A Colorado-based debt relief company known for the infomercials it ran on local radio stations offering to help consumers get out of debt has agreed to a settlement with the stateâs attorney general stemming form allegations that it scammed customers who signed up for its debt help program.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers filed a lawsuit last year against Real Talk Network and David Allen Burke and Melodie Rose Burke, both 42, for running infomercials that violated state consumer protection laws. The infomercials, which ran on radio stations in Colorado and California, were presented as a program called âGet Real with Dave,â hosted by Real Talk Network president David Burke.
According to the lawsuit, the infomercials told consumers that the companyâs debt relief program could get them out of debt in a short period of time, pay off their home mortgage loans in less than 10 years, and dramatically improve their credit scores. Real Talk Network allegedly advertised that its program had a 100 percent success rate.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, the company and the Burkes have been permanently banned from selling, marketing, or advertising debt relief services in Colorado, including debt consolidation, debt elimination, credit repair, debt settlement, and related counseling services.
The defendants also agreed to pay $226,414 in penalties, including $200,000 for customer restitution and $26,414 to the attorney generalâs consumer protection division for help with consumer education and anti-trust enforcement efforts (âReal Talk Network Barred From Debt Relief Services, Will Pay $226,414,â The Denver Post, July 28, 2011).
The defendants said they agreed to the settlement to avoid the expense of litigation. The settlement doesnât contain an admission of liability by the defendants.
Real Talk Network has been given a grade of F by the Better Business Bureau, which cites 116 complaints against the debt relief company since it began operations in 2004.
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