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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85 Consumer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 50 4 star: 8 3 star: 4 2 star: 3 1 star:  20
Bottom Line: 73% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 85
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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Happy with first settlement

    You were able to settle the QVC account for a fraction of what I owed them. Thanks for the great work. But for every action, there is a reaction. They closed my online account and told me I could not purchase from them anymore until they let me reopen a new account sometime later next year. Just one thing I have had that account for 20 plus years and I hate to have lost it.

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

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    • Dec 7, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Mr. Sinclair,

      Thank you for your positive review and feedback! We understand the disappointment with losing the ability to use a card with a specific retailer but think of it as a positive, you don't have to worry about getting into debt on that card again. When you are able to open that line of credit again, you should be debt free and manage those funds will be much more reasonable than taking on that risk right now. 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 6 people found this review helpful

    Not a good company

    My husband and I signed up with Freedom Debt Relief back in June. At the time it seemed like a good idea, BUT (and there always seems to be a but) we have paid almost $900 to them and they've only negotiated one debt for $260. The rest of the money has gone to fees we weren't told about when we signed up.

    They also don't really help you as much as they say they do. They tell you to call if you have any problems. Well, I tried that because the first debt they paid off was trying to come after me for the other half that was negotiated. I called them and they told me I had to figure that out on my own. Such B.S.

    For anyone considering them, please don't; it's a waste of time and money. This whole time with what we sent them we could have made plenty of payments on our own towards our debts.

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

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    • Dec 7, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Maldonado,

      We are sorry to hear about your frustrations with the program and we would be happy to discuss your account with you. We see multiple settlements have been achieved, so we certainly want to clarify information regarding payments and fees. Please let us know if we may reach out to you via phone or email.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

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  • Finally, debt relief I can live with!

    • Colleyville, TX,
    • Nov 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    After a misguided attempt at starting a home-based business left me with a six-figure debt, a recent medical emergency compounded my indebtedness and left me in near financial ruins. All I had worked for was in jeopardy, so I began researching available solutions. I hit a dead end at every turn and was beginning to think I was going to have to go down with the ship.

    Then I discovered Freedom Debt Relief. My consultant, Catherine Parker, was very helpful, informative and respectful of me and my situation. She provided me with timely answers and a solution that now allows me to breathe again, financially. While I am still relatively new to the program, I am making progress and can see a clear path to financial freedom.

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

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    • Dec 5, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Mr. Kerbow,

      We are ecstatic to receive your review and hear your excitement about the program! Providing our clients with stress relief, along with debt relief, is just another benefit 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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  • Debt relief

    • Texas,
    • Nov 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    So nice not to stress about paying the credit card bills for the rest of my life. Just one payment to Freedom Debt Relief and I'm done. In 4 years that payment will be over and I will be debt free.

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

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    • Dec 5, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Baker,

      Thank you for your wonderful review! We share your excitement and enthusiasm as you continue the road to becoming 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!

    • Dec 30, 2017

      LOUIS S.

      Freedom has put me in a place where I will be debt free by the time I retire in 2018. If I keep up with my payments and increase them, all will be well. I appreciate what they are doing. It leaves my mind free to prepare for retirement.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Hopeful but not convinced

    I resisted turning over my debt to anyone for as long as I could but finally realized I was indeed way over my head for survival.

    Freedom has negotiated one settlement on my behalf, and I’m hopeful I can regain stability, however, they will not even negotiate with many of my large creditors until some months have passed and funds built up. I understand they can’t trust my deposits yet based on the fact I’m even using them in the first place, but several of my creditors have requested they at least make an offer and provide some information. I’ve told representatives this several times, and their answer is always the same, they wait until time has passed and funds have built up.

    I’m hopeful it will work out, but I wish they would contact the creditors and at least make an offer. The people are knowledgeable and friendly in terms of how they do what they do, so I have to trust that it’s the best way to do it for now. I’ll mark the below option because I suspect the system will force me to but right now, but I cannot say for sure if I’d definitely recommend any such services for anyone else. But if you must make a choice as I felt I had to, then yes, this company appears to be as good as any other right now.

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

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    • Dec 5, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mr. Ivey,

      Thank you for trusting us with your debts. We understand your concerns, especially early in the program's process. However, we can assure you that we have your best interest in mind and intend on helping you reach your financial goals in a realistic time frame! 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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  • Freedom Debt Relief

    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Nov 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I settled almost $30,000 in debt for almost half with a monthly payment much less than all payments plus interest to my creditors. Now I can breathe without hassle. THANK YOU Freedom Debt Relief!

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

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    • Nov 22, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Howard,

      Thank you for your exceptional review and congratulations on successfully completing the Debt Relief 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!

    • Nov 23, 2017

      Kathy

      Yes! To date, one debt is completely resolved and four more are being paid. They will be resolved for much less than I owed in 1-2 years. Thank you for helping me sleep at night. I'm bringing up three as a single mom. It's rough but this is a great way to get back on track. Every settlement reduces my stress.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Best customer service

    • Fredericksburg, VA,
    • Nov 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have used Freedom for almost a year. I have never experienced a better service before. The team is courteous and very knowledgeable about financial troubles and walk you through every step of the process to make you feel comfortable. In the short time I have had them, I have saved thousands of dollars in financial charges and payments. They do have the best customer service I have ever experienced and are always helping and genuinely want to help you. You’ll be very satisfied as I have been.

    Thank you Freedom Team; you're number one.

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

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    • Nov 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Mr. Manning,

      Thank you for your wonderful review! We strive to provide an excellent client experience through world-class customer service and unmatched settlements. 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

    Slow progress

    I feel that it is taking too long to settle my accounts. I wish they had settled with Discover first. Discover is adding interest and late payments every month. I think they should have dealt with my accounts first and then continued taking my monthly payment to pay for their amount. I thought that is how it works.

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

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    • Nov 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Ms. McGregor,

      Thank you for your honest feedback and we appreciate you expressing your concerns. Settlements are dependent on sufficient funds being available. If the funds in your dedicated account are already designated for a different creditor and settlement, we will have to wait until additional funds accumulate or are supplemented in order to obtain another settlement. 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

    Very helpful

    Freedom Debt Relief helped me get my credit back in order. The plan is to get you out of debt, and the process fit me perfectly. I recommend them to anyone in financial debt. You will forever be grateful after it's all said and done.

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

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    • Nov 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mr. Washington,

      Thank you for your 5-star rating of Freedom Debt Relief! We appreciate your kind words, support, and your referrals to others who may be in need of our assistance. 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

    Legitimate help in relieving debt

    I'm so excited to find legitimate help to help me relieve my outstanding debt. I was a little leery of the process initially. I started this process at the end of August 2017. I'm so thrilled that one of my debts will be paid off at the end of 2017. I hope to continue to pay each of the other debts off in a timely manner. I definitely recommend this to others that see little to no help in resolving their debt. Again, I'm so excited to be a part of this debt resolution team that I readily recommend them to others.

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

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    • Nov 14, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Ms. Young,

      First I would like to congratulate you on being one step closer to financial freedom! You made the right decision by trusting us to assist you with your debt and we are excited to continue to assist you through graduation of your debt relief 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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  • So far it is very, very good!

    • San Bernardino, CA,
    • Nov 9, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've been a client of Freedom Debt Relief for just over two months now. My credit score has already gone up 40 points! I will update this every few months. But so far, they are awesome!

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Mr. Picanco,

      Thank you for your positive review! 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 with any questions or comments regarding your account.

      Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!

    • Dec 4, 2017

      Terry

      I think Freedom Debt relief is a joke. They told my wife it would take 3 1/2 years. After three months our credit scores dropped over 100 points. We decided to file for bankruptcy, it only takes 4 1/2 months to do and you can recover before the 3 1/2 years is up. After she canceled, she only got back less ten percent of what she paid. These companies are a joke, they take your money with promises that aren't being fulfilled. Don't do it.

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