Better Business Bureau has concerns about a company offering consumers the "key to a debt-free future."
Complaints allege that H&K Financial takes advance payment from consumers for debt consolidation services, including lowering credit card interest rates. Once the fee – ranging from $595 to $895 – is paid, the consumer either has trouble getting straight answers about why promised services have not been provided or never hears from the company again. In some cases, refunds have not been provided, leaving consumers further in debt.
H&K Financial has BBB's lowest rating, an "F," due to the business' failure to respond to 6 complaints in the last year and concerns BBB has with the industry in which the business operates. The business has used a Seattle address and a Portland, Ore. P.O. Box. Provided phone numbers appear to be constantly busy.
"Debt is a scary thing, but it can turn into a nightmare if you try to get help from a disreputable company," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.
BBB offers the following advice for consumers who receive offers to reduce debt:
- If consumers need help reducing debt: First, stay in contact with lenders and try to work out a plan with them before enlisting outside help. If additional assistance is needed, start with a credit counseling service, these are often non-profits that offer financial guidance for a small fee or for free. Beware of offers that sound too good to be true. There is no easy fix for reducing debt.
- Never give personal information, including Social Security, bank or credit card numbers, to an unknown telemarketer or representative.
- Consider it a red flag if a business representative won't provide the business' formal name, address, phone number or other contact information.
- When considering a company offering any type of financial assistance, insist on getting a contract in which all terms and conditions are clearly explained before signing up or providing payment information.
- Always research companies first by reviewing BBB's free Reliability Reports at www.bbb.org.