Cecilia Altonaga, a Federal Judge located in Miami-Dade County recently
entered an injunction ceasing the operations of eleven different companies
who were preying on members of the public in Florida. Pam Bondi, the Attorney
General for the state of Florida brought an action against a number of
companies and individuals who were promising members of the public that
they could reduce, eliminate or settle their debts and provide scam debt-relief
services. The scammers would take payments from members of the public,
often hundreds or thousands of dollars a month and essentially pocket
the money while performing little if any work on behalf of their clients.
An injunction, a court order has been entered shutting down the operations
of eleven companies and preventing them from ripping off members of the public.
Hopefully those involved in these incidents will end up in prison eventually
and while it is great news to see action being taken to stop these con
artists, these sorts of scams are all too common in south Florida. They
often go by a variety of names “debt relief” or “debt
negotiation” or “debt consolidation”. There are companies
which can perform services of this sort but they are rarely if ever worth
the money even if they are not outright stealing from their clients, which
frequently they are. Some such companies can actually help but they are
few and far between and even in the best case scenario the help they can
offer is very limited.
Hiring a “debt negotiation” company rarely amounts to much
more than hiring someone else to make a phone call to your creditors.
You are paying them to make a phone call, that is it. They rarely if ever
have any more leverage than you do and they are certainly not as well
motivated as you are to actually work out an agreement with a creditor.
There is no special law or trick or mechanism or technique which helps
“debt negotiation” companies to get better deals than most
consumers can get on their own. Most credit card companies and banks will
offer “debt negotiation” companies the exact same deal they
would offer you if you called them yourself, the different being you won’t
have to pay someone else as well.
If you are having difficulty paying your bills and are at the point where
you are considering hiring a debt negotiation company, consider contacting
a lawyer first instead. Unlike “debt negotiation” companies,
many lawyers actually have a relationship with their counterparts in credit
card companies and banks and are more familiar with their inner workings
and thus might actually be able to help, or at the least give you a more
realistic assessment of what sort of deal might be possible. Most lawyers
who deal with these sorts of issues will offer a free consultation, our
law firm does and we would be happy to offer you guidance on these matters.
If you would like to read more about the FDCPA and consumers fighting back
against debt collectors, you can find other stories on our blog:
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers
with their debt problems, contact us to see how we may be able to help you:
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.