On Friday, October 9, 2009 I was cold-called by American Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc. (ADSS) and sold a contract whereby they would withdraw payments from my bank account, hold the money, and pay off creditors. Of course, they also extract a fee for their services. I signed the contract over the Internet and telephone in conjunction with their representative, Franklin Rodriguez.
After printing my new contract and looking over it with my partner, we decided it was not in our best interests. The contract has a statement within it that the contract may be canceled "without penalty or obligation at any time before midnight of the third business day after the date you signed this agreement", ans "we will refund all money you already have paid to us" if the cancellation occurs within the three business days. The contract even includes a "Notice of Cancellation" form to fill out for this purpose, and instructions on how to carry out the process.
I followed the instructions exactly: I faxed the form to the number provided. Then I mailed the Notice to the address provided on the form by certified mail; this was done on 10/13/09 (the second business day after signing the contract since Monday, 10/12/10 was a holiday). I also emailed my intention to Mr. Rodriguez, although this was not a requirement.
I received the signed return receipt on 10/17/09; it showed that my Notice was delivered to ADSS at 11:11 am on 10/16/09.
ADSS uses NoteWorld Servicing Center to process payments, and on 10/16/09 NoteWorld withdrew $304.02 from my checking account. We immediately canceled the NoteWorld account by telephone, but NoteWorld said they could not return the money.
A number of telephone calls were made to ADSS to obtain a refund. Eventually Mr. Jack Hahn was reached. He said they couldn't find the fax. So, at their request, w mailed copies of all the materials to him on 12/30/09. On 1/4/10 Mr. Hahn emailed saying, "Your refund will be processed within 10 business day." The refund was not received.
On 1/23/10 I filed a complaint with the Attorney General of Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services responded on 3/29/10 that their correspondence to ADSS was returned as undeliverable, even though I used the mailing address registered with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, 2902 Clint Moore Road, #200, Boca Raton, FL 33496. That record also lists the Principal Address for ADSS as 8 Royal Palm Way, #202, Boca Raton, FL 33432.
I also attempted to sue ADSS in my local small claims court; this did not work as they could not serve notice of the suit to ADSS, and I couldn't afford to pay a Florida server of process to do so.
At this point I gave up, until on 7/14/10 ADSS cold-called us again and spoke to me partner who explained what had happened. The representative promised to call back after reviewing the situation, but did not.
Then on 11/30/10 they cold-called again to offer their services! Once again my partner reviewed what had happened, and was referred to Jay Rodriguez who after investigation agreed that our rescission of the agreement was timely. He could not provide a refund without consulting his manager. We called back several times; however, Mr. Jay Rodriguez was unavailable because he was holding training sessions.
On 12/3/10 Mr. Rodriguez finally agreed to provide the refund, but required that er sign, notarize, and return a "General Release, Confidentiality, and Settlement Agreement" that he emailed to us. This agreement required that in return for the money "the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged" we agree not to discuss the matter with anyone. We refused to sign the agreement as provided because we had not received the money as stated in the agreement.
After several more phone calls wherein Mr. Rodriguez was either not available or needed to take the matter up with his manager, we decided to file this report.
All of the above is fully documented.
Clearly ADSS has no intention of living up to their contract. They provide no no settlement funds to creditors until they get the full amount plus their own fees; if you discontinue the process, you lose all of your money.
ADSS has a web site at www.americandebtss.com. Their phone number is (800) 899-4348. They also use the address 7601 N Federal Highway, Suite 210B, Boca Raton, FL 33487.
The Better Business Bureau of South East Florida gives them an "F" rating.