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Our verdict

This service has settled more debt than the competition and earns positive customer reviews.

Freedom Debt Relief has a strong track record of settling its client’s unsecured debts across its 22 year history. With nearly 83% of FDR graduates reporting feelings of renewed sense of hope to improve their quality of life, the company’s reputation speaks for itself. However, while its track record is strong, clients who are financially burdened face the risk of piling high enrollment fees and up to 48 months to get their debt resolved.

Best for: Clients who face financial hardships and need a company’s help to negotiate debts.

Pros

  • Don’t need to pay fees until debt is settled
  • Legal counsel for eligible clients
  • Most clients get first debt settlement in 3 months
  • Low debt requirement of $4,000

Cons

  • May result in a significant credit score drop
  • High fees up to 25% of enrolled debt
  • Tax implications

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

Bottom line: This well-known debt settlement company has helped over 850,000 people resolve debt and receives overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. Like with any legitimate debt relief company, no fees apply until after the first settlement is reached. But it's unclear how many customers finish the program or actually see savings.

What makes Freedom Debt Relief shine?

FDR’s track record in debt settlements makes it stand out amongst competitors. The company reports that nearly 60% of its clients get their debt resolved in the first three months of enrolling. And, while the company does charge fees, you won’t pay them until your debt is settled. In the meantime you’ll have to pay a small monthly account service fee.

FDR offers 24/7 client service to answer any questions its clients may have. FDR also offers a guarantee that states that if the total program settlement cost is more than the total amount of debt one enrolls in the program, it will refund the difference in collected fees.

Where Freedom Debt Relief falls short

Freedom Debt Relief has high 15% to 25% fees that may add to the financial burden of its clients. If a client owes a $50,000 debt, after debt settlement he or she can potentially owe up to $12,500 in additional fees to FDR. And, the company reports that by enrolling in its services, a client can see their credit score drop by 161 points.

How much can I save?

The company does not disclose how much its clients save on average, but it does state that it has helped resolve over 18 billion dollars in debt. The amount you save depends on how much debt you owe, your overall financial situation and what your creditors accept in terms of negotiations.

How much does it cost?

It depends on how much debt you owe. The company states it charges a fee between 15% to 25% of this amount. FDR will also charge $9.95 to set up your account and a monthly fee of $9.95 that takes care of account servicing.

Will Freedom Debt Relief hurt my credit?

Yes, working with Freedom Debt Relief, like any other debt settlement company can hurt your credit score. The company states that according to its own four year study, FICO scores fell a median of 161 points during the first six months of enrollment. However by the end of the process, the credit scores of consumers improved by a median of 191 points higher than before enrolling.

The extent to which you can expect your credit score to drop is based on your credit behavior before enrolling. If you had a high score and are now missing payments, according to FDR you’ll see a larger dip. On the flip side, if your score was already low and you’re missing payments, the dip won’t be as dramatic.

Freedom Debt Relief product details

Free quote or consultationYes
ServicesDebt settlement service, budgeting, credit counseling, debt consolidation, bankruptcy evaluation
Minimum Debt$4,000
Average turnaround24 to 48 months
Fees15% to 25% of enrolled debt
Types of debtCredit card debt, Medical bills, Department store cards, Private student loans and business debt (but on a case-by-case basis)
AccreditationsAmerican Association for Debt Resolution
Direct or third-party negotiationsBoth, depends on scenario
State availabilityNot available in: Colorado, Hawaii, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington

Before you sign up with a debt relief company

Debt relief companies typically charge a percentage of a customer’s debt or a monthly program fee for their services. And not all companies are transparent about these costs or drawbacks that can negatively affect your credit score. Depending on the company you work with, you might pay other fees for third-party settlement services or setting up new accounts, which can leave you in a worse situation than when you signed up.

Consider alternatives before signing up with a debt relief company:

  • Payment extensions. Companies you owe may be willing to extend your payment due date or put you on a longer payment plan if you ask.
  • Nonprofit credit counseling. Look for free debt-management help from nonprofit organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
  • Debt settlement. If you can manage to pay a portion of the bill, offer the collection agency a one-time payment as a settlement. Collection agencies are often willing to accept a lower payment on your debt to close the account.

How to qualify for Freedom Debt Relief

Freedom Debt Relief discloses basic requirements for its debt settlement program on its website:

  • Client must have experienced hardship (job loss, reduced income, unexpected expenses, medical and divorce)
  • Struggling with unsecured debts (credit cards, medical debt, department store and personal loan debts)

How the debt settlement process works

The Freedom Debt Relief program follows four simple steps:

  1. Free debt evaluation
  2. Make a small monthly deposit to start service
  3. Approve your settlement offer
  4. Pay off your enrolled debt

How Freedom Debt Relief compares to other lenders

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. credit score Loan amount
Consolidated Credit
Not rated yet
Consolidated Credit
Varies by lender
This debt settlement alternative can help you find a path to financial freedom.
Accredited Debt Relief
N/A
N/A
Starting at $10,000
This A+ BBB-rated service offers free consultations to lower your monthly payments help you get out of debt faster.
Freedom Debt Relief
Not rated yet
Freedom Debt Relief
N/A
N/A
Starting at $4,000
Freedom Debt Relief works to help people with unmanageable, unsecured debt get back on their feet.
Pacific Debt
Not rated yet
Pacific Debt
Starting at $10,000
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Freedom Debt Relief reviews and complaints

BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A+
BBB customer reviews 4.68 out of 5 stars, based on 147 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 4.6 out of 5 stars, based on 41,972 customer reviews.
Customer reviews verified as of 26 February 2024

Many customers on Trustpilot applaud the company for its helpful customer service staff as well as debt relief services and its ability to negotiate effectively with creditors. However there are some complaints surrounding a long timeframe to get results. Meanwhile, comments on the Better Business Bureau state that communication was fairly positive with representatives. However, a few complain about the fees and delays with receiving refunds after cancellation of the service.

Is Freedom Debt Relief legit?

Freedom Debt Relief is a legit company responsible for settling more than 4 million accounts totalling $18 billion for its clients. The company started in 2002 after a financial recession and now has more than 1,600 employees globally. Freedom Debt Relief is also a member of the American Fair Credit Council, which promotes ethical business practices.

With all this, it’s worth mentioning that in 2017 the Consumer Protection Bureau, filed a lawsuit against Freedom Debt Relief claiming that the company takes advantage of vulnerable consumers by negotiating on their own. The lawsuit alleges that the company overstates its leverage with creditors and overpromises while under delivers to clients.

Risks to Debt Settlement

Before you consider debt settlement, you should review some key risks.

  • Damage to your credit. Debt settlement can damage your credit scores since you’ll be missing scheduled payments.
  • Increased costs. During your debt settlement process, you’ll have to pay fees to your negotiation company and some creditors may also charge you additional interest.
  • Tax implications. The IRS can perceive your settled debt as taxable income.
  • Negotiation problem. There is a chance that your creditors may reject the debt settlement company’s offer.
  • Creditor lawsuits. A creditor may not always forgive your debt and can file a debt collection lawsuit instead.

Frequently asked questions

What is debt relief?

Debt relief is resolving unsecured debt by negotiating with creditors to reduce the amount you owe. You can receive debt relief by negotiating on your own or secure the service of a company like Freedom Debt Relief to negotiate on your behalf in exchange for a fee.

What’s the difference between credit counseling, debt settlement and bankruptcy?

Credit counseling revolves around creating a budget and overall debt payment plan. Debt settlement on the other hand involves negotiating with creditors to bring the full amount of debt down. Bankruptcy, is a legal process that aims to eradicate the debt in its entirety or restructure it.

Freedom Debt Relief Disclaimer: Our estimates are based on prior results, which will vary depending on your specific enrolled creditors and your individual program terms. Not all clients are able to complete their program for various reasons, including their ability to save sufficient funds. We do not guarantee that your debts will be resolved for a specific amount or percentage or within a specific period of time. We do not assume your debts, make monthly payments to creditors or provide tax, bankruptcy, accounting or legal advice or credit repair services. Our service is not available in all states and our fees may vary from state to state. Please contact a tax professional to discuss potential tax consequences of less than full balance debt resolution. Read and understand all program materials prior to enrollment. The use of debt settlement services will likely adversely affect your creditworthiness, may result in you being subject to collections or being sued by creditors or collectors and may increase the outstanding balances of your enrolled accounts due to the accrual of fees and interest. However, negotiated settlements we obtain on your behalf resolve the entire account, including all accrued fees and interest. C.P.D. Reg. No. T.S.12-03825.

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