No Joy for Litigation Practice Group

Question:

Dear Steve,

I’m in a program at Litigation Practice Group in CA and plan on canceling because my finances are getting worse.

I called last night to cancel and ask about a refund and was told I wasn’t eligible. Since January, I’ve been paying $284.02, and I’m upset now.

Can they stop me from getting my money back?

Joy

Answer:

Dear Joy,

Yes and no is the most honest answer.

I believe Litigation Practice Group (LPG) is an advanced fee debt relief program. An advanced fee program generally has a legal component and purports to give the consumer help by an attorney or attorney representation.

This is a known loophole of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Telemarketing Sales Rule.

I’m an attorney. Although I generally don’t provide debt relief services, I sometimes help a current client settle or resolve his or her credit card debts. Am I covered by the Rule?

It depends on the facts. Attorneys are not exempt from the Rule automatically, but in many cases attorneys who assist individual clients are likely not covered by the Rule, for two main reasons: 1) the TSR applies only to providers who use interstate telemarketing, that is, a plan, program, or campaign to sell products or services using the telephone; and 2) providers – including attorneys – who make their sales presentations in face-to-face meetings before enrolling customers likely are exempt from most of the Rule’s provisions. For more information, read Debt Relief Services and the Telemarketing Sales Rule: A Guide for Business.” – Source

Advanced fee companies seem to use the send a person to meet with you in person to attempt to take your payments as fees before resolving any debts.

The document will provide the most precise answer regarding how LPG takes their fees will be the client agreement you signed when you hired them.

Salespeople say all sorts of things, but the written agreement, from any debt relief company, supersedes the sales pitch.

In general, companies are good about laying out all the details in the client agreement.

Now, all that being said, I am a firm believer in giving all companies a chance to do the right thing. From my point of view, that is to provide unhappy customers refunds or come to a mutually agreeable resolution—no company likes the additional scrutiny of regulators looking into a string of complaints.

I wrote a guide to help people like yourself. Read How to Get Your Money Back From a Debt Relief Company if You Feel Like You’ve Been Scammed.

You will find this to be a good process to make your issues heard, give whatever company a chance to do the right thing, and if they don’t, escalate the issue.

Please come back and let me know what you decide to do and what happens. Then, post your updates in the comments below.

Sincerly,

You are not alone. I’m here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don’t give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach