In 2003, I was having major financial problems stemming from credit card debt. I looked into various options and found Emergency Debt Relief. They told me that they would negotiate with my creditors to get them to settle for a fraction of what I owed, and I was supposed to save up money to pay these settlements once they were reached. Kind of hard to save up when I'm having to pay EDR, right? Well, they kept charging for their service but didn't do jack squat! I was still getting collection calls and letters, and was even told upfront by my creditors that they did not work with companies like EDR! When i told EDR this, of course they said that the creditors were lying to me and that I was supposed to keep paying, keep waiting for them to do something...they never did! I ended up filing bankruptcy, ch. 7. And you know what was the *worst*? My lawyer told me that it was ILLEGAL in the state of North Carolina (where I lived at the time) for a company to charge for debt settlement and counseling services! So not only was I taken for a ride, they were not even supposed to be operating in my state! Of course I didn't know that. I was taken for probably about $1000, not sure.
Last year my parents (also in NC) told me about something similar happening to them; company charging them to negotiate settlements but not doing anything. I told them what I just told you; they didn't remember the company name but it was the same story, down to the location of the company (FL)! Luckily they got out and got their money back.
My dad usually doesn't like it when I use language like this, but I told him that there is a special place in Hell for companies that cheat people like EDR did...he agreed.