WSJ article about how debt settlement firms can harm consumers

Here.  Excerpt:

Companies like National Debt Relief seek out heavily indebted consumers with a promise to help them get out from under it. But regulators say these debt-settlement programs can leave customers worse off, facing high fees, damaged credit scores and unexpected income-tax bills.

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Data from credit-reporting companies has been used by some debt-settlement firms to solicit consumers as their debt is rising and when many are trying to sort out their financial situation. Other firms flood mailboxes with offers of loans, but when consumers call, the pitch can be very different. * * *

Former GreenLink employees said only a small number of people who responded to the company’s mailings were offered loans. Instead, they were pitched a debt-settlement program that GreenLink sells on behalf of San Mateo, Calif.-based Freedom Debt Relief, the former employees said.

GreenLink’s salespeople were taught to “get the client’s guard down,” according to a GreenLink telephone sales script reviewed by the Journal. The Journal couldn’t determine the date of the script.


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