ERSP Examines Advertising For “Tim Durkop’s Legal Credit Cures” Debt Elimination System

New York, NY – August 25, 2009 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Infomercial Broadcasting Corp, LLC, modify or discontinue certain claims for the company’s “Tim Durkop’s Legal Credit Cures” debt- elimination system. ERSP determined that the marketer could support one claim related to halting foreclosure. The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention pursuant to its ongoing monitoring efforts.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

ERSP examined claims in broadcast and online advertising that included:

  • ““With Legal Credit Cures, you can legally eliminate 100% of your debt with no more monthly payments.”
  • “You can eliminate every kind of debt, including mortgage, car loans, payday loans, medical bills, student loans, and much more.”
  • “Tim’s Fast and Easy guide to keeping your stuff will teach you all the secrets to eliminate your debt and keep the stuff you want; the car, the boat, the motorcycle.”
  • “You can use his highly acclaimed secret to stopping foreclosure in one day, that’s right, one day; you can save your home.”
  • “Legal Credit Cures is the only debt elimination system in existence that does not rely on bankruptcy and debt consolidation for its success.”

 

At the outset of ERSP’s inquiry, the advertiser noted that the broadcast advertising at issue was no longer running. ERSP determined, however, that the exclusivity claim and several performance claims at issue continued to air on the marketer’s Website.

 

In response to ERSP’s inquiry, the advertiser noted that it markets an educational product that teaches people about their rights as debtors, including use of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, bankruptcy and state consumer protection acts. The marketer stated that it also encourages people to change their debt and credit practices.

 

Following its review, ERSP determined that the advertising at issue communicated the core message that through use of “Tim Durkop’s Legal Credit Cures,” consumers could eliminate all of their debt without making any monthly payments and while retaining their possessions. Although debt elimination may, in some contexts, refer to the reduction of debt, in the advertising at issue, the marketer made references to eliminating “all your debt,” “every debt,” “100% of you debt,” and “every penny.” ERSP determined that the evidence in the record did not support that claim and recommended that the claim be discontinued

ERSP determined that the marketer did not provide data to support the elimination of the specific debts listed in the advertising nor could it support the unqualified claim that consumers could eliminate debt while retaining possession of “…stuff you want; the car, the boat, the motorcycle.”

ERSP further determined that the testimonials used by the marketer were not in compliance with the FTC’s Guides on Endorsements and Testimonials.

ERSP noted that it had identified other debt-relief programs that also promise to eliminate debt without bankruptcy filings or debt consolidation. ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue the claim “Legal Credit Cures is the only debt elimination system in existence that does not rely on bankruptcy and debt consolidation for success.”

Finally, ERSP found that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for the claim “You can use this highly acclaimed secret to stopping foreclosure in one day, that’s right, one day; you can save your home.” ERSP noted that, unlike many of the other claims communicated in the advertising, stopping a house foreclosure within 24 hours is not an unusual occurrence and that many courts can and will provide injunctive relief to consumers, contingent on the demonstration of a meritorious or good-faith explanation.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “The marketer will make the recommended changes in all present internet marketing campaigns, and make necessary changes in future campaigns in all other media as well.”