A class action lawsuit charges a Texas company doesn't make good on its promise to help consumers who are having problems with their credit.
The lawsuit, filed in Seattle, charges that Texas-based Credit Solutions, the country's largest debt-resolution company, has done more harm than good for thousands of its clients. Many customers said they would up deeper in debt after going to Credit Solutions for help.
The allegations in the lawsuit mirror complaints filed by ConsumerAffairs.com readers.
"They have done nothing to help me. All they have done is ruin my credit," said Tina of Sacramento. "One company had proposed a settlement and when I inquired with CSA to find ot if the company would allow me to make monthly installment they NEVER responded resulting in the company to deny the settlement."
Alex of Astoria, N.Y., said he signed up with Credit Solutions after a divorce in 2006.
"Since that time they have not settled any accounts, have taken over $2300 from me, told me NOT to appear in court after I received a summons. Because of that, a judgment was passed against me and my bank account was levied for twice the amount I owed."
The Better Business Bureau says it has received more than 1,000 complaints against Credit Solutions in the past three years. It warns consumers that there are bad actors in the debt-resolution business.
Credit Solutions charges a fee of 15 percent of the debt amount. It promises to negotiate with the lenders so the client can pay less -- up to 60 percent less.
But Yolanda of Perris, Calif., said it didn't work that way for her. She sought help consolidating her credit card accounts.
"The person I spoke with told me that I can consolidate all of my accounts and make just one low payment a month. So I did it. One of my creditors call me last night and told me that if I don't make a payment now they're going to repossess my filter system," she told ConsumerAffairs.com.
Attorney Tyler Weaver, one of the lawyers filing the class action, said that consumers are paying Credit Solutions money that could have been better used to pay off their debts.
On its Web site, the company claims a 99.32 percent satisfaction rate with its customers, and says it has eliminated more than 265 million dollars of debt for its clients.
What to do
Consumer advocates generally agree that consumers in trouble should call the credit card companies, banks and other lenders personally and try to work out a payment plan. If you need more help, contact Consumer Credit Counseling Services, a national not-for-profit organization.
Consumers who are deeply in debt should also consider filing for bankruptcy.
More about debt counseling services.