1/20/2010 3:24 PM (PST)
Well, you saw the report and some of the significant complaints the BBB has received are viewable in the report. They have 40 complaints on record. The debt settlement industry has been such a complaint generator that BBBs nationwide have designated this business as "inherently problematic".
The experience of the BBB with debt settlement firms has been decidedly negative. Most people who complain about these companies state that their debts weren't negotiated, they were told to stop making payments, and the result is that they're in worse shape than when they started. Many are sued and are forced to file bankruptcy to rid themselves of the lawsuits. Debt settlement companies have a good sales pitch that makes the program seem like a no brainer. Unfortunately, it's a mirage. This industry is rife with companies using predatory fee models.
Debt settlement is a topic the BBB of the Southland has posted about on our Facebook page:
You should check out the proposed rules on fees and disclosures that the FTC is considering for the debt settlement industry because of the rampant abuse. The Federal Trade Commission issued a press release about these on July 30th, 2009: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/07/tsr.shtm. In fact, these rules will most likely shut down the industry as it stands today.
Good luck with your situation. Let us know how it works out.