It is nice to see regulators on several fronts stepping up the pressure on Legal Helpers and taking action against programs that I have been warning consumers about for quite a long time. Click the video player to watch to the news story and hear some of the allegations of the Illinois Attorney General.
Among other things, it is alleged that…
1. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution contracts out virtually all debt relief services to a third party operated and staffed by non-lawyers.
2. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution lures consumers through multiple marketing methods and claims its services, via a law firm, are superior to other debt settlement services.
3. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution makes numerous claims that a law firm will be handling consumers’ debt resolution but that is not true.
4. Once the consumer signs the agreement with LHDR, all debt resolution services are provided by a third party.
5. Consumers report they have no contact with a lawyer after enrolling.
6. This advance fee structure makes it difficult for consumers to save funds for anticipated settlement offers.
7. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution rarely, if ever, negotiates settlements with all consumer’s creditors.
8. In numerous instances consumer’s are sued by one or more of their creditors or by one or more debt collection agencies.
9. Many consumers drop out of the program after they have paid most or all of their fees to defendant, but before defendant, or more accurately, the third parties they have agreements with, performs any debt settlement or debt mediation services.
10. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution charges extraordinary “Up Front Fees.”
11. Participation in the Legal Helpers Debt Resolution program does not produce the positive results that consumers expected at the time they enrolled.
There are several other important allegations including Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices, such as: LHDR represents to consumers that it has “special expertise in “debt settlement” or “debt negotiation,” when in fact the defendant’s program has no special expertise, and consumers are just as likely to obtain reduced settlements with creditors through their own efforts;”
You can read the full complaint against Legal Helpers Debt Resolution.
I hope several other states will follow the Illinois AG and start taking a closer look at the results, or lack thereof, that Legal Helpers Debt Resolution is obtaining for consumers in their respective States.
This is my first trip to your site but I will definitely be back. I think it is excellent how you are trying to educate the public on the fraud and abuse by these companies. This article (and video) are a great way to expose LHDR for the scam that it is. I will definitely share your site with our readers and look forward to checking out your other posts.
I appreciate you taking the time to let me know. Educating consumers about exactly what Legal Helpers is doing and then allowing them to make informed decisions is about all I can do until the FTC weighs in on how Legal Helpers is continuing to conduct business.
I originally contracted with a different company who sold their debt resolution branch to Legal Helpers. Since the sale I am getting very few return calls from my “Legal Assistaant”. I just found out that my so called local lawyer missed 2 answer fileing dates. When I asked my Legal assistant what gives I was told that they are trying to find a new attorney in Montana to represent me in court. I have paid my fees and they have gotten 1 settlement agreement for me but at a higher amount than they said they would be able to get me. The second fileing date came and I was told by the legal assistant to just go up and answer a couple question on a form with the clerk of court and I would be fine. When I went to the clerk of the court she did not know what form they were talking about. The clerk told me unless I am disputing the debt I could not file an answer. That was about 2 weeks ago I have called the legal assisstant several times with no return calls all I get is the voice mail.
It is unfortunate, but this is the type of service that I hear about from former clients of Legal Helpers all of the time.
If they didn’t charge most of their fees upfront, I would be willing to bet that their service would be much better and focused on making their clients happy. Once you are at the point of being sued, you have likely paid most or all of your fees, and as you can clearly see, they have no incentive to really make sure you are being treated well.
If they were not going to earn several thousand dollars because you were going to drop out of the program for lack of a good service, I would be willing to bet you would have no trouble getting a lawyer to help you.
If you want to tell me a little more about your situation, I will get you pointed in a direction for some actual help to resolve your financial situation.
Hi, I filed a complaint with the BBB against Freedom Debt Relief & now FDR is offering me a $300.00 refund. Should I take the refund or wait & see if the Il AG will sue them & get me a bigger refund?
Well that depends. How much did you pay Freedom Debt Relief in total fees? What was your experience with them? What is your financial situation now?
Thanks. I paid around $3500.00 in fees. They saved me $5000.00 in settlements. But 4 accounts went to the courts. One I paid off in one payment & 3 lined up to garnish my wages. The garnished wages totaled around 17,000 & has been going on for 2 years now with another year to go.
That doesn’t sound like a good situation you are currently in.
I am leaving early in the morning to head over to a debt settlement conference that I thought Andrew Housser (the President of Freedom Debt Relief) would be attending as well.
I just made a phone call to confirm if he was still going to attend and was told that he had a scheduling conflict and will not likely be able to make it. I thought I would be able to ask him to look into your case.
I will be back in the office next Wednesday. If Mr. Housser does not attend, then when I return, I will contact him and ask him to take a look into your case file if you would like.
I do not know Mr. Housser personally and if you read through some of the articles on my site, you will find that there are some fundamental things about debt settlement that we disagree on, but through mutual acquaintances I have been told he is a good guy. So I am confident that if there were mistakes made by Freedom Financial, he would want to be made aware of them, and will want to make them right.
I am enrolled in LHDR right now and I received a letter from one of my creditors that they are going to garnish my wages when I called LHDR they said sorry there’s nothing we can do about it.
They went on to tell me that I have 2 options either pay the amount in full or set up a plan to pay them, if I had the money I would have paid the creditor to begin with.
I am seeing now what a huge mistake this was.
I am looking for a way out but I still will not be able to afford the all the creditors and now I am out the money I have paid LHDR.
I wish to god I had seen this article earlier.
I hope that other people learn from my mistakes.
If any one has a legit company that can help me please try and contact me.
I am not swimming in debt just can’t afford what I have because of a bad turn of fate.
I am sorry to hear about your situation and I also wish every consumer that is considering hiring Legal Helpers would research them before they sign up.
Your situation does not seem to be unique. They can’t deliver on the promises but they aren’t willing to give you your money back either.
That is why they insist on collecting your money upfront. By the time you realize things aren’t going to go as smoothly as the sales person promises they have already been paid all their money.
If you tell me a little more about your current financial situation I can offer some helpful suggestions on what you can do from this point moving forward.
How much money did Legal Helpers take from you?
Help! I am with LHDR and things seemed to be going well and I even had one credit card settled but I can’t get them to move on anything else. I have paid all fees and have been in the program for 2 years now. What can I do to get these settled. My credit report shows the remaining debts as “charged off”. They no longer return phone calls or emails and I get the same answer everytime I call customer service…. they will call me back. I even force them to give me a day they will call back and when they miss that date I send an email and follow up with another call. If nothing else I will bug them enough to get my money’s worth out of them.
Please send me a private message so I can get more details about your current situation. Unfortunately your situation does not seem to be an uncommon experience and I have not seen very many consumers successfully get their money back from Legal Helpers once they have paid the upfront fees.
While I certainly don’t recommend giving up on that, we have to move forward because the bigger problem is that we still have to resolve the situation that you already paid legal Helpers to resolve for you.
Please use this link Contact Damon to send me a private message about your situation. I do know some good programs who will help consumers that have been taken advantage of by these upfront fee programs who offer little help once they have been paid.
These good programs have agreed to drastically discount their fees for victims of the upfront fee scams.
Thanks for sharing this great article with a great video in it. It really helped me. This blog has helped me a lot and I really want to thank you for it. Thanks!
You are very welcome Linda, I am glad I have been able to help out. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I wish I would have seen this earlier also! I have legal helpers and although I have only paid them once so far they are getting to be a bigger hassle then the creditors themselves! I hate that I got myself into this mess and I am actually at the mail center now to fax my proof of address off to the bank that they use, since they will take the money out without giving me a refund…
I am sorry you are having such a hassle. If you tell me a bit more about your situation I might be able to point you in the direction of a better course of action to resolve your debt issues.
I have been with LHDR since June 2010, I have recently withdrew the money in my account with them but there is still over $5000 missing and have no idea what they have done with my money. Now I have 3 judgments against me where they haven’t been paying my creditors. When we first signed up I thought this was a legit company, boy was I wrong. What are people doing about money that was paid to this company and they weren’t negotiating with creditors? Thanks
It is highly likely that your missing money was what they took in fees. Unfortunately the contract that you likely signed back in 2010 says they will be taking the bulk of their fees upfront.
Have you contacted them about the missing money and requesting a refund?
Have you met with a Bankruptcy attorney to determine if filing BK is an option to get out from under those judgments?
Hi. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I wish I would have read this last year. I am currently in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, being represented by Legal Helpers. Its saddening to read this, because I have received some of the same treatment, but was able to make payments. But now that I am unemployed, and have gotten a little behind, and have done a little research and know that there is something that can be done regarding reducing my fees while I’m unemployed-or halting it altogether until I find a job. Once I told LH that I was unemployed and needed help to reduce payments or see what could be done about the payments until I found a job, without dismissing my case, I was told that there was nothing that could be done, and I would still have to continue paying the agreed upon amount, even though it is HALF of what I get in benefits. I need help with this.
I am very sorry to hear about the situation. Since I am not a bankruptcy attorney and not privy to the details of your case, I of course cannot comment on whether or not what the Legal Helpers attorney has told you is correct.
What I would suggest is that you schedule a consultation with another Bankruptcy Attorney at another firm and get a second opinion.
If you are unable to afford the payments and the Legal Helpers bankruptcy attorney won’t present your new circumstances to the court in order to attempt to lower your payment, then your case will be dismissed once you fall behind.
So this is important that you get another opinion right away.
Please tell me what city you live in and I will see if I know any Bankruptcy Attorneys in your area that you could contact for a second opinion.
Stay away from this company. They are nothing but another entity to rake your money in hope they will be able to settle your debts for you. You can do that yourself. You will end up paying more for court cost and wage garnishment and attorney fees, including your cars, and homes.
What you all read from this website and others are very true. Hopefully, the US government and other states AG will take serious action to shut this company down before they rake more money from more people. If this is not a scam then stealing money should not be crime either.
ive been with LHDR for a while i just got a lean put on my work from zwiicker&associates and it turns out that this was settled on 2/22/11 for ge money i need help i live in elk grove ca. 95758 close to sacramento do you know of any good bankruptcy laywers? should i stop paying LHDR $896.63 EACH MOUMTH HELP 1-219-717-**** (edited for privacy) THANKS.
I am sorry to hear about your situation. Are you saying that Zwicker and Associates has issued a garnishment on your paycheck?
In order for them to do that, your account would have had to have gone to court and a judgment been issued in their favor. Did Legal Helpers send an attorney to defend you in the lawsuit?
How long have you been in the Legal Helpers program? If this account was in fact settled last year, then I would assume that the attorney for Legal Helpers can easily prove that and request a hearing to put a stop to the wage garnishment.
What did the attorney for Legal Helpers say in response to the notice of a wage garnishment on an account that they supposedly already settled?
Yes, I do know a good bankruptcy attorney that you can speak with in Northern California. I will email you the information to get in touch with them to review what options you have available at this point.
I have been with LDHR since Aug. of 2010. I like alot of these others have paid alot of money and no results. I am currently being sued by US Bank, and already have a judgement and wage garnishes from Discover. They told me in the beginning all the things they could do but have heard nothing from them in 2 years. Now I am pretty much forced to file bankruptcy but can I go to the MN attorney general and see if I can get any of my money back. I paid 2100 up front the first 3 payments and then 560.00 every month since. I listed 4 credit debts and 2 I have not heard from, but feel it is only a matter of time before they start suing me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Hello Linda, did you contact Legal Helpers and ask for a refund? How much debt did you have back in 2010? Has LHDR resolved anything after two years or have they taken almost everything in fees while you received lawsuits and wage garnishments?
Without knowing more about your situation, I can’t really comment about whether or not bankruptcy is you best move at this point, but more than likely it is.
Please share more about your experience, and I certainly would recommend contacting the attorney general in both your home state of MN and also IL, if Legal Helpers does not respond satisfactorily to your request for a refund.
In my opinion it looks like you paid Legal Helpers thousands of dollars and all they did was make it worse. Sounds like you would have been better off just letting your debts go and sticking the money in your own savings account. Legal Helpers may be able to argue that they didn’t make it worse, but a plausible argument couldn’t be made that they made your situation better. So how much money did they collect in fees and what did they do to earn that? That would be the question I have for them.
This is very sad… (: To me this is no different than thief and the US is doing nothing to stop these crooks from taking money from these already poor American people. I guess I am going to create a website and falsely advertise that I have real diamonds and just ship people crap from Dollar Tree. This is exactly how LHDR is doing, and no one is stopping them.