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Freedom Debt Relief review

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While customers have mostly good things to say, it's faced a few alarming lawsuits in the past.

Struggling with unmanageable debt? You might want to consider Freedom Debt Relief as a last resort to avoid filing for bankruptcy. It offers a debt settlement program with a free consultation, but signing up will likely damage your credit score. And only a fraction of people who enroll in a debt relief program actually complete it.

Details

Product NameFreedom Debt Relief
Min. Loan Amount$15,000
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Turnaround Time24 to 48 business days
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Freedom Debt Relief details

  • Services offered: Debt settlement with direct negotiation.
  • Free consultation: Get a free quote or by phone in minutes.
  • Costs: Monthly payment based on enrolled debt, no upfront fees.
  • Types of debt accepted: Unsecured debt, including credit card debt, personal loans and medical bills.
  • Minimum debt considered: $15,000 in unsecured debt (average debt is $24,000).
  • Typical turnaround: 24 to 48 months, but it can take longer.
  • Accreditations: American Fair Credit Council; platinum International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators member.
  • Ratings: A- BBB rating, 9.0 Trustpilot rating.
  • Service limitations: Not available in Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia or Wyoming.
  • Free resources or tools: Estimated savings calculator, options beyond debt settlement, customer dashboard.
  • Customer service: Phone, email.

How much does it cost?

Customers make monthly payments into an account to save up for the cost of settlement and fees. Freedom Debt Relief doesn’t ask for payment up front.

You’ll pay a monthly deposit over the course of the program that depends on how much you can afford and your total debt. A typical program runs between two and four years.

How much could I save with Freedom Debt Relief?

Customers typically see a substantial reduction of their enrolled debt after paying fees. But how much you’ll save depends on your unique financial situation and where you live, among other factors. Any potential savings are also dependent on how much your creditors are willing to negotiate down your debt — some creditors might be more accommodating than others, though.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of Freedom Debt Relief?

Benefits

  • It’s easy to track your progress. Check on your progress through your online dashboard.
  • Helpful customer service. Customers praise the customer service team for their helpful answers to questions about the debt relief process.
  • It helped set industry standards. Freedom Debt Relief is a founding member of the American Fair Credit Council, which standardizes industry practices. It also had a hand in establishing the Federal Trade Commission’s rules banning abusive debt settlement practices in 2010.

Drawbacks

  • At risk of getting sued. Former customers complained of getting sued by their creditors since they had to stop paying them in order to save enough in their trust account to begin negotiations.
  • Program could take longer than expected. This is a main customer complaint, which means you might need to prepare for the long haul. On average the program takes two to four years.
  • Debt settlement not guaranteed. There’s always the risk that your creditors will refuse to allow you to settle your debt.
  • Not available in all 50 states. Freedom Debt Relief operates in 38 states, three territories and Washington, DC — where debt settlement services are permitted.

Does Freedom Debt Relief offer services in my state?

Debt settlement services are regulated by state law. If you live in one of the following states, you won’t be able to sign up for Freedom Debt Relief’s services:

  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • North Dakota
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Compare more debt relief companies

Updated November 13th, 2019
Name Product Costs Requirements
Monthly payment based on enrolled debt, no upfront fees
Must have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt and live in a serviced state.
Freedom Debt Relief is a debt settlement company that works to help people with unmanageable, unsecured debt get back on their feet.
18–25% of total enrolled debt
Must have a legitimate financial hardship which is preventing the ability to pay creditors and a minimum of $7,500 in debt.
Get back on your feet with a top-rated debt relief company that works with multiple types of debt.
Fees regulated by client's state of residence, can range from$0 to $69 with an average monthly fee of $35. No upfront or contingency fees.
Debt must not be payday loans or secured loans.
This debt settlement alternative can help you find a path to financial freedom.
Charges and fees vary by the company you're ultimately connected with
Must be at least 18 years old and a legal US resident; additional terms may apply based on services and products used.
This A+ BBB-rated service offers free consultations to lower your monthly payments help you get out of debt faster.
20% of enrolled debt or less, no upfront fees.
Must have verifiable income and more than $10,000 in unsecured debt or tax debt — excluding payday loans.
This company claims to significantly reduce your consumer and tax debt.

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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 they aren’t always transparent about these costs or drawbacks that can negatively affect your credit score. 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.

What is Freedom Debt Relief?

Freedom Debt Relief is a debt settlement company that works to help people with unmanageable, unsecured debt get back on their feet. It was founded in 2002 by two Stanford Business School alumni to offer better options for consumers struggling with debt.

Today, it’s an industry heavyweight with a hand in setting the standards for the debt settlement industry.

How does it work?

Like other debt settlement companies, Freedom Debt Relief negotiates with your lenders to reduce how much you owe. It asks you to pay a percentage of the debt you want settled — known as enrolled debt — in exchange for its services.

What do customers say about Freedom Debt Relief?

Customer reviews of Freedom Debt Relief are mostly positive as of March 2019, but they aren’t without a few caveats.

Though it’s not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it earns an A+ rating based on factors like transparency and time in business. It scores an average 4.5 out of 5 stars based on over 2,800 customer reviews. It does even better on Trustpilot, where more than 19,000 reviewers result in a collective 9.1 out of 10 rating.

Many customers report a helpful service and relief at no longer having to deal with their creditors. However, a top complaint is that the program took longer than expected — or may not have worked at all.

It’s not an encouraging sign, however, that one of Google’s autocompletes for Freedom Debt Relief is Freedom Debt Relief lies. Online forums speculate that a competitor debt relief company ran a smear campaign against Freedom Debt Relief, but that claim is difficult to verify.

Is it safe to use Freedom Debt Relief?

Generally, yes — by debt settlement standards. You can opt out of having your personal financial information shared with affiliates. Freedom Debt Relief is a founding member of the American Fair Credit Council, a trade association that sets industry standards that govern business transparency practices.

Freedom Debt Relief lawsuits

Freedom Debt Relief has made some unsettling headlines over the past decade. In 2009, it settled a suit brought on by a California district attorney accusing the company of failing to contact its customers’ creditors despite charging them to do so.

Many trusting customers stopped making repayments on their debt after signing on with Freedom Debt Relief, only to find their accounts sent to collection agencies. Some were even being sued by their creditors.

The company made headlines again in November 2017, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a suit accusing Freedom of “coaching” consumers instead of dealing with the creditors directly. In some cases, the company still charged its fee when consumers had to negotiate themselves or even when a creditor simply stopped collections without a settlement. And lastly, Freedom did not clearly tell their consumers that they had the right to their own account funds after they withdrew from Freedom’s program.

These are all red flags of a potential scam, so stay up to date on your state’s laws and investigate anything that sounds off to you. Read your contract carefully to make sure you’re aware of all disclosures.

How do I get started?

You can sign up for a risk-free debt relief consultation to see if the service is right for you online, by emailing info@freedomdebtrelief.com or by calling 800-910-0065.

Here’s how to get started online:

  1. Go to the Freedom Debt Relief website and click Find debt relief options.
  2. Choose your unsecured debt amount and click Continue.
  3. Select whether you’re behind on your payments.
  4. Select what state you live in.
  5. Enter your contact information and click Click to see your results.

A Freedom Debt Relief consultant will get in touch to discuss your situation and what options you have.

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I’ve signed up. What happens next?

A Certified Debt Consultant will help you design a payment program that’s affordable but also allows you to settle your debt as soon as possible. Here’s what you can typically expect to happen:

  1. Save up for your settlement with monthly deposits. To cover the cost of the settlement and Freedom Debt Relief’s fees, your deposits go into an FDIC-insured account that you can easily monitor online. At this point, some people stop making payments to their creditors.
  2. Freedom Debt Relief negotiates with your creditors. Once you have enough funds in your account, Freedom Debt Relief contacts your creditors to discuss a settlement arrangement. This process is delicate, tricky and can take longer than expected. It’s not uncommon for it to take several attempts before your debt is settled.
  3. Pay your debt settlement. Freedom Debt Relief contacts you each time they reach an agreement with a creditor, asking you to authorize them to pay the settlement through your account.
  4. Start rebuilding your credit. Debt settlement can cause your credit score to tank temporarily, though your score starts to rebuild after settlements are made.

3 tips to make debt settlement a smart financial move

Follow these pointers to make the most of Freedom Debt Relief while you’re in the program:

  • Stick to a budget. A budget not only ensures that you complete the program on time, but it also helps you develop healthier spending habits.
  • Don’t take on additional debt. If you’re in a debt settlement program, it’s likely your only options are subprime loans, which are particularly difficult to repay. Settlement isn’t much use if you get sucked into another vicious debt cycle.
  • Make all of your monthly deposits. The longer it takes for you to make your deposits, the more your debt balloons, thanks to interest. This is especially important if you stop making repayments to your creditors.

Read our guide on getting out of debt

Bottom line

Freedom Debt Relief could be a last-ditch effort to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Customers have mostly positive things to say about its customer service team, but it’s faced several alarming lawsuits in the past. And many clients have complained that it look longer than expected — if it even worked at all.

See how it stacks up to the competition with our guide to debt relief companies. Or learn about your other options with our guide to debt consolidation.

Frequently asked questions

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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