Editor's Note: Freedom Debt Relief now offers services in Ohio and Georgia
Freedom Debt Relief is one of our top choices for debt settlement companies. It impressed us during our research with the quality of its resources and customer service, including the client dashboards it provides to its clients. It doesn’t offer personalized service, and its fees are toward the higher end of the debt settlement companies we reviewed.
This is one of the largest debt settlement companies in the U.S today. In operation since 2002, it is a branch of Freedom Financial Group, which also offers debt consolidation loans through FreedomPlus.
After several months, Freedom will begin negotiating with your creditors, offering a lump sum from the money you’ve saved to make an offer to settle your debt. Typically Freedom negotiates a reduction and charges fees that range between 15 and 25 percent of the debt you enroll. It’s important to remember that these fees are on top of the settlement amount you pay your creditor. So, as an example, a debt settled for 50 percent along with 20 percent in fees will be 70 percent of the original amount. Typically a plan will last anywhere from 24 to 48 months. These are all well within the industry standards.
One area Freedom Debt Relief excels is how open it is about its programs and the risks associated with it. When we spoke to company representatives, they talked about the potential impact of the program and broke down how the settlement process works.
To be eligible for a debt settlement plan, you’ll need at least $7,500 worth of unsecured debt and more than $500 on each of the accounts you want to enroll. Freedom Debt Relief offers its services to residents of 33 states.
To be eligible for a debt settlement plan, you’ll need at least $7,500 worth of unsecured debt and more than $500 on each of the accounts you want to enroll. Freedom Debt Relief offers its services to residents of 33 states, which is more than Guardian Debt Relief and Superior Debt Relief Services.
When you call into Freedom you’ll speak to a debt relief specialist who will explain the process to you, evaluate your debts and make recommendations based on the amount of debt you have and who you owe it to. This requires a soft credit pull, but by the end of this first call you will have some clarity about what type of plan is best for you.
During this initial call, you’ll learn how a debt settlement program works and the potential benefits with it. Once you join, you’ll have a much more detailed onboarding call where you’ll be given the required disclosures about the risks of the programs. It’s important to know that a debt settlement program isn’t legally binding, and you can withdraw at any time.
When you enter your program you’ll stop making payments to your creditors and begin making monthly deposits into an account set up by Freedom Debt Relief for this purpose. The amount you’ll deposit is determined based on your income, how much you owe, how many accounts you owe to and other factors. Fees paid to Freedom and penalty fees and rates are calculated into the payment as well.
Freedom can begin negotiations as soon as two months after you join the program. It has relationships with many of the large credit card companies and can structure settlement over several months, sometimes up to a few years. While Freedom legally can take all its fees when it settles a debt, if a settlement is structured your fees will usually be spread out.
This company doesn’t provide a single dedicated account rep, but it does offer quick, responsive customer service. When we called, we were quickly connected to an employee who answered all our questions about the programs offered. Customer service agents go through certification and training by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.
Once you’re enrolled, you’ll be able to use the Freedom Debt Relief customer dashboard to track the amount you’ve saved, as well as the status of your settled accounts, the progress of accounts being negotiated and the fees you owe. The dashboard also gives you easier access to customer service and gives you access to important documents, including scripts for how to deal with collection calls.
Freedom is an accredited member of the IAPDA and the AFCC, which audits debt settlement companies to ensure they comply with industry regulations. All agents undergo rigorous three-month training to become IAPDA certified.
Freedom Debt Relief is one of the largest debt settlement companies operating today. A typical settlement program through Freedom lasts from 24 to 48 months.