Complaint Category: None of the Above - Service Complaint Issue
Complaint: Company has failed to communicate with creditor and myself in timely mannor, creating a much lager problem. Failed to complete there jobs.
I started working with Fresh Start Foundation (FSF) in Feb. 2010; they told me that it would take 3 years to complete this process. I agreed to give this a try instead of filing bankruptcy. FSF stayed that my debt was $****** and they would charge me 15% of that total debt. FSF started withdrawing $684 per-month to collect money to negotiate with my creditors. I was contacted by a few creditors who told me that FSF was not helping me because they were not talking to the/my creditors, I assured the creditors that FSF will be settling my debt. After about 18 months of collecting money, the first creditor was paid. Then FSF took their full payment of $****. While working with me on my debt settlement they were also working on a refinancing my Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. FSF charged me $2500 for a reduction of my monthly mortgage payment by $150 and no penalties. Meanwhile I got a letter from my employer that stated my wages were going to be garnished by one of my creditors. I contact FSF and asked what is happening why you are not working with this creditor. FSF told me that I could pay if I wanted but they could not help with the garnishment, so I asked for a payoff amount and that garnishment stopped. FSF told me that it was not uncommon for one creditor to take it all the way to a judgment. Starting our third year I was told by FSF that we should have no further problems because my creditors had stopped trying to collect on the debt and the debt had been sold too many times to be of any value now. So FSF gave me the option to withdraw my money or continue to let FSF take $684 (plus their $29 processing fee every month) a month until Feb 2013. I decided to withdraw my money and put it in a saving account and if any problems popped up I would be able to take care of it with FSF help. During the last meeting FSF assured me that the creditors had not been contacting FSF in a long time and that since it has been 2 years the creditors will view this as bad debt and that we would not be contacted by creditors. FSF showed me my credit score and said I was good to go. In less than 2 weeks the phone calls started again and I told the creditors I was still working with FSF but the creditor told me that they just finished talking with FSF and FSF informed the creditors I am no longer a client. Big shock to me. I called FSF and talked with them about telling the creditors I am no longer a client. FSF told me that because I removed the money they could not work with me anymore. I told them I do not think so you can still work with me and then I got another letter from my employer saying another creditor is garnishing my wages again. I was MAD and called FSF, what is going on you told me that I would be fine and nothing more was going to happen 25% of my disposable income is going to start coming out of my pay, WHY! There is nothing I can do for you because the creditor has garnished your wages. I asked FSF why did I not know about the judgment against me and FSF informed me that they had never received any judgment. During this whole process I have faxed every piece of mail and or phone call information I got and FSF just kept sending cease all communication letters to the creditors. I have had several phone calls from other creditors asking to be paid. I called and talked with FSF again numerous times with no return calls, no returned emails and no returned messages. I called FSF and talked with staff only to find out that they are not in the office or just stepped out of the office for lunch and will call you back as soon as possible. I have not had a phone call back yet.
Business' Initial Response
Debt Settlement Agreement was entered into on Jan 18th 2010.
Monday January 9th 2012 refund request was processed to Mrs. ****** who no longer wished to continue depositing her allocated amount of $*** per month in affect canceling her Debt Settlement account with Noteworld/Meracord.
Prior to completion of Debt Settlement program credit scores ( for ****** and Martin ****** ) were verified as above average. ***+
I personally advised Mrs. ****** that there was very little communication from the creditors.
8 creditors were enrolled with FSF 3 years ago. 1 was settled and the remainder had ceased collecting.
Attached is a copy of the Agreement signed on Jan 28th 2010 that has a legal disclaimer regarding garnishments. Legal matters need professional advise from an attorney and FSF does not provide legal advise.
Debt Settlement had been offered to FSF clients for a short period of time and was discontinued sometime late 2010.
We have worked with Mr. and Mrs. ****** on different issues including a loan modification of the home loan.
That modification resulted in a lower monthly mortgage payment by $242 per month. Also the modification took there mortgage from an adjustable rate and is now a fixed interest rate.
It is unfortunate that after the hard work we are being issued this complaint.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
First; I was given the OPTION of removing the money or letting it continue to be removed from my paycheck every month "just in case", yes I removed the money and put it into a saving account because I was told "the remaining creditors ceased collecting"(per FSF reply to my complaint). Three days later I got a phone call from the first creditor and was advised by the creditor I was no longer a client at FSF. When I called and talked with FSF and told them I would reinstate the account (I also talked with Noteworld/Meracord that said it was possible to reinstate the account that FSF would have to request) I never got a phone call back. I attempted 2 more times, leaving a message with no reply and no paperwork faxed to me at work. FSF got paid and that is all that matter to them.
Next; my credit score was verified through Credit Karma, not through Equifax, Trans Union or Experian. My credit score being above average is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the lack of work done on my case to settle debt and get me out of trouble not get me into more trouble.
Next; I am aware that FSF is not a legal service and I assured FSF that I did not want to file bankruptcy; in fact at our first meeting with FSF I was advised that it might not be possible for me to file bankruptcy with regard to my situation and the new laws. In my meeting with FSF in Feb.2012 I was reassured by FSF that my debt was old enough that I should not have any problems with creditors calling me because of its age they would only be looking at collecting .10 cents on the dollar. Hence the reason I stopped the monthly $****** being withdrawn from my paycheck. Per FSF reply to my complaint "I personally advised Mrs. ****** that there was very little communication from the creditors."
Next; my first garnishment happened. I asked why FSF did not work with the creditor, no reply was given. I called FSF and was told I could settle if I wanted but FSF could not help me because it was in collection so I settled that case for about $5200. Why did FSF not work with them before it went to garnishment? FSF just ignored the creditor, per the creditor comment. I settled with that creditor with NO help from FSF, leaving a balance of $2900 in the Noteworld/Meracord account before I stop deductions from my pay. Fast forward to Nov. 2011 (I was still a client) I got another notice of garnishment and again faxed over to FSF and asked again why are you (FSF) not talking with these creditors. Again no reply from FSF. I got a letter from my employer in late Jan. 2012 telling me that 25% of my disposable income will be removed from my pay on my next check. Why did FSF not talk with the creditor again? I finally got a hold of FSF and scheduled an appointment. During the meeting FSF said that there was nothing they could do for me because the garnishment was happening. Again I asked why were you (FSF) not talking with the creditor back in Nov. Sitting face to face FSF told me they did not have that information. I told FSF that I faxed it over to you on Nov. 14th. FSF had no reply at our meeting other than to say "It is highly unusual that a garnishment happens if at all", my reply was it happened TWICE what were you doing; FSF "sorry, I understand your frustraition but I cannot help you."
Next; I started as a client in Jan. 25th 2010 and continued to be a client until Feb. 2012. Per Noteworld/Meracord account a disbursement was started on Feb. 2, 2012 processes and mailed on Feb. 13, 2012 I have a check deposit date Feb. 21, 2012 for $2992, which means I was a client in Feb. I have a copy of the contract too. At first FSF was advertising themselves on the radio as a Debit Settlement company with loan modification as a side, no fees collected up front. That is why I choose to work with FSF; I did not have any money to pay for services up front. FSF did offer me legal assistance on my loan modification if I wanted to continue and do a deep look into my mortgage contract. Now FSF is into loan modification and real estate (FSF has a real-estate license) with debit settlement as a side.
Next; I am not talking about the loan modification that FSF did. I paid FSF $2500 for that loan modification per our agreement. I am in dispute over the lack of work they did on my case and the fee of $****** + $****** maintenance fee FSF collected = $******, while I am suffering through 2 garnishments, harassing phones and FSF telling me there is nothing they can do for me now.
Last; all the hard work FSF did was to send out 8 letters to 8 creditors (that I provided FSF with the information) to cease all communication and harassing phone call to our FSF clients. Then FSF repeated the process again sending more letters. No communication took place with creditors regarding my debt or other settlement offers (just the one for $1900) that I know about or FSF told me about. Communication with FSF was almost always one sided with me.
FSF did not hold up their end of the contract in paragraph two "shall respond promptly to client and creditor's inquiries and communications. FSF will advise the Client of all good faith offers made by the creditors and debt collectors and their acceptance of any offers made by FSF." (happened once) I would say that FSF failed just in this small part of their contract agreement with me.
I am asking for the money I paid to $****** (15% of my original debt) + $****** (maintenance fee) = $****** be returned for the simple reason that FSF did not do the job I paid them to do, I helping me settle my debt.