AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An Aurora woman recently found out that a debt settlement company wasn’t all it promised to be.
Tami Watkins is one of the millions of Americans that are struggling with debt. She had been through a divorce and the bills were piling high, when one day the phone rang.
“I received a phone call saying they had gotten information about my debt and could help me with me with it,” said Watkins.
She says World Law Debt was on the other line and told her if she made monthly payments to them the calls from creditors would stop and they would negotiate with those she owed.
“I thought it was great at time. I was in pretty vulnerable state and I thought this was a great opportunity to take care of my financial responsibilities,” said Watkins.
She signed a contract with World Law Debt. The deal was to pay them $400 each month to go into an account to pay off her debts in 30 months.
“I had no idea until later that they kept the first few thousands of dollars before anything was done,” said Watkins.
She learned only around half of what she put in had been put into an account to eventually pay her bills. The rest went to the company.
She even got a sued by one of her creditors for nonpayments of her bills.
Attorney generals in three states have taken action against World Law Debt.
In Oregon the accusations include illegal advance fees, unauthorized practice of law and deceptive practices.
Troy Krenning is a consumer rights attorney suing World Law Debt on behalf of Watkins.
“Unfortunately with the amounts of money they take for themselves there isn’t a lot of money left over in reserve to negotiate with the creditors. What you do is you find yourself slipping further and further behind,” said Krenning.
World Law Debt is based in Austin, Texas. CBS4 tried repeatedly to reach someone who could speak for the company without success.
The company did respond to the state of Colorado on a complaint filed by Watkins by writing that she was offered a full refund, but she wanted three times the amount.
Watkins says she asked for three times the amount because that’s what the law states she is entitled to.
The Colorado Debt Services Management Act requires companies doing business in this state to register with the attorney general. No such registration was found for World Law Debt.