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Freedom Debt Relief occupies a spot on our list of the best debt settlement firms for a few reasons. Chief among them is the fact that the company has more than a decade of experience in debt settlement. Unfortunately, its reputation among its clients is overwhelmingly negative.
To quote one dissatisfied customer, "After paying them $500 a month, they still have not settled with any of my creditors. Even though they have enough money by now to settle with several of my smaller creditors." Rightly or wrongly, many customers feel that Freedom Debt Relief failed in its primary stated objective, which is to free its clients from debt.
This is not an uncommon refrain from customers of debt settlement services. The reason is simple, with rare exceptions – these companies only serve to make a bad financial situation worse. Freedom Debt Relief is no different, in practice, from most companies. Its staff will help you set up a trust account to collect the money with which you would have been paying creditors while they try to negotiate lower settlements. Customer service representatives told us that they often get debt settlements for 50 cents on the dollar but average 42 cents.
One positive thing we can say about Freedom Debt Relief is that information about its fees is easy to find. Other debt settlement services make it nigh unto impossible to find what it actually costs to use their services until after you start sending them money. They take 15 percent of the amount of debt you turn over to them to settle. One percent of that is considered a retainer fee and three percent is considered a service fee. All of that is rolled into one tidy monthly sum. After the retainer fee and service fee are taken off the top, the rest goes into your savings account, which will be used eventually for lump sum payments to your creditors.
Freedom Debt Relief is a charter member of The Association of Debt Settlement Companies and a member of International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators. The company has also won several entrepreneur awards and an award for treating its employees well.
There were 239 complaints filed against this company with a major consumer group in 36 months. That is a few hundred too many in our view.
In the grand scheme of things, financial crises pass and collectors stop calling, eventually. The last thing you want to do is exacerbate a bad short-term problem into a long-term disaster. There are a few too many red flags for our taste with Freedom Debt Relief, though it is not without its good points. At least the company tells you how much money it will take from you before you agree to send it to them.
With more than a decade of experience in debt settlement, Freedom Debt Relief should be skilled at negotiating with creditors.
The complaints against Freedom Debt Relief by its own customers cannot be ignored.
In the long run, it may be better to weather your financial storm without the help of a third-party negotiator.