“Debt-Relief Firms Attract Complaints”

The case of Hess Kennedy, repeatedly covered in this space, got attention in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month after “a Florida Circuit Court judge entered an order to wind down the firm and approved a process for consumers to apply to get their money back.” (Eleanor Laise, WSJ, Oct. 14). David Giacalone has a few links (Oct. 29, scroll), as well as a more extensive post.


  • GREAT website, I enjoy it throughly!

    Jesse W.

  • Thanks for the link, Walter. I followed-up this morning, with an update pointing to your series. On October 8, 2008, Laura Hess agreed to disbarment. On October 15, the Florida AG declared an initiative to clean out the debt relief industry.

  • A good friend of mine worked for a credit counseling company. Like any profession, there are good people and bad people. She was lucky to work with one of the good ones. The company would both help you in money management and deal with the creditors directly. The money you gave them was given to the creditors and copies of updated accounts was returned as receipts.

    The company itself made money by a set fee from the credit card companies, so there was no incentive to get a higher fee if one could get more money out of the client.

    The amazing thing to me was the number of people that would get into “pay day” loans, only to have the interest kill them and have the company come looking for them. The client would then pay off the loan, have money left, and then take out another pay day loan and start the cycle all over again.

  • My firm has represented various people who signed up for “debt relief” companies – and all of them felt ripped-off. From the thousands of dollars in up-front fees that had to be paid before any work was done, to them telling the people to stop making payments to their creditors, they all were worse off after hiring such firm.

    The Wall Street Journal had a good article on these types of businesses. http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB122394458494631223-lMyQjAxMDI4MjEzOTkxNDk0Wj.html