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Judge Stops Debt Collection Scam

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: http://www.fight13.com/Practice-Areas/Debt-Collection-Harassment-and-Abuse.aspx

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: http://www.fight13.com/Contact-Us.aspx

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.

  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
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