In July 2012, I contacted 1st United Consultants to help me consolidate my debt. I spoke with Oryan Bitton in the client Care Department on several times as I attempted to establish an account and pay the fees required to get the process moving along. They required a copy of a voided check, most recent statement from all creditors and a hardship letter. I received a United Consultation Guide by email as well as an electronic document which served as their Payer Services Agreement. The agreement was (signed and dated July 27, 2012 and made through Meracord Contractual Payment Services) for $863 a month to be drafted from my checking account to be placed into a saving account through then which would be split up amongst my creditors. My husband’s unemployment ran out and sent a letter to United Consultants as to why I could make the agreed payments. When I contacted by Oryan about my financial difficulties, he made everything so sim ple if I stretched nitial payment out which I did. I believe they took my money!
Consumer Action Taken:
When I attempted to reach Oryan from August to September and was unable to do so since all I got was a busy signal that was fast and short which eventually disconnected. I then contacted Meracord of my situation and they told me that it could be possible for 1st United Consultants to be having phone trouble, which has happened before, but give it a day or two and try again. The lady tried to calm me down by telling me other have been calling them too. So waited a week, and then another week trying to reach 1st United Consultants again with the same results. There were two weeks of silence since I had to deal with creditors who weren’t getting paid because of 1st United Consultants not paying any of them. I had even used email to contact them which was also went unanswered. On October 4, 2012, I emailed Meracord Personal Account Servicing to stop the recurring ACH Debit, cancel my saving account with them and requested a full refun d of all monies they wee holding. I also informed them that First United Consultants had either changed their phone numbers or were no longer in busy. Meracod responded that evening tellin me that I need to verify my Meracord account no., mailing address, last four of my ssn#, my bank name and telephone before they could proceed with my request. Well needless to say nothing has happened to date. I received a call from a Mr. S. Callahan (847- 791-1162) on 11/28/12 that he was also victimized by 1st United Consultants).
Date This Problem Happened: June 30, 2012
State You Live in: Connecticut
Age Range: 51-65
Total Amount of Fee Paid: $1,726
Company Name: 1st United Consultants
8170 W. Hillsborough Avenue
Company Telephone Number: 855-486-4831
Website of Company: 1UNITE.com
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AGAINST THE LAW NO UP FRONT FEES -( all states )PRACTICING ILLEGALLY
DEBT SETTLEMENT COMPANIES AND LAW FIRMS
-FILE A COMPLAINT WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE AND FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
IT ILLEGAL FOR LAW FIRMS or debt settlement COMPANIES TO CHARGE MONEY UNTIL SETTLEMENT IS MADE with CREDITOR.
NO- UP FRONT FEES
PLEASE READ LINK BELOW
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to add specific provisions to curb deceptive and abusive practices associated with debt relief services. One key change is that many more businesses will now be subject to the TSR. Debt relief companies that use telemarketing to contact potential customers or hire someone to call people on their behalf have always been covered by the TSR. The new Rule expands the scope to cover not only outbound calls — calls you place to potential customers — but in-bound calls as well — calls they place to you in response to advertisements and other solicitations. If your business is involved in debt relief services, here are three key principles of the new Rule:
●●It’s illegal to charge upfront fees. You can’t collect any fees from a customer before you have settled or otherwise resolved the consumer’s debts. If you renegotiate a customer’s debts one after the other, you can collect a fee for each debt you’ve renegotiated, but you can’t front-load payments. You can require customers to set aside money in a dedicated account for your fees and for payments to creditors and debt collectors, but the new Rule places restrictions on those accounts to make sure customers are protected.
●●You have to disclose certain information before signing people up for your services. Before people sign up, you must disclose fundamental aspects of your services, including how long it will take for them to get results, how much it will cost, the negative consequences that could result from using debt relief services, and key information about dedicated accounts, if you use them.
●You can’t misrepresent your services. The new Rule prohibits you from making false or unsubstantiated claims about your services
WHO’S COVERED BY THE NEW RULE
The new Rule applies to for-profit sellers of debt relief services and telemarketers for debt relief companies. The new Rule defines a “debt relief service” as a program that claims directly, or implies, that it can renegotiate, settle, or in some way change the terms of a person’s debt to an unsecured creditor or debt collector. That includes reducing the balance, interest rates or fees a person owes. The TSR defines “telemarketing” as a “plan, program, or campaign . . . to induce the purchase of goods or services” involving more than one interstate telephone call. Most of the provisions of the TSR apply to sellers and telemarketers, so the terms “company” and “provider” in this Guide refer to both. In addition, certain parts of the Rule apply to those who provide substantial assistance or support to sellers or telemarketers.
Some examples of debt relief services include:
►Calls to you in response to advertising — consumer calls in response to TV or radio commercials; infomercials; home shopping programs; ads in magazines, newspapers or the phone book; online ads; billboards; or ads in other media .
►►Calls to you in response to most direct mail promotions
— consumer calls in response to postcards, flyers, door hangers, brochures, “certificates,” letters, email, faxes, etc., urging people to call about debt relief services.
1. How much your service costs and other important terms. Before someone signs up for your service, you must disclose all fees. If you charge a specific dollar amount, you must disclose that amount. If you charge a percentage of the amount a customer would save as a result of your program, you have to disclose both the percentage and the estimated dollar amount it represents for that customer. In addition, before someone signs up, you must disclose any material restrictions, limitations, or conditions on your services. If the sales presentation includes a statement about your company’s refund policy, you must also include a clear and conspicuous disclosure of all terms and conditions of the policy. If you don’t give refunds, the Rule requires you to tell people that before they sign up
FILE A COMPLAINT WITH FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
THE ATTORNEY BAR ASSOCIATION
ALSO FILE A COMPLAINT ON YOUR STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE ONLINE