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Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Debt Relief Blog | 7 comments

Steve Rhode “the Get Out of Debt Guy” – Should Consumers Beware or Does he Offer Helpful Information?

Steve Rhode Get Out of Debt Guy -Scam, Misleading, Fraud, Reviews

Steve Rhode – The Guy who supposedly helps people with getting out of debt for free. What is your opinion of his website?

What is your opinion on him and the site Getoutofdebt.org?  Do you applaud him, or feel that he participates in misleading advertising, fraud and even scams?

After all, this guy is supposed to be a trusted author in the debt relief industry, but some of what I am about to discuss, makes me very nervous for the innocent and struggling consumers that are visiting on his website for financial help.  

He does have exceptional writing skill as an author.  

However does he use the weak side of good people and companies, defamatory content, slander and negativity to gain the publicity and attention that he has?

Well if that is true, it certainly is NOT an admirable trait to have, but that itself, is not worth me writing an entire page about the guy. 

Here is what deserves more attention……

People that read his website are hoping to find reliable and free debt relief help.  In his bio he does say:  “I’ll help you get out of debt totally for free.”

Why did we choose to write about Steve Rhodes, the guy who supposedly helps people get out of debt for FREE?

The goal of this blog post today is to help people make more knowledgeable and informed decisions.  I am looking to bring light onto confusing areas that most consumers are unaware of how it works.  I want consumers to clearly recognize what could possibly occur when visiting getoutofdebt.org.  Also, there are other websites on the internet similar to Steve Rhode’s site, and this blog post will bring awareness to consumers, so that they know what to be careful of on any site.

Steve wrote negatively about Golden Financial Services several times, just like he wrote about probably more than 100 other debt relief companies, and he will probably write more about us over the years, because that helps to grow his website. However that is not my motivation behind this blog post.  

I would laugh when he would try to bash our reputation, and it did not bother me at all.  Our services have proven to work, year after year, since 2004.  We are honest, have solid business partners and have helped thousands and thousands of consumers with reaching debt freedom.  When consumers apply for debt relief help on our website, they are contacted by us, Golden Financial Services, and not a random third party debt relief company.

It bothers me when consumers are being mislead and tricked into providing their personal and confidential information, that is then sold to a 3rd party debt settlement company. 

In the comment section below we ask that people share information, facts, opinions, comments and feedback about Steve Rhode, AKA the “Get Out of Debt Guy”.  Here are some potential questions that you may want to think about before you visit the Get Out of Debt Guys website.

1. When you click on ads that show up on Steve Rhodes website, where do these ads take you to?

2. Is your information sold?

3. Does Steve make money from Google AdSense? (meaning he can earn money when people click on the ads that show up on his website)

4. Do you want your information sold, or even passed on to a third party company, if you are unaware of who that third party is? With all the debt relief scams and fraud circulating the internet, I would not want my information passed on to a third party debt settlement company, if I was unaware of who they were.  I would at least want to check out a company with the BBB first.

We are about to take a look at one of his advertisements. Before you look at this picture, ask yourself, does Steve recommend and talk highly of debt settlement?

Most people tell me that Steve hates debt settlement companies, with a passion, but that is just what I hear. If that is true, then why does Steve have debt settlement ads on his website? The situation gets even more confusing.

Get Out of Debt Guy. Steve Rhode Scams, Fraud, Misleading ads

See the Blue Ads. When clicking on that debt settlement link, you are taken to damonday.com/debt-settlement-recommendation/, where your information could then be passed on to a debt settlement company, but it does not disclose to what company, or does it?

On the home page of Steve’s website (getoutofdebt dot org), you will notice 5 BLUE LINKS. (See Above)

When you click on the debt settlement link, the consumer is then directed to another website.  Is this Steve’s partner?  

Here is the URL/page damonday.com/debt-settlement-recommendation/ that you end up being directed to after you click on that blue debt settlement link above, and then a 2nd page that allows you to either stop or continue.

Here is where consumers land, after clicking on that blue link above, and then after clicking to continue on one more page after that.

Steve Rhodes Misleading Ads. Fraud. Scams

The Get Out of Debt Guy – Does he really work for free?

Look at the red arrow and do you see what it says?

“Important Disclosure: Some programs that I recommend on my website offer referral fees. So I may be compensated for the service of matching you to one of my recommended providers for free.” 

How much money is he compensated?

Shouldn’t that be clear?

Why would Steve the Get Out of Debt Guy, who supposedly works for free, send consumers to this page?

Who feels this is misleading?

OK so let’s take a step back.

Steve Refers Consumers to Damon Day.  They are then Connected to a Debt Settlement Company if they Choose to be.  Compensation May then be Received?? For What??

          1.  Steve refers consumers from his website, to this damonday.com website.

          2.  Then on the damonday.com website there is a disclosure basically saying compensation may be received for the service of matching a consumer with a debt settlement company.  Am I reading that correctly?

Affiliate Marketing - “A type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”

Could Steve Rhode, The Get Out of Debt Guy, who supposedly helps people for free, be getting paid from what appears to be multi-level affiliate marketing?

Steve’s Private Policy Page (getoutofdebt dot org/terms/)

This confusing series of actions triggered me to want to learn even more. I was curious if Steve’s website complied with a new Bill that California passed which is an act to amend the CA Online Privacy Protection Act (“CalOPPA”).  Basically it says a disclosure must be included in the private policy section of a website that illustrates “how their website operator responds to Web browsers “do not track” signals or other mechanisms that provide consumers the ability to exercise choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information about an individual consumers online activities over time and across third-party Web sites or online services, if the operator engages in that collection.”

I became curious to how The Get Out of Debt Guys website responds to Web browsers “do not track” signals and the collection of personally identifiable information.  I also wanted to understand the blue advertising links on his website more clearly.  

Unfortunately I was having a difficult time finding the private policy page on his website.

So I started poking around on his website looking for his private policy page.  Usually this page is very easy to find, and it is located on one of the top menus, on most reputable websites.  However I could not find it on Steve’s Get Out of Debt Website.  

I see “Ask a Question, Report a Scam, Debt Articles, Debt Relief Industry, Consumer Complaints, Submit a Tip, Submit Good News Story, more advertising, a cluster of random articles, but I cannot find his private policy page.  

Oh finally I found it.  Maybe I am just getting old and losing my perfect vision that I had as a kid, but I had a difficult time finding this page.  You will see on the bottom left hand side of his site “site terms”.  If you click on that, sure enough you will find an explanation of what those blue links are, and his relationship with Damon Day.  Here is what it says:

“We refer people to Damon Day for personal individual counseling sessions to help them develop a game plan to dealing with their debt if they want to talk to someone individually. We do not receive any income from those referrals. Damon Day is also acting as the independent advertising broker for the site as well.”   That sounds like a friendly way of saying that after being sent to Damon Day’s site, your information could be sold to a random debt relief company.  

Google AdSense

According to Google, “you make your website ad spaces available by pasting ad code on your site, and choose where you want the ads to appear.”

On the private policy page here http://getoutofdebt.org/terms/, it says “We have no input or control over what ads appear. Different ads may appear based on where you are surfing from or some other factor Google uses to determine ads. The ads are automatically generated by Google……”  

OK Steve, don’t you think you should be disclosing to consumers that you have control of making your website available to AdSense ads and that you are compensated every time people click on those ads?  If I am wrong in any way, then please let me know.

I am not even sure if he uses AdSense.  I am trying to figure this out and it’s confusing, based on how he words his private policy page.  I would think that he would want to make this clear and easy for consumers to understand.

There are several additional paragraphs following that initial sentence. However there is NO clarity in the fact that Steve Rhodes gets paid to have Google ads on his website and that he can control certain aspects of Google Ads including the fact that he can either make his website available for AdSense or not.

Golden Financial Services chooses not to use AdSense and confuse consumers.  Consumers come to our site because they trust us, so for us to allow AdSense on our site where consumers could be tempted to click on a random ad, just so that we can make extra money, would be us taking advantage of consumers who trust us.  Does Steve and the site getoutofdebt.org use AdSense?

Disclosures

The debt settlement companies should be listed for consumers to see who they are, before consumers are referred to them, on the above page.  

This way consumers can do their research on that company, and make their own informed decision.  Why is this information not clear on the above advertisement?

Why does Steve not disclose what is really going on, with the above site where he refers people to, or does he?  

Shouldn’t Steve Rhode state something like, “compensation may be received, once consumers are directed to Damon Day’s site after clicking on this blue link, if they then choose to be matched with a debt settlement company”?  How many referrals to Damon Day’s website would he lose, if that disclosure was illustrated?

Could this be a million dollar lead business?

Leads are being sold to debt settlement companies, that have no real backing or credentials.  Could consumers end up with an “F” BBB rated company, after clicking on the blue link above, on Steve Rhode’s Get Out of Debt site?  I want to know the answer to that question.

What scares me about this entire situation is the fact that consumers are going to Steve Rhodes website because they trust him. However at the end of the day, after they click on one of his ads, they will eventually end up with another debt relief company, that Steve may not even know.

As it shows in the picture above, “the companies that you may be matched with, will all have the following attributes”.

          1.  0 Complaints with the BBB (If this is the case, then why is the company’s name, or company names, not listed here?  I would like to see proof that all of these companies have 0 complaints with the BBB.  Who are the companies?)

         2.  Don’t charge any fees until after your debt is successfully settled (Prove it. Why not list the companies, show the contracts and details of the payment/fee structure.  Disclose all this information.  Why hide it and try to persuade folks?)

          3.  Only charge half of what most programs charge (What do most programs charge?  Who is the source of this information and why is the source not listed?

          4.  Tie their fees directly to their performance (This sounds like a general  statement.  What exactly does it mean?)

          5.  Take a personalized approach with each client (Another broad statement. What does this mean? Don’t you think further clarification on what this statement even means should be illustrated?)

The ironic part about all this is that in Steve’s bio he says “I’ll help you get out of debt totally for free.”

Please share your experience with Steve Rhode, The Get Out Of Debt Guy and provide your review and feedback, in the comments section below. We are open to having other companies share their experience, as a guest on our blog, if they have the appropriate content to offer in regards to Steve Rhode.

 

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Google+ Comments

  • Mark

    Steve Rhodes has been bashing other companies for longer than I know. He mainly focuses on the Debt Settlement Industry and to find out the he has been partnered with debt settlement companies makes him look like a BIG hypocrite.

  • Mike M.

    This guy has made a living off bashing legitimate business for his own gain. He constantly slanders and bad mouths other companies because they simply do not feed a funnel of cash into his own plus sized pockets. If you see a positive post about him, chances are it’s written by him.

  • http://nomorecreditcards.com/credit-card-relief-programs/ Paul – Golden Financial Servic

    Yes that is a very good point. Please encourage others to share their Steve Rhode stories with us here at Golden Financial Services.

  • Cathy

    Consumers should really be aware of people like Steve Rhode, there’s a lot of them out there. Really good points we miss when entering his site. We go by the good stuff and miss the bad. It seems too good to be true, and it is here we find out how. He finds his way to convince people who are in need of help. So sad to know he takes advantage of those who trust him.

  • Jerry

    He uses the fact that he filed for bankruptcy at one point, as a way to get close with folks and build trust. He then manipulates people by pretending to be an expert in the debt relief field.

    Have you ever really read his posts?

    They are filled with nonsense.

    He doesn’t know the first thing about consolidating student loans, but yet he tries to come across as an expert. I never once heard him even mention the William Ford Act, or loan forgiveness information, or details on any of the 6 government approved student loan consolidation options.

    He gives glimpses of detail, and then works to drive folks onto his advertisements. It appears that he is compensated for every ad on his site.

    He is using Google Adsense, Remarketing Advertising and getting paid from several debt relief partner companies that he sends business to. Seriously I would not be surprised if he is making millions of dollars from the ads on his site.

    I am the CEO at an online marketing company, and to be very honest with you, if I needed help with debt, knowing what I know, I would stay far away from his site. This guy has attempted to ruin the reputation of a few debt relief companies that I have worked with over the years, and these companies were all very reputable, so I despise the guy. Golden you were right on point with this article. Good job!

  • Abby

    Has anyone heard of the company consumer assistance project, it is for help with student loan reduction and forgiveness. I’m asking because this Steve Rhode guy has articles on how it is a scam but after this I don’t know who to believe?
    Any advice or pointers?

  • http://nomorecreditcards.com/credit-card-relief-programs/ Paul – Golden Financial Servic

    Hi Abby,

    Here are a few questions that you need to know the answers to, before you go forward with any company.

    How long has the company been in business?

    What is their Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating?

    What type of fees are they proposing to charge you? (See the contract and all fees involved)

    I looked up Consumer Assistance Project with the BBB, at http://www.BBB.org. No company came up with that name.

    Is that the exact name of the company? It is a very bad sign if a company cannot be
    located on the BBB website. Unless they are an attorney and in that case you would want to look them up with their states bar.

    It is important to always look up a company at the BBB website before doing business with them because there you can see how long the company has been in business, how many complaints they have, if they have unresolved complaints and if they have government action against them.

    On another note, I cannot tell you how accurate the information is that you found on Steve Rhode’s website, pertaining to Consumer Assistance Project.

    I can say that I just looked up Steve Rhode and his website url at the BBB. The BBB results said this: “Your search for – (His website was listed here) – did not match any URLs”

    It appears that Steve Rhode, the Get Out of Debt Guy is not even listed with the BBB.

    I would stay away from any company that is not listed with the BBB and that has less than a five year track-record.

    How much in student loan debt do you have?

    Do you have a hardship?

    How many people live in your household?

    Do you work in public service?

    Based on your answers I can give you some advice on how to deal with your student loan debt. If you have all government backed student loans then you would probably qualify for a student loan consolidation plan. This is offered through the government. With student loan consolidation all of your loans will be paid off and you will be left with one loan to pay back.

    Your loan balance could be forgiven after a certain number of years if you qualify for an income based plan.

    A student loan service can be well worth it’s cost, but not if they are over charging you and
    not providing you with a worthy service.

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