The State of Connecticut has recently taken action against New Life Financial Solutions, New Life Consultants.
What makes this interesting is the fact the company was apparently not delivering the debt relief services themselves but acting as a referral source but accepting money from the consumer.
1. Respondent is a California corporation with an office at 800 Park View Drive, #222, Hallandale Beach, Florida. Respondent was also a Florida corporation, but filed for voluntary dissolution effective August 17, 2012.
2. From at least September 2011 to the present, Respondent has offered debt negotiation services via the telephone and the Internet at newlifeconsultants.net. According to its website, Respondent provides advice and referrals for reducing balances, interest rates and payments on credit card debt; advice and referrals for reducing balances, interest rates and payments on mortgage and housing costs; and expert help on negotiating to reduce the burden of outstanding medical bills.
3. On September 13, 2011, a Connecticut resident, while physically present in this state, entered into an Agreement for Services with Respondent for assistance in debt negotiation of secured and unsecured debt (“Agreement”). In particular, the Agreement states, in pertinent part, that “NLFS advises, counsels, and tries to assist you in placing your debts with a 3rd Party service provider . . . who will attempt to negotiate settlement of the debts, including but not limited to, reduction of interest rates, refinances, debt modifications, tax debt, tax liens, lien strips and/or may provide other services related to you [sic] debts with the creditors listed in the documents you submit”. (Emphasis in original.)
4. In furtherance of the Agreement, between September 30 and November 15, 2011, the Connecticut resident remitted total payments of $2,376.70 to Respondent. By letter dated November 28, 2011, the Connecticut resident complained to this department that Respondent had failed to perform the services specified in the Agreement.
5. The fees charged by Respondent were in excess of amounts that debt negotiators may charge pursuant to the Schedule of Maximum Fees established by the Commissioner on or about October 1, 2009 (“Schedule of Maximum Fees”). The Schedule of Maximum Fees only allows fees prior to settlement in connection with the negotiation of unsecured debt in amounts not to exceed a one-time initial fee of $50 and monthly service fees of $40.
6. At no time relevant hereto has Respondent been licensed to engage or offer to engage in debt negotiation in this state, nor does Respondent qualify for an exemption from such licensure.
7. On or about March 22, 2012, the Connecticut resident received a phone call from Respondent, acting under the name First United Consultants, offering debt negotiation services.
8. On September 25, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission filed a Complaint for Permanent Injunction and Other Equitable Relief in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, against E.M.A. Nationwide, Inc., New Life Financial Solutions, Inc. and 1UC Inc. also d/b/a 1st United Consultants and First United Consultants, among others (“Complaint”), alleging that since at least June 2010, such persons marketed and sold debt-related services, including debt settlement, loan modification and mortgage assistance relief services, to consumers nationwide and violated various federal statutes and regulations, including the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule. The Complaint lists 800 Park View Dr. #222, Hallandale Beach, Florida as an address for each E.M.A. Nationwide, Inc., New Life Financial Solutions, Inc. and 1UC Inc. – DOB New Life Financial Solutions, Inc. – Temp CD-Rest-NOI CD-CP
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