Debt settlement scams are a growing problem in this down trodden economy. Below you will find the steps to follow in order to get your money back when you've been scammed.
First, make sure you are able to voice and write exactly how you have been wronged by the debt settlement company. Simply saying they lied to you is not going to get you any closer to having your money back. If you have any correspondence the company has sent you by mail or email, or if you are able to obtain a copy of anything to back up your case, make sure to have these available throughout the next steps.
Getting your money back from a company whose business practice it is to scam you is not going to be easy. Be prepared to put in a lot of work to get your refund. There will most likely be a discussion with the company regarding the contract which you signed, implying your agreement. Do not be discouraged by this, if there was deception in advertising or false statements made by a representative of the company this is called "fraud in execution" this would make the contract voidable.
If you are unable to make any headway with the company itself, contact the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) where the company is located. File a complaint. This should prompt a response from the company. Be forewarned though, there are some debt settlement companies who already have so many complaints against them with the BBB they will not feel compelled to respond as they already have a low rating with the BBB. In the event this happens, get in touch with the Attorney General in your state. Some states will require that you have filed a complaint with the BBB prior to contacting the Attorney General, so make sure to follow the steps to alleviate any wasted time. The company should at this point take this seriously, already in several states the Attorney General has filed suit against these types of companies for fraud. The growing complaints and suits will only strengthen the cases against these companies.
Remember to keep records to support your grievance with you throughout the process. When more than just money is involved, if your reputation has been damaged, you may want to consider suing the company for damages. If you are in this situation and unable to make progress then contact a qualified attorney for assistance.