A Tacoma company that promised to lower interest rates on credit cards will pay everything it has – $1.5 million – to refund consumers. We wrote about Mutual Consolidated Savings last year when the Federal Trade Commission shut the company down. MCS allegedly used robo-calls to aggressively target consumers with debt problems then charged $690 to $899 for essentially no help.
The FTC’s settlement announcement can be found here. The money unfortunately won’t right all the wrong, since the feds say MCS took $22.5 million from folks in the United States and Canada. But the order bans the defendants from working in the debt relief industry.
Watch out for programs that charge up front. You’re better off going to a nonprofit credit counselor who can help you develop a personalized financial plan. The U.S. Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program provides a list of government-approved credit counseling agencies. The National Foundation for Consumer Counseling provides a list of member agencies at www.nfcc.org or call 1-800-388-2227 for 24-hour automated office listings.