Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – February 28, 2012 - With the Better Business Bureau’s assistance, the Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with four of the defendants in an allegedly phony debt relief services operation. This operation claimed that it would dramatically reduce consumers’ credit card interest rates for $995. Based out of Canada and New York, using various addresses throughout the U.S. including one in Pittsburgh, the defendants are now banned from delivering prerecorded messages, selling debt relief services, and are permanently prohibited from participating in various other questionable activities.
“Though the Better Business Bureau is a non-profit organization and not a government entity, we have always worked closely with various regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General and U.S. Postal Inspector to assist in investigations,” says Warren King, President of the Better Business Bureau. “Having served consumers and businesses as an authority on trust for 100 years, the BBB recognizes the importance in collaborating with such agencies to promote the highest ethical standards in the marketplace.”
When searching for guidance on becoming debt-free, your BBB recommends the following tips to get back in the black:
- Ask a creditor to reduce interest rates. Be calm, patient and honest about the challenges you are facing trying to reduce your debts. Assure the company that you would like to remain a loyal customer.
- Do not go any deeper into debt. Pay cash or use a debit card. Set up a household budget to guide spending patterns. If your expenses exceed your income, either increase your income and/or cut expenses in order to bring the totals in line.
- Correctly prioritize debt repayments. Not all debt obligations carry equal weight. Pay off high-interest balances first and consider transferring balances to the lowest-rate card. Be sure to read the fine print on any transfer offers.
- Make extra payments whenever possible. Put money saved toward making extra or larger payments on any high interest loans.
- Be skeptical of pre-recorded unsolicited sales calls for debt relief. Especially take caution if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. Unless you have specifically agreed to accept such calls, with a few exceptions, you should not receive recorded sales pitches. Refer to New Rules for Robocalls for more information.
If you decide to contact a credit counseling agency for professional guidance, be sure to ask lots of questions and choose a firm that tells you exactly what to expect. Visit www.bbb.org to read Business Reviews on agencies you may be considering.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 128 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.