About Freedom Debt Relief

Founded in 2002 by Stanford Business School graduates Andrew Housser and Bradford Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief claims to help you settle and resolve your unsecured debts in as little as 24-48 months, instead of declaring bankruptcy. Freedom Debt Relief claims to have help their customers resolved more than $2 billion in debt since opening their doors, which is claimed to be more than any other company in the nation.

Between taxes and insurance, a good portion of each paycheck gets taken away before ever hitting your bank account. On top of this, the high interest rates associated with many kinds of debt, including credit cards and student loans, can make you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, constantly paying more to others than you’re keeping for yourself.

But can Freedom Debt Relief help you achieve financial independence from this seemingly endless cycle? Perhaps, but let’s first take a look at how their debt reduction program works.

How Does Freedom Debt Relief Help Resolve Your Debt?

If you’re unable to make your minimum monthly payments on your unsecured debt or are considering bankruptcy, Freedom Debt Relief claims to help you reduce the amount you owe and to resolve that debt in as little as 24-48 months using low monthly payments. In order to accomplish this, the company’s “Fresh Start Program” works over 5 steps:

  1. A debt specialist will evaluate your debt and advise which options are available to you. In these instances, the company is claimed to be upfront about whether or not their program is the right solution, and if not, to refer you to other companies who might be a better fit.
  2. Then, Freedom Debt Relief is claimed to customize your debt program to your specific needs and goals, and to give you all the available information and options based on your needs. Depending on how much you can afford to pay each month, you’ll be informed of your potential savings and overall program length.
  3. Once your program is in place, you’ll begin putting funds each month into an FDIC insured account, which you’ll maintain control of at all times and will be used to repay your debts. In the meantime, you’ll be asked to quit using your credit cards, which will boost FDR’s ability to resolve your debts.
  4. After money accumulates in your account, Freedom will contact your debtors and negotiate settlements for you. According to the company’s website, they often approach creditors with large portfolios of accounts like yours, thereby giving them more leverage.
  5. Finally, after all your debts have been resolved, your Freedom Debt Relief program will be complete.

If you’re at the end of your rope and need to take emergency action in order to avoid bankruptcy related to your unsecured debt, consider the following before signing up with Freedom Debt Relief:

Who Should Use Freedom Debt Relief’s Services?

According to the Freedom Debt Relief website, their services are best suited for “consumers with serious debt problems, who are unable to maintain payment obligations and are considering bankruptcy or credit counseling.” In other words, you need to be in a fairly dire situation.

Also, keep in mind that Freedom Debt Relief can only work with unsecured debt (e.g. credit cards, medical bills, etc.) that is not backed by collateral (e.g. home or auto loans).

Freedom Debt Relief’s Online Customer Reputation

Based on online reviews founds at ConsumerAffairs.com, Yelp.com, RipoffReport.com, and many other websites, Freedom Debt Relief, LLC based out of San Mateo, CA appears to have a mostly positive online customer reputation, with the most common compliment citing that the company helped to significantly reduce the amount of debt owed.

On the other hand, some of the most common complaints referenced it taking a very long time to settle debts (although website clearly says it can take 24-48 months to complete the program) – and in some instances not settling them at all, while customers continually received threatening calls/lawsuits from collections agencies during the process (we’ll talk more about this in a moment).

Also, according to a 2010 article posted on Consumer Reports, Freedom Debt Relief settled a 2009 lawsuit for $1M that alleged the company continued to charge customers fees, even if they didn’t successfully complete the program.

The company holds an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, despite having 170 closed complaints (as of 12/1/14), many of which referenced difficulty with customer service, and that these reps advised consumers to stop making credit card payments, which resulted in much larger balances than when entering the program.

The Definition of “Successfully Resolved Debt”

Speaking of which, keep in mind that, although Freedom Debt Relief’s stated goal is to help you settle your debt for less than you owe, this may not always be the end result. During our research, we read several consumer reviews claiming that debt was ultimately “settled” for the full balance, on top of fees charged by banks, as well as those from Freedom Debt Relief.

Freedom Debt Relief’s Services are Not Instant

According to the Freedom Debt Relief website, “Every case is a negotiation, and there is no guarantee on how the negotiations will wind up.” As such, the negotiation process can take as little as 1-2 weeks in some instances, and as long a 6 months in others.

Your Credit Will Be Impacted

According to Freedom Debt Relief’s FAQ, “Depending upon the condition of your credit report at the time of enrollment, a Debt Settlement Plan may have an adverse effect on your credit report and credit score. Our goal is to resolve your debt for the lowest cost, in the shortest period of time, without declaring bankruptcy.”

In other words, Freedom Debt Relief does not offer credit repair services, and their primary goal is to reduce the amount of debt you owe as much as possible, which could still appear as a “charge-off” on your credit report.

Freedom Debt Relief Pricing & Refund Policy

Freedom Debt Relief claims that they don’t assess any fees until after a debt has been resolved, and there are no monthly fees involved (note: we found multiple, recent customer reviews claiming FDR charges monthly maintenance fees). The company also claims to provide safe, confidential, and no-obligation financial assessments.

With this in mind, according to the company’s website: “Freedom charges a fee that depends on a number of things, including your home state, the amount of debt you are enrolling, and other factors. But, in general, if you enroll in a standard 36-month program, in most cases your fee works out to approximately 6-8% of your total enrolled debt per year.”

For example, if you have $10K debt that Freedom Debt Relief is helping you to settle, you’ll might pay $600-$800 in fees over the course of a year. And if it takes the company 3 years to settle the debt, you may have paid between $1,800 and $2,400 over this period of time. And if you had a total of five $10K accounts with Freedom Debt Relief, you could pay as much as $4K per year in fees alone, which can add up quickly. Because of this, it’s extremely important to factor in these fees when considering Freedom Debt Relief’s services.

In order to ask questions or undergo a consultation, you’ll need to contact customer service at 800-544-7211.

Can Freedom Debt Relief Help You Achieve Financial Freedom?

Chopping to the Point: Although Freedom Debt Relief appears to have a mostly positive online customer reputation, it’s important to remember that you can contact banks directly and inquire about “hardship” status in order to reduce your total debt load, which could help you save a ton of money in fees.

On the other hand, if you’d rather leave it up to the professionals, Freedom Debt Relief appears to be a solid choice.

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39 Customer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Customer Rating: 3.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 19 4 star: 4 3 star: 2 2 star: 0 1 star:  14
Bottom Line: 62% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 39
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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Seems to be working well

    • Brooklyn, New York,
    • Jun 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    The product seems to work as advertised, and they research your individual situation to qualify you.

    In turn, you decide which debts you'd like to include in your package. After your schedule is accepted, they test your account to see if your banking information is current and are able to take on the debts from your bank that you agree upon.

    Your payoff is made available to you through your personal account that you can view, to keep you abreast as to where your funds are going toward which bill and when it will be paid off.

    I would say that only a portion of the funds taken can be seen at which they are applied.

    Still awaiting results from others in quo.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Jun 7, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your great feedback! We are glad to know the program is proving to be successful for you and we look forward to your continued success with Freedom Debt Relief! Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com should you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

    • Jun 17, 2017

      Paula Dax

      I don't have my Welcome Package yet so I'm a bit uneasy.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Thank you for all of your help!

    • Massachusetts,
    • May 31, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Thank you so much Freedom Debt Relief. I have peace of mind that I will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't feel so overwhelmed. Any time I call with a question, customer service couldn't be more helpful. I am so glad I found their program. I look forward to the day when I will finally be debt free! I know that with your help that it is now possible.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Debt relief

    I think this is a good program. The people are helpful and have very good customer relations. It was easy to start; they walked you through it step by step.

    I would recommend it to anyone who would like to get out of debt.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • May 23, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your outstanding review! Our client services department strives to provide world-class customer service to each and every client. We look forward to also working with you on resolving any remaining enrolled debt. Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com, if you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Very helpful

    Every time I phoned, the reps were very understanding to my anxiety over my debt. I would recommend this company to all. I was able to pay off several accounts that were in Freedom. When I phoned, they were happy to say great job breaking down my debt. I feel so much better after dealing with Freedom Debt.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • May 23, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your excellent review and feedback on the program! We are thrilled that you have had such a positive experience. We appreciate your referrals to those who may need our assistance. Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303, or support@freedomdebtrelief.com if you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    A Great Help

    Even though the process isn't fast, I am seeing results and see a clearer light at the end of the tunnel I've been in@ Everyone is helpful and encouraging. I get monthly updates on the process.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • May 5, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your great review of the Freedom Debt Relief program! We are glad that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are helping you get closer to reaching your goals of financial freedom. Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com, if you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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  • 14 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Ripped Off

    • Ohio, USA,
    • Apr 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Enrolled in this program 2 years ago. Unlike others, we DID sign up for the legal services at $12 a month with National Litigation Law Group.

    After fees, and the negotiated settlement, we ended up paying 111% of the balance we originally owed on that account that our creditor sued us over. So, don't believe that the litigation services are going to help you. We have paid faithfully into this program for the past 2 years, trusting in this company to advocate for us.

    According to their dashboard, we have 3 more years to go. I am researching other options. On their dashboard, they show the amount they have ”saved” you in negotiated settlement, but you have to click deeper to learn that when you add in their 20% of the original balance fee, you've actually ended up paying about 60%. Or, in the case of that one account of mine, 111% of the original balance.

    I am so incredibly angry. We had a lot of accounts and were overwhelmed, which is why I originally signed up with them. Now, after having looked in detail at what they are actually doing with my money, I see that they play on people's fears and desperation and you end up worse off than if you had tried to negotiate with the creditor on your own.

    They let your account balances increase because that account balance is what they use to calculate their fee. They let your accounts go to collections because it makes them more money to drag things out. We have had 3 of our creditors serve us with summons that they are suing us.

    It's clearly not true when they tell you that they get a better settlement for you because of their negotiating power, nor that they will communicate with your creditors. I know precious little, but I've educated myself enough in the past 30 minutes and mustered up the chutzpa to negotiate a better settlement than paying 111%.

    My taxes were filed. I was getting nearly $800 back in a refund until I got my form from FDR for the 'debt forgiveness income' THE DAY BEFORE TAXES HAD TO BE FILED. I had to file an amended return and ended up OWING $240 on my taxes. Think about that for a minute.

    Not only did FDR negotiate settlements for me and charge me fees that had me paying 84% of the original balances of my debt (and actually it was MORE than my original balances, because they let interest and fees rack up to inflate the fee they would be able to collect), they cost me my $800 tax refund PLUS $240, my credit is trashed, and I've been sued three times.

    Do not have them help you. It is NO HELP. On the positive side, I can say that any time I called customer service, I felt real good after I hung up the phone. FDR trains their customer service well to reassure you and make you feel wonderful while they take advantage of your poor financial choices and/or desperate feeling situation.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 24, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      We are sorry to hear about the experience you are having, and we completely understand your concerns. Please allow us the opportunity to reach out to you to discuss your legal accounts, the 1099-C forms and any other aspects of the program that are causing you this frustration. Ultimately, we would like to resolve this with you as quickly as possible. Do you have a preferred time that we may reach you? Do you prefer phone or email communication?

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  • 11 out 12 people found this review helpful

    It's a farce

    I joined the program having never been late on one payment. After a call to Chris Karen of Freedom Debt financial, I was convinced this program was for me.

    Everything went well for 4 to 6 months; I made my monthly payments without fail. Then I received an offer from their "sister" company Consolation Plus that I did not want a personal loan at 22% interest, as it was as much if not more than my credit card interest. After refusing their loan, it started. I was sued three or four times.

    I was told not to talk to my creditors so I asked my "representatives" at Freedom to explain to my creditors that they'd get their money and not to sue, but they did NOT! My program lawyer called me one day before a trial I was supposed to begin to tell me that I needed to come up with three or four hundred dollars or my checks would be garnished. Then they proceed to tell me that if I'd pay my bills, I would not be in this position!

    I take the personal loan, they pay off my creditors, and then yesterday, April 15, I receive to my house via priority mail from Freedom Debt financial one 1099-C form that after a call to Freedom Debt to find out why they would hold a tax document (that I'd already called the IRS to find out should have been mailed by my creditors by February 15), and Freedom Debt had (since March 15) lied and refused to acknowledge that the postmark is April 13th and they've sent via priority mail. They say it's been put in the mail a month ago and it's not their fault that the US Post Office took so long to deliver it.

    The only problem is I live in AZ! That's 129 miles from where the Scottsdale, AZ address my creditor mailed it to them at! Oh, and come to find out there are four 1099-C tax forms of mine they held on to for over one month! It's all a huge scam to get you to take a consolidation loan. Do not believe these crooks!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 19, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mr. Zabala,

      We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced and we would like the opportunity to speak with you to address your concerns and resolve the issues you are having with the program. Please let us know the best time that we may contact you.

      Thank you!

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Freedom Debt truly wants to help.

    • Arkansas,
    • Apr 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I started a little over six months ago in the Freedom Debt Relief program and was very skeptical at first about doing it. I'm glad I did. Every person I talk to when I need them truly wants to help you succeed in the program. It may take up to six months before you get your first settlement, but it's not because they are not trying. You have to get enough money in your account so they can work their magic. Their customer service team has always been honest and upfront with me from the get-go.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 11, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your fantastic review! Our client services department strives to provide the utmost customer service to all of our clients, and we are pleased to hear this has been your experience. Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303, or support@freedomdebtrelief.com if you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Dissatisfied

    • Cotton Town, TN,
    • Mar 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I thought I was being protected in this program, but it's awful. I am more stressed out in this program than I was before I started it.

    I got a summons to go to court, and Freedom Debt Relief asked me to get the court date changed so I did, and they had another six weeks to work on it, and still nothing is worked out. My second court date is in less than a week, and still, nothing is being done.

    Another thing is that I thought I was enrolled in legal counsel and I was not, so I have to go to court without legal services and lose half a day of work that I can't afford to miss. There is more than enough funds taken out of my account to settle this one; I have been in the program for five and half months. Please check into other companies before you choose. Do your research.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 27, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Ms. Bowles,

      We are sorry to hear about your concerns regarding the program, specifically the legal action happening on one of your accounts. We would like the opportunity to review your account with you and assist you in reaching a resolution as quickly as possible. Please let us know the best time that we may reach out to you!

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Great job

    Freedom Debt relief has tremendously helped to "relieve" so much stress for us. All representatives have been extremely professional and have been understanding of our personal circumstances. They have helped to resolve our outstanding debt with creditors and have been instrumental in putting into play a fair plan for repayment that satisfies all parties. Thanks FDR!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 21, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Traynor,

      Thank you for your wonderful review! We are glad to hear that your experience has been nothing short of excellent! Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com should you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Has been going very well, but I am a little concerned

    • Colorado,
    • Mar 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    It has been going great so far with two accounts settled and paid (don't forget that forgiven debt is taxed!) and was on my way to complete it in 2018. Last month I noticed my program end date shot up from 2018 to 2022 unless I pay more. I'll keep this updated since I recently contacted customer service.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 21, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your review! We understand your concern and want to let you know that while settlements are dependent on available funds, the estimated completion date can change and be sooner, based on the settlements that are obtained. Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com should you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

    • Mar 23, 2017

      Valerie

      Did you get a loan? I'm worried that the payments will go up more. Did you try setting with the cards on your own?

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