by Stephanie Berenbaum – October 17th, 2012
Beware of Debt Settlement Scams
I was opening my mail the other day, when a very official looking pink letter marked “Important- 2nd Notice” put me into a momentary state of panic. It looked like a letter from a collections agency! The letter, from a company called Credit Resolution Advisors, stated that “we have an opportunity to facilitate settlement offers directly with your creditors for less than what you owe…” My heart skipped a beat. I only have one credit card, and I pay it off in full every month. So my thoughts immediately went to identity theft – was someone out there racking up debt in my name?
Within in moments of calling Credit Resolution Advisors to investigate, my panic turned into rage. Daniel, the representative I spoke with, immediately launched into a sales pitch to enroll me in their “settlement program.” It soon became clear this letter was just a manipulative, cunning tactic, in Daniel’s own words, to “elicit a response” – mission accomplished!
I soon clarified that I was NOT past due on my accounts, and no one had seemed to have stolen my identity. Rather, this company BUYS data from Bank of America and other institutions, of credit card holders who have a particularly high credit balance. Assuming they are in serious debt and can’t pay their bill, the company then approaches the people on their list to try and scare them into “settling their debts for less.”
While there are certainly reputable debt resolution specialists out there, I would steer clear of Credit Repair Associates, based on their shady advertising tactics – and their F rating from the Better Business Bureau – apparently I am not the only one who has taken issue with their crafty sales techniques!
When I tried to speak with a higher up at the company, Daniel refused to give me a name of anyone or to connect me with any other departments! When I asked why he said he didn’t want to “put himself in that position!” Excuse me? I told him I was responding to a solicitation sent to me by his company. He said if I wasn’t going to enroll in the settlement program there was no one for me to speak with… I finally got him to agree to have his legal affairs department call me, but (not) shockingly, I have not heard a peep from them to date.| Print
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