Consumer Financial Freedom, also known as New Beginnings Credit Repair Solutions, claims on its website www.creditrepair4life.org that it will “guarantee a better credit score.”
However, consumers have complained to Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin, that the San Antonio-based credit repair business takes upfront payments and delivers no service. Consumers also allege the business gives excuses at first when they inquire about lack of activity on their accounts, then stops responding to calls and emails.
As of July 22, 2014, the business has failed to resolve or respond to nine complaints. BBB has contacted the business by email, postal mail and telephone, but has received no response. All nine of the unresolved complaints were judged to be serious in nature by BBB because the business took payments in advance and services were not delivered after an unreasonable delay.
A search for the company’s phone number found directory listings for business names Consumer Financial Freedom and New Beginnings Credit Repair Solutions that listed Christopher J. Jaramillo as principal. Consumer complaints received by BBB referred to Jaramillo as the owner.
A BBB investigator found advertising in an online classified site for the Laredo, Texas area that claimed the company is able to raise a consumer’s credit score “100-325 points Quickly ($276 permanent credit repair).” The business’s website lists 8000 I.H. 10 West
San Antonio, TX 78230 as its address. Some consumers have stated they met with Jaramillo in their homes.
A BBB investigator called the business and was told negative items could be removed from his credit record. The business quoted a price of $275 for one person, $500 for a couple to perform this service.
At age 25, Natasha Trevino tells BBB she was hoping to improve her credit score so she could one day buy a house. After making a cash payment of $200 to Christopher Jaramillo, she thought she was on her way. However, after several months of excuses from Jaramillo and meetings where he failed to show up, she says she then realized the business was doing nothing to help fix her credit.
“I wanted to buy a house at some point,” Trevino said. “I wanted to set myself up and start digging out of the hole. It was disappointing.”
Trevino said she found the business in an online classified site. She was told her credit would be repaired within three to four months. “He said he would have negative things removed from my credit report. I met with him in November 2012. I kind of figured out after month four that he wasn’t going to do anything.”
Norieko Whitehead of San Antonio said Jaramillo took her payment of $339 and performed no services. “He took my money and offered to provide services I never received,” she said.
Whitehead said she contacted Jaramillo after 30 days and tried to find out if he had worked on her case, but he only sent her some receipts from the post office. “I waited another 30 days and checked,” she said. “There were never any disputes filed. I was trying to purchase a house and I needed a couple of points on my credit score.”
The Federal Trade Commission has these tips to recognize a credit repair offer that could be a scam. Stay away from any company that:
- insists you pay them before they do any work on your behalf
- tells you not to contact the credit reporting companies directly
- tells you to dispute information in your credit report — even if you know it’s accurate
- tells you to give false information on your applications for credit or a loan
- doesn’t explain your legal rights when they tell you what they can do for you
Additionally, BBB recommends consumers:
- Start with trust. BBB Business Reviews on credit repair, debt consolidation, and debt elimination companies are available online for free at bbb.org.
- Beware of inflated offers. There is no easy fix for debt problems. Beware of credit repair companies that make inflated offers and claim to fix your credit report quick and easy with little to no explanation or with little or no fees associated. There’s probably a hidden catch.
- Seek help from a nonprofit credit counseling center: Credit counseling centers can provide guidance for little or no cost. Visit www.nfcc.org for the location of the nearest center.