Published On: May 17, 2021
Operators of Student Loan Debt Relief Scheme Banned From Providing Debt Relief Services as Part of Settlement with FTC
(Reprint from Federal Trade Commission, May 17, 2021) The operators of a student loan debt relief scheme are banned from providing debt relief services and have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they collected illegal upfront fees and falsely promised to lower or even eliminate consumers’ loan payments or balances.
In its 2019 complaint the FTC alleged that Student Advocates Team and other defendants charged illegal upfront fees that they led consumers to believe went towards consumers’ student loans, and falsely promised that their services would permanently lower or even eliminate consumers’ loan payments or balances. The defendants also signed customers up for high-interest loans to pay the fees without making required disclosures.
The settlement resolves FTC litigation against the remaining defendants in the case: Student Advocates Team, LLC, Progress Advocates Group, LLC (also doing business as Student Advocates), Student Advocates Group, LLC, Assurance Solutions Services, LLC and individual defendant Bradley Jason Hunt and individual defendant Sean Quincy Lucero. Equitable Acceptance Corporation settled the charges against it in September 2019.
The orders ban the settling defendants from providing debt relief services, prohibits them from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and includes a monetary judgment against certain defendants of more than $24.5 million, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay. The defendants will be required to pay $11,500, which will be used for consumer redress. The defendants are also prohibited from collecting any further payments from the consumers who purchased their debt relief services.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final orders was 4-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
MUSINGS BY DIANE:
I am a huge supporter of education, but the typical borrower is usually not prepared to predict if, and when, they can pay back a loan. Instead, some borrowers view it as “free” money and assume that they will find a way to pay it back “sometime”. Typically, they do not finish their education and end up in a job that barely supports them, and their family. Certainly they cannot afford to buy a home, save for unexpected expenses or pay for their own child’s education It becomes a terrible cycle of borrowing, failing to pay, having their wages garnished, which now means they definitely cannot afford to pay rent. This becomes a cycle of life for them, their children, and their grand children.
There are alternatives – school grants, scholarships, an extra job, or help from family. Never be too proud to ask family for help, if what you want to do it get a good education. But, never see school loans as free money – they come with disastrous price tags.
– Diane L. Drain
About the Author: Diane Drain
Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.
*Important Note from Diane: Everything on this web site is offered for educational purposes only and not intended to provide legal advice, nor create an attorney client relationship between you, me, or the author of any article. Information in this web site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney familiar with your personal circumstances and licensed to practice law in your state. Make sure to check out their reviews.*
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You and Jay are the best attorneys I have ever had or needed and thank God for the Honorable Robert Gottsfield in recommending you folks – I would have never made it through the entire process without you and Jay and God Bless you both always and stay in touch as well. You folks are the BEST OF THE BEST in Arizona.
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Published On: April 18, 2022
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CFPB Charges Performance SLC and Performance Settlement, Daniel Crenshaw, with Using Deceptive Tactics November 5, 2020 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) filed a complaint against Performance SLC, LLC [...]
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