Congressional investigation confirms fraudulent debt practices

April 22, 2010 6:35:14 PM PDT
A congressional investigation has confirmed what 7 On Your Side has been reporting for months -- many companies claiming to get people out of debt, engage in fraudulent, deceptive and abusive practices.

A recording of an undercover government agent talking with one of these companies describes the problem.

Company: "Once you enroll in the program you will no longer make any credit card payments."

Undercover Investigator: "OK, so..."

Company: "That's correct."

Undercover investigator: "What's going to happen with my creditors...I mean..."

Company: "They.... uh, you're not going to pay them."

Undercover investigator: "I shouldn't pay a few of these cards at all?"

Company: "You're not. When you are in our program you will not pay any of your creditors anymore."

Refusing to pay debts gets consumers in deeper financial trouble, yet investigators found 17 of the 20 companies contacted advised clients to do just that. Twenty companies also collected fees upfront, which is a practice investigators would like banned.