TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — More than 340 million Americans are in debt and that number is rising. As a result, more companies are popping up with big promises to help you get out of debt.
But the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns there is a dark side.
The BBB’s Bryan Oglesby says consumers should be careful because the BBB has seen an uptick in complaints in the debt relief industry. With more than 11,000 complaints, he said the BBB conducted a survey to find out what the issues are.
“In a lot of cases, it is too good to be true. A lot of consumers feel like when they receive that call from a debt restoration company, that they’re here, that they’re a savior, they’re going to get them out of this debt, they don’t have to pay this debt,” Oglesby said.
Oglesby says complaints to the BBB show a pattern of misleading and sometimes fraudulent claims…that sometimes leave consumers with even more debt.
Some of the consumers who complain to the BBB have noted paying additional taxes when the debt is settled or even facing a lawsuit.
“A lot of these companies are going to charge upfront, and that’s a big red flag and a big concern,” he said. “If they are charging these fees, making these promises that they can get you out of debt and fix your credit with no work on your end, as a consumer, you want to vet these companies, see what kind of track record they have.”