I just left my information at your site, looking for help with my debt. I was contacted by Freedom Debt Relief. I looked them up on the BBB site and the company has an A+ rating. How important is that?
You asked how important it is that Better Business Bureau gives Freedom Debt Relief an “A+” rating.
The BBB rating is based on the following five factors:
Let’s look at each of these five factors.
Freedom Debt Relief has been in business since 2002. The BBB assumes the longer a business has been in operation, the more trustworthy it is in offering value for its customers. Freedom Debt Relief’s 15+ years in business helping people struggling financially to resolve their debt is an important milestone for consumers.
A company the size of Starbucks, for example, serving thousands of customers per hour, will generate more complaints than a small, independent coffee shop. Freedom Debt Relief has served over 450,000 clients since 2002, which makes Freedom Debt Relief the largest negotiator of consumer debt in the US. The number of BBB complaints per customers served is low.
It is very important to review how a company responds to BBB complaints. Does the company respond to each and every complaint? Freedom Debt Relief responded to each one. A company with a record of resolving complaints is a good sign. Review the complaints objectively to see if they were resolved in a manner that made the consumer happy.
Freedom Debt Relief complaints published by the BBB are resolved to the consumer’s satisfaction. which is a very positive sign. Most of the complaints revolve around the consumer fully understanding the debt settlement process, and not the quality of the company’s services.
Freedom Debt Relief has been open in sharing information with the BBB and highly responsive to the BBB’s questions.
When you see a company that has a poor rating from the BBB, keep in mind that it could be based on the BBB's view of the industry that the company is in, not based on the performance of the company. The BBB used to have a negative view of the debt settlement industry, but that has changed.
BBB officials stated they were skeptical of debt settlement because the industry lacked uniform regulation and standards of conduct. Therefore, the BBB said found it difficult to assess debt settlement firms according to objective standards.
The BBB’s concerns were met with two events.
First, the Federal Trade Commission created a rule in 2010 that for-profit companies selling debt relief services over the telephone could not charge a fee before they settled or reduced a customer’s credit card or other unsecured debt. The impact of this rule was far-reaching. No longer could unscrupulous debt settlement companies charge fees and take no action on a customer’s behalf.
Second, the American Fair Credit Council was formed to, among other consumer-focused goals, create a code of conduct its debt settlement company members must follow. This code of conduct creates an objective standard to measure the industry.
Following the 2010 events, the BBB as a whole revised its view of debt settlement in general and Freedom Debt Relief in particular. Freedom Debt Relief’s BBB grade was revised to an “A” and then in 2014, the BBB raised it to an “A+.”
If you are considering hiring a debt settlement company, read the Bills.com resource Reputable Debt Settlement.
One important factor is whether a firm charges any up-front fees. Avoid debt settlement companies that charge you any fees in advance. Advance fees are likely a violation of the FTC’s 2010 rule. Look for a company that charges you a fee only after it settles your first debt.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.
Bills.com is a member of the Freedom Financial Network, as is Freedom Debt Relief. We formed our judgment about FDR independently, but wish to make our familial relationship transparent, in the interest of full disclosure.