Advertiser Disclosure

Borrower Beware: Strategic Debt Solutions LLC

Loans, Student Loans

This company is on the NerdWallet Student Loan Watch List. The list flags student-loan businesses and individuals hit by enforcement actions, court judgments or liens, or bad ratings from the Better Business Bureau. Learn more in Who Gets Listed. Have you dealt with this business, or encountered a suspicious student-loan company that NerdWallet public interest reporters should investigate? Let us know at watchlist@nerdwallet.com.

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit in 2017 accusing Strategic Debt Solutions LLC and its owner of running a “deceptive” debt relief operation violating federal laws.

The suit alleged that the company promised to reduce or eliminate customers’ remaining student loan debt. In reality, the FTC alleged, the company, along with several affiliated businesses, pocketed the money and put nothing toward their customers’ loan balances.

The agency’s complaint also alleged the company charged illegal upfront fees that were as high as $1,200.

“Consumers who paid Strategic Student Solutions for help with their student loans watched their situations go from bad to worse,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a news release. “The bottom line: never pay an up-front fee to a company promising to deliver debt relief.”

President Dave Green also runs affiliated businesses named in the FTC’s lawsuit: Strategic Doc Prep Solutions LLC, Strategic Credit Solutions LLC, Strategic Student Solutions LLC, Student Relief Center LLC and Credit Relief Center LLC.

The FTC news release said Green used corporate funds to pay for personal expenses such as jewelry, casino tabs, mortgage payments, luxury vehicles, clothing, and construction of a pool.

At the time of this Watch List posting, the Better Business Bureau had given Strategic Debt Solutions LLC a “D-” rating.

Enforcement actions: The FTC lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction to bar Strategic Debt Solutions from operating nationally, as well as payment of customer restitution.

In a separate case, a Nevada court ordered Strategic Student Solutions to pay $333,000 to a Nevada woman who filed a lawsuit alleging hundreds of violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The Nevada court’s default judgment in 2017 ended a lawsuit accusing the company of 222 knowing and willful violations of the federal law. The company was accused of using an automatic dialing system to call the woman’s cell phone before 9 a.m. and after 8 p.m. to solicit her business without permission.

“As a direct consequence of defendant’s harassing phone calls, acts, practices and conduct, the plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer from anger, anxiety, emotional distress, frustration, rage, headaches, an upset stomach, heart palpitations, and has otherwise been totally annoyed by defendant’s intrusive and illegal phone calls,” the suit alleged.

What the company claims to provide: Loan modification

Based: Las Vegas and Lake Worth, Florida.

Management: Dave Green, president

Sources: Federal Trade Commission; Better Business Bureau; U.S. District Court, Nevada and Southern District of Florida