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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190 Consumer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 128 4 star: 22 3 star: 12 2 star: 3 1 star:  25
Bottom Line: 84% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 190
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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
  • Freedom Debt Relief

    • Michigan,
    • Jul 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Steve and Katherine were very kind and patient with me. They made the process easy to understand. They have the right name for this program! Freedom Debt Relief gives you the freedom you need.

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

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  • Good

    • Whitehall, PA,
    • Jul 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have nothing but good things to say about all the people I have come in contact with. They explain everything in terms I could completely understand and set up payments that fit my budget.

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

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  • Peace of mind

    • Palm Coast, FL,
    • Jul 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Having endured five medical necessities, and two hurricanes, it became more clear that my "retirement" wasn't going to be anybody's dream. Constantly worrying about my unplanned early retirement, and trying unsuccessfully to find a solution, I finally filled out a request for an online quote from FDR. I followed up with a phone call to the gentleman who responded to that request. He was knowledgeable, polite, non-judgmental, and got back to me VERY quickly with a solution.

    Considering all the fretting I had done, I wish I had contacted them a lot sooner. However, that is water under the bridge, and from here on I am moving forward towards a peaceful retirement.

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

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  • What a relief

    • Wisconsin,
    • Jul 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Freedom Debt Relief came along at just the right time. After the husband's medical problems, then my medical problems and losing my job, things just got to be way too much. The bills were way too much when there was only one income. I’m so glad we saw that commercial on TV. In 48 months we can get back to a normal life. The process was much simpler than I expected. They did all the work, and all I had to do was make a phone call. We are great full to everyone at Freedom Debt Relief for their help.

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

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  • Very helpful in time of need

    I needed to push out the date of my initial deposit for the debt relief program. The customer service personnel were very understanding and helpful and provided me with important advice related to my account.

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

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    • Jul 18, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      We're so glad to hear you were able to get the help you needed, Christopher! 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!

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  • Too early for any input

    • Lowell, MA,
    • Jul 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up and made a payment. The second one is due this week. I am still being harnessed by creditors, especially a loan company from California, still paying them, so they don't auto debit my checking account. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, they'll call them and negotiate some type of deal.

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

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    • Jul 18, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for providing this feedback to us, Clifford. We would be happy to address your concerns and discuss any and all options for excessive creditor calls! 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!

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  • FDR

    • Jeffersonville, KY,
    • Jul 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Friendly and expedient service. They did a good job of welcoming me to the program. They never keep you on hold very long and really try to answer your questions. When you do try to do something they advise against they give you all of the information so you can make an informed decision. I hope this works out and I will be debt free by 2022!

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

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    • Jul 18, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thanks for the honest and helpful review of the program, William! We look forward to helping you reach your debt free goal by the estimated date! 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!

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  • Very pleased.

    • Cornwallville, NY,
    • Jul 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am very happy with Freedom Debt Relief. Everyone I spoke with was helpful and understanding. I would recommend their service to anyone who would like to get out of debt in a reasonable time.

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

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    • Jul 18, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      That's great to hear, Carollee! We look forward to helping you reach your goals of financial freedom! 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!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Review

    • Westborough, MA,
    • Jul 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It took me quite a long time to select a company to help me with a credit problem. When I spoke with agent Mr. Velazquez, I was impressed. His knowledge of the product, the ease of becoming a member, it was apparent that I made the right choice for me.

    My only frustration was too much paperwork and emails. Otherwise, I will recommend FDR!

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

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    • Jul 18, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you so much, Joyce! We're sorry that there was some trouble with all of the forms. We'll relay this feedback to the appropriate party! 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!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Orientation process

    • Anchorage, AK,
    • Jul 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I just started with the program, but so far it's been a smooth and fast transition, and everything I was promised and guaranteed during the explanation of the program has been 100% correct. Great trust and great customer service so far. Thank you.

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

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    • Jul 18, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Thank you for trusting us to be your debt solution, James! 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!

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  • Piece of mind

    • California,
    • Jul 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was thoroughly impressed with my experience with Freedom. I was concerned I was going to have monthly payments that were way too high for my budget, this was not the case, it is very affordable. I was also relieved to have someone else be a positive voice for me.

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

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    • Jul 12, 2018

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Kimberle, thank you for your review of the program! If you have questions about your account, give us a call at (800) 655-6303 to speak to a client services advocate who can assist you.

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Showing 1-11 of 190

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