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Progressive Debt Relief Review

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Progressive Debt Relief uses a process known as debt settlement to help consumers negotiate and settle all other unsecured debts they might have, such as credit card debt. It has been a pioneer in the industry when it comes to helping consumers escape from a cycle of using payday loans to stay afloat. 

According to the website, Progressive has “established relationships” with all the major payday loan companies and other known creditors. They use these relationships to help negotiate your debts for less than you owe so you can get out of debt once and for all. 

Like other debt relief companies, Progressive Debt Relief is adamant that they do not charge fees upfront, and that you only pay fees as each debt is settled. However, they do not disclose their fee amount upfront like some of their competitors do. 



Pros Explained

  • A free, no-risk consultation can help you determine if debt settlement is right for you: Like other debt relief companies, Progressive Debt Relief gives you the chance to ask questions and learn more about their process during a free consultation. 
  • No upfront fees, meaning you only pay for help as each debt is settled: You don’t pay any fees to get started on a plan. Instead, you pay fees as your debts are settled and paid off.
  • Client portal lets customers track their debt settlement progress in real time: Progressive Debt Relief is one of the few debt relief companies that offers a client portal online. This portal makes it easier for customers to track their debt relief plans and progress at any time of the day or night.

Cons Explained

  • Does not disclose their fee amount upfront: The industry average for debt settlement fees falls between 15% to 25%, yet Progressive does not share how their fees stack up. 
  • Not accredited with the Better Business Bureau or the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC): Most reputable debt relief companies have some major accreditations, yet Progressive Debt Relief does not. 
  • Troubling customer complaints: If you dig around, you’ll find some troubling reviews and customer complaints for this provider. For example, some Better Business Bureau complaints talk about poor customer service, broken promises, and poor experiences overall. 

Types of Debt Addressed

Like all debt relief companies, Progressive Debt Relief only helps consumers settle the unsecured debts they have. While unsecured debt can come in many forms such as credit card debt or medical bills, this type of debt includes monies owed that are not secured by collateral.

The types of debt Progressive Debt Relief helps with include:

Payday Loans

Progressive Debt Relief claims they were one of the first companies to help consumers break the cycle of using payday loans to stay afloat. While any unsecured debt can be problematic, payday loans can cause huge problems since typical interest rates can be around 400%. 

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt can also become costly for consumers, and that’s especially true when you have a large debt load. Since the median credit card interest rate is currently at 19.24%, the interest you pay can make paying your balance off a challenge.

Medical Bills

Past due medical bills can also add up quickly if you don’t have health insurance (or even if you do). Progressive Debt Relief can bundle medical bills into your debt settlement plan with the goal of helping you pay less than you owe. 

Business Debts

Progressive Debt Relief also helps its customers settle business debts they owe. The business debt just needs to be unsecured to qualify. 

Debt settlement cannot be used to help negotiate secured debts like a mortgage or an auto loan.


Client Onboarding

If you decide you may want to work with Progressive Debt Relief, you get the benefit of a free consultation with no obligation to move forward on your part. During the consultation, a debt relief counselor will talk through your situation and analyze your debts. From there, they will help create a game plan that can help you settle unsecured debts for less than you owe. 

Keep in mind that debt specialists are trained to help you with your personal situation, but that they also know how to use laws like the Fair Credit Billing Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to your advantage. 

Progressive Debt Relief doesn’t advertise a specific length of time its debt settlement programs take. This is an important question to ask during a free consultation, just as you should ask for information on its debt settlement fees.


Customer Service

Progressive Debt Relief really stands out due to their client portal, which you can access on their website. This portal is a feature not offered by all debt relief companies, yet customers tend to like having portal access because it gives them a chance to monitor their debt settlement plans without having to call in or email for help.

Customers can also reach out to Progressive Debt Relief over the phone or via their customer service email. If you decide to call in for help, you should know that customer service hours are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. 

Progressive Debt Relief does not offer any weekend hours.


Company Reputation

The debt relief industry doesn’t have a great reputation, and in fact, there are many shady companies that make dubious claims. If you take the time to learn more about debt relief options, you’ll quickly discover that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) frequently shares warnings about debt relief and credit repair scams.

As you compare debt relief companies, you should take the time to check individual firms for reviews, complaints, and government actions that may have been taken against them. For example, you can check for open cases with the FTC. You should also search the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) database for complaints.

Unfortunately, Progressive Debt Relief does show one complaint on the CFPB complaint database from the last three years. It’s also worth noting that Progressive is not accredited or rated with the Better Business Bureau, the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA), or the AFCC.

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


Average Relief Amount

We already mentioned how Progressive Debt Relief is less transparent than many other firms, and this shows in their average relief amount, too. They don’t actually advertise any specific amount of relief they can help you achieve. However, some of their past customers have shared user testimonials that include savings of up to 50%. 


Average Time for Relief

Once again, Progressive Debt Relief doesn’t share an average length of time it will take for you to become debt-free. In their FAQ, they say that “the actual size of any debt reduction and the actual length of time that will be needed to negotiate a specific settlement or to complete your plan is not guaranteed.”


Cost

Progressive Debt Relief does not disclose their fees or even a range of fees. The industry average fee for debt settlement is 15% to 25% of each settled debt, so make sure their fees are on par with this range before you move forward with them.


The Competition

  Progressive Debt Relief American Debt Relief
Year Founded 2005 2008
Accreditation Not accredited or rated with the Better Business Bureau

Not accredited with the  American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

Not accredited with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)

Not accredited with the BBB

Accredited by the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC)

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

Services Offered Debt settlement Debt settlement
Customer Service Touchpoints Free consultation

Phone and email customer service

Online client portal

Free consultation

Phone customer service

Online client portal

Fee No upfront fees

Fees not disclosed

No upfront fees

Fees not disclosed (fine print implies 25%)

Average Program Time Not disclosed 24 to 48 months

Before you select a debt settlement company, it makes sense to compare a few different providers to see how they stack up in terms of their fees, customer reviews, third party rankings, and more. To help you in this chore, we decided to compare Progressive Debt Relief to another company, American Debt Relief,  with similar offerings that include an online client portal.

The main difference you’ll note with American Debt Relief is the fact they’re accredited by the AFCC, and that they have an A+ rating with the BBB. They’re also accredited with the IAPDA.

Further, American Debt Relief offers a basic timeline of 24 to 48 months for their debt settlement plans. And even though they aren’t entirely upfront about their fees, their fine print shows average fees of around 25%. 

For these reasons, we believe American Debt Relief is a better option for debt relief. However, you should compare all the best debt relief companies out there before you decide. 


Verdict

Progressive Debt Relief could be the best option for your needs, but their lack of transparency online is somewhat troubling. If you decide to move forward with them on a debt settlement plan, we suggest having a list of questions to ask before you get started with a free consultation. For example, you’ll want to have an estimate of your debt payoff timeline and full knowledge of the fees you’ll pay. 



How We Review Debt Relief Companies

Investopedia compared more than 15 top debt relief companies in order to rank them on the most important factors. Criteria we considered included third-party rankings, user reviews, accreditation, transparency, fees, and debt repayment timelines. 

We ranked each debt relief company in appropriate categories using a star rating system. Ultimately, we gave the highest ratings to companies that are fully transparent, as well as those with excellent ratings and reviews and full accreditation from third parties like the American Fair Credit Council.


Source: on 2021-01-28 10:33:45

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