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Need help with your debts? Did a company charge you before they helped you? That's illegal.

Credit card debt can be stressful. Interest rates can be high, and if you miss or can’t make your full payments, that growing balance can be overwhelming. Enter a group of companies that promised to reduce or eliminate your credit card debt. (For a fee.) But did they?

The FTC’s lawsuit against ACRO Services and related companies says no. Instead, the FTC says they operated a deceptive credit card debt relief scheme: claiming they could, for example, clear up your credit card debt. The price? You’d have to sign up for their program, pay an enrollment fee (usually in the thousands) — plus monthly fees for “credit monitoring” services.

So what could you expect from the program? Not much, says the FTC. Once enrolled, it was often hard to reach anyone. If you did, you might get a form letter to dispute your debts — even when the company knew those debts were legit. Even worse, says the FTC, these companies would tell you to stop making payments and stop communicating with your credit card companies. If you followed these instructions, you’d see increased fees, added interest, lower credit scores, and, sometimes, lawsuits from creditors.

If you're looking for ways to pay off your credit cards more quickly, or get a lower interest rate:

  • Don’t pay upfront. It’s illegal for a debt relief company to charge you a fee before they do anything to relieve your debt.
  • Talk with your credit card company. For free. Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. Ask for a payment plan that you’ll be able to afford.
  • Consider a reputable credit counselor. They can help you develop a payment plan that works for you.

Spot a company making calls or claims like this? Report them at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Patricia Carter
January 13, 2023

I signed up with Cordoba Legal to reduce my debts. Every month they take $60, supposedly for legal fees and I think towards their fees and $9.95 for monthly fee! I finally reached $1600+ and they finally reached an agreement with one of my credit cards to pay it off in one year. But I was told that they would only pay it in full- a one time payment, but that isn’t what they are doing. I asked why they aren’t paying off the smaller ones that I had paid on thru another company and they said they had to wait until their legal team called them as they had an agreement with the other company that I had before!

Nola Jenzen
January 17, 2023

In reply to by Patricia Carter

Can they be made to pay you back? The same thing has happened to me, but I can't find a law that will make them pay back

C Bright
January 13, 2023

We got involved with a company like this. We paid fees and a large lump payment every month. They were supposed to negotiate are debts down. Don’t do it!

We ended up destroying are good credit and having multiple law suits that we had to respond to. Worst mistake we’ve ever made. We we tried to pull out they hadn’t done much of anything on our behalf.

Keith is Hickman
January 27, 2023

I'm here to say I been waiting for this moment