Vortex Debt Group is Now Operating as Clear Blue Debt Solutions, Synergy Debt Group & Wav Services Team | clearbluedebt.ca & synergydebt.ca
Clear Blue Debt Solutions and Synergy Debt Group are the new face of the infamous Vortex Debt Group. The employees, management team, owners and offices are still the same as when Vortex was running in June 2011 - only now they call themselves Wav Services Team. Nothing has changed much except for the company name and the fact that they are now offering high priced Debt Management Plans in addition to enormously expensive Debt Settlement Programs.
The CBC's story about the Vortex Debt Group on June 2 exposed them and alerted Canadians to what they are up to, but now they have come back as these two new companies. To get an idea of what this organization is like, please read our review of Vortex below. We are currently investigating new, serious allegations raised by former employees of this company. We will share these once we have been able to verify them.
More about Clear Blue Debt Solutions & Synergy Debt Group
Despite what their employees are trained to say, both Clear Blue Debt Solutions and Synergy Debt Group are 100% American owned and operated with no real offices in Canada. Both of the Canadian addresses listed on these companies' websites are just mail boxes. They are not real offices staffed by real employees. They are called "virtual offices", and if you phone them, a receptionist will answer the phone using the company's name who is renting the mail box. She will then transfer your call to the company's real office - which in this case is in Florida. These companies have never had any Canadian staff and have never had a real office in Canada. Their debt settlement business practices are illegal in the U.S., and they don't appear to have any legitimate experience working in the Canadian credit industry.
Clear Blue Debt Solutions' Fees are Astronomical
The fees that Clear Blue Debt Solutions is charging for their debts settlement services are outrageous. One of their clients showed us his signed agreement. Clear Blue Debt was going to gobble up 100% of his first payment in fees and then wanted to take 75% of his next 17 payments in fees. This kind of practice clearly calls the company's legitimacy into question as this does not help the consumer. In fact, it puts the consumer at tremendous risk. A U.S. government investigation revealed that not only do these types of debt settlement programs not work, but they end up destroying people's credit and force many into bankruptcy. – Source: GAO Report: Debt Settlement Fraudulent, Abusive, and Deceptive Practices Pose Risk to Consumers
If you are looking for debt relief from a legitimate company, contact a non-profit credit counselling organization like ourselves. We help 80% of our clients for free, and if our debt settlement services make sense for your situation, we will only charge you a 15% fee if we are successful at negotiating a settlement for you. If we are not successful, we will refund 100% of your money back to you. This is what you should expect from any reputable company.
A Review of the Vortex Debt Group For Canadians
The "Vortex Debt Group engaged in deceptive and unfair practices by promising to reduce consumers' debt, taking significant fees from consumers in exchange for this claimed service, and failing to actually reduce consumers' debts. This often left consumers with more debt and less money.” - Attorney General's Office from the state of Missouri on why they banned Vortex from their state and ordered them to refund all fees paid by their clients.
Buyer beware. This motto usually serves consumers well, and when it comes to debt settlement companies, it has never been truer.
Vortex Debt Group Under
Investigation Amid Claims It
Takes Money Without Delivering
Services - CBC News Story
You may have heard their appealing ads promising to help you get out of your debt by only repaying a fraction of what you owe. You may have even received a voice mail claiming they can successfully negotiate with your creditors. What they don’t tell you though is that a major government study labelled all of this as “fraudulent, abusive, and deceptive”.
Vortex Debt Group's Canadian Business Practices are Illegal in the U.S.
Vortex Debt Group Inc. is a Florida based company that is now blanketing Canada with ads and cold calls from its call center in Florida. Vortex seems to have begun advertising in Canada after their business model became illegal in the U.S. In October 2010, the U.S. government passed legislation prohibiting for-profit debt settlement companies from collecting up-front fees from their clients before they delivered a service. This was done after hundreds of thousands of people complained and the government discovered that 65% of these debt settlement companies’ clients never received any service for the fees that they paid. – Source: Business West Magazine: Red Flags: Separating Hype from Reality on Debt Relief
Update: July 1, 2011
The Vortex Debt Group's license to operate in the state of Colorado has been cancelled and revoked by the state's Attorney General. - Source: Colorado Attorney General's Website
Update: July 25, 2012
CTV News investigated Synergy Debt Group and presented their findings: "American debt settlement companies are preying on [the] vulnerable." - Source: CTV News Investigative Feature on Synergy Debt Group
BBB Warns Consumers about the Vortex Debt Group
In February 2011 the Vancouver Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned Canadians about dealing with the Vortex Debt Group. In the U.S., Vortex has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau—the worst rating possible on a scale of A+ to F—after the BBB received numerous complaints.
Vortex Debt Group Likely has Few Successful Clients
When two U.S. government agencies investigated the American debt settlement industry, they concluded that less than 10% of their clients successfully completed their debt settlement programs. – Source: GAO Report: Debt Settlement Fraudulent, Abusive, and Deceptive Practices Pose Risk to Consumers
We attempted to verify this finding by calling Vortex directly. They wouldn’t speak to us if we weren't a consumer who needed help. So we called back as a consumer who was sincerely looking for debt help and straight answers.
When we asked Vortex's sales representative what percentage of their clients successfully complete their debt settlement program—with all of their debts paid off—she couldn’t answer our question. So she put us through to her "sales manager". He then sheepishly admitted that their number of truly successful clients was "very low". When we pressed him for a number, he offered "maybe 15% to 20%". Since this was a sales guy talking, it might be reasonable to cut his number in half. That would put Vortex's Canadian numbers in line with the U.S. government estimate that less than 10% of for-profit debt settlement clients are successfully at paying off their debts.
False and Misleading Claims from the Vortex Debt Group's Website
Claim: On their website, www.vortexdebtgroup.com, Vortex claims that the "Vortex Debt Group offers one of the best alternatives to bankruptcy.”
Fact: After conducting an extensive undercover investigation of the American debt settlement industry—of which Vortex is a prominent member—the U.S. Government’s Federal Trade Commission Chairman, Jon Leibowitz, concluded, "Too many of these companies pick the last dollar out of consumers' pockets – and far from leaving them better off, push them deeper into debt, even bankruptcy." In helping dozens upon dozens of former Vortex clients, this has also been our experience. We would challenge any objective person to try to find a bankruptcy alternative that consistently leaves people worse off more often than the type of debt settlement program that the Vortex Debt Group offers.
Based on our organization’s 15 years of experience helping over 180,000 Canadians, we believe that there is no "best" alternative to bankruptcy. Everyone’s situation is unique, and one size does not fit all. While a debt settlement may be "the best alternative" for some, it won’t work for the vast majority of people. Vortex's debt settlement program requires that you stop paying your creditors until you have saved up enough money for Vortex to attempt to negotiate a debt settlement for you. As the government study concluded, this method is unlikely to work more than 90% of the time. Your creditors won't sit around and wait for you to save up enough money to try to pay them less than you owe. They expect a payment every month, and if you don’t pay they can send a collection agency after you, take you to court, get a judgment against you, and then garnish your wages or put a lien against your home.
To factually respond to Vortex's claim, the most common bankruptcy alternatives that tend to work out "the best" for people include restructuring your budget, a debt consolidation loan, a debt repayment program, or even a legal option like a Consumer Proposal.
Claim: Vortex's website’s major claim is that they are "providing consumers a path to financial freedom".
Fact: The Attorney General for the state of Missouri is so convinced that this statement is false and misleading that the Attorney General's office publicly stated that Vortex fails "to actually reduce consumers' debts" and "often left consumers with more debt and less money". Unfortunately, this seems to be a common theme in the for-profit debt settlement industry. They advertise that they will save people money and then charge their clients more money in fees than they realize in savings, and in many more cases people are often left with debts that are two to three times higher than when they entered the company's debt settlement program. – Source: Business West Magazine: Red Flags: Separating Hype from Reality on Debt Relief
The other unfortunate part about the Vortex Debt Group's "path to financial freedom" is that it leaves people's credit ratings in shambles for at least 6 years after they finish with Vortex. So this path to financial freedom won’t be able to include getting a mortgage, car loan, or business loan anytime in the next 6 years.
Another dangerous aspect of this "path" is that if any of Vortex's clients feel that they have been wronged, there is no way to hold Vortex accountable other than by suing them or taking the matter to court. This is because Vortex is not licensed or bonded in any province in Canada. All reputable debt settlement agencies are both licensed and bonded in the provinces that they serve. This creates accountability and a way for consumers to submit an official complaint if they believe they have been wronged.
Where to Find Real Debt Relief and Debt Options that Work
With for-profit debt settlement companies, like the Vortex Debt Group, the old adage is worth heeding: "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is." If you are sincerely looking for debt relief or some way to manage or deal with your debts, contact a reputable, non-profit credit counselling service and speak with one of their accredited Credit Counsellors or Debt Settlement Experts. Appointments are free, confidential and non-judgmental. They will help you review your entire financial situation and give you all of the options that are available to you, including a debt settlement if it makes sense. They will review the pro's and con's of each option to help you inform yourself so that you can make the best decision for your situation.