UPDATE 8-27-2014: Hat tip to Gary White from Student Debt Doctor for pulling the Department of Education logo from the site following the article below. Gary said, “I had no idea that was the Department of Educations logo and have taken it the logo down. I had a friend do the site for me, I asked that he put a pic of a doctor with a lab coat and a clip board but that’s what I got. I’ve also pulled the facebook marketing add that had the logo. The name (student debt doctor) doesn’t sound anything like a government entity. I never meant to deceive anyone.”
A reader sent me in an advertisement they saw on Facebook for student loan relief or assistance. The advertisement concerned them because of the use of the Department of Education logo in the ad.
Actually that wasn’t the worst part in my mind. No, it’s not till you land on studentdebtdoctor.org, Student Debt Doctor, where the DOE logo appears to be used on the bottom of every page.
I just so happened to write this article about a student loan assistance company in the 954 area code and this website uses a 954 area code telephone number as well. Seems to be the area code to use for student loan assistance offers.
But the use of the U.S. Department of Education logo falls immediately above this statement on their site, “Student Debt Doctor is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender.” – Source
So it winds up being a “here is the official logo we are not associated with” situation.
The website is registered to Gary White.
Gary White is also listed as the “Lead Negotiator” on the Student Debt Doctor website.
Unfortunately not everyone has completed the commonsense lesson that it is not OK to use official government logos on sites or in ads that can mislead consumers into thinking there is an association with the entity or agency. In fact studentdebtdoctor.org went all in on this one and even used the same graphic right smack on their home page. – Source
If you’d like to do some homework before you move ahead, consider reading these guides.
- The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
- How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off
For some free help you can read The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Student Loans You Can’t Afford.