If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Regulators are increasingly investigating debt settlement companies — “We’ll cut what you owe by three-quarters! It’s easy!” — for what frustrated customers have long known: it’s often a rip-off.
Today, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo blocked Nationwide Asset Services from doing business in the state, also fining the company nearly $200,000 for defrauding some 1,981 New Yorkers who looked to the company to negotiate reductions in their personal debt.
NYAG: The court found that the majority of NAS customers were promised a 25
to 40 per cent reduction in their outstanding debt but never saw such
reductions. Only one-third of one per cent of consumers received such
savings. The other customers suffered continued harassment and lawsuits
by creditors and had their credit ratings destroyed.
“This company made promises to people who were searching for financial help and trying to turn their lives around,” Cuomo said in a statement. “But the promises never came true and, in many cases, New Yorkers were left in worse condition than when they started. Thanks to this ruling, the company has to put its money where its mouth is with a performance bond if it wants to do business in New York.”
Nationwide its affiliates, ServiceStar and Universal Debt Reduction, can only resume business if it posts a $500,000 performance bond to protect consumers.
The company’s website says “No matter how those bills started piling up, you deserve a chance to break free – a chance to regain control of your finances and your life. Our team of professionals has helped thousands of people free themselves from the burden of debt, and we can help you too.”
As Joe Wilson would say, “You lie!”
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