Shaun Zinck Aug. 14, 2015, 11:15am

The state of Florida filed a lawsuit against two debt relief companies claiming the business failed to help paying customers lower debt and improve their credit, said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Aug. 6.

The injunction alleged that Financial Help Services and Nation Wide Consumer Debt Relief both accepted payments from customers but didn't make payments to those customers' creditors on time, and in some instances it didn't make the payments at all, Bondi said.

“These companies promised help and relief but all consumers received was heartache and more debt,” Bondi said. “Even worse, the defendants targeted consumers who were proactively trying to lower their debt and improve their credit.”

The lawsuit also claimed the companies would provide fake invoices to customers when they would ask why the payments weren't made to creditors, or it said the payments were made but not posted by the creditors, Bondi said.

Further, the companies also promised customers financial counseling services, but they were never provided. More than 470 complaints were filed with the attorney general's office against the two companies.

Bondi is asking the court to award restitution for the customers, more than $500,000 in attorneys' fees, and prevent the companies from offering debt management services in the state.

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