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Debt settlement operation found guilty of deceptive practices

When using the internet it's not uncommon to come across advertising that seems too good to be true. Claims that a product will make an individual thin in five days, make an aspiring entrepreneur rich in six months, or eliminate a consumer's debt in an unrealistic amount of time are hard to believe. However, when desperation sinks in many people are apt to believe just about anything. When consumers are saddled with debt, a too-good-to-be-true option gives a sense of hope that maybe there is an easier way out.

A debt relief operation that advertised on Google and various websites has agreed to a $3.3 million settlement after being charged with deceptive practices. The charges were brought by the Federal Trade Commission. According to a report the company was found guilty of false claims.

The company's advertisements claimed that debtors could reduce debts by up to 40 percent to 60 percent but did not consider the consumers who dropped out of the program. They also did not account for the fees that the clients paid, which totaled 30 percent of the savings advertised.

In addition to false claims, the company was charged with using false advertising including a claim saying the company allowed a client to, "drop my credit card debt down to 62%!" They are truly a Godsend! God Bless." The defendant's paid $85,000 and the remainder of the judgment has been suspended because of the company's inability to pay. If it is determined that the defendants provided the FTC with false information, the full amount will become due.

The company that made the claims learned the hard way that false advertising only goes so far. Hopefully, readers are aware that there is a reason some advertisements sound too good to be true. Usually, it's because they are.

Source: Collections & Credit Risk, "Debt Settlement Operation Agrees To $3.3M Settlement," Darren Waggoner, June 6, 2012

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