This week the Federal Trade Commission is mailing refund checks to more than 2,900 consumers nationwide who were victims of a company that allegedly pitched worthless debt management services, and later was found in contempt for violating a court order barring its illegal activities. Consumers who were victims of the prohibited conduct will receive a total of $90,000 in refunds, with the average amount being $31.16.
The reimbursement stems from a February 2009 contempt finding against Florida attorney Randall L. Leshin,and his debt management services company, Express Consolidation, Inc. In its contempt ruling, the court found that the defendants violated a 2008 final order by continuing to do business in states where they were unqualified, and by collecting fees from consumers who had cancelled their debt management plans.
The 2008 order resulted from a case the FTC filed in 2007 against Leshin and his company. The complaint alleged that the defendants misrepresented their non-profit status, charged hidden fees, and misled consumers about the benefits of enrolling in a debt management plan. Under the 2008 order, the defendants were prohibited from the illegal conduct and from operating in states where they were not qualified to do business.
The checks, which are being mailed by a redress administrator, are valid for 60 days from the date they are issued, and the FTC urges consumers to cash them. Consumers with questions should contact the FTC's redress administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc. at 1-866-458-3187, or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds. The FTC never requires the payment of money up front, or the provision of additional information, before consumers cash redress checks issued to them.
Information for consumers on how to avoid debt relief scams and manage their debt can be found on the FTC's website.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call
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