On August 8, 2017, the District of Columbia Attorney General (AG) announced that it had reached a settlement with a Florida-based debt relief company and its owner, resolving allegations that their debt collection practices violated District of Columbia consumer protection statutes. According to the AG, the company entered into contracts with consumers promising to eliminate $5,000 to $10,000 of their debts, and promising they would not charge consumers for its services unless the company reduced their debt. The company then charged consumers fees of up to $2,995, but took little or no action to reduce their debts. The company also falsely informed consumers that their debts had been transferred to new accounts with lower interest rates.
The AG alleged that the company’s false promises to reduce consumers’ debts and unlawful charges of advance fees for debt relief services violated District of Columbia consumer protection statutes. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company will reimburse six D.C. consumers for all payments they made to the company, likely totaling over $12,000; pay $10,000 in costs and civil penalties to the AG; and stop offering debt relief services in the District.