Navys Flores believed her credit card debt was so high that paying a company to fix the problem seemed her best option.
She says she heard encouraging ads on the radio for Mitigation Group of Miami that said it could potentially cut credit card debt in half. She says the company seemed the answer to her more than $14,000 credit card debt.
“I figured that if they reduced it to 50 percent it’s great for me. I pay it fast and by the time I reach my 65th birthday I am free of debt,” said Flores.
Eager to put her financial house in order, Flores signed a contract agreeing to pay $236 a month for three years. In exchange, the Mitigation Group would try to reach a debt settlement –that’s where creditors accept less than what is owed.
“I said ‘good, I got a little bit just to go and by the time that I reach my birthday next year, I’ll be free,” said Flores
The monthly payments came out of her account for more than two years. But nine months before the end of the contract, the payments stopped being withdrawn so she called the Mitigation Group to try to find out why.
“I called the office and there was no answer,” said Flores.
After repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach someone at the company, she called NBC 6 Responds.
“I trusted my money to them. They kept my money. And I want to recover my money,” said Flores.
We also tried to reach someone at the company. Our calls went unanswered and no one was at the office.
While we waited to hear from someone, we contacted Consolidated Credit Counseling a non-profit debt counseling service.
“Typically you will see that $14,000 is not a lot of money - something that you can actually maybe look at other options,” said Beatriz Hartman, a spokesperson for Consolidated Credit.
Hartman explained options for people in debt, including having the debt consolidated to negotiate a better interest rate. But you’ll still have to pay the principal. Consolidation won’t do as much harm to your credit rating as the option of a debt settlement. In the option of debt settlement, a negotiation is made to decrease the amount you owe so you can pay it off. This option will have a greater impact on your credit rating. It can be an option for someone who owes a lot of money.
“Debt settlement should be a last resort,” said Hartman.
As for Navys Flores, we finally were able to locate a former president of the Mitigation Group of Miami and days later she got some good news.
"Oh what a relief," said Flores
She received an email from him with news she’d been hoping for.
"All your accounts have been paid," said Flores
She was told she didn’t need to make more payments and that her credit card debt would be paid.
"It has made a big difference. I feel wonderful now. I feel relieved,” said Flores
The former president who sent the letter to Flores said he was no longer with the company but was assisting former clients.
Flores is happy this is being resolved and looks forward to a brighter financial future.