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Consumers Worse Off After Enrolling in Debt Settlement Program

  • Massachusetts AG Maura Healey reached a settlement with debt settlement company DMB Financial, LLC and its chief operating officer (collectively “DMB”) to resolve allegations that DMB used deceptive and unfair practices to enroll customers in its debt settlement programs.
  • The amended complaint alleged that, among other things, DMB overcharged consumers through inflated and premature fees, failed to disclose possible harms that consumers may experience after enrollment in its programs, including potential suits by creditors, and damaged credit because DMB directed enrolled consumers to stop paying their debts and communicating with creditors. DMB also allegedly knowingly enrolled consumers who could not benefit from its programs and advertised that consumers would emerge from its programs debt-free, even though many consumers were not able to do so.
  • Under the terms of the consent judgment,  DMB agreed to pay $1 million to the Commonwealth, to be used in part for restitution. In addition, DMB agreed to implement significant changes to its business and advertising practices, including no longer requesting and accepting inflated and premature fees and no longer making deceptive and unsubstantiated claims about its ability to settle debts, among other things. DMB also agreed to submit annual reports about its compliance with the terms of the consent judgment to the AG’s office for a period of five years.