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I Just Signed Up With The Credit Exchange and The Johnson Law Group for Debt Settlement Services. – Shawana

“Dear Steve,

Signed up with the credit exchange a week ago and was told it would NOT have any negative impact on my credit. I’m not behind just wanted to get them paid off at a lower interest rate. I received a “welcome” letter from The Johnson Law Group and it stated my creditors may show my particiation int the program which could affect my score. It’s only around $8000 but some interest rates are 29.99%.

What is your opinion of The Credit Exchange and/or The Johnson Law Group. Can I cancel? What should I do to reduce my debt/interest rates without hurting my credit?

Thanks!

Shawna”

Dear Shawana,

From what other people have said, I have deduced that The Credit Exchange seems to be primarily a marketing group that then refers consumers for debt settlement services to another party to deliver the actual services. In the past these other companies have been the Hess Kennendy Law Firm in Florida and Allegro Law in Alabama, both of which were subsequently shut down by state regulators.

I had never heard about the Johnson law Group until your question. The Johnson Law Group on their site states they are “a multi-state law firm, with offices in Nevada, California, and Florida, and affiliated attorneys in many other states.”

My radar goes off when I hear similar claims from debt settlement providers because the groups that have been previously shut down offered similar statements and made similar claims. Now, it could just be that the Johnson Law Group is coincidently operating in a fashion that makes it appear to be similar to these groups.

If the Credit Exchange specifically told you that debt settlement would not have any negative impact on your credit. That was a bold faced lie. Not only will it have a negative impact on your credit but it can also result in you getting sued by your creditors and a big tax bill from the IRS. Debt settlement is not a magic wand. It most definitely has consequences.

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If you want to get out of debt and maintain your credit rating or improve it then you need to pay your debt off in full or make at least your regular contractual monthly minimum payments. Anything that is not in compliance with your agreement with the creditor can and will be reported on your credit report.

Regarding cancellation, you should refer to the contract you signed for services. But I would strongly urge you to call the Johnson Law Group and discuss the cancellation process with them. They should be receptive to your call and questions and provide you with a refund since no services have been delivered to you to date.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

Sincerly,
Steve

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.




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.

30 Comments

  • First there was Hess-Kennedy and Enhanced Servicing Solutuions (ESS) did the settlement. Near the end of Laura Hess, Nishat Azam worked for Hess-Kennedy. Hess went away and then ESS began settling accounts under 2 names. Azam Law and The Johnson Law group. The Credit Exchange (TCE) appeared to the the largest supplier of “clients” to ESS. Nishat Azam has 2 offices. One in Lake Mary and one @ 1800 Pembrook (in the same office as ESS). Clint Johnson used to share an office with ESS as well but I don’t think he is no longer there.

  • I too, just like Shawana, signed up with The Credit Exchange. I was then referred to the Azam Law firm to handle my account. They aren’t making any progress with any of my debt. I pay them monthly (since April, 2010) and the phone calls haven’t stopped from my creditors, because nothing has yet to be settled. I want to go another way because this has ruined my credit. I want to cancel my agreement with The Credit Exchange and because I’m in such need of funds, I want to ask for my money back (or even partial the money I paid to them). Would there be any way to do this. I’m desperate.

  • I too, just like Shawana, signed up with The Credit Exchange. I was then referred to the Azam Law firm to handle my account. They aren’t making any progress with any of my debt. I pay them monthly (since April, 2010) and the phone calls haven’t stopped from my creditors, because nothing has yet to be settled. I want to go another way because this has ruined my credit. I want to cancel my agreement with The Credit Exchange and because I’m in such need of funds, I want to ask for my money back (or even partial the money I paid to them). Would there be any way to do this. I’m desperate.

  • Shawna, stay away from The Credit Exchange. They are crooked scammers. You need to contact your bank and put a stop payment on any debit from your account. Then you need to contact them in writing to cancel. These people are trouble. I have filed complaints against them everywhere I can. I got a call from the Governer’s Office of Consumers Affairs yesterday and have to send them copies of everything. They are liars. I Once they get your money they will never pick up the phone again. I went into the debt managemant program and it does hurt your credit. They told me that lie too. Your accounts will be closed and a note added to them saying you are in a debt management program. Stay far, far away from anything having to do with the credit exchange. See below. Part of the letter that I’ve been sending to government agencies. It will explain more.

    I spoke to Brian Lee at THE CREDIT EXCHANGE 1-800-810-3390X4395 to discuss my options. It sounded pretty good with attorneys at my disposal to help us get out of this debt without filing bankruptcy. Brian said that they worked with the most reputable attorneys in the country. I would go into the debt management program and my mother would go into the debt settlement program.
    I had 3 days to cancel. I called Brian Lee 2 days later and told him that I would stay in the debt management program, but did not want to do the debt settlement program with my Mother. I told him to hold off on putting my Mother into the debt settlement program. I then received a call from Jay Choe with THE CREDIT EXCHANGE 1-800-810-3390X4307. I told him the same thing that I had told Brian that I was not sure that I wanted to put my Mother’s debt into the debt settlement program because my Mom was 82 years old with a pacemaker and had perfect credit. This would ruin her credit. I told Jay that I had to think about going in the debt settlement program. I told him that I would call back in a few days that I really had to think about it. They both promised me that they would not deduct that first payment until I called them to confirm that I wanted to be in that program. A few days later to my surprise the money, a total of $3819.00 was taken from my account on May 4, 2009. I called Brian to discuss a refund and the fact that I had told them to wait and that I was not sure that I wanted to do this. Since the money was gone from my account, he said, since the money has been deducted, just go ahead into the program. Brain said that with their service, I would not have to go through this alone. I would have their attorneys to go through the process with me and handle the creditors. He said that it was better than going into bankruptcy. I stupidly agreed to go ahead and go into the program with my Mother’s account. They then took another payment of $1038.00 on June 2, 2009 from my account. When they didn’t take a monthly payment on July 2, 2009 I started looking for information on Allegro and The Credit Exchange. What I was finding was not good. First I contacted Allegro’s customer service at 1-800-295-6025 and asked them why they had not taken the July payment. The Customer service rep told me that a receiver had been appointed and that they could not debit my account until further notice. The representative said that she didn’t have any additional information and could not authorize a refund. The representative told me that someone would call me and let me know when they would start taking payments again or refund my money. That was not true since they debited my account again on July 20, 2009 for $1038.00. This payment should never have been taken since they were in receivership by then. I called THE CREDIT EXCHANGE and spoke to Michelle 1 800-810-3390×4366 in customer service because Brian and Jay would not return my calls; she also advised me that they could not do anything until the receiver advised. I called the office of the Alabama Attorney General and spoke with a woman named Mary, she told me a little about what was going on and told me to contact the receiver.

    I still need my money in the total of $5895.00 back as soon as possible. My mother is 82 years old and has a pacemaker. I’m unemployed and have blown my savings on this. This has devastated our family. Not one bill has ever been paid or creditor contacted. I have tried to call THE CREDIT EXCHANGE and ALLEGRO and can’t get anyone to return my calls from either business. The Credit exchange promised me a reputable attorney that I was assigned has been disbarred for 3 years. Not only is he disbarred, he has no liscense to provide credit management services. The Credit Exchange didn’t know that their attorney had no liscense to provide this service?? So, bottom line, The Credit Exchange referred me to a crook. I spoke to Michelle again and she then told me that they could not do anything until the receiver approved it. She said that the receiver would have to approve a refund. Of course, I’ve never gotten a refund. I am wondering why you all have not shut down THE CREDIT EXCHANGE since they are right in the middle of all of this. They are the ones that stole my Money from my account when I told them I had changed my mind. They are the people that convinced me to go into the program after they stole $3895.00 out of my account when I had told them I had changed my mind. They are the ones that will not return my calls now. I blame THE CREDIT EXCHANGE more than Allegro. The last time I spoke to Michelle at the Credit Exchange at 1 800-810-3390×4366 she basically told me to file bankruptcy. I could have done that without giving them over $5800.00. She was very nasty and hateful to me at that point. I’ve never spoken to Allegro. Someone needs to stop THE CREDIT EXCHANGE today.
    I need for someone to contact me as soon as possible. The Credit Exchange has basically stolen my money for Allegro and they are still in business today. I just called them. I understand that the owner Steve Vanderhoof has been involved in these types of schemes before and he’s still making money. How can he be allowed to continue to steal from people that are alreay in trouble? I need to know what I can to do next. My contact information is below.

    Now over $5000.00 later and a year later. One of us did have to file bankruptcy. Stay away from anything to do with the Credit Exchange. When I call them now I a recording saying that my call is not allowed. I’m telling you The Credit Exchange is trouble. Get out as soon as you can. Good Luck!!!!

  • This “steve” guy is probably a new employee and has no clue what the credit exchange actually does and is just blinded by Steve vanderhoof’s ability to pull the sheets over a rep’s head and make them believe that the world is flat. It is hard to hold him accountable, in his mind he is truly helping people, if the reps actually KNEW what happened once they signed someone up most of them probably would choose to find another job.

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