In recent months, we’ve seen many regulators and legal idrp authorities in jurisdictions across the country signify official concern that an increasing number of companies which operate in the debt cures business today, are essentially debt relief scam operations that are out to cheat and dupe an overburdened debt-ridden population in a bad national economy. The most recent among those, is Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in New York, whose office had subpoenaed some 14 debt relief operations and one law firm in May 2009 from across the nation for investigations into their debt settlement operations.
Recent Major Debt Relief Scam Investigation by Online Review Organization
Quite coincidentally, that subject is, in fact, actually the subject matter of a recent full scale major independent investigation of the industry conducted by one reputable, independent online review organization that investigates online products and services or companies, especially in the debt cures business field, for their quality and authenticity. The results of that investigation is startling, showing that some 82.5% of the test sample group of website-based debt relief operations used (165 out of 200), were basically debt relief SCAMS. And that only 17.5 of them were of any legitimacy. There are some 12 companies nationally which the evaluations showed were of great quality, and one company that is of exceptional quality and rank exceptionally superior as the most trustworthy, and Number #1 debt relief company in America.
In its report of the findings of its investigations team just released in New York in mid May 2009, the Research division Director of the online research organization (see the link provided below at end of this article), stated that the review was prompted by the fact that,
“Consumers seem more and more today to be turning to debt relief operations for ways to pay off debts in response to the current American economic recession… most of those companies are competing to out do each other in their claims that they have the best debt relief programs. In constant advertisements on the Internet, radio and TV, they purport to provide excellence and the best services to customers on ways to pay off debts… Consequently, finding a truly good debt settlement company by a consumer under such circumstances, is not at all an easy task.”
The report adds, “With so many companies out there, they all soon start looking and sounding alike after a while, as are their TV, radio, and newspaper ads. So, how in the world can the average person tell what are good debt relief companies from the bad ones or the debt relief scams?”
The Major Findings of the Investigation
Basically, using the rigorous evaluation and ranking system devised by its review experts, called the “Key Debt Relief Evaluation Criteria” or KDREC, the review team scored and ranked 12 debt relief companies from across the country as ranking as the TOP DOZEN Online debt relief companies in the industry having the highest levels of professionalism, reliability and credibility in the critical criteria areas of evaluation for the industry — accreditation by the Bureau of Better Business and by recognized certification institution for the debt relief industry, professional reputation, charges and cost of service to consumer, results of company background checks on expertise, quality of personnel, personnel education and training, length of time in the industry, past record in the business and in delivery of the services, customer satisfaction, etc.
What are good debt relief companies? And are there many debt relief scam companies in the online settlement industry?
Well, some of the detailed findings made by the comprehensive investigation conducted by the expert team of researchers commissioned by the organization, were quite startling.
Among the major findings, are the following:
==Over four-fifths (some 82.5%) of the test sample group of website-based debt relief operations used (165 out of 200), were basically what you’d call debt relief SCAMS or fraud operations — that is, they were merely worthless website operations that have no business at all on the Internet peddling any debt cures business to consumers, and at best bordering on fraud, with no value-added and absolutely the kind of sites that should be a complete no-no for any and all wise consumers to shop in.
==Just 17.50% of the 200 company websites reviewed in our test sample (35 of the 200) are legitimate debt relief operations that are seemingly responsible business operations and fairly reliable, although the detailed extent of the quality of their services was variable in degree from one company to another.
==Some 12 companies in the sample group emerged, using certain defined additional evaluation criteria (such as the service affordability for the average person, security of website, evidence of large amount of savings to clients or whether company has successfully reduced millions of dollars of consumer and small business debt, customer satisfaction response times, flexibility of the program based on what a customer may have available on a monthly basis, etc), to additionally assess them, as the best debt relief programs, the very TOP DOZEN online debt relief companies in the whole country,
==Across the entire country, there is one company, located in San Diego, California, that stands way out over and above the shoulders of any others in the nation’s industry as the Number #1 ranked debt relief company and program, the most reputable, competent and reliable one of its kind in the entire industry.
==From the research data from the field, when the option of debt settlement has been exercised for debtors through the hands of a debt settlement or debt consolidation company who is incompetent, or of staff that is inexperienced, consumers involved in those debts have often lost money, while some actually cause people to deteriorate further down to a worse financial condition and greater hardship which often force them to file bankruptcy, when, in fact, their purpose for going for the debt settlement option, in the first place, had been to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Thus, according to this report, this is the quintessential kind of customer who needs the most to avoid being a debt relief scam victim.
The Critical Finding and Lesson from this Review…
Reached in an interview, the research director of the organization stated that “Probably the single most significant, in deed, eye opening, piece of finding that emerged from this investigative work is this. That,… trying to settle your credit card debt through using a debt settlement or consolidation company could be a viable and fruitful option for you by which you may frequently be able to significantly reduce credit card debt, or even totally eliminate it. In fact, debt settlement is often a very good idea for individuals who are having difficulties with keeping up with outstanding overwhelming credit card debts that never do seem to go away, and who would prefer to make a negotiated arrangement with the creditor for easier and more manageable repayments, but do not wish to experience bankruptcy filing because they probably conceive it as something that would have a drastic negative impact on one’s future credit.”
He continued: “However, results of the HDRR research investigations confirmed one startling fact. That, in large measure, whether this positive effect that we should expect to come from employing a debt settlement company actually results, in reality, for a particular debtor in a particular case, completely depends! If, for example, you choose the wrong or fraudulent debt settlement company to handle your relief plan and action, you may, in stead, find yourself in worse shape than you were before. Making sure to sort out, right before hand, scammy debt relief companies, is not only the easiest and simplest way to avoid being a debt relief scam victim. But, even more important, the surest way for debtors to reap tremendous savings and easier and cheaper payments on outstanding debts by them. Hence, it is critically important that you choose the right company, the ones with the proven best debt relief programs. Like any other industry, there are good companies, and there are bad companies.”
The central point for the consumer, any consumer at all, to understand who is in need of making the vital decision about employing the services of one of the online debt settlement companies, is this. The most critical task and challenge for you, is being able to sort out and find the proper debt relief company that does, in deed, have the essential experience, the history and record, and the skilled debt settlement counselors and negotiators, as to make that company reputable, reliable and trustworthy. And, in order for you to be able to do so and fruitfully accomplish this, there is just one basic essential PRECONDITION you’ve got to meet — do a great deal of investigation and research on the companies which operate in the industry on the various criteria for evaluation mentioned above.
“Given the mandate of this investigative review and research,” says the online review organization’s research director, “the task for the serious consumer or debtor to follow, is really simple and uncomplicated. It says simply that if you want to secure terms for repaying your debts at levels which could be quite considerably lower and more favorable for you or even tremendous, at times, and you wish to do so using a debt settlement or consolidation company, and to do so while avoiding falling victim to a great number of debt relief relief companies which abound, you must FIRST and FOREMOST be certain that you proactively search for and pick a right and reliable one. In deed, most preferably, the very best debt relief agencies there is. And to accomplish this, all you have to do – you must do – is do the proper and thorough research.”
He concluded: “We’ve tried in this HDRR review endeavor to make the resulting work product as thorough a study as possible. And comprehensive too, so that it would apply to and be usable in virtually any location in the entire United States. And, I believe we largely succeeded in that basic objective. Now, it would be up to consumers themselves hopefully to help themselves. They need not be victims of debt relief scamming. Rather, armed with the right knowledge, they can be – and should be – the victors in getting better debt settlement deals and terms, and better overall debt cures.”
Benjamin Anosike, Ph.D., has been dubbed by experts and reviewers of his many books, manuals and body of work, which dwell largely on self-help law issues, as “the man who almost literally wrote the book on the use of self-help law methods” by America’s consumers in doing their own routine legal chores – in uncontested divorce, will-making, simple probate, settlement of a dead person’s estate, simple no-asset bankruptcy, etc.
A pioneer and intellectual and moral leader of the 1970s-based “you do your own law” movement and a lifelong vehement advocate and veteran of historical battles for the right of the American consumers to perform their own tasks in the area of routine legal matters, Anosike was one of the pioneers who fought and survived (along with many others of courage) the lawyers’ and organized bar’s stiff war of the 1970s and ’80s against American consumers and entrepreneurs who merely sought, then, to use, write, distribute or sell law-related self-help books and kits for non-lawyers to do their own law, upon the lawyers’ claim then of such being purportedly “unauthorized practice of law” or “practicing law without a license.” Anosike holds graduate degrees in labor economics and management and a Ph.D. in jurisprudence.
Bankruptcy is not on the list of positive options for debt relief. Yes, it does offer immediate relief; however, the long term repercussions will need to be dealt with. To deter individuals from filing for bankruptcy, a number of alternative legal debt relief options were created. They provide convenience, the ability to fix a credit report slowly, and they are backed by government support. There are two main options for individuals looking to get out from under debt – consolidation and settlement.
Debt consolidation is a dependable method that, though it does not remove debt completely, it makes it more manageable. A debt relief counselor contacts all creditors and assists in negotiating a lower amount to pay back; this includes reducing the interest rate, and dropping certain charges, including late fees. Once negotiations are complete, debt is consolidated into one, affordable monthly payment made straight to the consolidator. They dispense the money to creditors. It takes an average of five years to clear debt.
The most popular relief form is debt settlement. There are currently many federal government policies to assist with settlement options. Debt is not completely wiped clean, but often fifty to seventy percent of the total amount is removed. A credit counselor discusses the situation with creditors and hammers out a new repayment plan and the various conditions and terms. It is the quickest way to solve debt, as it takes only one to three years.
One discussion with a debt specialist will aid them in determining what option best suits an individual’s personal needs. They assist in providing comprehensive debt relief. This way, individuals avoid bankruptcy and rebuild their credit standing.