A friend and I were having a conversation several years ago about his and my companies approach to working with consumers who are struggling financially. The context of the discussion was centered on how we both approach consulting with potential customers. His company, like CRN, is direct and honest in their assessment of consumer’s options, nearly to a fault. At the time, the CRN debt settlement company business model was still relatively new and competitors would win over business by saying anything they needed to in order to close the sale (many still do).
While expressing my frustration, my friend said something that I have not forgotten since.
You Can’t Compete With Liars.
The reality of that statement has persisted in the debt relief industry prior to his stating it and since. I have covered the topic at different times, in articles and interviews. Nothing I have done can compare to the content put out by Steve Rhode over on his blog: getoutofdebt.org
Steve puts out regular content about the debt relief industry. The theme of his coverage can be best described as “Debt Industry – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”.
When it comes to competing with liars though, his recent piece outshines anything I have heard or read to date – on tape even! He published an extremely well-put-together investigative piece about false and misleading claims and the straight up willingness to lie, by those offering debt settlement services for a large attorney law firm and some of its affiliate marketing partners.
You Can’t Make this Stuff Up!
He did not even have to try very hard. He batted 1000%. He only made 3 calls during peak hours to the sales reps and all 3 were willing to lie, deceive, and connive to make a sale. HAT TRICK! The fact that these sales reps are working for and/or fronting themselves in direct relation to a law firm provides even more of a “greasy” feel to the whole thing.
You absolutely have to listen to some of the brief audio clips in Steve’s piece. (Most are around a minute long)
The practice of “say anything” to close a deal has been so wide spread, and the abuse now so well documented, that the FTC has published new rules to reign in the crazy profiteering. The new laws will be aggressively monitored for compliance as they become effective in the next 8-12 weeks. The attorney-modeled debt settlement companies are not exempted in the form many are known for today.
The industry gnashed their teeth and wailed about how the abuse and misrepresentations were the result of a few bad apples. They have only come off as disingenuous. What we have seen to date, and will continue to see for a while longer, may prove that this kind of “scammery” was more the norm for selling debt settlement. One thing for certain, the company(s) exposed in Steve’s piece likely have some “‘splainin to do”.
If you are interested in getting a grip on what debt settlement is, how it workd, and what that may mean to you, there are many resources available here on the CRN site. If you have a debt settlement question, we invite you to submit it and get straight answers from a debt pro.