Texas has secured an assurance of voluntary compliance with LowerMyBills, a lead generation company that the state says misled consumers toward Credit Alliance Group, which falsely advertised its accreditation and debt management process.
The agreement secured $2 million in restitution for eligible consumers.
The attorney general’s office sued CAG in 2013 for defrauding customers out of millions of dollars entrusted to settle their debts, and for providing debt management services unauthorized by the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, actions that cost hundreds of consumers thousands of dollars in losses.
CAG claimed it would eliminate 20 to 60 percent of a consumer’s outstanding debt within three years. However, customers were charged up-front fees as high as 35 percent of the debt they owed, and CAG was found depositing customer payments into its own operating account. The attorney general’s office brought action against both LowerMyBills and CAG under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
Texans who believe they’ve been scammed or experienced suspicious or fraudulent activity may call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 800-621-0508, or file a complaint online at texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.
Before working with a debt management company, consumers may check whether a business is authorized in Texas by contacting the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC) at occc.texas.gov/industry/debt-management-settlement-providers, calling the OCCC Consumer Helpline at 800-538-1579, or contacting their information line at 512-936-7639.
Consumers may also check consumer reviews or complaints that may be on file with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and The National Consumers’ League at www.fraud.org.