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Deceptive Marketing by Debt Settlement Companies in Ohio
Don’t Be Misled About Your Debt Options
Many debt settlement companies use dishonest marketing techniques to gain your business. In the end, you are the one who pays.
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Deceptive Marketing in the Debt Settlement Industry
Many of the marketing practices used by debt settlement companies are questionable or misleading. Some are downright false. Sadly, many consumers fall for these deceptive tactics because they are desperate for debt relief.
Why Are Debt Settlement Companies Deceptive?
Debt settlement companies are for-profit companies. They want to make as much money as possible. There are two ways they can make money – by taking fees from consumers and by making agreements with creditors.
Debt settlement companies may charge a flat fee or a percentage of the debt they can settle. Often, they charge a monthly fee and stretch the amount of time that debt settlement should take. They have little incentive to do things efficiently.
These companies typically have pre-existing agreements with creditors and credit collection agencies. This allows them to reach quick settlements. However, it also means they get a kickback from doing what is best for the creditor, not representing your best interests. You should have an attorney of your own who is licensed in Ohio to look out for your interests.
Not Just Any Debt Attorney
As a founding partner of LHA, attorney Jeremiah E. Heck strives to ensure consumers are treated fairly by creditors and the companies who are supposed to save them from overwhelming debt.
What Are Some Deceptive Marketing Tactics?
The deceptive tactics used by debt settlement companies range from disingenuous promises to blatant lies. These companies use the tactics below to get more business and make as much money as possible.
Promising You Won’t Be Sued
A debt settlement company may make assurances that your debt is so small that the creditor won’t sue you to recover what you owe. However, this is false. Creditors can bring an action in Ohio to recover minimal sums. Creditors often bring lawsuits to recover sums of money as low as $500 or less.
You Won’t Be Sued If You Hire a Debt Settlement Company
The debt settlement company may tell you that you won’t be sued if you work with them. Or, they may claim they can stop lawsuits in their tracks. But, if you look at the fine print, you will likely find that the creditor might still bring a case against you. If the debt program requires you to stop making payments for 36 to 48 months, which is a program’s typical period, you will likely be sued.
Debt Settlement is Better than Bankruptcy
Virtually every debt settlement company will claim that making an agreement with the creditor is better than filing bankruptcy. However, that is not always the case. You should explore all of your available options to make an informed decision. The debt settlement company will only offer their specific settlement plan, attempting to pigeonhole you into their services.
Percentage of Debt You Will Save
A debt settlement company may make outlandish claims that you can save 60% to 70% of what you owe by working with them. However, that will not account for the company’s fees. Their numbers are often arbitrary rather than based on the company’s actual track record.
Length of Time Settlement Will Take
Most settlement companies will give you an estimate regarding how long it will take you to resolve your debts with them. The company may propose a 36 or 48-month plan knowing that the consumer will likely get sued in the process of such a lengthy period. This will extend the plan for years.
The Effect on Your Credit Score
When you work with a debt settlement company, you will almost always have to stop paying your debts for a while. The settlement companies will likely downplay the negative impact on your credit rating. Still, when delinquent payments are reported to the credit agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, it will cause your credit score to drop significantly.
Even with the negative aspects of debt settlement, it may be the best option. However, you should be fully aware of the negative aspects and the potential benefits to make an informed decision.
Why Use an Ohio Debt Lawyer
Instead of working with a debt settlement company that uses deceptive marketing tactics, you should contact a debt lawyer who is licensed to practice law in Ohio. Attorneys understand the consumer laws that apply to your situation, are committed to offering you the best debt relief option rather than what benefits the company, and are capable of protecting you if a lawsuit does happen.
Avoid Lies & False Claims
Attorneys are held to the highest of ethical standards. There are entire organizations that review the ethical actions of lawyers. Your lawyer will be less likely to use deceptive marketing tactics common with debt settlement companies.
Representation in Debt Lawsuits
Debt settlement companies cannot represent you if the creditor or collection agency sues you. They are not licensed to practice law in Ohio. Instead of paying the debt settlement company and then having to pay an attorney later, you should go directly to a debt lawyer who can represent you throughout your financial case.
Hold Debt Settlement Companies Accountable
You might wonder: “Are there repercussions for deceptive marketing tactics used by debt settlement companies?” The answer is complex.
If a debt settlement company lies or flat out makes false statements, then you may be able to sue them for fraud. However, in many cases, these companies verbally tell you something but make you sign a contract that says something different. A knowledgeable attorney can review your situation and help you hold the debt settlement companies accountable for their illegal tactics.