Woman calls debt-relief company a rip-off

January 25, 2012 3:23:47 PM PST
Erica Jackson needed help paying off her debt, so she turned to an outfit out of Florida called the Consumer Law Group, which she said offered relief.

"I thought they were going to help me get my debt under control," Jackson explained.

Jackson said she gave CLG all her credit card debt information and a processing fee payment of $249 to get started.

"What they said they would do is get in touch with all my creditors and bargain for me," Jackson recalled.

Each month, Jackson said $278 came out of her checking account, which she thought Consumer Law Group was using to pay off her debt. She eventually learned that wasn't the case.

"I have been with them for almost a year, and nothing was being done," said Jackson.

Jackson isn't alone. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper took action against CLG, claiming more than 650 North Carolinians paid for debt relief but got little or no help in return.

Under a consent judgment , the Consumer Law Group has agreed to pay $600,000 in refunds, not to collect about $600,000 worth of charges from consumers, plus pay an additional $50,000 payment to help cover the state's work on the case.

The judgment also bars CLG from marketing, soliciting, or offering any debt settlement or debt negotiation services in North Carolina.

As for Jackson, she eventually got a refund of more than $2,400, but says since Consumer Law Group didn't work with any of her creditors, her debt is almost double due to interest charges and late fees since no payments were ever made.

"I'm still being hounded by my creditors," she explained.

Under state law, it's illegal to charge an upfront fee for debt reduction or debt settlement services.

If you are looking for debt relief, the best advice is meet with a qualified non-profit counselor who doesn't charge a big fee.

Click here for more information on avoiding credit scams and finding a credit counselor

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