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.


Read 597 Freedom Debt Relief Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 4.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 463 4 star: 59 3 star: 27 2 star: 11 1 star:  37
Bottom Line: 91% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 597
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  • WOW!

    • Virginia,
    • Nov 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I was at my wit's end about settling the debts that I so irresponsibly accumulated, filing for bankruptcy seemed like an option that I didn't want to take but could've cowardly gone that route, I ran across an advertisement focusing on Debt Relief programs. I impulsively chose Freedom Debt Relief because the word FREEDOM said so much about what I needed at that stage of the game. Now, this could have been just a way of pulling folks in but it turned out to be one of the better decisions I have ever made. Just when I thought my situation was out of my reach it actually was but Freedom Debt Relief stepped up and did exactly what they said they would do as far as helping ease my mind and get my debts under controlled and paid off. I'm still on the path to being debt-free and I feel confident that Freedom Debt Relief was and still is the answer to what used to be my problem. Thanks guys.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Excellence

    • Florida,
    • Nov 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Freedom Debt Relief has put my life more towards a normal life. It saved me from declaring bankruptcy. Now I can focus on a real serious problem - which is my health. I have had a constant problem with my health for a very long time. Been hospitalized too many times - live in chronic pain - on six prescriptions - and have lived by myself for many years.

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

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    • Nov 12, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Richard, we're happy to be a part of your journey to getting back on track with your debt and health. Our team will be here for you every step of the way, and we will continue to provide you with that excellent professional service throughout your program. We encourage you to keep track of your progress on your Client Dashboard at www.fdr.client.com or contact Client Services with any questions at 1-800-655-6303. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief.


  • Fascinating

    • Apalachin, NY,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I found that all FDR personnel I had an encounter with were extremely helpful and willing to explain and re-explain the program to me, I feel very comfortable and confident since enrolling in their debt relief program.

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

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    • Nov 11, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      We appreciate your valuable feedback, Thomas! We pride ourselves in providing world-class customer service and we're glad you have experienced that. We are here for you every step of the way and if you have questions, please contact Client Services at 1-800-655-6303. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Helping me out AGAIN

    • Pittsburgh, PA,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    This was not the first time I needed help in holding a payment because something else important came up, the young man at Freedom was very caring in helping us out. We are on a fixed income and at times it gets a little tight for my family. We may be putting out a lot of cash in this situation but not having to put up with nasty creditor mail and phone calls has made it all very satisfying for us - thanks guys for helping an older guy and his family out when they need it most.

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

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    • Nov 11, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      David, we appreciate your generous feedback about our company! We're very pleased to know we've been able to assist you whenever you've needed it. Do not hesitate to reach out to Client Services if you ever have any questions at (800) 655-6303 or email us at support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • Ok so far

    • Tennessee,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am just getting started with the program but so far I am super happy. Everyone has been so nice and helpful, and has really set my mind at ease. Answered every question and concern that I have asked. And believe me, there have been a bunch of them.

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

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    • Nov 11, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Welcome to the program, Mary! We're excited to be your partner along your debt-free journey. We will be here for you every step of the way! If you need assistance, please contact Client Services at 1-800-655-6303. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • So helpful

    • Tuscaloosa, AL,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Everyone has been so kind and helpful! I really appreciate the wonderful and caring staff so much! I’m looking forward to a better and brighter future. Thanks so much for all that you do!

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

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    • Nov 9, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Jamie, thank you for your review. We work hard to build a relationship with them so they can be as comfortable as possible while in the program. We are happy to be your debt settlement company and are excited to see you complete the program successfully!


  • I just got started and so far everyone has been very friendly and helpful.

    • Detroit, MI,
    • Nov 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It was a hard decision to make, but I feel like I had to do something. So far everyone has been very kind and understanding. I know the next several months will not be easy as I know creditors will be calling and I very worried about that, but at the same time, I feel Like FDR has prepared me for that. I hope going forward things will get easier.

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

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    • Nov 9, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Janice, thank you for sharing your thoughts so far about the program. Our goal is to make sure clients feel welcome and confident when speaking to us as we know this can be a sensitive subject. We applaud each client when taking their first step to becoming debt-free as we know it takes a lot to be able to make that decision. We're excited for you to start this new journey and we wish you nothing but great success throughout your debt relief program! If you ever need anything please feel free to contact us at 1 (800) 655-6303.


  • Misled by dashboard every step

    • Arizona,
    • Nov 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Never, ever do this program. They claim the program will take this long. They claim they will save you money but in the end, you pay the same amount and possibly more due to their fees. I am still doing Freedom Debt Relief. I watch had my dashboard closely so I would know when I would finally be able to stop paying into the dedicated dashboard. My remaining balance gets to 1 more and I call to confirm the payoff. They tell me I have 6 more months and the dashboard is off. I ask why haven't you taken it down, if it is wrong you are scamming people. They just say I will look into it. I asked to speak to a higher-up, they stated give us 72 hours and someone will contact you. Nope, nothing, and my dashboard still says 1 deposit remaining. It makes it hard to trust a company that can't even write code correctly. I need to get these structured settlements paid off so I never ever have to deal with these people again.

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

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    • Nov 8, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Thank you for leaving your feedback, Jillian. We understand your frustrations and will have a member of our team reach out to you to explain the Dashboard in more detail to ease your concerns. Thank you for allowing Freedom Debt Relief to guide you to your debt-free future.


  • Process understanding

    • Texas,
    • Nov 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I just started the program, but so far I'm so happy. It looks very promising for my financial problems.

    Thanks to Adam Collins my agent, he's so nice and he talks on the way that I can understand the process.

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

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    • Nov 7, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Hello, Nacy! Thank you for your amazing feedback. We welcome you into our program and look forward to being able to assist you with your financial goals. We are glad to hear your experience so far has been satisfying. Feel free to reach out to Client Services if you ever need any assistance via phone or email at (800) 655-6303 or at support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • Great customer service

    • Hope Mills, NC,
    • Nov 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I appreciate someone is keeping my financial issues silent and is concentrating on them. She has been kind and understanding that we just happened to get over our heads. Overall she was a nice person.

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

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    • Nov 6, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      We appreciate your generous feedback about our company, Melissa! We truly care about our clients and we work hard to build a relationship with them so they can be as comfortable as possible while in the program. Feel free to lean on us and to reach out to Client Services if you ever have any questions. You can call us at (800) 655-6303 or email us at support@freedomdebtrelief.com. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Freedom Debt Relief

    • New Franken, WI,
    • Nov 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have always been happy with Freedom Debt Relief. I am extremely thankful I chose them to assist me with helping me to lower my debts. My credit score was going up for a while, but now, after being a client of Freedom Debt Relief for almost 10 months, I can now see it is beginning to go back up.

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

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    • Nov 5, 2019

      Company Response from Freedom Debt Relief

      Meghan, thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are thankful to have you as a valued client and look forward to being a part of your debt-free journey. We encourage you to keep track of your progress on your Client Dashboard at www.fdr.client.com or contact Client Services with any questions at 1-800-655-6303. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief.


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