When the bills pile up and it seems like you'll never get ahead, an offer to reduce your credit card debt or your monthly payments may seem like a dream come true.
More often, it's the beginning of a nightmare, as a couple from St. Charles found out.
The husband had resisted the telemarketer's pitch to reduce his credit card payments for two months, but he finally decided to listen one day. He spent more than three hours on the phone with a telemarketer from WBE Management, allegedly getting help from the caller in reducing his debt. At the end of the phone call, the caller informed the man that he owed $1,995 for the company's services. He says he never agreed to the fee or any contract with the company.
Unfortunately, the local victim is not the only one who lost money to this scheme. More than 30 people have filed complaints about a related firm with the Better Business Bureau serving Orlando, Fla. That BBB says that the pattern of many of these complaints is that the victim pays money for debt consolidation services, but gets no services and never hears from the company again.
Today's BBB press release gives more details about the WBE scheme.
The BBB advises consumers to avoid debt consolidation schemes. In most cases, there is nothing any of these companies can do that a consumer can't do on his or her own by contacting the credit card company and discussing a payment plan. More tips include:
- If you are on the "do not call" list, a telemarketer should not call you unless you have a prior relationship. Consumers should report unwanted calls to state or federal authorities.
- Do not believe oral promises that a business can reduce your credit card payments for an upfront fee.
- Do not provide credit card or other sensitive personal information to unsolicited callers.
- Check out any company making promises to reduce your debt or payments at www.bbb.org. BBB Business Reviews will tell you whether there are complaints about the company and how they have responded to complaints.