvd
Coincidently that is the same address as the Law Offices of Douglas G. Miller that the State Bar of California lists as the place Jack Karpeles works. The Law Offices of Douglas G. Miller has an F rating with the BBB. The F rating will become a common theme as we move on.
The BBB says the company has received 131 complaints and has failed to respond to 97 of them.
Most complainants allege the company fails to provide legal services as promised. A few complainants allege the company fails to provide debt negotiation services and does not contact their creditors at all. Many complainants allege the company fails to keep promises that creditors will not call, but creditors continue to call and many of them file lawsuits against the clients. Other complainants allege the company debits money from their accounts prior to agreed upon dates, or that they fail to provide bankruptcy services or divorce services as promised. The company responds to some complaints by stating the services were provide as contracted, the failure to perform is based on the clients failure to provide requested information or the customer’s failure to comply with the terms of the agreement. Additionally, the company responds to complaints regarding charges stating the customer should have sufficient funds in their accounts at all times. With the few complaints that the company has answered, most clients have been told there is no basis for a refund with an explanation of the services provided. Most complaints are ignored by the company. – Source
The BBB also says the State Bar number for Douglas Miller is 79637. According to the State Bar of California, Miller is deceased.
The sales representative then says the company main address is:
3030 North 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85012
This is the same address given on the WorldLawDebt.com site.
The State of Arizona has no company registered to do business under the name World Law Debt.
The company Apple Law Group he mentions does not provide their actual address on their website.
The domain AppleLawGroup.com was registered on August 3, 2011 and is registered to:
19687 Valley Blvd
Walnut, CA 91789
The website for the apparently deceased attorney Douglas Miller, is still active at MillerJusticeCenter.com and here is where it gets interesting. The website for Law Offices of Douglas Miller appears nearly identical as that of Apple Law Group.
The MillierJusticeCenter.com site is owned by:
19687 Valley Blvd
Walnut, CA 91789
Bolen is listed as the “administrator” at Douglas G. Miller & Associates, PC. – Source
Bolen does not appear to be any attorney and there is no listing for him with the State Bar of California.
Bolen also has an F rating with the BBB for the business Walnut Justice Center. – Source
Bolen has a number of complaints online related to services provided. – Source
WorldLawDebt.com is hosted on a server along with:
- allthingsenergy.com – Hidden Ownership
1507 Osprey Ridge Loop
Lao Vista, Texas 78645
1507 Osprey Ridge Loop
Lao Vista, Texas 78645
email@example.com <-Email address for Clear Your Debt>
- worldlawadvantage.com – Hidden Ownership. Governing person of World Law Advantage is Derin Scott.
- worldlawdebt.com – Hidden Ownership
- worldlawdebtsettlement.com – Hidden Ownership
- worldlawlegalservice.com – Hidden Ownership
- worldlawyoungevity.com – Hidden Ownership -Email>
I wish I could remember exactly where I ran into one of these sites before, the one for AEG Athlete Entertainment Group. I’ve crossed paths with it before in research for another article.
Derin Scott has appeared in article on this site before. You can see them here.
According to the BBB, World Law Debt is located in Texas and not California as the representative stated on the call. They currently have an F rating with the BBB. The BBB record on this company provides some additional interesting information.
BBB contacted this company on November 13, 2010 to request basic background information about the company, including the officers or principals of this business. The company has responded to our request with some information.
On February 29, 2012 BBB requested the company clarify by providing further information relating to its principles and their associations to any other debt negotiation or debt settlement company; information regarding the company marketing, promotion, sales, training, procedures, and agreements and disclosures with consumers; and consumer references. BBB further requested the company provide further information on its business start date and location, and asked for clarification regarding its affiliations with other websites using the World Law name and other companies.
The company has not yet responded.
Mr. Derin Scott, Adminstrative Contact for World Law Debt, is also the President of Clear Your Debt, and a Managing Member of Clear Your Debt’s parent company, Orion Processing.
Principal: Mr. Derin Scott (Administrative Contact), Mr. Brad Haskins – Source
A second BBB listing for World Law Firm (aka World Law Debt) in Arizona provides no rating for the company. – Source
On the BBB page for Orion Processing, also allegedly owned by Scott, there is more information and another F rating.
The following describes a pending government action that has been formally brought by a government agency but has not yet been resolved. We are providing a summary of the government’s allegations, which have not yet been proven.
On February 10, 2010, the Illinois Attorney General filed suit against Clear Your Debt, LLC, Swiftrock Financial, Inc., Orion Processing, LLC, and two managing members, Derin Scott and Shannon Scott. The suit alleges that alleging that the defendants have violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by misrepresenting the services they can provide to consumers and the impact that those services will have on consumers’ credit and therefore are engaging in deceptive marketing practices, charging excessive fees and doing little or nothing to improve consumers’ financial standing. The suit asks the court to enter a permanent injunction barring the defendants from engaging in debt settlement in Illinois and order the defendants to pay restitution for aggrieved consumers, civil penalties of $50,000 for violating the Consumer Fraud Act, an additional $50,000 penalty for each violation committed with the intent to defraud, as well as a $10,000 penalty per violation committed against a person 65 years or older. The matter is pending.
Swift Rock Financial Services, Mesa Rock Financial Services, Topaz Financial Services, and Clear Your Debt are sales organizations. These companies market the debt management and debt negotiation services provided by Orion Processing. Clear Your Debt has indicated that they have ceased operations, but consumers who contacted this company will continue to have their debt managed and/or negotiated by Orion Processing.
These companies are individually owned by Shannon Scott and Derrin Scott. Please see the Related Business section for more information. – Source
World Law Direct
The WorldLawDebt.com site claims the organization is an division of World Law Direct.
Their claim, “WORLD Law Direct is the leading provider of debt solutions in the U.S.” appears to be grossly unsupported and in my opinion, just flat out bullshit.
World Law Direct says they are located in the following places:
WORLD Law Direct (USA): 2848 Arden Way, Suite 100, Sacramento, California 95825
WORLD Law Direct (Europe and Asia): 27 Voie de Moens, 1218 Geneva, Switzerland
Legal Remedies, Inc. (WLD): P.O. Box 340341, Austin, Texas 78734 – Source
The company Legal Remedies, Inc. in Texas was dissolved December 16, 1996.
The only company in Texas registered under World Law is World Law Advantage, LLC. You heared about the domain name for that entity in this article as well.
World Law Advantage, LLC is listed as being under the “governing person” of Derin R. Scott of 1507 Osprey Ridge Loop, Lago Vista, TX 78645.
World Law Advantage, LLC is a Delaware, LLC that was recently registered in May, 2012. – Source
According to the State of Texas the company is only authorized to operate under the fictitious name of World Law Advantage in the state. – Source
The Swiss address the company claims to operate from appears to be in a residential neighborhood as we look down the street towards the address.
According to the California Secretary of State there is no company registered in California as World Law Direct or WorldLawDirect.com as the BBB states. The BBB says the principal members of the company are:
Principal: Ms. Sue Miller (Owner/Manager)
Mr. Brad Haskins (Owner)
Mr. Jerry Teringer – Source
If we believe the BBB information that lists Brad Haskins as an owner of what appears to be a company not registered to do business in California and then look to see if Haskins is licensed to practice law in California, a search for Brad Haskins with the State Bar of California could not locate him as an attorney in California.
I did however find a Bradley J. Haskins in Texas that fits the description. Bradley J. Haskins is of counsel with the Law Offices of Vance & Whitney in San Antonio, Texas. – Source
According to Google, the address given for World Law Direct in California is the place below that rents out office suites.
WorldLawDirect.com is hosted on a server with LegalJunkies.com that is owned by Brad Haskins who the World Law Direct website speaks about.
Shareholder Board Chairman Brad Haskins is an attorney specializing in complex international law matters for U.S. Fortune 500 and international clients. In July of 1998, Mr. Haskins joined a group of Zurich-based investors active in the Central European region and became an equity partner in Zurich New Europe Investors. The partnership, an equity investment trust, is chartered to invest in technology companies throughout Europe and North America.
Prior to joining ZNEI, Mr. Haskins was a partner at the international law firm Altheimer & Gray. Mr. Haskins concentrated on international civil and corporate law matters and was based in Prague, Istanbul, Kiev, and Chicago. He also developed an extensive legislative practice involving Fortune 100 corporations and governments throughout Europe. He established and controlled all of the firm’s lucrative operations in Moscow.
Mr. Haskins began his international law practice with Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City where he was involved in international finance, mergers and acquisitions, technology venture capital, complex custody matters and “white-collar” criminal defense, including securities fraud litigation.
In 1990, Mr. Haskins was the Republican nominee for Michigan’s Third District Seat in the U. S. House of Representatives. He received approximately 43% of the vote in the 580,000-person district and was one of only a few candidates personally endorsed by President George Bush.
Mr. Haskins is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Honors College with a double major in economics and political science. He conducted university-sponsored research on Japanese management and investment theory at Tokyo University and the Japan Foundation in Tokyo, Japan. He also attended the University of London, studying European political economy. As a student, Mr. Haskins clerked with Chief Justice G. Mennen Williams on the Michigan Supreme Court. He also served as a legislative assistant to Member of Parliament Anthony Beaumont-Dark in the British Parliament. – Source
Haskins is not stranger to whispers. He has not made friends online. In fact this 2006 post makes some claims against him regarding a relationship with Bank LEU and Zurich New Europe Investors.
As I mentioned, according to the State Bar of Texas, Bradley James Haskins is eligible to practice law in Texas. But it appears he does not live in Texas, or even the United States. His contact information is listed as:
11000 Vodickova 37
Prague 1 11000
CZECH REPUBLIC – Source
As the World Law Direct website boasts about Haskins running for a Michigan Congressional seat another article online, allegedly from the Jackson Citizen Patriot in 1992 provides more background about Haskins.
From the June 23, 1992, Jackson Citizen Patriot:
Bradley J. Haskins, a Republican candidate for Congress who says he is an “attorney specializing in international trade,” is not licensed to practice law.
Haskins, 32, who lives near Battle Creek, has never been a licensed attorney in Michigan and has no active license in any other state.
Michigan law says it is illegal for anyone “in any manner whatsoever to designate himself as an attorney unless … regularly licensed and authorized to practice law.”
Haskins does have a law degree and was licensed to practice in Texas, but that license went inactive nine months ago at his request.
He said he does not need a license in the U.S. because he is an international lawyer who does all his work abroad.
“My license is inactive with respect to the U.S. because all my work is in Eastern Europe,” said Haskins, a Republican candidate in a new congressional district that includes Jackson, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties.
“It is probably a lot more complicated than the average person realizes,” he added. “I can’t even stress enough that this is absolutely no issue in any way.”
Marcia L. Proctor, regulation counsel for the State Bar of Michigan, said international lawyers should be licensed to practice law.
“In this state, you can’t hold yourself out to be a lawyer unless you are authorized to practice law,” she said. “If he is not actively licensed, he is not authorized to practice law. Period.”
Haskins said his status was investigated (by the State Bar) two years ago, when he ran for Congress and lost to Democrat Howard Wolpe, and “everything I was doing was absolutely proper.”
Proctor would not discuss her investigation, but said no legal action was taken against Haskins. She added that the State Bar never takes legal action unless there is evidence of harm to the public.
“It’s our investigative file — he doesn’t even know what’s in it,” Proctor said. “Just because we don’t sue someone does not mean we think he is completely clean.”
Haskins got a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1985, according to a spokesman at the Ann Arbor college, and was licensed in Texas later that year.
He worked from mid 1985 to late 1986 as an associate attorney for the Houston law firm of Liddell, Sapp, Zively, Hill & LaBoon, according to an office manager there.
He then moved to New York as an associate attorney in the corporate department of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, according to a spokesman for that firm.
Haskins moved to Ceresco, near Battle Creek, to run against Wolpe in 1990, and his Texas license became inactive in September 1991, according to the Texas Bar Association. He said it cost too much to keep his Texas license active when he does not need it for his international practice.
“It can be reactivated at any time,” Haskins said. “I can reactivate it with a phone call.”
The Texas Bar Association reports that Haskins still is a member in good standing who pays reduced dues — $50 a year instead of $235 — to keep an inactive license.
He cannot practice in Texas with an inactive license, but can reactivate it with a written request and $185, according to the Bar Association.
Haskins said he has not appeared in a U.S. courtroom or given legal advice on “U.S. matters” for two years.
“Most of my work is with American corporations selling products to new markets abroad,” he said.
In financial disclosure statements filed June 1, Haksins lists four clients that paid him legal fees totaling $20,400 since January this year.
The only American client listed for 1992 is Stewart Corp. of Clarksburg, W. Va., which has paid him $10,000. The corporation belongs to Dr. Michael A. Stewart, who works for a Clarksburg hospital. Dr. Stewart would not discuss the work Haskins does for him.
Haskins’ three other listed clients are an Austrian computer firm ($3,400) and the governments of Poland ($4,000) and Czechoslovakia ($3,000). – Source
Another online poster shed some additional information about Haskins. The condos referenced appear to be located in Ohio.
“I talked to Mr Haskins on several occasions by telephone only. I initially asked legal advice about a problem I was having with the Condo Association that was doing, in my opinion, something wrong to condo owners at a high rise building called Madison House.
Mr Haskins, after paying $75 on two occasions, for advice told me that I could stop them from automatically taking out my condo fee’s from my bank account. That is really all the advice he ever gave me, and then told me he had purchased a condo in south Florida. He then talked to me several other times about another issue that was, I thought, an international issue and he only told me that I could take it to small claims court.
He then told me that the only way to reach him was through the telephone numbers he gave me, one of which was in Washington D.C. That telephone number was 202-478-1765. From the time I started calling that number till the last time I called I only got voice mail.
On one of the calls he made to me he asked if I had “accounts all over the world”, and then started laughing. Where he got the idea that I had accounts all over the world is beyond me, and why would he say that if I was only talking a problem in the area of $800 I had with the condo association.
Another question I have is where is Mr Haskins listed in any Bar Association? I called several in Michigan, Florida, and Washington D.C, and none of them have him listed.” – Source
More About World Law Advantage
The Derin Scott enterprise World Law Advantage sounds remarkably familiar to the claims made involving Brad Haskins and World Law Direct. World Law Advantage claims:
In 1998, partners from five of the world’s leading international law firms met to discuss the impact of the Internet on the provision of legal services. Out of that meeting grew several software prototypes for simplifying the most common legal issues, entering them into complex database delivery systems and creating the first automated system to address over 4000 common legal issues and problems.
Today we’re helping to fill the need for understandable and efficient legal solutions. In addition to an expanding database, our systems automatically re-route designated issues to our global law team when necessary, providing thorough, up-to-date advice on commonly-faced legal issues in over 26 international jurisdictions including the United States. We put the resources of a global law firm to work for you.
Our founding shareholder board included leading international lawyers from the U.S. and abroad. The board worked closely with our global team of Czech and Finnish computer programmers, British software analysts, and Internet systems specialists from the U.S., Finland and Japan. See members from the board’s initial composition below.
We’re happy you are joining us here at World Law Group and we look forward to providing you quality debt settlement and solution information in a new and exciting attorney protected format! – Source
The World Law Advantage website offers legal services, debt settlement, and client testimonials.
But the World Law Advantage site seems to have a description that has been used by others as well. A search for other sites that use “In 1998, partners from five of the world’s leading international law firms,” found the following listings:
A representative of World Law Group at TheWorldLawGroup.com said, “Unfortunately, we’ve had some “name/trademark confusion issues” with the World Law Direct organization for the past few years. One of our law firms has been working on it.
The World Law Group is a Delaware-based, not-for-profit corporation that is an association of large business law firms around the world. Neither the WLG nor its individual member firms are involved in individual debt counseling matters to my knowledge.”
A listing of World Law Group members does not show any listing for World Law Debt, World Law Direct, World Law Advantage, or Apple Law Firm. In fact it shows no listing for any firm that begins with “World Law” at all. – Source
Unless some other information comes to light, it does appear that the “World Law” name has been hijacked for use by these debt relief companies.
I’m calling bullshit on all the players and entities named here that are pitching debt relief services and feel they are suspect and dubious. In fact nearly every entity I checked with the BBB had an F rating.
I’m left not believing a word they have to say and if a friend of mine asked me if they should use any of them for debt help I’d tell them to run away and don’t look back. This entire enterprise, from the mailer to the underlying companies, smells horrible.
My regret is that I did not spend more time looking into the World Law Direct, World Law Debt, or many of the other World Law debt relief groups sooner.
Operator: This call may be recorded for quality verification.
Sales Rep: This is Tim, how may I help you?
Caller: Hi, did you say Tim?
Sales Rep: Tim.
Caller: Oh, okay. Yeah, calling about a flyer I got about my debt.
Sales Rep: Sure, I can help you. How much do you have in debt?
Caller: I have about $23,000.00, it’s like $22,700.00.
Sales Rep: Okay, and where are you calling from?
Caller: I am calling from North Carolina.
Sales Rep: Okay.
Caller: So –.
Sales Rep: Now, is that the amount it mentions on the flyer or is that what you believe you owe?
Caller: No, that’s what I –.
Sales Rep: Or both, they’re two in the same.
Caller: Yeah, yeah.
Sales Rep: Okay, okay. I’m sorry, so go ahead.
Caller: So, it talks about possibly reducing my payments up to 50 percent but I’ve seen so much stuff about scams that I’m a little concerned, yeah.
Sales Rep: Sure. Well, there’s a couple things I could help reassure you with and I can also explain what we do.
Sales Rep: A little bit about your situation so I could explain it correctly. Are you making payments right now?
Caller: I am.
Sales Rep: Okay, are you making the minimum monthly payment or more or month-to-month it depends on where you’re at?
Caller: No, I’m making the minimum monthly payment.
Sales Rep: Okay. And do you know about what that amount is for your total debt [mumbling]?
Caller: I think it’s about $450.00 or $460.00 something like that.
Sales Rep: Total?
Caller: For my payment?
Sales Rep: Yeah.
Caller: I think that’s what it is.
Sales Rep: For $43,000.00?
Sales Rep: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said $43,000.00.
Sales Rep: I was like wow, he’s –. Okay, so you think you’re paying around $400.00.
Caller: About $450.00.
Sales Rep: Okay, which still isn’t that bad but that’s probably around 90 percent interest, right?
Caller: Well, I mean it’s not that bad depending on if you’ve got a lot of money left over, but if –.
Sales Rep: No, what I mean is the monthly payment you’re making is going mainly to interest.
Caller: Oh yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Sales Rep: Versus paying down the principal.
Sales Rep: Okay, okay. So what we do is – we are a law firm, and you know, to your concern about scams and everything, for your situation, you would actually – let’s say, at the end after we go through everything, I qualify you and I’ll explain the process and everything, but ____________ first, we are a law firm. Let’s say you agreed to sign up with me, we would go over it online together, you’d see our website, you would see our name, we would actually go over the agreement online as long as you have computer access.
Sales Rep: And we would – I could sign you up then. So what happens at that point is you actually get a compliance call from our law firm that goes over to make sure you understand the terms of the program and everything, and then one of our attorneys actually will call you, go over your case as well as go over anything else you want to talk about, let’s say – and this is all covered within the money you’re paying, but let’s say you wanted to talk about your estate or where your money is at, how you’re handling everything. You know, there’s other benefits to it, but at the end of the day you’re gonna realize that you’re getting great services, you’re gonna be very comfortable with the fact that we are a law firm. The scams you hear about are the debt settlement companies.
Caller: You said you’re a law firm a couple times, what law firm are you?
Sales Rep: World Law.
Caller: World Law, right, World Law is that what you said?
Sales Rep: Yes.
Caller: Oh, okay, all right. So I’ve never heard of World Law before, is that a big company or –?
Sales Rep: Well, we are national ___________________ hear about. I mean most law firms you hear about are either the large criminal defense firms in New York and LA because of high-profile cases or local ones. Outside of that, you’re not – you know, law firms don’t necessarily advertise that much on TV, other than if you’re talking like those main guys who are ambulance chasers and things like that.
Caller: Yeah, there’s this law firm that keeps advertising on TV, I see, but I don’t think that was World Law.
Sales Rep: No, I know – I think I know who you’re talking about. Actually there is one I see on TV, because I’ve seen debt settlement commercials on TV all the time, but usually they don’t mention law firm _______. There is one that talks – you know, they’re a law firm and _________ I don’t know them, I just know I’ve seen the guy when I’m watching like USA or TNT or something.
Caller: Yeah, they get annoying after a while.
Sales Rep: Absolutely, absolutely, and they just seem, you know, kind of cheesy or, I don’t know.
Caller: So, you know, I’m sure –.
Sales Rep: But I’m pretty confident when you went through the process __________ –.
Caller: I’m sure one of the questions that eventually comes up everybody has is you’re not doing this for free, so what does it cost me for $22,000.00 in debt?
Sales Rep: Okay, so if you’re looking at $22,000.00 ___________ the overall payback you’d be looking at would be around $13,200.00.
Sales Rep: So you’re ___________ you’re not paying interest.
Caller: Oh, well, that’s good.
Sales Rep: So you’re saving even more right there.
Sales Rep: It would be – so it’s $314.00 a month. So if you’re paying $450.00, you’re gonna save yourself $136.00 a month just off the top, but then there’s also the fact that of that $314.00, every dollar of that goes to paying the $13,200.00 balance.
Caller: So how much is your fee out of that?
Sales Rep: So instead of paying $450.00, where $400.00 is probably paying down your balance – I mean paying interest _______ paying $50.00, you’re gonna save yourself $146.00 and every dollar of that $314.00 pays off the balance.
Caller: Okay, so how much is your fee out of that?
Sales Rep: Okay. So it’s included within that.
Caller: Okay, well, that’s good.
Sales Rep: So – and here’s the way it’s kinda structured. We base it on the 60 percent settlement rate.
Sales Rep: We assume we’re gonna settle for anywhere from 35 to 45 percent of your debt and our legal fees are 15 percent. So to not set you up for failure and to not to overpromise or under-deliver, we set it at the settlement rate of 45 percent. Now, generally we do settle below that, we can’t guarantee anything but –. So let’s say we settle for 45 percent of your total debt, our fees are 15 percent of your total debt, that’s where the 60 percent comes from.
Caller: So I have to pay you when I sign up, because I don’t have that extra money?
Sales Rep: No, you do not. So what happens, let’s say you signed up next week, let’s say you signed up on Monday.
Sales Rep: Which is, I think like the 28th or 27th, and we put your first payment at September 15th, your first payment would be the $314.00.
Sales Rep: We take the monthly legal fees out of that and it’s just $314.00 every subsequent month on the 15th. There’s so –.
Caller: So does that –.
Sales Rep: When you sign up, there’s no upfront payment, there’s no balloon payment, nothing like that.
Caller: Okay, so when I send you that $314.00 does that go to my creditors? It wasn’t clear.
Sales Rep: No, okay, so here’s – so we set up a trust account in your name, which you would have access to and to see and it’s your money, we don’t do anything with it other than the legal fees do come out, you know, 15 percent of your total debt, or unless we settle the debt. But what happens is that money goes in there every month. The minute you sign up we contact your creditors, we start negotiating with them –.
Caller: Oh, that’s good.
Sales Rep: But we don’t settle any debt until there is enough money in the account to settle with them. They don’t settle on monthly payments. So let’s say one of your creditors was Bank of America and it was $2,000.00 and that was your lowest debt, once we got to about $600.00 to $800.00 and we reach a deal with them and that money is saved up in the account then we would settle their debt, but we’re not gonna send them $50.00 every month or $100.00 every month. It’s a lump-sum payment where we reach a settlement with them and the money is in the account.
Caller: So you said the payment was 15 percent of the debt, I’ve bot like $23,000.00.
Sales Rep: 15.
Caller: Yeah, so does that mean that the first $3,000.00 that I pay pays the fee or does that get saved for the settlement?
Sales Rep: No, no, _______ it is frontloaded but it’s not that high. It’s 70 percent of your beginning payments will go to the fee, so 30 percent goes to your account, 70 percent goes to fees until you’ve paid 70 percent of the debt.
Sales Rep: So you are frontloaded for the first 70 percent. Once you reach that point, paying off the other 13 percent is averaged over the remaining terms and generally it could be anywhere from 5 to 15 percent each month.
Caller: All right, you said that –.
Sales Rep: But other than that, the rest goes into your account.
Caller: The flyer says alternative to credit damaging bankruptcy, but I mean bankruptcy would get rid of my debt right away, is this hurting my credit _________?
Sales Rep: Well, no, that’s not quite true, there’s a few things so let’s talk about the credit first. Your credit will be affected during this program because, you know, you’re gonna be reported delinquent by these credit cards.
Caller: Okay, so –.
Sales Rep: Is it all credit card debt or are there –?
Caller: No, it is, it’s all credit card debt but I’m not delinquent.
Sales Rep: Okay, it’s all credit card, okay.
Caller: I’m not delinquent now.
Sales Rep: Okay, no, I know you’re not. Okay.
Sales Rep: So you would be reported as delinquent until we make the settlement, but keep in mind, let’s say you have five credit cards that, let’s just average them out through the $23,000.00, they’re gonna be settled throughout the course of this program. Every time that each one is settled, it’s reported as settled to the credit reporting agencies. Once you’re done with the program, your credit will improve.
Now, if you do the bankruptcy and why it says, you know, an alternative to credit-damaging bankruptcy alternative –.
Sales Rep: Is that if you do bankruptcy, your credit is frozen for seven to ten months – I mean seven to ten years.
Caller: You mean I can’t use my credit at all?
Sales Rep: No, not if you’re going through bankruptcy.
Sales Rep: This, the minute you finish the program, if you – let’s say you have a mortgage or a car payment or you’ve got another credit card that you’re making payments on, your credit’s gonna improve. It doesn’t affect your credit from improving, it’s just gonna reported until your debts are settled, so there’s a huge difference.
Sales Rep: And the other thing is, if you went through bankruptcy, you know, you mentioned it’d be settled right away ____________.
Sales Rep: You owe the money through bankruptcy, not the total amount, but a) you’re gonna have to pay legal fees.
Sales Rep: And then also, let’s say you owe, you know, $23,000.00, they don’t just wipe out the $23,000.00 –.
Caller: They don’t?
Sales Rep: They look at what you make a month – not completely, no. They look at what you make a month, they look at your assets and they take a compilation of that and see if you qualify for bankruptcy, and then there’s a certain percentage based on that that you will have to make a little bit of payment. Now, it’s not the whole thing, you don’t have to pay more than this, I’m not saying you have to pay 60 percent back, but between the legal fees and what you might have to pay back, it’s not that much less of a payment than this option. It is less, I’m not gonna lie to you but between the benefits of getting your credit back –.
Sales Rep: And getting out and under from your debt in three and a half years, it’s a much better position than bankruptcy if you can afford the monthly fee. I mean if you can afford $314.00 a month –.
Caller: Yeah, I can.
Sales Rep: Then this is a great program for you. You know, if you say look, I can’t pay more than $100.00 a month, then I’d be honest with you and I’d say, you know, your best shot is bankruptcy. And you know, I wouldn’t try and steer you because we’re a bankruptcy law firm too, so I would just – you know, I’d say let’s talk to one of our lawyers. But – I mean and we ______ all the time ______________ if you could afford to make the monthly payment, this is your best option.
Now, you know, like I said, to be honest, if you can’t make this monthly payment – but if you’re making $430.00, you should be able to, but if you can’t then yeah, I would say, you know, you’re either just gonna try and run from your debts and say, hey guys, I can’t pay anything, you can try and chase me down through court or, you know, or you go through bankruptcy.
Caller: What about the flyer at the very bottom talks about credit counseling?
Sales Rep: What does it say?
Caller: It says avoid costly credit counseling.
Sales Rep: Oh, so there’s a lot of people who enroll in credit counseling programs, those are probably the biggest scams.
Sales Rep: You pay a high fee to them and they really don’t do much for you.
Caller: All right, so do they –.
Sales Rep: You’re not gonna be able to improve your – you know, what they try and do, they charge you money and then they try and negotiate monthly payment plans with your creditors, but what comes out of that is that when you do monthly payments, at best you’re gonna lower your interest, you’re not gonna lower the debt, so you’re still paying 100 percent of your debt, you’re still paying interest, all they try and do is lower your interest payments and then tell you how to go about improving your credit, and how you go about improving your credit is to get rid of the debt.
Because even though you say, you know, you make your monthly payments on time every time, having this rotating debt will affect your credit, if not the credit score, it will affect the credit application, meaning, if I run your credit and let’s say you make $40,000.00 a year and – you know, so you’re making $3,000.00 something a month, I see that you owe $23,000.00, what they average is, okay, we want someone who is paying off this debt not just making minimum monthly payments, so ____________ pay $1,000.00 a month. So when they do your debt-to-income ratio, which is just as important as your credit score, that affects it as well.
So the best thing is, you could always improve your credit score, you can never improve your debt until you pay your debt. Now, the best way to pay off your debt, or the best bargain to pay off your debt is a debt settlement program. And then I’d go one step further and say that the safest way to do a debt settlement program is __________ a law firm, because as a law firm, you know, you’re protected. We can’t – I mean debt settlement companies going out of business all the time now because they’re not being honest, we cannot afford to not be honest with you because if you report us to the state bar then that is a huge issue for us. It’s not like reporting us to, you know, the Better Business Bureau where it’s just a rating.
Sales Rep: You know, we’re now in court for our license, and that would happen with any client. Everything we do is by the law.
Caller: Yeah. What state are you in?
Sales Rep: We’re based in California but we operate in every state.
Caller: Okay, so that’s where World Law is, they’re in California?
Sales Rep: So we actually have a local – yeah. We actually have a California attorney – I mean a North Carolina attorney, and we have one in every state that we work with, but pretty much all the filing and all the negotiations, all the letters sent to your creditors is all done from here. It’s only if we need to do something that we ask the local – we ask someone with a license that works with us under retainer that would do the work.
Caller: Okay. So what if I –.
Sales Rep: But it generally doesn’t come to that.
Caller: Since I’m gonna be represented by an attorney, if, God forbid, something happened and I had to go to court, will the attorney help me there?
Sales Rep: Yeah, so there’s a couple things about that. If you’re going to court on – like, if one of these debts comes at you with a lawsuit, okay, so we’re not going to go to court and represent you, and I’ll tell you why. We will file papers with them, we’ll file papers of what we’re doing, that we’re trying to settle your debt and letting them know, which usually will stop the process. If they go to court there’s really not a defense. You know, if it’s credit card debt, you spent the money, you owe the money.
Sales Rep: So what we do is we file papers with our intentions to pay the debt and we’re working on the settlement. If they continue and go to court and get a judgment, all that does is kick it back to the collection company and we settle with them.
Caller: Oh, so they can’t do anything to me –.
Sales Rep: No, I mean at the end of the day they could come back to you with a garnishment but we would settle before that.
Caller: Okay. All right, so –.
Sales Rep: Yeah, and so – and the only reason we don’t go to court to represent you, again, it’s ______________ not help you out, it’s just, it’s a waste of money and time because there really is no defense in that unless you were disputing the charges, that would be something different.
Caller: And so if I was disputing it would the attorney go with me then?
Sales Rep: No, you – if you were disputing the charges, you would need to get _______ consumer credit attorney, or a consumer affairs attorney.
Caller: Okay. So –.
Sales Rep: And in that case, I don’t know if they would charge you. They would probably take it as a percentage of – because if you’re disputing charges, you’re gonna get money back and they would probably take it as a percentage of that.
Caller: All right. What’s – I just want to be careful, so what’s your website?
Sales Rep: WorldLaw – are you online right now?
Caller: No, I’m not.
Sales Rep: Okay.
Caller: So it’s –.
Sales Rep: I was gonna say, I could walk you through it.
Caller: World –?
Sales Rep: It’s WorldLaw.
Sales Rep: .com.
Caller: WorldLaw.com, right, that’s what you said?
Sales Rep: Hold on one second, sorry.
Sales Rep: Let me ___________________ okay.
Sales Rep: Hold one second. All right, sorry about that.
Sales Rep: All right, so it’s where were we at?
Caller: Your website.
Sales Rep: Oh, that’s right, so it’s World.
Sales Rep: Law.
Sales Rep: Debt.com.
Sales Rep: Debt, yeah, D-E-B-T.
Caller: Okay, all right. All right, I got –.
Sales Rep: And then what happens as we move forward –.
Sales Rep: If, you know, we get to that case, is that we’d actually bring you to the site and we would go through signing on there and then, you know, you would continue with the – you would get the compliance call and then the attorney call.
Caller: Okay. So how do I get back in touch with you?
Sales Rep: So let me give you – yeah, so let me give you my contact information.
Sales Rep: You ready?
Caller: I am ready.
Sales Rep: Okay, it’s Tim ______ –.
Caller: Tim Mullen.
Sales Rep: [Spells last name].
Sales Rep: And my number is area code [phone ringing] 415-618 –.
Sales Rep: [____].