What is Freedom Debt Relief?
Freedom Debt Relief is a leader in the debt settlement industry; they have settled over $8 billion in debt for over 500,000 consumers. To accomplish this, they negotiate with creditors to resolve their clients’ debts for a discount. Clients regularly receive an added benefit of a monthly payment that is smaller than the monthly minimum payments required by their creditors.
We researched Freedom Debt Relief and its debt resolution strategies. Overall, we give Freedom Debt Relief a thumbs up if you are struggling with unsecured debt.
Freedom Debt Relief focuses on resolving debt for a lower amount than you owe. They offer an initial free consultation to figure out which debt strategies to pursue and create a customized plan for you. The length of the program depends on the amount of debt enrolled and the amount saved each month. After a certain amount of time, Freedom Debt Relief uses the accumulated account to negotiate settlements with creditors, often for far less than the original balance enrolled.
The process is transparent, and you can monitor your progress through access to your client dashboard. This gives you control and peace of mind, through 24/7 access to your progress, as well as an ability to communicate any questions or concerns with a customer service representative.
Freedom Debt Relief’s program requires a minimum enrolled debt of $7,500 from credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, private student loans and other types of unsecured debt. They cannot help with debt that involves collateral, like mortgages or car loans, unless the collateral has been forfeited or repossessed. They do not accept federal student loans.
Generally, the program takes two to five years. After the debt is settled, they charge a fee ranging from 18% to 25% of the enrolled debt. Fees may differ depending on the state you live in. Overall, they estimate that consumers still save a total of 15%-35%, after all debts and fees are paid.
Is Freedom Debt Relief Available in Your State?
Freedom Debt Relief is currently available to residents of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC, Wisconsin, Guam, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.
Bills.com believes that Freedom Debt Relief is an option you should examine. In the interest of full disclosure, Bills.com is part of the Freedom Financial Network, as is Freedom Debt Relief.
Freedom Debt Relief has developed an innovative tool, the Savings Estimator, which provides you with an estimated comparison of the cost of the Freedom Debt Relief program against the cost of making minimum payments to your creditors. This free tool gives you an estimated monthly program payment amount as well as the estimated length of your program in months.
How does Freedom Debt Relief’s program work?
The type of debt relief that Freedom Debt Relief specializes in also goes by the names of debt settlement, debt resolution, and debt negotiation.
Once you enroll in the Freedom Debt Relief program, you open a separate savings account in which the funds you deposit are under your control. Your monthly program payment goes into your personal account and the funds aren't co-mingled with any other client's deposits.
The amount you pay is customized, based on the total of your enrolled debt, your ability to pay, and the length of the program. This is when you can choose to stop making payments to your creditors in order to save up enough funds to fund lump sum payments to pay off your debts. When you stop making payments, delinquencies will appear on your credit report and your credit score will take a hit.
As funds accumulate, Freedom Debt Relief negotiates with creditors to accept less than your balance owing. Freedom Debt Relief's size and 15 years of experience allow it to bulk deals together to secure the best settlement percentages possible. This allows them to make things more efficient for the creditors, saving the creditors and the clients money.
Many clients have their first debt settled within six months, though it depends on the amount of debt, number of accounts enrolled, and the monthly payment that is agreed upon.
Importantly, Freedom Debt Relief only collects a fee for settling a debt after each debt has been settled.
It is important to evaluate any program on its merits and downsides. To their credit, Freedom Debt Relief makes clear that the benefits of getting out of debt faster and at a lower cost come with the cost of a hit to your credit score in the short and mid-term. Their clients are more concerned with getting out of debt than with a short-term impact on their credit history. They know it is far easier to rebuild credit than to dig out of a big debt hole. Clients struggling to pay large debts understand that their credit won’t be strong until their debt is paid off.
Additionally, Freedom Debt Relief discloses that there are potential tax implications from settling a debt. You may have to pay taxes on the amount of debt you have forgiven, but it is far better to pay taxes on $20,000, for example, then having to pay back $20,000.
Is Freedom Debt Relief a Scam?
Debt is a huge problem many Americans are struggling with; US consumers have over $1 trillion in outstanding debt as of 2017. There are many companies offering programs for getting out of debt, and some of them are scams.
The best way to avoid a scam is to be an educated consumer. Take the time to research your options before making a decision. Make sure to check out different strategies and programs before deciding which one is right for you and your situation. You can find what the FTC suggests about dealing with debt.
We feel confident recommending Freedom Debt Relief because of their track record of over 15 years helping consumers. We also value their accreditation, which includes helping found the American Fair Credit Council, an organization established in 2011 to set ethical standards for debt negotiation. They also worked with the FTC to establish rules that ban abusive debt settlement practices. Find out more about Freedom Debt Relief’s accreditation.
When researching debt relief companies, we always suggest looking at reputable, independent review sites that feature reviews from verified customers. You can find independent reviews at the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.
Is Freedom Debt Relief Right for You? Our Verdict.
Freedom Debt Relief is forthright that their program has pros and cons. The Freedom Debt Relief program is the right choice for some consumers overwhelmed with debt. If you are struggling with heavy debt, this might be a good solution for you.
Overall, we find that Freedom Debt Relief’s transparency, integrity, and years of experience sets them apart from the rest of the debt relief industry.
Statistics and Accreditations:
- Freedom Debt Relief has served over 500,000 clients since 2002. They have settled almost 2 million individual accounts and over $8 billion in debt.
- Freedom Debt Relief works directly for the consumer. They do not receive any compensation from the creditor, which is how many alternative credit counseling firms work, where they get kick-backs from the credit card companies to get you to pay your debts back.
- Freedom Debt Relief is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.
- Freedom Debt Relief passed an audit by BSI Group, a third-party industry-compliance and standards auditor. Freedom Debt Relief is currently one of only 18 companies in the industry to undergo and pass BSI audit for formal accreditation, including client service standards and settlement standards.
- The debt consultants at Freedom Debt Relief have passed International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA) certification. They are one of three IAPDA platinum-certified debt settlement companies.