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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9 Customer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Customer Rating: 2.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 3 4 stars: 1 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 0 1 stars: 5
Bottom Line: 56% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-9 of 9
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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Thank You

    • Troutville, VA,
    • Dec 6, 2016

    They have done a wonderful job. They have been there for me when I needed them and the niceties people you would ever meet. They have put my mind at peace. I know I'm in good hands with them. Thank you so much.

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

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    • Dec 6, 2016

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hi Becky,

      Thank you for the positive comments and glad to hear that we have been able to put your mind at ease. We wanted to follow up with you to see if there is anything you need based on the 1-star review. Feel free to respond to the review or contact us directly at support@freedomdebtrelief.com.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    You guys are great

    First I want to give a big thank you for not only getting me out of debt but also for coming to my aid in a serious crisis. I was totally amazed at the real care about my crisis. And you guys where there to offer nothing but help, you listened to my story and cared. And then gave aid. What other company does that? That makes you TOPS in my book. Thank you.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Happy to be debt free

    I made a call one night and was so pleased with the information I received that I signed up. I have been a member since February and have increased my monthly payment to see results happening. Everyone I speak to is courteous and helpful. Thank you Freedom Debt Relief.

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

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  • Reliable

    Freedom Debt Relief is an excellent company that's reliable. I'm not having to worry about my creditors not being paid.

    They are a friendly and trustworthy company. At a rating from one to ten, I would give them a ten.

    So far my experience with this company has been pretty good.

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

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  • Car Payment

    I joined Freedom Debt relief in July of 2015, I needed them to help me resolve some debt I had incurred. They were taking $175 out of my account each paycheck, almost immediately it was games and scams with this company.

    I had a $18,000 car payment that I had fell behind on, the finance company reached me and offered to settle the amount for $5500. I called freedom Debt Relief and spoke to a lady by the name of Cynthia Brittenum, to see if I had enough funds to cover the amount. She told me that I did, and to email her the settlement letter and on November 10, 2016, to call in and make my last payment to them of $105 to bring my account balance to $5500.

    I called in and tried to make my payment and they informed me that I would have to pay $4000 for their service charge and I do not have enough to make the payment. This was after I had made an arrangement with the finance company.

    The finance company informed me that they were going to rescind the settlement, and charge me fully for the vehicle because of this. I canceled out of the program because they are not honest and will play with your money and their customer service agents know nothing. I would not use them unless your bill is somewhere between the $200 - $1000 range anything above that they will get you, and act like they did nothing wrong

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

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Went with FDR & was served Saturday morning

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Nov 2, 2016

    I knew all of the online reviews seemed a tad too good to be true, but I consolidated with FDR in Dec 2015 (as they seemed to be the most reputable). I've made every bi-weekly payment on time. Well, I was served papers at my apartment Saturday. The best part is that I thought the sweet-looking lady was Amazon. Oh no, not Amazon.

    "Good morning, are you X?" Me: "yes." Her: "sorry to wake you up, you are being sued by Bank of America." Me: "wait, what?" Too late, the lady was gone.

    In my panic, I found out FDR has a different number and "department" to handle when X is being sued. I'm guessing I'm not alone. And I hate everything. To make matters worse, as I was choking and confused, talking to the FDR lawsuit expert operator about my getting served, I asked about another debt.

    The house of cards was crumbling! I had a different letter where a collection agency offered to cut a $10,000 debt to $2,500. I thought FDR was negotiating for me. (This is my fault, why didn't I do it?) FDR operator, "wow, that's a really good deal. Did you say the debt was sold to a new collection agency?" Me: "YES!" (sobbing). I've known several people who have successfully consolidated bigger debts and ain't NOBODY been sued. Like, actually served civil court papers at their home. FDR STINKS.

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

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  • 16 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Sucker

    • Grand Rapids, MI,
    • Aug 9, 2016

    I would keep away from this place, they will tell you one thing and then do the complete opposite. Stop payments for 3 months saying you are done with the program, then start again, and say "sorry" you should have been told that. They are the most apologetic company I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor and go with another company.

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

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  • 19 out 20 people found this review helpful

    Don't use

    Do not use Freedom Debt Relief financial services unless you want to be sued! I had 8 accounts listed with those swindlers. I was sued on 5 of them, and I actually had to negotiate for myself the settlement on the remaining accounts. This company should be shut down immediately.

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

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  • 28 out 28 people found this review helpful

    Not out for the client they are out for themselves.

    First off, most of the people get into a program like this because they are already in a bunch of debt. I was in the program and not very long due a decision my attorney and I made. At this time, they had come to a settlement agreement with one of my accounts. One payment was made and their fees were taken out when they made that payment. Days later when I called to cancel, I was told the my remaining balance would be back into my account within 7 to 10 business days.

    Well of course after a week, I never saw the money so I called. At that point I was told that I was not getting any money back because it was part of their settlement fees. Talk about livid, I am trying to make my mortgage payment and the one account they settled which they wrote to me and said was now "NULL & VOID" is costing me the balance of my funds because it was their settling fee.

    This place is nothing but highway robbery. That is totally ridiculous. Don't waste your time! Work with the creditors yourself or contact your own attorney. This place is a JOKE and will cost you more than getting it resolved yourself. I am not done with them yet, my attorney will be getting in touch with them. It might not be a lot of money to them but for someone barely surviving in this economy, I couldn't afford to lose all that money. I am pissed of.

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

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