About Freedom Debt Relief

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: Apr 23, 2018

Founded in 2002 by Stanford Business School graduates Andrew Housser and Bradford Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief helps clients settle and resolve their unsecured debts in as little as 24-48 months, instead of declaring bankruptcy. Cumulatively, they’ve helped resolve more than $8 billion in debt for more than 500,000 clients since opening their doors, which is more than any other company in the nation.

The process is straightforward: Talk to a Certified Debt Consultant to make sure Freedom Debt Relief is the right debt solution for you, see what you could save by partnering with them, and then enroll in their program if you choose.

We all want to be debt-free faster. But is Freedom Debt Relief necessarily your best option? Let’s start by taking a look at how their program works.

How Does Freedom Debt Relief Work?

To qualify for Freedom Debt Relief’s program, you’ll need to owe at least $7,500 in unsecured debt (e.g., credit cards, medical bills, etc.) and be struggling to make your minimum monthly payments due to a financial hardship, whether caused by the loss of a job, divorce, medical bills, or the passing of a loved one.

Credit score isn’t an eligibility factor, although the company currently only offers their services to residents of the following 34 states and territories: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, DE, FL, ID, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, NY, NC, OK, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, DC, WI, Guam, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.

If you meet these core criteria, the company’s debt relief program works over five steps:

  1. A Certified Debt Consultant—each of whom is required to undergo training and meet strict qualifications established by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)—will evaluate your debt and advise which options are available. In these instances, the company will be upfront about whether or not their program is the right solution, and if not, refer you to other companies who might be a better fit.
  2. Then, the company will customize your program and give you all the available information about your 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 will be used to repay your debts. You’ll maintain control of the account at all times. 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 creditors and negotiate settlements for you. According to the company’s website, they’ve been negotiating with creditors for over a decade and resolve an average of 43,891 accounts each month, thereby giving you more leverage.
  5. Finally, after all your debts have been resolved, your program will be complete.

How Much Does Freedom Debt Relief’s Program Cost?

Freedom Debt Relief doesn’t assess their clients any upfront fees until after a debt has been resolved, and there are no monthly fees involved.

However, the company emphasizes that the special purpose bank account they set up for clients can charge a small monthly fee, like most other financial accounts. If this is the case, it will be included in the client’s monthly program deposit amount, which—again—is something they maintain control over at all times.

The length of Freedom’s program varies between clients. Once a settlement is negotiated, though, the final fee can range anywhere between 18 and 25 percent, depending on the client’s state of residence and the debt amount.

For example, if you owe $10,000 on one of your accounts and Freedom Debt Relief negotiates a settlement for $6,000, you could pay between $1,800 and $2,500 in fees, for a total of $7,800-$8,500. In this example, your overall savings could be between $1,500 and $2,300 off your original debt.

For additional details or to undergo a consultation, you can reach a Certified Debt Consultant at 800-230-1553.

What Can We Learn From Freedom Debt Relief Online Customer Reviews?

Since writing our original article, nearly 90 HighYa readers have provided feedback about their experience with Freedom Debt Relief, giving the company an average rating of 3.7 stars.

Common compliments related to effective debt reduction/settlements and helpful Consultants, while complaints frequently revolved around settlements that didn’t meet expectations, as well as steep fees.

We also encountered more than 12,000 customer reviews on Consumer Affairs, where the company had a slightly higher average rating of 4.6 stars. Most of the compliments and complaints mirrored those found here on HighYa.

San Mateo, CA-based Freedom Debt Relief is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has more than 1,300 customer reviews (89 percent of which were positive) and 320+ closed complaints, as of 4/17/18. Details were available for very few complaints, although a company representative responded in each instance with a resolution.

Debt Relief vs. Credit Counseling: How Can You Choose the Right Solution?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, reputable credit counseling organizations—and their certified counselors—can “advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops.”

In other words, while they often don’t always offer settlement services with creditors, they can help you develop a financial plan that helps you pay them off in a timely manner and get back on track. They’re typically non-profit organizations as well, so their assistance might cost you little-to-no money.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to gain access to many of these same services and potentially reduce the amount you owe to creditors, a for-profit debt relief company like Freedom Debt Relief might fit the bill. Obviously, the downside is that you’ll pay a not-insubstantial fee for their services.

Before signing up for one, though, the FTC recommends:

  • Making sure that you can afford to regularly deposit money into the savings account. After all, if there’s no money available, the company can’t bargain with creditors on your behalf.
  • Keeping in mind that not all accounts are settled. You could end up owing just as much as you do currently, although this could certainly help you save on interest and late payments.
  • Remembering that if you decide to stop making payments on your debt, this could negatively impact your credit score.

Another important consideration is that you’re allowed to contact your creditors directly and negotiate settlements on your debt, which obviously won’t cost you anything other than time. Granted, you won’t have the leveraging power of a company like Freedom (regardless of whether or not you have a savings account in place), but it’s certainly something to keep in mind, depending on your circumstances.

Let’s go ahead and bring everything together so you can make a decision about Freedom Debt Relief.

Our Final Thoughts About Freedom Debt Relief

The bottom line is that if you meet their qualification criteria and have carefully considered the potential pros and cons of using a for-profit company discussed above, Freedom Debt Relief has been in business for more than 15 years and comes with an overwhelmingly positive online customer reputation.

As such, this could be a good indication of what you might experience after becoming a client. And if not, you might not have much more to lose than a few minutes of your time by reaching out to a Certified Debt Consultant and seeing whether or not they’re a good fit for you.

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121 Consumer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 77 4 star: 12 3 star: 5 2 star: 3 1 star:  24
Bottom Line: 77% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 121
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through.
  • Glad I called!

    • Chester, MD,
    • May 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been so worried about how I was going to pay my bills. I researched and called a few other relief companies. None got back to me as fast as Freedom Debt Relief, and they helped me come to a payment I can actually make! So happy I found Freedom Debt Relief!

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

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  • Wonderful service

    • Alexandria, LA,
    • May 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience with Freedom Relief was very positive. The staff was very helpful and sensitive to my needs. They made it their responsibility to ease my concern, regarding my credit rating and the effects it may have in the future. I will definitely recommend this program to friends and family.

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

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  • Recommend Freedom Debt Relief

    • Florida,
    • May 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am only in the program a short time. So far, everything has gone well. The people at Freedom Debt Relief are very nice and helpful in getting everything done that was needed so far. I would recommend this program to everyone.

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

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  • No worry

    • Texas,
    • May 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had too many bills pulling up, interest going up and I could no longer make the payments. Freedom helped me and explained everything to me in detail. Thank you freedom and all the staff, I appreciate all your time and commitment.

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

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  • A new client

    As a new client, FDR has given me a sense of future freedom. I feel like FDR will accomplish what I could not do on my own. They have already made me feel like part of their family and trust they have my back. I chose a reputable company like FDR and NLT to work with my personal accounts and negotiate a settlement with each one with NLT to support me and defend me in case one or more seek legal representation.

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

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  • Best move ever

    After struggling to keep up with numerous credit card payments and past lines of credit, we decided to get free of all the frustration. Freedom Debt Relief has so many positive reviews that we thought we’d give it a go. We are NOT disappointed! These guys are amazing, and we felt so relieved once everything got set up. We highly, highly recommend that you take control of your debt before your debt takes control of you!

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

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  • Review summary

    • Bakersfield, CA,
    • May 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    We feel somewhat better now that most of our credit card debt will be reduced and paid off in a few years, but we are still getting calls and some have told us that they will not settle with a debt resolution company. So we still worry, but hope that it will all work out for the best.

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

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  • FDR experience

    • La Quinta, CA,
    • May 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They provided much relief for my financial stress. Danielle was extremely empathetic and helpful. She listened to what I was saying and explained all my questions for clarity. FDR did everything to make the process go smoothly.

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

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  • Debt

    • Winter Park, FL,
    • May 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I found the representative very helpful in solving my debt issue, and I feel very comfortable that now I'll have freedom of debt in the near future. I highly recommend using this company they are like no others, no hidden fees, they truly care about your situation and want to help in any way possible. And the best part is they handle everything and you accomplish your goal, debt free!

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

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  • Peace of mind

    • Maryland,
    • May 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very pleased to have someone negotiate with creditors on my behalf. And have a much lower monthly payment, compared to the minimum payment we were making with our credit card debt. Extremely pleased. Freedom Debt Relief is the real deal.

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

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  • Glad I joined

    • Ashland, VA,
    • May 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am still too new to this to have much to say, but it looks like this program is going to work for me. As far as I can tell now, I'm glad I made the decision to go with Freedom Debt Relief. I have had so many medical expenses that caused me to fall behind in my ability to keep up with required bill payments. Not wanting to fall too far behind, I made the decision to get help. I'm already glad I did.

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

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    • May 22, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      We're also very glad that you made the decision to go with Freedom Debt Relief as your debt solution! 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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