Phillips And Associates ripoff Phoenix Arizona
I owed on some credit cards and one was sending me letters stating they were going to take me to court. I had tried to settle with them previously by sending in a check by Express mail, but they claimed they never got it (the USPS site showed it was signed for). So I decided to see about filing for bankruptcy since it didn't seem like I could resolve things with my creditors.
First I went to Phillips & Associates--to their Mesa, Arizona office--and spoke with a paralegal. I had filled out a long packet of questions about my financial situation and even brought in my paycheck stubs and all my bills. When I sat down with the paralegal from Phillips & Associates, he just took the questionarie--didn't even want to look at the other things I brought with me (this was the free consultation).
He calculated that I could file for a Chapter 7--I asked him what about the bonuses I receive at work, would that count against me?. The paralegal stated no, don't worry about those. Also he advised me that they could include as part of my monthly expenses my student loan payments. In the end it looked pretty good what Phillips & Associates could do for me--file a Chapter 7.
Well, they lied. When I had my meeting in the beginning of September with the attorney handling my case, Robert Teague, I AGAIN brought in all my paystubs and bills. After an hour of waiting in a room by myself while Mr. Teague did his calculations, he finally came back and told me that they had to include the bonuses I received from work and that they could NOT include my student loans as a monthly expense (well I wish the loan companies looked at it that way). So suddenly, I couldn't file a Chapter 7--this was after I paid their flat fee of $1800.00. If Phillips & Associates had a honest or maybe competent paralegal working for them, in the beginning I would have never forked over all my money--I would have just gone into round 2 with the creditor and trying to settle.
Mr Teague advised me that I could file a Chapter 13. So like an idiot, I did and gave them another $299.00 to proceed with this filing. That day again I reiterated myself, stating I need to do this as quickly as possible because my creditors would be filing a judgement against me and I did not want to go through that or be completely humiliated at work and end up on the rumor mill.
So I waited another hour for them to get together my paperwork for the Chapter 13. Of course, like most people I had to get back home to get ready for work and return the car I borrowed since I don't have one, so finally I left the room to find someone--that was a mistake. Some large burly man started yelling at me in the hall way and wanted to know what I was doing--creepy. Then another lawyer/paralegal/man in suite came out and told me where to find the front desk. So I went there and told them I had to leave--but not before they dialed for paralegal Toby to come running back out to drag me back in.
After this ordeal no one contacted me or sent me anything for about 3 weeks. I called one day and tried several extenstions but got all voicemails. Then I got another nasty letter from my creditor, so I called again. I called 5 times, tried a different extension everytime and just got voicemails--I didn't leave a message because the only times Phillips & Associates would call me back (in the past) were too early in the morning (I work nights--which I told them) or in the late afternoon when I had already left for work. Finally, in desperation I got the receptionist's desk and asked her who can I talk to to cancel my case and get my money back?. She then transferred me to a paralegal who tried to appease me by saying they were working very hard on my case--ok if so why leave me hanging? Finally, he transferred me to Robert Teague again--who was very curt with me, after I explained the stress that I was under and that no one had contacted me to do anything about the chapter 13.
But, I got results my new attorney Andrew Nemeth called me the next day. He explained this takes a very long time to file--and I again reiterated I did not have a lot of time. I asked him a couple of questions, because paralegal Toby told me that a Chapter 13 would stop interest from accruing on my past due unsecured loans (credit cards). Mr. Nemeth told me no. He advised me this would take 3-5 years (well at a 25% interest rate, I wasn't quite sure how I'd ever pay anything off). I stated to him I didn't understand how this would get me out of debt, because the whole charade seemed to be costing me more and more money. When I said, I could just settle with my creditors for less than paying all the interest over the next 3-5 years, he got mad and advised me that it would be pointless to settle. I asked him what would happen if I changed jobs and my new job was lower paying--he said I couldn't do that, however at my previous meeting Mr Teague suggested that.
He told me his paralegal Chris Stewart would call me tomorrow. A week went by before Chris called me for another financial interview over the phone. Phillips & Associates doesn't believe in accuracy--they prefer to do everything over the phone where sometimes mistakes are made because the paralegal doesn't hear you correctly.
Finally, I had enough of the run around and vastly different answers to my questions. I called up the creditor that wanted to sue and arranged a settlement--I borrowed some money from my boyfriend and expressed a check which they received and cashed. My next paycheck I paid back my boyfriend. Settled. It took less than 3 days.
So I called Phillips and Associates today and very nicely and calmly stated to a Ted (the receptionist transferred me to him cause once again all I got were voicemails) that I wanted to cancel everything--I haven't filed yet so I would like to get back part of my money. I told him how I solved my problem in 3 days and that before I had advised my attorneys that I needed to resolve things quickly. Ted tried to do the soothing voice and tell me that yes these things take time, but they're trying to help me. I replied with how I was given 2 completely different answers to every question I asked, and how things were screwed up from the beginning even though I was honest and brought in all my records. This arguing went on for several minutes. Ted told me to just stop by the office (either Mesa or Phoenix) and the lawyer would figure out if I had a refund coming--mind you I've spent $2099.99 and nothings been filed. He got very nasty with me suddenly and stated that they help people get out of debt and they have many letters to prove it.
Yes Phillips & Associates have lots of letters in their offices--but really, how can they prove that these are real? My parents filed for bankruptcy 3 years ago and their lawyer rushed the paperwork through because they were about to lose their home. Also when they went in for their first consultation their lawyer looked over all the paperwork they brought with them.
I'd just like to know if anyone else has been mislead by Phillips & Associates and paid an outrageous amount of money for no work to help them? And also how do I get back some of it so I can continue settling my debts instead of forking out more money over the next 3-5 years?
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