FTC fingers debt relief companies for misleading advertising


The Federal Trade Commission says that two companies used radio and television advertising to enroll consumers into debt relief programs — and to pay upfront fees – and then failed to deliver the relief.

FTC says that the defendants “made deceptive claims that consumers who enrolled in their programs could eliminate 30 to 60 percent of their credit card debt and be out of debt in 18 to 36 months. The defendants marketed their services via websites and TV and radio ads that urged consumers to call toll-free numbers for a free consultation and to enroll in their debt relief programs. One operation claimed to use ‘secret programs most credit card companies won’t tell you about.’ The other operation touted its ‘established relationships’ with creditors and claimed that its program would ‘save you literally thousands of dollars.’ The defendants charged consumers up-front administrative fees, monthly maintenance fees, negotiation fees, and in some instances, a cancellation fee.”

Charging advance fees for such services became illegal for any clients enrolled on or after 10/27/10.

The defendants are Financial Freedom of America, Inc., now known as Financial Freedom Processing Inc., and Debt Consultants of America Inc and Debt Professionals of America Inc.