DALLAS — Alzena Galvan never knew the value of credit until she tried to get out of her apartment and into a home.
"It's extremely hard if you're a single parent and you have kids and you're trying to do better for yourself," she said.
Galvan, 32, is a working mother of three without a credit history. She hoped she had found her answer in an advertisement on a yellow piece of paper.
It was from a small firm with a common name: Credit Solutions (not affiliated with CreditSolutions.com, a Corpus Christi company).
Galvan said she gave $230 to a woman named Lisa Collins there in May. But Galvan said she never got any credit... nor did she get her cash back.
She is one of a half dozen Credit Solutions customers News 8 talked to who had a common story.
"I just really think it's misleading," said "Charles," a Fort Worth man who didn't want to give his last name worrying his employer might find out.
He found a flyer at a laundromat and paid $260 to receive two credit cards with credit limits between $600 to $800 each, he said.
Several months later, Charles said he only received one card with a credit limit of $300 — and had to pay an additional fee of $95 to activate it.
Charles said Collins agreed to give him a partial refund, but she never showed up at their scheduled meeting place or time.
Credit Solutions has now disappeared.
Its office at 1700 Commerce Street is empty. The door to Suite 1758 is locked. The firm moved out in the middle of the night three weeks ago, according to a person in the building with knowledge of the company.
A recording on the firm's advertised phone number said it is "temporarily disconnected."
Collins' mobile phone goes straight to voice mail. She did not immediately return a message from News 8.
Dallas police took a report from Galvan, but told her the loss of $230 is a civil matter.
"I'm disappointed because I feel like if I committed a crime ... or if I was to steal something from somebody, something would have been done right then and there," she said.
The Better Business Bureau gives this Credit Solutions firm an F, according to its website. The BBB also lists 20 complaints against the firm, and shows Lisa Collins as the office manager.