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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58 Customer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Customer Rating: 3.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 29 4 star: 8 3 star: 2 2 star: 2 1 star:  17
Bottom Line: 66% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 58
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great people.

    It is a wonderful experience working with Freedom Debt Relief; they know the job very well. Thanks guys, good job. When it comes to resolving a problem, they know how to do it, and is what I like about them. Great people, great customer services, and they help you no matter what is the situation, and they give answers back. Thank you again Freedom Debt Relief.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Paying off debt

    • United States,
    • Aug 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was notified that one of my debts was paid off with close to a 50% reduction. It was a great feeling to know that I'm on my way to being debt-free! The staff has been wonderful answering my questions and pacifying my concerns. Thanks so much!

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Even though my husband passed away 2/3's of the way through the program...

    My husband insisted that we do the program. I was reluctant, worrying about our credit score and even if we could afford to do it. The truth was we could not afford NOT to do it. So we began.

    Yes, at times it was difficult. There were months where we had to postpone our payments. After my husband died in September last year, I wondered how I could finish the program and Freedom Debt Relief, even called asking me if I was going to continue because it was my husband's debt that was left and I was not really financially obligated. But I did! It is a wonderful legacy he left me. I am just really really sad that he is not here to enjoy our debt free life that I now have. Thank you.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Freedom Debt Relief

    I love Freedom Debt Relief. They gave me help when no one else would. Everyone I have interacted with has been very professional and friendly. We have settled with one of my seven creditors over the past eight months. The process is naturally slow, and I have accepted the offer to expedite the process with their sister company Consolidation Plus.

    I highly recommend Freedom Debt Relief if you need this type of help. I also recommend opting for the NLLG service.

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

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  • I can sleep better since I signed with them!

    I am more than happy with the Debt Relief Program. I feel confident and my life has changed because of this. I trust them and their team. It works just like they promised it was going to be, and for this reason no matter what, and always, they will have every 20th of the month the money in my dedicated account.

    I will like to thank them for this opportunity because it is very hard to find people as honest as all of them are.

    Every time I call, the agents are also very nice and professional, and for this reason, I always give them a 9 (highly satisfied).

    Thank you.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Freedom Debt

    Our sponsor has been more than helpful in starting our journey.

    Looking forward to getting debt free. I know it may take a little time, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. And the time it will take us much less time with paying minimum payments. One debt has already been resolved and that was a great feeling. Thanks Freedom Debt!

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

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    A complete disaster from the beginning of the process to the very end.

    • Bel Air, Maryland,
    • Aug 18, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience with Freedom Debt Relief has been a complete nightmare. From the beginning of the process, they calculated my monthly payment incorrectly, and they then continued to contact me for additional funds to resolve the first account. That just continued.

    Then I was summons to court by the Discover credit company. Freedom Debt Relief gave me no help. I had to contact Discover's attorneys myself and resolve it, and Freedom still paid themselves for the resolution of that account.

    Then when I thought all my accounts were resolved, I noticed one small creditor was not resolved, so I have been calling Freedom Debt Relief for the past year and a half to please ESCALATE this account, so they said they did. I probably have talked to more representatives than any client ever. Many representatives told me to stop my monthly payments because of the surplus in my account.

    So I continued to call every month to check on the status of the last account and talked to managers and whoever they would promise to contact me they never did. So just this August my last account was settled. What a joke. All that time it gained so much interest. So they finally contacted me to give them more money. What a joke. They did not save me much and still took $375 for themselves for resolving the account. If I was not persistent about resolving my debt and contacting them monthly, the account would not have been touched and I would have a crap load of money in my account from monthly payments.

    After disputing this with them and I told them to check my account notes and the conversations they say they record, and that I have been diligent in trying to resolve this myself. Their response was they did not see anything about that in my account notes.

    Do yourself a favor and never do debt relief, and not with this company, and if the company says your conversation is being recorded, tell them you are recording them. I still have to pay the company $26 to be finished with them. I told them you can eat that $26 after all that I have been through. They said no and told me to have a good day. I am glad to be finished with this nightmare and would not wish this on anyone.

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

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Patience people! It works but you have to be patient.

    • Texas,
    • Aug 14, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    After facing more than $20,000 in credit card debt and getting refusal upon consolidation loan refusal from various lenders, I received a phone call from Freedom Debt Relief. One of the lenders that rejected me for a consolidation loan forwarded my info to FDR and the rep explained their approach to debt relief.

    I was very hesitant at first. The idea of simply stopping my credit card payments in order to settle my credit card debts for less than I owed was very scary. After all, it's embedded in your memory to "pay your bills on time" and dealing with debt collectors was not something I wanted to deal with. But the rep was a smooth talker, and after getting nowhere making credit card payments, I stopped paying my credit card bills, gave the money I would normally pay to FDR, and let them handle the credit card companies when they saw fit.

    When I started the program, I had seven credit card bills and as I previously mentioned owed approximately $20,000. In the first year, they were able to settle two of those debts at about half of what I owed. I would constantly check my credit reports (at that point it was down in the upper 500’s because of all those cards I stopped paying). When these two debts were settled and reflected on my credit report as not delinquent anymore, I knew FDR was for real and was happy to give them my hard earned money to settle my remaining debts!

    A year and a half into the plan, I received a series of calls from FDR with an enticing new deal! Since I had been faithfully sending FDR payments without skipping, I was given the option to participate in Freedom’s “Consolidation Plus” consolidation loan repayment plan. They would settle the remainder of my debts and I would pay Freedom back in terms of a high-interest loan. The loan itself, at 23% interest, was a tough pill to swallow but it’s about the same APR that the credit cards carried and at the time that the time my credit score was so low so beggars can’t be choosers! I went for the loan and once all of my debts were settled, I only owed $13,000! That was a savings of $7,000!

    Over the course of the next two years, I got a second job in order to pay FDR and the consolidation plus loan. I initially was giving FDR $170, twice a month ($340 total). The CP loan term was five years, but due to the second job, I was able to give them much more! I gave them $425 every two weeks for two years and successfully paid the loan off early! My credit score is now back in the lower 700’s and while I’ve managed to acquire some credit card debt since it’s only $1,500 and I plan on keeping it that way!

    Freedom Debt Relief saved my financial life in many ways and would highly recommend them to anyone overwhelmed in debt! FDR works, but only if you let it. You simply can’t just not pay them and have them work for you like that. You have to be willing to trust them, pay them, and be willing to make sacrifices in order to get rid of your credit card debt. Be like me and get a second job if you have to! Just remember, nobody forced you to get in the kind of debt that you’ve accumulated in the first place! If you need help from companies like Freedom Debt Relief, be ready to do your part to ensure that your debts get settled.

    Hopefully, I’ll never have to use them again, but my experience with FDR has taught me a lot about debt, knowing my spending limits, and NOT to abuse your credit cards and refuse credit limit increases. Thanks again Freedom for all your help!

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

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    • Aug 17, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Jeff,

      Thank you for your incredible feedback and review of the program! We strive to provide excellence to all of our clients, while also educating them about their options, our program and the most efficient way to become debt free. It is clear that this has been your experience and we are thrilled that the program has proven to be so successful. 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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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Disappointed too long to resolve debt

    It's taking too long to negotiate debt resolution on accounts. Only one account settled in five months. I am very disappointed in the overall performance and in the long duration of the process, plus my crediting rating continues to plunge.

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

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    • Aug 10, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mr. Sincavage,

      We appreciate your feedback. Settlements are dependent on accumulating sufficient funds, in order to settle the debt and as long as we continue accumulating funds, we should have no problems meeting your goals in realistic time frames. However, we understand the beginning stages of the program seem to take a long time. The credit impact is temporary and you will continue to see your credit score increase throughout the duration of the program.

      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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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Superior service

    The folks who work for Freedom Debt Relief are truly there to help you and boost your morale during your time of frustration and suffering through this time of difficulty. You even receive congratulation messages as you progress through the program from all of the team. How many times do you get that support from any other establishment? Even my bank tells me I could not have chosen a better program to work with. That tells me a lot.

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

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    • Aug 10, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Hackett,

      Thank you for your great review! We are ecstatic to hear about your success with the program. Our team is dedicated to obtaining the best settlements for our clients. We definitely share in your excitement as you become debt free!

      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

    Somewhat disappointed

    I think things are being handled ok, but I don't think their dashboard is very helpful for clients (me). It is very vague for a person who is so over stressed about being harassed about paying credit card bills, and telling a client exactly what is happening and where you are at in the process of negotiating. I am more upset about the fact that when I came on board I was told I could add any bills, such as hospital bills, or I have a few payday loans that I need help with, and I have tried twice to add them on with no success. So meanwhile I am getting cards taken care of, and I am getting bashed by Pay Day loan folks.

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

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    • Aug 10, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Ms. Pace,

      We are sorry to hear about the struggles you are facing within the program. We would like to further assist you to resolve your concerns. Please reach out to our client services department at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com for immediate assistance or let us know when we may reach out to you to discuss your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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