Debt Free League issued a press release today and one line jumped right out and grabbed my attention. The press release was about how the economy in California was in the toilet and Debt Free League was riding to the rescue by telling consumers who the best debt relief providers were.
However, there is only one line that you need to read to know exactly what these guys are doing, and why consumers would be well advised not to call them for help with their debt issues.
Here is the line…
“Lately, as a convenience to consumers, Debt Free League representatives have been making house calls and assisting people at their local Starbucks. The benefit is a great money saver on gas, and has been a blessing for people with busy schedules.“
Luckily I have developed a keen ear for understanding bullshit, so I can translate what this means for you.
On October 27th a new law went into effect that banned debt settlement companies from charging all their fees in the beginning half of their programs, which they were very fond of doing since they knew most people would never actually complete the program successfully. Many of these companies have now or will shortly be going out of business, since they don’t actually know how make a profit if they need to actually perform a service first.
However, among these rip off programs are what are known as Loopholers. These are companies that are trying to find any loophole they can around this advance fee ban law, so they can continue to enroll unsuspecting consumers into their BS programs and take them for every last dollar as quickly as they can.
One such loophole in the law is what is known as the “face to face” exemption. This allows for debt settlement companies who meet with clients face to face instead of over the phone to be exempted from the rule. The new rule is specific to telemarketing.
So in order to keep their cash cows coming in, there have been a handful of companies now scrambling to amass an army of foot soldiers to go out into neighborhoods and continue pitching the front loaded fee scam.
If a debt settlement company wants to meet you in person to sign the paperwork, there is no logical reason for them to do so unless it was to specifically try and get around the new law to protect consumers from predatory settlement operations, and charge you their fees before settling your debt.
Lets look at the line in the press release again. Notice that they pitch it as an added convenience to the consumer. Excuse me? What is convenient about meeting some strange person at a public place like Starbucks to discuss very private financial information with a lot of people around? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to discuss this over the telephone?
How is this a blessing for people with busy schedules? How is this a gas saver? Seems like I would use less gas, just sitting at my kitchen table and using my telephone. Seems like my telephone would also be more accommodating to my schedule than some face to face meeting at Starbucks.
Notice they also said “Lately.” Hmm, could that be because just last week the law changed and the only way they could continue to charge huge amounts of money to consumers looking for help, would be to meet face to face? Wow, that is really convenient.
From this press release, it appears to me that Debt Free League is more than willing to send a sales person to your house, or to buy you a cup of 2 dollar coffee, simply to charge you thousands of dollars in upfront fees, that will very likely insure your eventual Bankruptcy filing. Debt Free League claims that they are just looking to help. My question is, how exactly are they helping?
You know what would be fun. If you happen to speak with someone from Debt Free League, and they want to come and meet with you in person to explain their bullshit, oops, I mean debt relief plan, tell them you would prefer to just do it over the phone.
Please let me know what creative reasons they come up with to convince you that it is in your best interest to meet “face to face.” Oh, this might get really fun, because marketers do say the darnedest things.