Credit Solutions of America sends me a Cease and Desist Letter

Credit Solutions of AmericaI recently received an email from Credit Solutions of America which contained a Cease and Desist letter.  I was actually surprised because I had never even done an actual review of Credit Solutions.  However, they obviously felt that I was doing something that they didn’t like and wanted me to stop.  The following is a copy of the Cease and Desist letter along with my responses.
Dear Mr. Day:

Your website and blog postings contained therein contain several false and misleading statements regarding CSA- Credit Solutions of America, LLC (“Credit Solutions”).  In addition, the content featured on your website is clearly intended to do damage to the reputation of Credit Solutions by the use of defamatory tactics.

My ResponseIf you feel that my blog has false and misleading statements, then I am glad that you brought that to my attention and I will be happy to look into the statements that you claim are false and misleading and will correct them or clarify them accordingly.  The content featured on my website is not intended to do damage to the reputation of credit solutions by the use of defamatory tactics.  The purpose of my website is to make observations and educate consumers about what is going on in the debt help industry.  To the best of my knowledge, all of my facts are accurate, however if I find information that you point out to be incorrect, then I will be sure to correct and or clarify the information.

Credit Solutions Letter

What follows is an account of just a few of the articles and related blog posts which contain false and/or misleading statements.  Our responses to the inaccuracies and/or misleading statements are in boldface.

Credit Solutions of America-Sued by Florida Attorney General

http://DamonDay.com/234/credit-solutions-of-america-sued-by-florida-attorney-general/

Post Date – October 31, 2009

In the case of credit Solutions of America, after 17 months in their program, nearly 50% of client payments would actually go toward their fees.  (What a Deal huh)

This is misleading as a full explanation of the Credit Solutions program including fees is not provided.

Credit SolutionsMy Response: This statement is factually accurate and straight forward.  It is not misleading in any way.  This information was taken directly from Bill McCollum, the Attorney General in Florida, so if you have issues with the facts then perhaps you can take it up with him.  I am simply reporting what the Attorney General is claiming.  (click picture to enlarge) I am not required to give a full explanation of your program including the fees.  I am simply observing what the Attorney General is claiming and reading your contract to come to the same conclusion.  You charge all of your clients fees over the first half of your program.  I do not agree that your fee structure is beneficial to consumers.  As an advocate for consumers it is my job to point things out that I don’t think are in their best financial interests.  That is simply my opinion and of course consumers are free to make up their own minds.

Credit Solutions Letter

The BBB Reports over 1700 consumer complaints in the last 3 years against Credit Solutions of America and gives them an F Rating.

This is false and misleading.  The number is not over 1,700.  In addition Credit Solutions has resolved all but six (6) of the outstanding cases as noted on the BBB’s website.

My Response: This statement was factually accurate when I wrote it back in October.  The BBB uses a rolling 3 year count to track complaints against companies.  So now 6 months later the complaints have fallen from over 1700 down to 1629.  I have provided a link to the screen shot of the bbb report at the time of this writing. Credit Solutions BBB profile

Frankly I find your statement claiming that my statement was false and misleading to actually be false and misleading because you didn’t fully explain why you no longer have over 1700 complaints and you are implying that I made that number up to damage your reputation.  I am simply reporting to consumers what I have found on your BBB profile, if you find that information to be damaging, then you need to take it up with the BBB.

Credit Solutions Letter

Legacy Debt Solutions vs Credit Solutions – Who Can Bankrupt a Client faster?

http://damonday.com/1017/legacy-debt-solutions-vs-credit-solutions/

Post Date – March 12, 2010

Some salesperson from Credit Solutions and then also Legacy Debt enrolled her into a 4 year program at over 1,000 dollars a month, collecting all of their fees upfront, knowing that she was going to be out of money completely in 12 to 18 months?

This is misleading. The consumer in question was enrolled in two separate debt settlement programs, which is not only not the norm but highly unusual.  It is unknown whether or not the consumer made both companies aware she was already enrolled in a debt settlement plan at the time of enrollment in the other.

My Response: This is not misleading.  The point I was making was not that she was enrolled in two settlement companies at the same time.  (Although that certainly shows the predatory nature of this industry). My point was that both of the companies enrolled her in a program that would have financially bankrupted her within 12 months.  You enrolled her in a plan that would pay you thousands of dollars in fees before she ran out of money and would have had to file BK.  She had actually enrolled in Credit Solutions first prior to enrolling in the other program.

What is not lost on me is that out of that paragraph, you are upset that I claimed she was enrolled in two programs at once, but you didn’t question the fact that your sales person enrolled this consumer on a program where you would collect all your fees upfront knowing, or should have known, she would be out of money long before completing the program.

Credit Solutions Letter

They never even asked about her income.  They didn’t care where the money came from, or how long it would last or anything other than, can you enroll right now and start paying a monthly payment?

This is misleading: Without the original recorded enrollment call, which is proprietary information, there is no evidence that neither settlement program covered such topics during the enrollment process.

My Response: Thank you for making my point for me.  These topics are supposed to be covered.  How in the heck are you supposed to know if a consumer should be enrolled into your debt settlement program if you don’t ask her about her income or where it comes from?  Seriously, your response is that there is no evidence we asked her about it? You are right that without your recording I can only take my clients word for what happened, and I am simply sharing what she shared with me.

However what we know for sure is that your sales person either knew she would be out of money and maliciously signed her up into a program that would not work to make a commission, or your sales person didn’t even ask about a critical component (income) of a clients finances, and proceeded to sell the consumer into a program without the slightest idea of whether or not it was the right option.  Either way, it was a serious mistake.

My opinion, based on observable facts is at least in this instance, your sales rep would have ruined a consumer financially either out of greed or ignorance.  So my question is, was it greed or ignorance or something else, and what, if anything do you plan to do about it?

Credit Solutions Letter

Debt settlement salespeople typically do not know how to do anything but sell you debt settlement.  It doesn’t make much sense to call them for a consultation unless you are looking for a sales pitch on their specific program.

This is false.  While Credit Solutions cannot speak for other debt settlement company employees, Credit Solutions sales team member inform potential clients of their debt relief options.  In addition, all potential customers current review a mandatory video covering potential effects of enrolling in a debt settlement program.

My Response: This is not False.  This is my opinion and I was talking about Debt settlement sales people in general.  My opinion is based on daily observations of the damage done by debt settlement sales people.

However you make an interesting point.  Your rebuttal to my claim that typically settlement sales people only sell settlement is to say that they inform consumers of their debt relief options.  Well I am sure you give an honest and fair representation about all of the other options available and you don’t focus on how great debt settlement always is and how bad all other options always are right?

Well lets have a look at your website.

Oh, is this how you inform consumers of all of their options?

Credit Solutions ChartI can appreciate that you require all of your clients to watch a video covering the potential effects of enrolling in a debt settlement program.  However, what does that have to do with whether or not debt settlement sales people focus on selling debt settlement and don’t focus on helping the clients actually find the best strategy for their specific situation?

Credit Solutions Letter

http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/debt-settlement-companies-pros-cons/

post on TASC

Post Date – November 9, 2009

Case in point, Credit Solutions (a tasc member) and self proclaimed largest settlement company was recently sued in NY by the attorney General.  During the lawsuit it was revealed that of the 18,000 NY residents enrolled into this program over the last 5 years, less than 2,000 successfully had their debts settled.

That is a Success Rate of 11%

This is False as well as misleading.  Credit Solutions is not currently a TASC member.  Further, the claim that “of the 18,000 NY residents enrolled into this program over the last 5 years, less than 2,000 successfully had their debts settled” has not been finally adjudicated in the court of law.

My Response: You are correct.  You are no longer a TASC member.  I was not aware that you were no longer a member of TASC at the time I wrote the comment.  I will go back to that website and add a new comment to let everyone know you no longer belong to TASC.   I am of course curious as to why you no longer belong to TASC and even more curious as to why you would want to make a point to let people know that you no longer belong to TASC.

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of what TASC does vs what they claim to do, so would you mind using the comments to let me know what your thoughts are on TASC and why you are no longer a member?

Regarding your second point, you are also correct.  What I should have said was the Attorney General in New York Alleges.  I will take steps to correct that as well, until the case is fully adjudicated.  Curiously I just happened to be watching a Senate hearing today and Senator Rockefeller, made the comment a few times that Credit Solutions of America, a USOBA member was very reluctant to release facts and figures during the discovery process to the state Attorney’s General in which they are involved in litigation.  I am curious to know why Credit Solutions is reluctant to release this information?

Credit Solutions Letter

We insist that you cease and desist posting inaccurate and misleading statements via blogs regarding Credit Solutions and that you disable these blog postings within forty-eight (48) hours of receipt of this letter or we will be forced to pursue all remedies at law or in equity necessary to see that this done.

I will await your response for the time specified.

Very truly yours,
Lisa Washington-Watts
Assistant General Counsel

My Response: With the exception of the last two points where I was not aware you were no longer a member of TASC and I should have used the word “alleged” instead of “revealed”, I respectfully disagree that anything else you took issue with was either false or misleading.  I will take steps to correct those two points, but everything that I have written about is in the public domain and I am simply relaying that information to consumers as well as offering my personal opinion.

You of course are free to disagree with me, and I will leave the comments open if you would like to provide more details as to why you feel that anything that I have written is false or misleading.  I look forward to hearing from you.

As always, if you would like to contribute your thoughts, and have something to add to the article, please do so by commenting below.

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About Damon Day

As a Debt Coach and a Financial Advocate, I have saved my clients Millions of Dollars by exposing the debt relief scams that other consumers fall victim to. I work directly for my clients to create custom debt relief strategies based on their own unique circumstances. Consumers who speak with me first, come out far ahead of those who don't, every single time. Guaranteed. +Damon Day

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