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Debt relief firm agrees to end N.C. operations

Posted October 18, 2010

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— A Florida-based debt relief company that collected more than $2.6 million in fees from North Carolina residents is no longer operating in the state, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday.

Cooper's office sued Consumer Law Group two weeks ago, alleging deceptive practices and illegal fees. Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand agreed last week to a preliminary injunction in the case that was agreed to by both sides.

“Consumers who are trying to pay off their debts deserve real help, not unlawful fees,” Cooper said in a statement. “It’s good this company has agreed to stop, but now they need to pay back the people they’ve hurt.”

Consumer Law Group promises in its online and radio ads and through its telemarketers to reduce people's debts by half and leave them debt-free without bankruptcy.

Most of the 3,000 North Carolina consumers who’ve paid the company have gotten little or no help settling their debts or working out payment plans with their creditors, Cooper said.

Under North Carolina law, it’s illegal to charge an upfront fee to help negotiate debts, also called debt adjusting or debt settlement. Some companies promising debt relief, including Consumer Law Group, have tried to get around the law by claiming to be law firms.

Cooper said the company also misled consumers to believe that its program is government-affiliated.

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  • nanasix Oct 19, 2010

    Wonder why the Atty Gen's office wasn't smart enough to check them out on the SOS's website?? This outfit just filed the necessary paperwork to do business in NC on 10-13-10, which means they've been doing business in NC illegally, yet the Atty Gen took no action along these lines. Had he done so, he could have gotten a judgement for damage, not just an agreement, but who knows, maybe the owners were Democrats too.

  • csplantlover Oct 19, 2010

    I got messed up with a company one time claiming to pay off my debts for me and all I was doing was giving them money for their pocket, it wasn't reducing my debts or settling my debts one iota! I was so mad with them - and just finally stopped sending them funds. CGA I believe was their name - Credit Guard of America. Wonder if they're still in business. I kinda doubt it.

  • beachboater Oct 18, 2010

    Another thief bites the dust. Good job Roy. Now if they would just get rid of the so called income tax magicians.

  • froggytroat Oct 18, 2010

    Wait, the free market would have worked itself out.