At the end of June, the assets of Grand Teton Professionals were temporarily halted and frozen by a federal court, at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request. The FTC alleges that the company has been charging upfront fees and falsely promising to improve consumer credit scores.
So far, the company and other defendants are charged with violating the FTC Act and several provisions of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, the Truth in Lending Act and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. The complaint went on to explain that two of the defendants Douglas Filter and Marcio G. Andrade, have operated an unlawful credit repair scam since at least 2014, scamming consumers out of at least $6.2 million.
“A good credit score can help you buy a home, get a business loan, or finance an education,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “These companies preyed on consumers who wanted to clean up their credit by making false promises and taking illegal upfront fees.”
According to the charges, the defendants used various trade names including Deletion Experts, Inquiry Busters and Top Tradelines. They also used deceptive websites, unsolicited emails and text messages to reach and target customers with false promises. The company promised that working with them would substantially improve the consumers’ credit score.
The defendants promised to accomplish this by adding consumers as “authorized users” to other individuals’ credit accounts, a practice known as “tradelines” or “piggybacking” credit. It was found that in most cases the company did not improve consumers’ credit scores.
The FTC complaint also alleges that:
- The defendants charged illegal upfront fees,
- They failed to provide consumers with required disclosures about their credit repair services,
- They encouraged consumers to mislead credit bureaus by filing false identity theft affidavits, and to mislead lenders by claiming to be authorized users on other individuals’ credit accounts.
Where to Find Help with Bad Credit
The worst part about this scheme is that dealing with bad credit is a very serious problem for consumers and business owners alike. It not only affects the day-to-day, but also big decisions and needs like purchasing a home or launching a business. Traditional lenders won’t work with a merchant (or consumer) that needs funding or payment processing if they have bad or no credit.
If you are currently struggling with bad credit and have a business to take care of, consider working with a high risk specialist. A provider like EMerchantBroker can help you secure a high risk merchant account quickly, so you get back to running your business and rebuilding your credit score.
Author Bio: Electronic payments expert Blair Thomas is the co-founder of high risk payment processing company eMerchantBroker. He’s just as passionate about his business as he is with traveling and spending time with his dog Cooper.