Lately there has been a ton of US debt settlement companies offering their service in Canada, the American debt relief landscape has become saturated with competition, bad actors and political obstacles. So now many of these unethical companies are looking for greener pastures here in Canada.
To date, I am aware of the following American Debt Settlement companies marketing to Canadians:
Cambridge Life Solutions (California)
Leading Debt Arbitrators aka Debt Care Center (California)
Clear Blue Debt Solutions aka Vortex Debt Group (Florida)
Synergy Debt Group aka Vortex Debt Group (Florida)
Debt Settlement Canada aka Pacific Debt (California)
Some of these companies have somehow managed to meet the requirements and acquire a .ca website, and been licensed by Canadian provinces. As this blog post demonstrates, many questions have been raised. If you are a Canadian and have an experience you want to share in dealing with one of the above companies, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m more than qualified to talk about this because my company is a top provider here and a home grown Canadian company. I’ve called many of these US companies personally and listened to their “pitch”. To be honest, most don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about. They over promise results I know from experience that they can’t deliver on.
Recently a CBC News article covered a company called Vortex Debt Group which had drawn a ton of complaints from the Better Business Bureau. They currently have an “F” rating on the BBB. Vortex Debt Group has also been told by the state of Missouri to stay out of their state and refund money back to customers. We have also come across a handful of people who have abandoned their debt settlement plan with Vortex and signed-up with us due to service issues they have experienced there.
Here are the top 5 reasons to avoid American debt settlers.
Reason #1 – Canadian creditors sue more often than American creditors. The US housing market is still down in the dumps, and these Americans don’t seem to “get” that Canadian banks might sue home owners because our market is strong. Of all the companies I probed, including a Vortex sales office, none asked me about the equity in my house, and without this information they cannot discover the likelihood of a lawsuit or the suitability of a debt settlement plan to resolve your debt. To me this stinks of nothing more than a cash grab, and shows no regard for the outcome of the consumer’s personal finances. (Our Difference – We will not accept a client if they are likely to get sued, instead we send them to a more appropriate debt relief resource for free)
Reason #2 – American debt settlers have little to no relationships with Canadian creditors. I know this because when I called and probed them none were able to identify which creditors work well with a debt settlement plan, and which ones don’t. It seemed like they were just signing up Canadian’s to collect fees, without actually knowing the likelihood of success. The difference between US and Canadian creditors is practically night and day when it comes to achieving settlement on a debt. There is a reason why Canadian banks survived the financial storm in this past recession. (Our Difference: We have over 7 years of data in Canada from over $40 Million in credit card debt settled.)
Reason #3 – American debt settlers may not be licensed and bonded here. I checked with the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services at the time I am writing this blog, and none of the companies I called have paid bonds and licenses or passed the test to settle debt in Canada. I am also asking questions of the Government Regulators as to why. (Our Difference – We are licensed, bonded and tested in every province we do business in.)
Reason #4 – The American debt settlement industry has a very poor reputation in general. I’ve been watching the decline of the US debt settlement industry for 5 years now. State Attorney Generals and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) have sued, fined and even shut down many scummy debt settlement companies throughout the US. The FTC has actually gotten so fed up with these companies that they changed a law in October 2010 that prevented any advanced fees. You can learn more about the rise & fall of the US debt settlement industry here. Is it any wonder they are looking to do business in Canada? Now, not all of them are bad, I know some top shelf people in the US that offer this type of debt relief, but it seems that some have acted like locusts and destroyed the US debt settlement industry reputation as a whole. (Our Difference – We are all about creating raving fans out of Canadians and our BBB rating is “A+”)
Reason #5 – American debt settlement fees are usually aggressively collected. Most American debt settlement companies charge about 14% more than my company does, but I have seen higher fees. I noticed most companies aggressively collects fees about 40% faster then we do. Also, what happens when you might want to get your money back? Who is going to help you? Are you going to hire a criminal defense attorney orlando and fly down to the state they do business in? (Our Difference – We normalize our fee payments over a longer time, and offer a solid service guarantee, plus we are governed and located in Canada).
I had the opportunity to interview Hoyes.com Bankruptcy Trustee Doug Hoyes on Skype on the subject of American Debt Settlement companies doing business in Canada. We are competitors and have no association, however it was interesting to note we both shared a common view on their business stratigies in Canada.
Make sure you Google the company name, its owners name and check out the BBB rating of anyone you plan to hire for debt relief help. You could of course save a ton of time and trouble and just deal with a true Canadian company who is licensed, bonded and been operating since 2004. To our knowledge we are by far the most successful Canadian debt settlement company, meaning we have the most resources, invested the most technology and have the best staff.
While we respect our fellow ethical licensed and bonded Canadian peers, most are very small employing only a 1 or 2 people and lack our resources and know-how. Also our fees are collected less aggressively than American companies operating in Canada, not to mention ability to obtain true savings for our clients, not broken promises by slick sales people. Please call or visit TotalDebtFreedom.ca for more information about Canadian debt settlement.
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Definitely this provides me a great insight to the process, I was amazed to find out the best five reasons to avoid American debt settlement companies and while reviewing these reasons I got some of the over promise results to satisfy the needs.
Credit Debt Collections
I work in the collections department for a major Canadian Bank and we do not accept strucured settlements from any of these US companies.
If you’re needing help, I’d suggest speaking to your bank first.
I hope this helps
Vortex is a scam, they keep changing their name to rip of Canadians. I got taken by them for almost $2,000 and got nowhere.
Check out the comment by “insider” in this article: http://getoutofdebt.org/28374/vortex-debt-group-americorp-to-become-synthis-tipster-says#comment-534350334
i wish, i’ve read this before we fell into the lap of one of these companies. They screw us up by not disclosing in that most banks do not deal with them making our financial situation worst. They should not be allowed to advertise here in canada in the first place.