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 469 Freedom Debt Relief Customer Reviews and Complaints

Write a Review
Average Consumer Rating: 4.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 358 4 star: 49 3 star: 21 2 star: 9 1 star:  32
Bottom Line: 90% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 469
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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
  • Quick review

    • Tucson, AZ,
    • May 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It has been a great experience and they are doing a great job reducing my debt. They work hard to get it done and answer questions in a timely manner. Has been great having them handle my accounts and making them go away.

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

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  • Graduated Lump Sum Payment

    • Fort Worth, TX,
    • May 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience has been great up until recently. I joined FDR almost 2 years ago. Everything was going well until I deposited a lump sum of funds into my dedicated account to cover the cost of the creditors and fees owed to GET.

    Since then I feel like I have not been given a solid answer. When I started the program I was told once enough funds have been deposited into your dedicated account then you can call and have the creditors paid in a lump sum.

    Well about a month ago, I deposited enough funds to pay both the creditors and FDR. To the date, FDR is unable to provide me with concrete dates as to when creditors will be paid nor my expected graduation date.

    I was told that FDR had changed systems and an exact date of payment to creditors could not be provided but to continue to follow up on my client Dashboard and that my graduation date was near but a specific date could not be provided.

    Although customer service has been exceptional, the amount of information that has been provided has had no benefit. My hope was to be done with this and have everyone paid this month but that is not likely to happen. Any concrete information that can be provided would be great. Depending on the outcome of how quickly FDR can get this completed will depend on how likely I will refer anyone to FDR.

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

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  • Stress relief

    • Tioton, PA,
    • May 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    So far my experience has been great, everyone has been very helpful, answered all my questions as to how this all works, told me what to expect, and have greatly relieved my stress and worry about what I was going to do about this mess I've made of my finances.

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

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  • Easy to work with

    • Missouri,
    • May 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm just starting out with Freedom Debt Relief, but so far they have been very easy to work with.

    I originally had it set up where I make my monthly payment all at one time, however; this month I needed to change it due to budgeting issues, and they changed it to every two weeks, no problem. Which cut my payment amount in half.

    Plus, I can call and change it back any time.

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

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  • Light at the end of the tunnel

    • Belmont, CA,
    • May 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    When credit card debts accumulated I felt overwhelmed. Living paycheck to paycheck it was difficult to get by. It felt like the darkness was closing in. The traditional payment of the debt would have taken over 10 years. This program has reduced and settled my debts by over 65% and it would take 2-3 years. This program works and I stand by it.

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

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  • Telling my experience with Freedom Debt Relief

    • Winter Haven, FL,
    • May 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Nine years ago I tried calling all my creditors to see if they could work with me on my debt. Due to my husband passing away and it was just me paying the debt and I was struggling with it as well. They all wouldn't do anything for me! I tried different solutions. Didn't want to file bankruptcy but something had to be done! So I called Freedom Debt Relief and spoke with Casey Hough. I couldn't have spoken to a better person. He was so helpful in the needs I was needing at the time. I was scared at first but Casey reassured me as long as I stuck with the program I'll be fine. Not to mention I pay an extra $12 a month for Freedom to speak on my behalf if my creditors ever come after me, well worth $12 a month. I'm glad I called Freedom Debt Relief, it's paying my debt off. Plus putting extra money in my pocket each month, which I needed! Thanks Casey for your guidance, and to all the Freedom Debt Relief employees who speak with me when I call.

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

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  • Going to finally save

    • Tampa, FL,
    • May 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Thanks to Freedom Debt Relief I’m going to finally be able to save money so I can move my life forward in a great direction. It was quick and easy to set up and with the way payments are set up I don’t have to stress paycheck to paycheck.

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

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  • Changing deposit amount confusion

    • Indiana,
    • May 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Once I signed the agreement for the change I went to contact customer service about whether the new total would start this current deposit or the next and that the account change I also needed to do had gone through so I didn't have to move funds around. In the chat function, all they could tell me was that the new deposit schedule started June 14th. So I called customer service and they told me yes, the account change had gone through and that the new deposit amount would be pulled on May 14th and the new deposit schedule I was emailed did not include the May 14th deposit at all. The original amount was withdrawn and I ended up scheduling a one-time deposit for the difference since my latest settlement agreement needed the new deposit amount to start this month. When I received the updated deposit list it showed the May 14th deposit at the original amount.

    The customer service people were quite polite and helpful, though they gave me slightly incorrect information, which is why I only gave 4 stars.

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

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  • I have had nothing but a good experience

    • Taneytown, MD,
    • May 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband and I have been with FDR for about 18 months now and they have always worked with us and made sure to explain things to us so that we would understand. I am so happy that we decided to use FDR to get us back on track.

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

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  • High hope

    • Milwaukee, WI,
    • May 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    After my mother died my life took a turn for the worse. Seems like everything that could happen was, from the car breaking down to furnace and water heater needing to be replaced. Next thing I know, with life still going on, my debt started to get out of control. As hard as I worked to get my credit score up, I was struggling and worried paycheck by paycheck. I knew it was time for me to do something so I reached out to Freedom. I'm still at the beginning of the program so will see what's next and how it plays out, but I will say I have peace of mind knowing they're on the case.

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

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  • Customer service

    • Algonac, MI,
    • May 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The rep answered all of my questions. He was very knowledgeable and polite. I had many questions and the rep patiently took time to answer everything to my satisfaction. I would definitely recommend Freedom Debt Relief to friends and family.

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

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    • May 19, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for sharing your feedback, Karen. You made the best decision when you chose to enroll in Freedom Debt Relief and our highly trained Client Advocates will continue to answer any questions or concerns you have. 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!


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