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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26 Customer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Customer Rating: 3.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 12 4 stars: 3 3 stars: 1 2 stars: 0 1 stars: 10
Bottom Line: 62% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 26
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  • Scam!

    Upon entering the program, I had a customer service person who really took great care of me. After I actually signed up with the program, everything has been crashing down.

    What they DON'T tell you is that you will MOST LIKELY get sued by the creditors! I have experienced four so far and a lien on my property. Oh, and also, you WILL be getting forms (after the settlements on accounts) that show the DIFFERENCE (saved amount) and you will have to report this amount as income on your taxes when you file them!

    And, though the attorneys representing FDR through NLLG are legit, they are only limited to a certain amount as well, and the fees that pay them (from your account) on a monthly basis, are CRAZY. Now, I realize people need to get paid, however, I was CRAZY trying to keep my head above water BEFORE entering into the FDR program.

    Now, well, my advice is: DON'T do it! Try and handle things yourself in any way possible. I have been on the phone for three days STRAIGHT trying to get a litigation settlement payment from my account straightened out, and all I have gotten is, "I will handle it," but NOTHING has been done.

    They keep raising my payment amount and auto withdrawal when there is a settlement. I started at $300, to $486, and to now $526$! Really? Not to mention my credit score it bottomed out. If you want a real person's advice, stay away!

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

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  • On the right track

    Although I've only been with Freedom Debt Relief for a few months, I'm already getting results. Within the first month, I received a message from FDR stating that they had settled with one of my biggest debtors for a 50% decrease. I am very happy with the results so far, and FDR has done everything they said they would do. Thank you and let's forge ahead!

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

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  • Progress

    Progress is in motion, and I feel good about Freedom Debt working with me to get me back on track.

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

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  • Would do it again!

    I would do it again in a "New York minute!"

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

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  • Extremely satisfied client

    Freedom Debt Relief has been wonderful in every way.

    When I first called they explained the process to me, and it has worked exactly as they said from day one. They are in the process of resolving my debt as promised. I did exactly as they suggested and sent notice to all the creditors and I have not had a single phone call from any of the creditors.

    Freedom Debt Relief took the STRESS out of getting my debts resolved.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Debt review

    • California,
    • Feb 17, 2017

    I think Freedom Debt Relief is working hard to help me get back on the right track, but I personally just don't think it's moving as fast as I thought it would on the smaller debts! I was told that after a 120 is when they would go after Synchrony bank debts, but I had to call Freedom Debt well after four months (it seems like) before I received any word on my first settlement!

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Terrible

    They have terrible customer service. I've already called three times to get a simple email, but they can't seem to do it.

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

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    • Feb 17, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mr. Calhoun,

      We are sorry to hear about the difficulty with receiving a specific email. We would be more than happy to assist you with your correspondence request. What is the preferred way for us to contact you so that we may resolve your concern?

      Thank you.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Don't do it.

    • Frostburg, Maryland ,
    • Feb 16, 2017

    If you're thinking of trying this, don't do it.

    You are paying this company to negotiate a lower rate or pay-off, and for what you pay them, you may as well negotiate it yourself. It will be half the price.

    It was two years ago that I pulled from Freedom Debt Relief. One of my credit cards was down to one payment, and they didn't pay it. When I inquired as to why, they said they didn't have enough money in my account. At the beginning, they told me what monthly payment I would need, and I didn't miss a payment. They didn't even bother to call me and tell me that it was not paid.

    Now, two years later, I again am being bothered by a debt collection agency for a debt that should have been taken care of two years ago. For $250, that should have been paid by Freedom Debt Relief.

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

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    • Feb 17, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mona,

      We apologize for any confusion regarding your account and settlement payments. While we understand you are no longer enrolled, we would still like to resolve your concerns. Please let us know the best way to contact you so that we may discuss resolution.

      Thank you.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Freedom Debt Relief

    We used Freedom Debt Relief for 18 months and then decided it wasn't worth all the fees they were charging. It turned out to be too expensive, so we decided to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    After terminating my account, they continued to text me with settlement requests and also took money out of my bank account three week's after I terminated my account. I spoke with three different supervisors and each time was assured the account was closed, and no money would be taken out. They lie, or they do not communicate with their own bank (Crossroads Financial). I had to call my bank and pay $30 for a stop payment against them, as well as file a claim to get back the money they withdrew from my account.

    BEWARE! My bankruptcy lawyer says they are a scam, so use them at your own risk. They are very friendly until you want to close your account.

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

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    • Feb 17, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Goss,

      We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you experienced while closing your account. If there is anything that we can do to further assist you and resolve your concerns, we would like the opportunity. Please let us know the best way to reach out to you if you would like further assistance.

      Thank you.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Wonderful company

    They are a wonderful company, and they really help in getting your debt paid off. If you are having problems, they will really help you.

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

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    • Feb 8, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Tilden,

      Thank you for the great review you have provided! We are very pleased to be able to assist you in becoming debt free and 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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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Debt consolidation

    I've been in the program for nine months. One account has been settled, and progress is being made on the others.

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

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    • Feb 8, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for your positive feedback and congratulations on your initial settlement! 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!

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