CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw announced Tuesday settlement agreements with two debt relief companies, collectively resulting in nearly $34,000 in refunds to 41 state consumers.
McGraw's office began investigating the companies, Allied Corporate Connection LLC of Mesa, Ariz., and Premiere Debt Solutions LLC of Orlando, Fla., last year after receiving complaints from consumers.
The consumers, it said, were persuaded by telemarketers to pay an advance fee that ranged from $495 to $1,895 to "guarantee" a reduction in their credit card debt. However, the promised debt relief was never provided.
"My office pays close attention to telemarketing companies that seek to profit at the expense of consumers already facing dire financial circumstances," McGraw said in a statement.
"We intervene whenever we learn of companies operating here without required licenses, making illegitimate debt-relief promises, or providing no relief to their customers," he said.
According to the settlement, Allied owners Lisa Miller and Emory "Jack" Holley IV, and Premiere owner Shabana M. Khablal agreed to refrain from doing business in West Virginia without complying with the state laws that govern telemarketing and debt relief businesses.
According to the Attorney General's Office, so-called "debt negotiation" companies like Allied and Premiere often don't hold the necessary licenses to engage in such services.
To date, McGraw's office has entered into settlements with 30 debt relief companies that have resulted in refunds of more than $2.1 million for 4,062 West Virginia consumers.