TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi obtained a preliminary injunction against Financial Help Services, Inc., Nation Wide Consumer Debt Relief, Inc. and Bobby Blackmon over allegations that the defendants falsely promised to assist consumers lower their debt and improve poor credit. The complaint and temporary injunction filed by Attorney General Bondi alleges the defendants accepted payments from consumers but did not make promised payments to the consumers’ creditors on time, or sometimes even at all.
“These companies promised help and relief but all consumers received was heartache and more debt,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Even worse, the defendants targeted consumers who were proactively trying to lower their debt and improve their credit.”
According to the complaint and temporary injunction, when consumers inquired about why payments to creditors were not paid, the defendants provided fake invoices claiming that debts were paid. The defendants also told some consumers that it was the creditors’ fault and that the payments had been made, but just not posted yet. As a result of defendants’ failure to make payments, consumers’ credit scores dropped and penalty fees continued to increase.
The defendants also deceptively promised financial counseling services that were never provided. To date, the Florida Attorney General’s Office received more than 470 complaints about the defendants. The court also granted the Attorney General’s motion for a court-appointed third party to manage consumers’ funds until the case is resolved. The complaint seeks restitution for the complainants of more than $500,000, attorneys’ fees, and that the defendants are permanently prohibited from offering debt management and credit counseling services in Florida.
To view the complaint, click here.
Attorney General Bondi’s Consumer Protection Division is the civil enforcement authority for all violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The Division protects Florida consumers by pursuing individuals and entities that engage in unfair methods of competition or unconscionable, deceptive and unfair practices in any trade or commerce. The Division also often partners with other state attorneys general, other state agencies, and the federal consumer protection enforcement agencies in joint enforcement efforts. Since 2011, the Division has resolved more than 550 matters and generated more than $10 billion in recoveries. Approximately $9.8 billion of that total has been scheduled or has already been returned to the benefit of Floridians