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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79 Consumer Reviews for Freedom Debt Relief

Average Consumer Rating: 3.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 46 4 star: 8 3 star: 3 2 star: 3 1 star:  19
Bottom Line: 72% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 79
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    What actually happens

    I became a client of Freedom Debt Relief when my only other option was to file bankruptcy. When the economy tanked, my job went from full time to two days a week. I continued to make my monthly payments by emptying my savings account while I looked for work. In the end, I reached out to Freedom Debt Relief.

    In the beginning, the lady on the phone was sympathetic. Like she understood everything that I was going through. Once I signed up, customer service changed. My agreement was for $152.00 each payday. When I went back to full time, I called to increase my payments. From what they tell you, that will help you resolve your debt faster.

    This went on for a year and a half. I never missed a payment or had any issues. After a decade of having the same bank account, I changed bank accounts. The ONLY company I forgot to advise was Freedom Debt Relief (that's because the program was seamless and you really don't think about it). When I missed the payment (after being with them for a year and a half), they didn't call and say, "Hey Ms. Anderson, is something wrong? You missed your payment." NO! I didn't realize that I missed a payment until I started getting emails from them to get back on track. After then, I realized that they quit making payments on my behalf, which in turn, canceled my settlement with the said company.

    IF they had called, I would have given them the new bank account number, and then things could have remained the same. Instead, they tell me that I'm in default and now I need to restructure my payments because I have to pay a different amount to the creditors. The best example of what happened is with American Express. I missed my payment to Freedom Debt Relief, and they did not pay American Express. The following month I was on track, and they tried to pay American Express, who rejected the payment because I defaulted on the agreement.

    This went on for over three months, meaning that American Express did not get paid for three months. I (not Freedom Debt Relief) reached out to American Express and explained what happened and even after not getting paid for three months, they honored the settlement agreement (the only thing Freedom Debt Relief did was offer to restructure my payments so they would have the money to pay American Express the full amount of the original debt).

    I got over that and stayed with the program. I shouldn't have! I am paying them $202.00 bi-weekly ($404.00 a month). I have two accounts left. One, a settlement was agreed on and I only owe them $4,080.00, and the other is for less than $1,300.00. But, they have me in the program for another 20 months. That is because they are only paying $204.00 every month for the company with the agreement. They will not be paid off for 20 months (1 year and 8 months). If they would apply more money to them, it would be paid off in 10 months.

    I asked Freedom Debt Relief to increase the payment to them (I just wanted all this behind me), Freedom Debt Relief wouldn't do that. I told them that I was considering pulling that company out of the program so I could make the payments myself. Freedom Debt Relief made that sound like the worse possible thing to do. They told me all the "worse case scenarios," although, that's not how they put it. They just said, "We'll send them a letter telling them that you are no longer in agreement with them which would void the agreement." Which means that I would have to try and negotiate with them or I would be sued for the full amount (after Freedom Debt Relief took their fees of $2,725.00 for that account), which means that it would have cost me more to pay them off.

    I FOUGHT with Freedom Debt Relief to get contact information (in the beginning of the program, you sign papers so that collectors only talk to Freedom Debt Relief and you are completely out of it). I was on the phone with them for over 30 minutes while they repeatedly and continually told me that they strongly advise against me reaching out to the collection agency.

    I finally got a phone number from them. It was the wrong number; they did not give me the number to the company they were sending payments to! However, I did find the collection agency with the account, and I was able to find contact information. I am happy to say that the account will be paid off in 8 months compared to the 20 months Freedom Debt Relief had me set up for. Of course, the collection agency just wants to get paid. When I offered them the entire $404.00 a month that I was paying Freedom Debt Relief, they were more than happy to take it.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Ms. Anderson,

      We are sorry to hear about your frustrations and disappointment with our program. We would like to speak with you to resolve the concerns you are having. Please let us know the best time that someone can reach out to you, and if you prefer phone or email communication.

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  • Asking for help is so hard!

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Oct 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband has been unemployed for 15 months out of the last three years. I have a full-time job that doesn’t pay well but does provide great benefits. We fell behind, and my husband didn’t want to ask for help. The stress for me became too great and so after hearing a radio ad for these services I called.

    We have been working with Freedom Financial for approximately 5-6 weeks. We are making great progress with our creditors, and although we have a ways to go, I can now see the “light” at the end of my tunnel leading to financial freedom. Thank you for your continued help and support!

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

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    • Nov 2, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Prell,

      Thank you for your phenomenal review of Freedom Debt Relief! We know that our clients have come to us during extreme hardship, so to know how much we have helped alleviate the stress and anxiety you were experiencing is great! We look forward to assisting 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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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    First six months

    I started with the Freedom Debt Relief program in April of 2017.

    In this 6 months, every time I had a question I just called and received the help I needed. I love that I have the ability to call or go online.

    Also, they send monthly statements, which told not the financial amount accumulated but the different stages to expect and what stage I was in.

    I am very satisfied with the first two (2) negotiated settlement.

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

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    • Oct 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Ms. Lightner,

      Thank you for your kind review! We’re happy to hear about how quickly your initial accounts were settled and look forward to settling your remaining debt and meeting your goal of officially being debt free.

      Please reach out to our Department of Client Services 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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  • FDR is great!

    Zak has been awesome throughout this whole process at Freedom Debt Relief. I’m as apprehensive to starting the program, but he reassured me constantly. I am so happy I decided to move forward with it! They were able to come to a settlement with one of my creditors very quickly, which was a huge sigh of relief. Before this program, I felt like I was drowning in debt. Like I said before, I’m so happy I chose to continue with it and the employees, especially Zak, are so helpful and nice!

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

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    • Oct 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Dear Ms. Hamby,

      We appreciate your phenomenal review and we are so happy to hear about your experience with your Account Executive Zak! Please reach out to our Department of Client Services 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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  • Review of services

    I have received very professional feedback from Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) thus far. I am impressed. My contacts at FDR are very knowledgeable.

    I will recommend them to a friend. I am happy we have settled one credit card. Thank you very much. We will be in touch I am sure.

    They will keep writing me as more cards are settled.

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

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    • Oct 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Mr. Perez-Lizano,

      We appreciate your positive feedback and look forward to continuing the great experience through graduation of your debt settlement program!

      Please reach out to our Department of Client Services 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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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Debt relief

    So far they have kept their word on everything they said they would do. And the people are great to work with and keep you updated on how things are going and where we are at with progress.

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

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    • Oct 20, 2017

      Customer Support, Customer Support

      Hello Mr. Green,

      We appreciate your kind review! We strive to provide excellent service to all clients while settling all accounts in a timely manner. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief to assist you!

      Please reach out to our Department of Client Services at (800) 655-6303 or support@freedomdebtrelief.com if you have any questions or comments regarding your account.

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Showing 1-11 of 79

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