Are Debt Relief Company's Reviews Legitimate?

Debt relief companies have had a negative stain since some companies took fees before settling debt, leaving individuals worse off. Thankfully, the telemarketing sales rule update helped pave the way for debt relief companies to settle debt before taking fees. 

That said, can you trust debt relief companies? Can you trust the reviews you see online for debt relief companies? The purpose of this article is to examine the review legitimacy of debt relief companies:

  1. Is There Debt Relief Review Bias?
  2. Are Reviews Requested Right After Signing Up?
  3. TurboDebt Reviews Study
  4. National Debt Relief Reviews Study
  5. United Settlement Reviews Study

1. Is there Debt Relief Review Bias?

If you Google best debt relief company, you will be inundated with “top debt relief program sites”. The one thing I noticed right away is that each one of these is an ad. So, essentially, each of these companies may be paying $10 - $50 per CLICK (not per enrollment or signup) just so they can be ranked at the top. We will cover the importance of that distinction later.

Searching Best Debt Relief Companies yield ads in the top 3 positions.These review sites are paying for their Google positions via ads space.

Let's go directly to the website (not clicking on the ad) and review. Essentially, this means that a company is paying for an ad for the top spot on Google. If you do not click on the ad and go to the website and find the best debt relief company article, you can see the ranking and the reviews of the top companies on the list. 

What makes me weary is the top line, “Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.”

When you “learn more about their process”, the company states how they have a commitment to quality, etc. 

But is that true? 

If they are paying $50 a click for the top Google search spot for “best debt relief companies”, then can they really provide unbiased information on debt relief companies?

For example, can they put a debt relief company in the top spot on their list (which is currently National Debt Relief, which we will cover later) that does not pay for that click?

From a business perspective, that would be difficult for me to do, but I will let you make the judgment of whether that is possible.

So, when you are looking online and find an ad for “top debt relief companies”, you can look at the reviews and the affiliate advertiser agreement to make the decision whether you trust that website’s information.

Are Debt Relief Reviews Requested Right After Signing Up?

When I managed a debt settlement company, I wanted to be a differentiator as I knew that many debt settlement companies charged exorbitant fees and didn’t seem to care about their clients.

So, I did an extensive review of the review sites and found that it seemed that most of the bigger debt relief companies asked for a review right after the individual signed up for the debt relief program.

One thing for certain is if you face a debt collection lawsuit, your review may be less than 5 stars.

Let’s look at a few National Debt Relief Google Reviews below. This does not mean that everyone has a negative experience as there are plenty of good reviews that have been in the program longer. It's just something to consider

Great reviews (right after signing up)

An example of a National Debt Relief review being very positive right after signing upClient is very happy, but just signed up.
A second example of a National Debt Relief review being very positive right after signing upAnother client is very happy, but they just started with the company.

Negative reviews (later in the program)

A picture of a National Debt Relief review that was negative.A client's review after being in the National Debt Relief program for 2 years.
Another picture of a National Debt Relief review that was negative.Another client that had a bad experience, facing two court summons

Now that we know a bit more about debt relief company reviews, let's do a study of National Debt Relief reviews.

3. National Debt Relief Reviews Study

When you look at National Debt Relief, you see a 4.6 rating on Google based on 3650 reviews. You also see 4.8 based on 1234 reviews on Consumer Affairs and a 4.5 rating based on 1240 reviews on Best Company.

What you may not see is the 1.5 rating based on 88 reviews on Yelp or that the term National Debt Relief Screwed Me gets almost 1,400 searches per month on Google according to AHREFS.com, with a growing trend.

A picture of AHREFs showing a growing trend for people searching National Debt Relief Screwed Me.National Debt Relief Screwed Me is becoming a more popular search term per AHREFS.

Based on the National Debt Relief reviews, many individuals may not be pleased with the fees charged after settlement, the lawsuit likelihood, the credit score impact, or the increased monthly draft amount.

Is Reddit a Trustworthy Source for Debt Relief reviews?

Reddit can be a good place to find reviews of individuals who have little incentive to offer fake claims. That said, you can still be cognizant of whether they would be valid for your situation. For example, if you have a creditor mix of all American Express and get sued 5 times, your experience may be different than someone who has 2 USAA accounts that were easily settled.

To search on Reddit, you could search something such as “National Debt Relief reddit” or “(Debt settlement company name) reddit”.

Let’s look at another company’s debt relief reviews.

4. TurboDebt Reviews Study

TurboDebt is one of the most unique examples of a debt settlement company entering the industry. 

One of the most interesting things is the TurboDebt Google Reviews. TurboDebt has amassed 2245 Google reviews since January 2021. In January 2022 alone, TurboDebt received 407 reviews.

A picture of Turbo Debt Google Reviews by Month from the beginning.TurboDebt got over 400 Google reviews in one month.

That may not seem like a lot, but check out the Google review distribution of National Debt Relief, which is one of the nation’s largest debt relief companies, and the most Google reviews it ever received in one month is 166 reviews.

A picture of the National Debt Relief Google distribution of reviews by month from the beginning.National Debt Relief is one of the largest relief firms and got 166 reviews in one month.

Based on this review, TurboDebt must ask for the review right after speaking with them or right before they enroll in a debt relief program.

Why?

Because it does not appear that TurboDebt actually does debt relief. If you read the review above, you can see that TurboDebt may actually be an affiliate of National Debt Relief and potentially ClearOne advantage.

An affiliate is essentially a company that refers a client to someone else for payment.

So, in this instance, TurboDebt may have an initial call with someone and then transfers them over to National Debt Relief who would eventually sign the individual up for the program. 

This seems to be a similar approach of the company, debtsupportnational.com who refers its TikTok ad traffic to other debt relief companies. What's most fascinating about debtsupportnational.com is that it does not appear to have much of an online presence and many searches include National Debt Relief, which is not the same company.

Are these reviews trustworthy?

It’s ultimately up to you to determine whether the TurboDebt reviews are trustworthy. What is evident is that they must have a great customer service experience upfront though to get so many good Good reviews. 

That said, as stated before, many individuals may be more likely to review a debt relief company well when they feel the debt payment is seemingly off their back instead of if they face a debt collection lawsuit or creditors calling them many times once the debt is behind.

Additionally, you could look at reddit for personal experience by searching for Turbo Debt reviews reddit. Reddit generally have users who have used the products

5. Credit Associates Reviews Study

The Credit Associates review case study is interesting because you see the variance of reviews by the website. This shows that you may want to examine multiple different review sites before making a decision.

For example, based on 6 different review sites, Credit Associates has a combined average rating of 3.05.

That is a far difference from the 5 star rating that SuperMoney gives Credit Associates, and it’s better than the 1.5 rating that Yelp gives it.

So, when you are looking at debt relief company reviews such as Credit Associates, look at multiple sites to glean the most information about debt relief. You can also often find real people’s experiences on Reddit for that company.

Let’s Summarize

Debt relief companies have had a bad reputation since the companies charged fees before actually settling debts.

The industry has made changes to adapt, but the reviews stating the best debt settlement companies seem to have bias and are asking people to review them potentially too early in the program.

A review study of National Debt Relief, TurboDebt, and Credit Associates seems to confirm some of that notion.

Debt relief companies do provide a service, but you may want to be careful about which company you decide on and why you decide on that company.

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