A few weeks ago, I shared an UberPool ride share back to the airport in San Francisco with a complete stranger. Small talk ensued, which led to the inevitable question, “So, what do you do?”  With that, I started my elevator pitch:

“I have a unique law practice. I help my clients get out of debt without having to file bankruptcy. I mainly work with individuals that have credit card debt and student loans that they can no longer afford to pay back.”

My ride share started to laugh. Before I could ask why, he explained that he is an Examiner with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. The CFPB… the very entity that regulates my debt settlement law firm. Before I could say another word, he told me not to worry. As long as I’m doing things right, I have no reason to worry.

The same can’t be said for the San Diego-based Student Aid Institute. Last week the CFPB shut them down after determining that they were illegally collecting upfront fees for programs that are available to apply for free of charge. The following article goes into further detail on this ruling:


This ruling by the CFPB does not surprise me. I’m also not surprised that companies in the debt settlement industry continue to skirt the rules, despite the strong presence of the CFPB. I am surprised, however, that many consumers still don’t know what options exist for their student loans.

In my debt settlement practice, I personally field calls by many such consumers. They’re overwhelmed, confused and often desperate for help.  We review their monthly budgets; discuss options and help them develop a strategy to get their student loan debts into affordable repayment plans. I explain to them that they can apply for these programs on their own. For free.  What I have found is that many of my clients would rather pay a small fee to an attorney to make sure they are entering into a repayment plan that is most beneficial to them. 

Yes, I get paid for a service that my clients could research and do on their own.  My clients acknowledge in a fee agreement that they are aware that the services I am providing can be done for free either online or on the phone with their lender. Despite these admonitions, consumers still choose to retain my firm to get them into these plans.

I must say that I agree with the Student Aid Institute in one regard. The services they are providing are akin to a consumer paying a tax preparation service. Yes, you can file your taxes on your own. But thousands upon thousands of people choose to pay a tax preparation service to handle their tax returns. The same can be said for cutting your own hair, changing your own oil, or even mowing your own lawn. Yes, you could do these things on your own, but you often turn to another to do this for you. Maybe it’s because you don’t know how to do it. Maybe it’s because you don’t have time to do it on your own. Or maybe it’s because you don’t have the proper equipment or understanding to do it alone. For those people, it may make sense to hire a professional to step in and take over.

If you have defaulted in payments on your student loans, know that you have options. Also know that you can call your lender to figure out your options. But if you are scared to do this alone, you should also know that there are resources out there that can help you. If you are concerned that you may get scammed, you should consider contacting an attorney to guide you through this process. Attorneys are held to a standard of ethics that debt settlement companies are not. Finding an attorney you can trust can provide you peace of mind in knowing that you aren’t being taken advantage of.  You can also be assured that they are acting in YOUR best interest, not theirs. Attorneys are forbidden from putting their interests above those of their clients.  Many attorneys, such as myself, offer a free consultation to discuss your options before settling on a plan of action.  I would recommend that you seek the assistance of an attorney if you are having difficulties repaying your Student Loans. It’s a decision potentially worth thousands of dollars in savings.

Debt Settlement Attorney In San Diego

Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt settlement, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in San Diego, CA. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, daniel@gamezlawfirm.com or visit gamezlawfirm.com. Stay updated with the latest debt relief tips by following on Facebook and Twitter!