ClearOne Advantage is a debt settlement company that employs IAPDA-certified debt advisors. However, it isn’t transparent about its debt relief program process and fees. You would be better off choosing a company that’s more open about its product offering.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
Debt advisors are IAPDA-certified
Support for potential clients is available seven days a week
Website has many financial management tools and resources
Services aren’t available in all states
Qualifications aren’t clearly disclosed
Fees aren’t clearly disclosed
- ClearOne Advantage isn’t accredited by the AFCC, a well-known industry association.
- Existing clients can only get support five days a week (Monday through Friday).
- The company’s client portal includes a chat feature to ask questions about your account.
- The program may take longer than average to complete.
- Year Founded 2008
- Types of Debt Relief Unsecured debt
- Fees Not clearly disclosed
- Average Repayment Period 24 to 60 months
- Accreditations IAPDA and CDRI
- Minimum Debt Not clearly disclosed
- Official Website https://www.clearoneadvantage.com/
ClearOne Advantage is a debt relief provider that can help you negotiate settlements on your unsecured debt obligations, such as credit cards, in an amount less than you owe. In return for this service, you’ll pay ClearOne Advantage a fee that’s based on the total amount of debt you enroll in its program (e.g., 20% of your total enrolled debt) and there are no upfront fees.
Debt settlement can negatively impact your credit for up to seven years, and there’s no guarantee it will work. Only consider it after you’ve tried other debt relief options such as credit counseling or a debt management plan.
Read on to learn more about the debt settlement program offered by ClearOne Advantage.
Founded in 2008, ClearOne Advantage is a debt settlement company that is headquartered in Baltimore. Since its founding, ClearOne Advantage has worked with about 140,000 clients.
As with all debt relief providers, ClearOne Advantage can’t offer its services in all states due to varying debt relief laws and regulations. However, ClearOne Advantage doesn’t disclose its service area. Most of the best debt relief providers publish service area lists.
ClearOne Advantage is a platinum accredited service center with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA), meaning it employs over 100 IAPDA-certified agents. As a member of the IAPDA, ClearOne Advantage’s IAPDA-certified employees get current and comprehensive training on the rules and regulations governing the debt relief industry.
Besides the IAPDA, ClearOne Advantage is also an accredited member of the Consumer Debt Relief Initiative (CDRI), a professional association founded in 2020 to support and advocate for the debt settlement industry. It is not accredited by the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC), one of the most well-known professional associations serving the debt relief industry.
Our review didn’t reveal any recent lawsuits by the government against ClearOne Advantage at either the state or federal level.
Debt Relief Options
ClearOne Advantage focuses on helping consumers negotiate settlements on unsecured debt obligations, primarily credit cards. The company cannot help negotiate settlements on secured debt like auto loans and home mortgages. ClearOne Advantage does not publish a detailed list of the types of unsecured debt it can and cannot help negotiate. Many of the best debt relief companies publish these lists.
Another drawback to ClearOne Advantage is that it doesn’t disclose what’s required to qualify for its services. A couple of the informational articles on its website suggest $5,000 to $10,000 in unsecured debt may be required to enroll in a debt settlement program. However, ClearOne Advantage doesn’t clearly define what it takes to qualify for its debt relief program, something you can expect the best debt settlement providers to do.
You can expect most debt settlement companies to require you to have at least $7,500 to $10,000 in qualifying debt to enroll in their programs, although some providers may allow as little as $5,000 in qualifying debt.
Also, ClearOne Advantage doesn’t clearly define any other requirements you might need to meet to enroll in its program. For example, many debt settlement companies will only accept clients who are in the midst of a financial hardship (e.g., job loss or divorce). It’s unclear what, if any, other qualifications you might need to meet to enroll with ClearOne Advantage.
You won’t pay any upfront fees if you decide to enroll in ClearOne Advantage’s debt settlement program. You’ll only pay a fee once the company has successfully negotiated a settlement on your behalf, you approve the settlement, and you’ve made at least one of the agreed-upon payments to your creditor. This performance-based fee structure is the debt settlement industry standard.
Clients who can complete ClearOne Advantage’s program and settle all of their debts are typically able to experience savings of 50% before fees and 30% after fees, based on the total amount of debt enrolled in the program. It usually takes clients about 24 to 60 months to complete the program.
This savings disclosure provided by ClearOne Advantage suggests its fees are typically 20% of total enrolled debt (50% savings before fees minus 30% savings after fees). However, ClearOne Advantage doesn’t clearly state how much its program typically costs or its range of typical fees, other than via this disclosure. Most of the best debt settlement companies are upfront about their typical range of fees in addition to a savings disclosure.
Most debt settlement companies charge performance-based fees ranging from 15% to 25% of the total enrolled debt.
Customer Service: Prospective Clients Can Get Support 7 Days a Week
You can reach the customer service team at ClearOne Advantage with enrollment questions seven days a week by calling 1-888-340-4697. Its normal hours of operation for this support are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (ET) and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (ET).
If you’re an existing customer, you won’t be able to get support on the weekends. However, you can get toll-free phone support by calling 1-888-768-4767 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET). You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone from the company will reach out to you.
Although phone support isn’t available for existing customers on the weekends, many debt relief companies don’t offer any weekend support. The ability for prospective clients to ask enrollment questions seven days a week makes ClearOne Advantage stand out from the competition. Debt relief providers are commonly closed on Sundays.
ClearOne Advantage doesn’t have a live chat feature on its website. However, existing clients can send chat messages in their client portals with questions about their accounts. Very few debt settlement companies offer any type of support via chat.
Customer Satisfaction: Communication Issues Are Common
We evaluated reviews from multiple sources to gain insight into what it’s like to work with ClearOne Advantage. Although there are quite a few positive reviews, these focus primarily on the initial conversation with the company. We weren’t able to find many positive reviews from people who completed ClearOne Advantage’s debt settlement.
Unfortunately, there are many negative reviews and complaints about the services provided by ClearOne Advantage. Many reviewers said the company didn’t follow up with them frequently enough or cited other communication issues.
Numerous reviewers also expressed concern about the fees they were charged by ClearOne Advantage. Many reviewers also stated the program took much longer than originally anticipated and resulted in their credit being ruined. These negative reviews also point to communication issues about program expectations.
After you enroll with ClearOne Advantage, you’ll be able to manage your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by logging into its client portal, which is an industry-standard feature. However, something unique about ClearOne Advantage is that its client portal includes a chat feature you can use to ask account questions.
In addition to managing your account via the client portal and embedded chat feature, you can also contact ClearOne Advantage by phone or email during its normal business hours.
ClearOne Advantage doesn’t provide other information about what type of communication you can expect after you’ve enrolled in its program (e.g., monthly updates from a debt advisor). Most of the best debt settlement providers clearly define ongoing communication expectations.
Before you sign up for services with ClearOne Advantage, you’ll be given a free consultation with an IAPDA-certified debt advisor to discuss your situation and develop a debt relief plan. This type of free consultation is the norm since debt relief companies are prohibited from charging upfront fees. However, not every company makes sure their debt advisors are certified in debt relief laws and regulations, making ClearOne Advantage stand out.
ClearOne Advantage can only help negotiate settlements on your unsecured debt obligations. Although other companies may refer their customers to ClearOne Advantage, it’s unclear if ClearOne Advantage offers reciprocal referrals to preferred partners for other types of debt relief. You may need to find a different provider on your own if you want to pursue another debt relief option (e.g., credit counseling, debt management plans, debt consolidation, bankruptcy).
How ClearOne Advantage Compares to Other Debt Relief Companies
A primary competitor to ClearOne Advantage is Freedom Debt Relief, one of the most well-known debt settlement companies. Although both companies help negotiate settlements on unsecured debt, Freedom Debt Relief can also help negotiate settlements on private student loans and some unsecured business debt. You can speak with a debt advisor seven days a week with ClearOne Advantage and Freedom Debt Relief.
These are some of the other key differences between ClearOne Advantage and Freedom Debt Relief:
- ClearOne Advantage isn’t upfront about its fees, although fees averaging 20% of total enrolled debt are expected.
- Freedom Debt Relief typically charges a fee ranging from 15% to 25% of the total debt you enroll in its program.
- ClearOne Advantage doesn’t provide its program qualifications, although you’ll likely need $5,000 to $10,000 in unsecured debt to qualify.
- You’ll need at least $7,500 in qualifying debt to enroll with Freedom Debt Relief.
- In addition to the IAPDA, Freedom Debt Relief is accredited by the AFCC, one of the most well-known professional associations in the debt relief industry.
- ClearOne Advantage is accredited by the IAPDA and the CDRI, a new professional association serving the debt settlement industry.
Although both ClearOne Advantage and Freedom Debt Relief employ IAPDA-certified debt advisors and offer free debt consultations seven days a week, Freedom Debt Relief is more transparent about its product offering and debt settlement process. For this reason, the better choice between these two debt settlement providers is Freedom Debt Relief.
Read our full Freedom Debt Relief review.
|ClearOne Advantage vs. Freedom Debt Relief|
|ClearOne Advantage||Freedom Debt Relief|
|Types of Debt Relief||Unsecured debt (e.g., credit cards)||Unsecured personal debt (e.g., credit cards, medical bills, personal loans), some private student loans, some business debt|
|Fees||Unclear (20% of enrolled debt expected)||15% to 25% of enrolled debt|
|Minimum Debt||Unclear ($5,000 to $10,000 expected)||$7,500|
|Accreditations||IAPDA and CDRI||IAPDA and AFCC|
|Speak to a Debt Advisor||7 days a week||7 days a week|
Although you can expect to pay fees of about 20% of the total enrolled debt, and you’ll likely need $5,000 to $10,000 in qualifying debt to enroll in ClearOne Advantage’s program, the company doesn’t explicitly disclose its fees or qualifications. This is a major shortcoming, as debt relief companies should make it easy for people to understand their product offerings.
Even though ClearOne Advantage has multiple ways to connect with its representatives seven days a week, and its debt advisors are IAPDA certified, a debt settlement provider that’s more transparent would be a better choice.
All of our reviews of debt relief companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s offerings, customer service, pricing, years in business, accreditation, and more. To rate ClearOne Advantage and other providers, we developed a debt relief review methodology that compares the debt relief options offered, additional features, fees, success rates, and reported customer experiences to help us provide insights into things like customer service and the strength of each company’s offerings.
You can read our full methodology for a complete description of how we reviewed each company.