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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Read 518 Freedom Debt Relief Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 4.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 399 4 star: 53 3 star: 23 2 star: 9 1 star:  34
Bottom Line: 91% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 518
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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. Learn More Here
  • New Client Review

    • Bronx, NY,
    • Jul 23, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’ve only been in Freedom Debt Relief for 1 month. A $5,000.00 deposit was made to my FDR Account by my significant other Craig Woodley. I’m waiting for at least the 1st settlement before another lump sum deposit is made. At age 56 the electronic way that things are done with FDR can be a bit maddening.

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

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  • Making the first step.

    • Oceanside, CA,
    • Jul 23, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    After making the first call, I was greeted with personnel who first listen to my situation, regulate my situation, explain to me how they can help me and explain to me, if or when my request is approved, everybody will work as a team, including. It was that moment, I felt the weight of frustration leaving my body.

    Thank you!

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

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    • Jul 23, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      John, thank you so much for your great feedback! Freedom Debt Relief is excited to help you achieve your financial goals! It's great knowing our program has lifted that weight off your shoulders, and we will continue to support you every step of the way. Please reach out to our Client Services department at 1 (800) 655-6303 or you can log into your Client Dashboard at www.fdrclient.com if you have any questions or comments regarding your account. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • I was a skeptic

    • New York,
    • Jul 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was very skeptical until my case representative explained in full detail how the program works. By the end of the business day, after calling Kevin back on his direct line, which he himself answered every time, I was on my way to becoming debt-free, with a payment amount I chose that worked for my budget.

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

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    • Jul 23, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for your review, Yolanda! Our team is ecstatic Kevin was so helpful if we can make your life easier, then we have truly done our job. If there is any other way we can help you, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can also keep track of your program on your Client Dashboard at www.fdr.client.com or contact Client Services they can be reached at 1-800-655-6303. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief.


  • One year in

    • California,
    • Jul 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    FDR has kind and knowledgeable people who help you; some spend more time with you than others.

    When it comes to credit cards and debt, or wherever the debt comes from...it is all business.

    Some card companies won't compromise. No matter how you got there or who you are or how long you have been with a company.

    If this is one of the worst things that happens to me then I can live with it. It isn't easy and it is very stressful on one's life. I will be glad and grateful when my debt is paid.

    FDR does what they can with the tools they have.

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

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    • Jul 23, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Joanne, we value your feedback! We have a highly trained and professional team to help make this process as stress-free as possible! We encourage you to keep up the good work you are doing furthering your success to financial freedom and are happy to help assist you along the way. Please reach out to our Client Services department at 1 (800) 655-6303 or you can log into your Client Dashboard at www.fdrclient.com if you have any questions or comments regarding your account. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • Perfect timing

    • Horn Lake, MS,
    • Jul 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience so far has been wonderful. Theresa was very helpful in helping us make the decision to go with Freedom. I look forward to financial success. I would, will, and have been recommending Freedom Debt Relief to my friends.

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

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    • Jul 23, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Pamela, we are happy to read your review! It is great to know you would recommend us, and we do offer incentives for every successful referral. If you would like more in-depth information on that, please reach out to Client Services at 1-800-655-6303. You can also check your progress on your Client Dashboard at www.fdr.client.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief.


  • Thank you

    • Phoenix, AZ,
    • Jul 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I woke up one day and realized that I need to work on my debts but that means that it will take me forever to pay it all off. The experience with Freedom from signing up to setting up my account was quick and easy. Everyone was helpful, especially Martin Schroeder. I am just starting but I am really excited on my debt-free journey!

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

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    • Jul 23, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Joyce, we appreciate your review! Freedom Debt Relief is excited to help you achieve your financial goals. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Client Services they can be reached at 1-800-655-6303 or via email at Support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief.


  • Fast and efficient serviced

    • Euless, TX,
    • Jul 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called to find out how much info was needed to put another creditor in the program, was immediately informed and got an email address to send docs and 24 hours later I received a link to focusing and got fast feedback on what to send Freedom on my next deposit - very fast.

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

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    • Jul 18, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, Daryl. Our team strives to provide efficient and accurate service through your program. Keep up the great work and please reach out to us anytime you have questions about your program! You can contact our Client Services team seven days a week by calling (800) 655-6303 or email support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • Nervous

    • Salt Lake City, UT,
    • Jul 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I just started the program in May. I was excited and now my excitement has turned to worry. I have read reviews where people were cheated by FDR. I have also read that people get sued and that TERRIFIES me. I don't have extra money to pay for courts and lawyers. I have called FDR about my concerns and they have told me that I can opt-out if I want to for a full refund. I don't know what to do at this point. I'm scared, worried and I feel alone. I am a single mom and I'm just trying to make ends meet.

    I read that your credit takes a hit and the rep for FDR told me that after the settlements that your score will go up. But now I read that it can take 7 years for your credit to return to normal.

    The people at FDR have been kind and have helped me so far. But I just don't know how the long term is going to be and that is what makes me even more nervous.

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

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    • Jul 17, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for sharing your feedback, Taylor. We are sorry to hear that you are nervous. Not all of our clients experience this, although it is true that some creditors are more aggressive than others. We've been negotiating with hundreds of creditors for over 15 years, so we have a sense of how aggressive, they may or may not be based on this experience. Our team does not want any of our clients to feel unsure, a member of our team will be reaching out shortly to discuss your concerns. Thank you.


  • Your "new" CFT support is NON-EXISTENT!

    • Rensselaer Falls, NY,
    • Jul 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Had an issue with my browser as a result of CFT's change-over to a new website. Could not print my monthly statement from either FDR site or CFT site (assume FDR is linking/using the CFT site to process statements on FDR site). Called both FDR support AND CFT support. Ended up with CFT support with a foreign accent (Indian?). Was told that I had to go to MY (non-existent) computer support "person" as "he" did not see my issue! Why is/was YOUR change now MY problem? I ended up identifying/fixing it myself (because I am a computer tech), but what about your clients who do not have this knowledge? Very poor answer from your support team! This needs to be addressed ASAP or you will see severe fall-out from this! You need to fire the support group CFT is using for their web site or fire CFT!

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

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    • Jul 16, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for sharing your feedback, Manuel. We are happy to hear that you are no longer having issues and that you were able to fix your computer. We are sorry that the new system was giving you issues, however, we have not been experiencing any issues ourselves. A member of our team would like to reach out to you to discuss your concerns further in a private message. Thank you.


  • Good news about working with Freedom

    • Chesterfield, VA,
    • Jul 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called Freedom after a divorce, not sure which way I was going. The lady was so nice, never pushed me, explained everything to me. I cried and told her if this really works I promise you it will never happen again in my lifetime. She laughed and said we are here to help people like me who let things get a little out of hand. My experience with Freedom has been wonderful. Counting down to graduation day.

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

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    • Jul 16, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for providing your valuable feedback, Danley. We are happy to be supporting you through a challenging time. Our team will be working efficiently to get you to graduation and a better financial future. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Client Services, they can be reached at 1-800-655-6303 or via email at Support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • Great people

    • Warsaw, IN,
    • Jul 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    From the start my representative has been on top of things making sure everything was in place and that all my questions were answered, she even called on her day off! They keep me involved in the process and best of all there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

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

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    • Jul 12, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for your five-star review, Frank! We are so happy to hear your representative went above and beyond for you! If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Client Services, they can be reached at 1-800-655-6303 or via email at Support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief.


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