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American Debt Relief Review

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American Debt Relief uses a process known as debt settlement to help consumers erase debt after paying a fraction of what they owe. After talking with a debt consultant during a free debt assessment, customers are asked to begin saving a set amount of money in a dedicated savings account each month. Once the required savings threshold is reached, American Debt Relief will use the funds to help settle debts for less than the amount currently owed. 

Interestingly, this company also claims to help settle debts through what they call a “bulk negotiation program.” This program is based on their relationships with major creditor networks, and it allows them to submit your accounts for settlement through various partnerships. 

Either way, American Debt Relief does not charge any fees upfront, and you’ll only pay a percentage-based fee as each of your debts is settled. In the end, they claim their process can help you get out of debt in 24 to 48 months, versus the decades you might otherwise spend paying off high-interest credit card debt. 

Debt settlement only works if you stop making payments on credit cards and other bills. This means you’ll begin racking up more interest and fees on your debts as you work through your program, and all while late payments cause damage to your credit score.

Pros Explained

  • Client dashboard lets you oversee your program and track your progress in real time: Not all debt relief companies offer a client dashboard, yet American Debt Relief does. This dashboard helps you gain a visual perspective of your program and track your debt settlement progress as it happens. 
  • Has received nearly flawless user reviews: American Debt Relief has an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars across more than 1,100 user reviews on Trustpilot. 
  • Get started with a free debt consultation: A free debt assessment can help you determine if debt settlement is right for you, as well as how your specific program might work.
  • No upfront fees required—only pay a performance-based fee as each debt is settled: While American Debt Relief doesn’t disclose their fee percentage, they only charge fees based on performance, and only as each debt is settled.

Cons Explained

  • Does not disclose their fee amount upfront: Many debt settlement companies advertise fees in the 15% to 25% range for each of your settled debts, yet American Debt Relief does not advertise this information.
  • Not accredited with the Better Business Bureau: While American Debt Relief does have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), they are not actually accredited by the institution. 
  • Only available in 31 states and Washington, D.C.: American Debt Relief is not available in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Types of Debt Addressed

American Debt Relief talks mostly about credit card debt on their website, yet debt settlement can work for any type of unsecured debt. This includes any type of loan or line of credit that is not secured by collateral. The main types of unsecured debt American Debt Relief addresses are explained below: 

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt can be especially problematic due to the high interest rates credit cards charge. After you stop making payments and enroll in a debt settlement plan with American Debt Relief, you’ll have the chance to build a dedicated savings account you can use to settle credit card debt for a percentage of what you owe. 

Medical Bills

You may also use this company to help settle medical debt, whether that includes hospital bills, doctor bills, or past due amounts from other medical providers. American Debt Relief can help you settle these debts for less, and over a faster timeline.

Personal Loans

Unsecured personal loans can also qualify for debt settlement. This includes personal loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders, as well as payday loans.

Don’t forget that debt settlement does not work for secured debts like a mortgage on your home or an auto loan. If you’re having trouble making payments on secured debts, debt settlement is not the answer. 

Client Onboarding

American Debt Relief does not list a minimum amount of debt you need to become a client. However, they do state you must have a “bona fide financial hardship,” and that you’ll have to prove you are behind on your bills and unable to keep up. 

If you decide to pursue a debt settlement program with American Debt Relief, you’ll begin the process with a free debt assessment. During this phone call, a Debt Resolution Specialist will talk over your situation with you and explain your next best steps. You can decide if debt settlement is for you during this call; there’s no obligation.

From there, clients are set up with a specific monthly savings goal, as well as a debt settlement plan that can help them pay off debt in 24 to 48 months. 

Don’t forget you can bundle more than one type of unsecured debt into a debt settlement plan. For example, you can use debt settlement to pay off credit card bills, past due medical bills, payday loan debt, and more.

Customer Service

Since American Debt Relief has a staff of Debt Resolution Specialists who are trained in debt settlement and debt collection rules and regulations, customers can count on getting professional help. Not only will you receive a tailored debt settlement plan from the company, but you can ask questions and get answers about the Fair Credit Billing Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act along the way.

While American Debt Relief doesn’t offer a mobile app or an online chat feature, they do have a client dashboard that helps them stand out. You can also contact the company over the phone most days of the week. Specifically, phone customer service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST, then Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST.

Company Reputation

Unfortunately, the debt relief industry is known for having a lot of shady players. For that reason, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shared multiple warnings and debt relief and credit repair scams over the years. 

There are many ways to research companies before you sign up for a debt settlement plan. You can check for open cases with the FTC for starters, but you can also search the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) database for complaints.

Fortunately, American Debt Relief is not subject to an investigation by the FTC, and we did not find any complaints listed on the CFPB database during our search from the last three years. 

Other indicators also prove the reliability and reputation of American Debt Relief, including their A+ rating with the BBB and their excellent user reviews. Also, note that American Debt Relief is certified with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA) and accredited by the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC).

If you have a complaint about the services of a debt relief company, you can file a complaint with the FTC or call 877-FTC-HELP.

Average Relief Amount

Fine print on the American Debt Relief website says you may be able to save 55% when you settle your debts, although your net savings may be as low as 30% after you pay the company’s required debt settlement fees.

Average Time for Relief

American Debt Relief claims their program will take you 24 to 36 months to complete, yet the fine print on their website explains it could take up to 48 months for all your debts to be settled. The length of your program will vary depending on your situation, including how much debt you have, how much you can save each month, and other factors.


American Debt Relief doesn’t directly disclose their fees like many of their competitors do. However, the fine print on their website seems to imply you’ll pay 25% of your settled debt amount in fees. 

From the American Debt Relief website: 

“Clients who are able to remain with the program and resolve all their debt realize approximate savings of 55% before fees, or 30% including our fees, in 24 to 48 months. All claims above are based on enrolled debts. Not all debts are eligible for enrollment.”

Generally speaking, this puts their fee percentage at the high end of the industry average of 15% to 25%. 

The Competition

  American Debt Relief National Debt Relief
Year Founded  2008  2009
Accreditation Not accredited with the BBB

Accredited by the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

Accredited by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)

Accredited with the BBB

Accredited by the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

Accredited by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)

Services Offered Debt settlement Debt settlement
Customer Service Touchpoints Free consultation

Phone customer service

Online client portal

Free consultation

Phone and email customer service

Online client portal

Fee No upfront fees

Fees not disclosed (fine print implies 25%)

No upfront fees

Pay 15% to 25% of your debt

Average Program Time 24 to 48 months 24 to 48 months

If you’re considering debt settlement, you probably already know that quite a few reputable companies offer services in this space. With that in mind, you’ll want to take the time to compare at least three different companies based on their reputation, fees, process, and other important factors before you move forward.

You may want to consider National Debt Relief, which offers similar services as American Debt Relief. Both companies have also been around for a similar timeline and both offer a client portal that lets you keep track of your program online. 

However, National Debt Relief stands out for a few reasons, including the fact they disclose that their fees range from 15% to 25%. American Debt Relief doesn’t disclose their fees, but the fine print on their website seems to imply you’ll pay 25% of your settled debts, which is at the high end of this range.

Also note that National Debt Relief has good reviews with third-party sites like Trustpilot and accreditation with the BBB. We feel that National Debt Relief is the clear winner in this case. 


American Debt Relief is worth considering if you’re struggling under the weight of credit card debt and other unsecured debts. After all, this company offers a free debt assessment that can help you decide if debt settlement is for you, and you won’t be asked to pay any upfront fees for their services. 

Just remember to research companies thoroughly and compare at least three different debt relief firms before you decide. After all, some debt relief companies may offer more services, more transparency, and a better user experience.

How We Review Debt Relief Companies

Investopedia conducted an independent study of more than 15 debt relief companies, which we used to help compile this review. We compared providers based on their company reputation, customer service options, products and services, pricing, transparency, and other factors. 

Overall, we gave the highest rankings to companies with excellent reviews and testimonials, upfront pricing, and full transparency online. We also rated debt relief firms based on their third party rankings and reviews with third parties like Trustpilot and the BBB.

Source: on 2021-01-20 16:22:30

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