Debt settlement companies play the middle man between consumers and their creditors.
Clients are often advised to stop paying their creditors and instead funnel their funds through the debt settlement companies, which will try to use withheld funds as leverage when negotiating with creditors.
Debt settlement companies also promise to handle most telephone and mail contact with bill collectors. Some companies even give their clients a script to follow when creditors call.
Morgan Drexen, Inc., a California-based company, included such a script as an attachment to a contract to hire a West Virginia lawyer to help with clients’ debt settlements. The telephone script, designed for sharing with clients, advises them that if creditors “ask you questions about us, don’t try and explain the program to them, have them contact us. If they ask you for any data on your personal situation, don’t give it to them, insist they talk to us.”
Following is a copy of the Morgan Drexen script, obtained by iWatch News. The document, and the rest of the contract are posted here.
YOU: Hi, may I help you?
CREDITOR: Yes. I need to speak to Mr. or Mrs. __________ concerning this overdue amount!!!
When it is one of the creditors you have given to Morgan Drexen to negotiate, use the following:
YOU: Do you have a pencil?
CREDITOR: Yes! Why?
YOU: Take down this phone number. It is (800) 868-1581. This is the phone number to Morgan Drexen. They have the bill and they are handling this. They will be happy to help you.
(DON’T STOP TALKING)
And, by the way, I have 2 lines backed up and I have to go now. Thank you!
(HANG UP HERE)
Help support this work
Public Integrity doesn’t have paywalls and doesn’t accept advertising so that our investigative reporting can have the widest possible impact on addressing inequality in the U.S. Our work is possible thanks to support from people like you.