CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Tuesday that she has filed a lawsuit against a national legal firm that allegedly charged upfront fees for its debt settlement services, but went back on its promises.
Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC allegedly charged consumers with promises to make them debt free. The consumers' debt was never relieved, however, and more often than not was made worse, she claims.
The lawsuit alleges that the company misrepresented that attorneys were handling the services when, in fact, the debt settlement services were contracted out to non-lawyer, third-party companies. This was allegedly done because lawyers are exempt from an upfront fee ban.
Also on Tuesday, Madigan released her list of the top 10 consumer complaints that her office received in 2010. The results were based on 170,000 consumers who contacted her office. The top complaints, Madigan said, involved consumer debt.
Topping the consumer debt list was residential mortgage, following a trend seen in 2009 that people are still fighting to stay in their homes.
Other complaints high on the list dealt with credit card debt and abusive collection practices.
"The economic crisis continues to affect consumers in Illinois," Madigan said. "People are struggling just to make ends meet. Consumers should know my office is here to help protect them against financial abuse and from con artists who are taking advantage of these tough times to make a quick buck."
There were 27,630 formal complaints lodged with Madigan's office in 2010 by consumers affected by scams and fraud.