Freedom Debt Relief Review

Aiming to help you settle your debt for less than you owe

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Freedom Debt Relief

Freedom Debt Relief

overall rating
3.8

Our Take

Freedom Debt Relief is a debt relief company that offers a free, no-risk consultation before you commit to the program. They assist consumers by helping settle debt for less than what is owed and they have resolved more than $10 billion in debt since their founding in 2002.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview 
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Certified Debt Consultants help you negotiate and settle your debts

  • Track your progress in real time with the client dashboard

  • No upfront settlement fees

Cons
  • Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • Fees can run as high as 25% of settled debt

Key Takeaways
  • Freedom Debt Relief helps consumers settle their credit card debt for less than they owe so they can get out of debt faster.
  • Help is available for credit card debt, department store cards, medical bills, and other types of unsecured debt. 
  • A free consultation can help you decide if debt settlement is for you.
  • You'll only pay for services you receive, and only once your debts are settled.
Company Overview 

Founded in 2002 by two Stanford Business School graduates, Freedom Debt Relief was built to provide solutions for consumers struggling with credit card debt. The company has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and they currently employ over 2,000 individuals, including their staff of Certified Debt Consultants. 

Freedom Debt Relief lets you start the debt settlement process over the phone, and from there, you can begin your plan and monitor your progress online using their virtual dashboard. If you want to work with a debt relief agency in person, note that Freedom Debt Relief has offices in San Mateo, California, and Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Year Founded 2002
  • Program Length As little as 24 to 48 months
  • Fee Schedule 15% to 25% of settled debts
  • Customer Service Telephone and email
  • Phone Number Clients: 800-655-6303; Non-Clients: 800-230-1553
  • Official Website www.FreedomDebtRelief.com

If you're struggling with credit card debt and other bills you can't seem to pay off, Freedom Debt Relief offers a potential solution. This company aims to help you negotiate and settle your debts for less than what you owe, although you'll pay fees based on a percentage of the debt they help settle on your behalf.

Like other debt relief companies, Freedom Debt Relief offers a free consultation that can help you envision how the process might work in your situation. You will also get an estimate of how much you could save during this phone call, as well as how long you can expect to be in the program.  

Debt settlement is a process that asks you to set aside money each month in a specified account so you can use it to settle your debts for less than you owe. In the meantime, you'll stop making payments on your debts, which can result in damage to your credit score. 

Pros Explained

  • Certified Debt Consultants help you negotiate and settle your debts: Freedom Debt Relief employs Certified Debt Consultants who are trained in the debt settlement process. These professionals are experienced in helping consumers figure out how to settle their debts so they can move on with their lives.
  • Track your progress in real time with the client dashboard: Freedom Debt Relief offers a client dashboard that lets you log in and track your debt settlement progress 24 hours a day. This may be immensely helpful for anyone who wants to see how their plan is working in real time. Also, note that not all debt relief companies offer an online portal. 
  • No upfront settlement fees: Once you sign up for the program, you won't be required to pay any fees up front. You'll only pay a percentage of fees based on the amount of debt settled, and only when you get results. 

Cons Explained

  • Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB): Freedom Debt Relief is not accredited with the BBB, yet many other debt relief companies are. 
  • Fees can run as high as 25% of settled debt: You may also pay as much as 25% of your settled debt amount in fees with Freedom Debt Relief. While this amount is average among debt relief companies that disclose their fees up front, at least one competitor (InCharge Debt Solutions) charges their customers less. 

Types of Debt Addressed

Freedom Debt Relief helps their clients negotiate and settle any unsecured debts they have. This means they focus on debts that are not secured by collateral. Examples of the types of debt this company can help with are explained below. 

Credit Card Debt 

Freedom Debt Relief focuses most of their efforts on helping clients negotiate and pay off credit card debt. Considering the median credit card interest rate is currently at 19.24%, it's easy to see how clients might run into trouble and need help settling their debts (including principal and interest payments) for less than they owe. 

Medical Bills

Medical debt has become an enormous problem in the United States, and that's even true for people who have health insurance. Freedom Debt Relief works with hospitals and medical providers to negotiate medical debt for less than the total bill. 

Private Student Loans

Freedom Debt Relief also says that, in some cases, they'll help negotiate and settle private student loan debt. However, they do not help with federal student loans.

Note that other types of unsecured debt you have can qualify for debt settlement. You can also bundle several types of unsecured debt into your debt settlement plan (i.e., credit card bills and medical debt).

Client Onboarding

To work with Freedom Debt Relief, you need to have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt, which can include credit card debt, medical bills, and other personal debts you have. You also need to be experiencing a "legitimate financial hardship," and it's actually helpful if you're behind on your bills. In fact, Freedom Debt Relief states that your creditors are unlikely to negotiate with you if you're paying your bills in full and on time. 

When you call Freedom Debt Relief, you'll get a free consultation that can help you discern if debt settlement is for you. During this consultation, you'll go over your debts and find out how much you could save, as well as the time frame you may need to be in the program.

Freedom Debt Relief lets you "see if you qualify" online (and without calling in) by entering basic information about your debts and where you live.

Customer Service

Freedom Debt Relief offers customer service options over the phone or through email. Customer service agents are available seven days a week, including Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Certified Debt Consultants are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

While this company doesn't offer an online chat option like a few others do, Freedom Debt Relief does stand out due to its online client dashboard. With the client dashboard, you can log in at any time to oversee your account, upload documents, or track your progress.

Company Reputation

The debt relief industry is, unfortunately, rife with scams and companies who offer false promises. For example, some debt relief companies might try to get you to pay fees up front before services are provided, or they might enroll you in their program without explaining the risks. Because of this, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends checking out debt relief companies with your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies before you move forward. 

You can also utilize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) database to look up information on any debt settlement companies you may be considering.

Freedom Debt Relief was taken to court by the CFPB in 2018 based on claims they tried to charge consumers an advance fee, and that they didn't inform customers of their rights to money they deposited with the company for debt settlement purposes. Ultimately, Freedom Debt Relief settled this lawsuit in 2019 after paying $20 million to affected customers as well as $5 million in civil penalties. 

In terms of user reviews, Freedom Debt Relief still has an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars among more than 30,000 reviews on Trustpilot. And although this company is not accredited by the BBB, they do boast an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars among reviews on the platform. 

If you have a complaint about the services of a debt relief company, you can file a complaint with the FTC or call 877-FTC-HELP.

Average Relief Amount

While the amount of debt relief you can qualify for may depend on where you live and how much you owe, Freedom Debt Relief claims they can help settle your debts for as little as 50% of what you owe and sometimes less. Just remember that you'll owe debt settlement fees in exchange for their assistance negotiating and settling your debts. 

Average Time for Relief

Freedom Debt Relief claims their program usually lasts for 24 to 48 months, although it could take less time (or more time) depending on your circumstances. This timeline is about average among other debt relief companies. 

Cost

When you settle debt with Freedom Debt Relief, you don't owe any upfront fees. Instead, you pay fees based on a percentage of the debt you settle, which will normally range between 15% to 25%. Freedom Debt Relief claims that your fees can vary based on the details of your situation and the state you live in. 

Since many debt relief companies don't disclose their fees on their website, the fact Freedom Debt Relief does should be seen as a plus. Also note that, among companies that do disclose their fees, 15% to 25% is the average charged.

The Competition: Freedom Debt Relief vs. National Debt Relief

  Freedom Debt Relief National Debt Relief 
Year Founded 2002 2009
Accreditation Not accredited by the BBB

Accredited with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

Accredited with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)
Accredited with the BBB

Accredited with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

Accredited with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)
Services Offered Debt settlement Debt settlement
Customer Service Touchpoints Free consultation

Phone and email customer service

Online client dashboard
Free consultation

Phone and email customer service

Online client portal
Fee No upfront fees

Pay 15% to 25% of your debt
No upfront fees

Pay 15% to 25% of your debt
Average Program Time 24 to 48 months 24 to 48 months

Freedom Debt Relief and National Debt Relief have a lot of similarities. Both companies offer a free consultation, and they both promise to help consumers settle debt for less than they owe. Both also charge similar fees (15% to 25% of your debt) and they say that, on average, consumers work through their programs in 24 to 48 months. These companies also offer similar customer service options by phone or email, and they each offer an online client dashboard or portal where you can log in and track your progress.

However, National Debt Relief stands out due to its third-party ratings, including its accreditation and A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Furthermore, Freedom Debt Relief has been sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the last five years for unethical business practices, whereas National Debt Relief has not. Because of this and other factors, National Debt Relief scored a weighted average of 4.63 stars out of 5 in our debt relief study, compared to just 3.68 stars out of 5 for Freedom Debt Relief. 

Verdict

If you have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt that you cannot seem to pay off on your own, Freedom Debt Relief can help you negotiate and pay off your debts for less than what you owe. You won't pay any upfront fees for their help, and you can see if they're a good fit with a free consultation. 

However, keep in mind that other debt settlement companies are out there, some of which could work better for your needs. Make sure to compare debt relief providers in terms of their reviews, ratings, and costs before you decide. 

How We Review Debt Relief Companies

Investopedia compared more than 15 top debt relief companies to find the best in terms of third-party rankings, company reputation, customer service, and product offerings. We gave preference to companies with ample customer service options and accessibility over the phone or online, and we looked for providers who are transparent about their pricing and services. Based on our ranking, Freedom Debt Relief earned 3.68 out of 5 stars total, as well as our ranking as the best option for "best interactive program."

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Better Business Bureau. "Freedom Debt Relief, LLC." Accessed December 9, 2020.

  2. Federal Trade Commission. "Coping with Debt." Accessed December 9, 2020.

  3. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Settles Lawsuit Against Freedom Debt Relief." Accessed December 8, 2020.

  4. Trustpilot. "Freedom Debt Relief." Accessed December 9, 2020.

  5. Better Business Bureau. "National Debt Relief." Accessed December 8, 2020.