Federally Regulated Liberty Program for
In this article we are discussing the mechanics for a Federally Regulated Debt Relief Program AKA Federally Regulated Debt Settlement Program, Federally Regulated Debt Reduction Program or Federally Regulated Debt Consolidation Program. In 2010 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enacted regulations for the Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction, Debt Relief, Debt Consolidation, and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling industry. The purpose for this new Federal regulation was to weed out unscrupulous operations that pry on consumers feeling the burden of thousands of dollars of unsecured debt that may contain a high volume of credit card debt compounding daily. Consumers can feel hopeless while paying their monthly payments and not seeing the balances go down and, in some cases, even go up. This scenario created easy targets for fly by night operations who promised Debt Relief, Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services but delivered very little results, and since they collected their fees, up-front there was little to no motivation for them to provide any further service to the consumer. Not all companies operated like these fly by night operations, in fact there were and still are some very good companies that offer legitimate Debt Relief, Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counselling services to consumers: However since the industry had previously been un regulated, far too many companies were formed with the intention of raking in easy money.
The FTC Regulation for Debt Relief Programs
Since most Federally Regulated Debt Relief, Federally Regulated Debt Settlement, Federally Regulated Debt Reduction, Federally Regulated Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services are conducted over the phone rather than face to face in a brick-and-mortar location the new FTC regulations are contained in the FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule for Debt Relief. The biggest changes in the new regulation are as follows.
- No Up-Front Fees, plain and simple this states that the company providing the Debt Relief, Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services are prohibited from collecting any fees from the consumer until they have successfully negotiated a settlement with the creditor on behalf of the consumer and presented the negotiations to the consumer and the consumer accepts the new terms and agreements offered to the consumer then the consumer makes first payment toward the new agreement. Then and only then are the companies providing Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services permitted to receive their fee.
- Full Disclosure, full disclosure must be made based on verifiable facts by the companies providing Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling The following must be disclosed. Fees, full disclosure of all fees being charged and how the company earns their fee as well as when the fee is earned and payable. Time Frame, full disclosure of the time it will take for the consumer to see results. Negative Impact, full disclosure of the possibility for negative impact to the consumer if they participate in Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling programs. Including negative impact on credit, collection calls, closing credit cards and the potential for litigation from creditors. Performance, The FTC regulation prohibits stating any performance that is not verified using existing case files.
How the FTC Regulations Impact the Consumer
The playing field for consumers burdened with credit card debt looking for Debt Relief, Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services has drastically improved due to the new FTC regulations imposed on this industry. While most of the unscrupulous players have been eliminated by the FTC regulations, some have tried to conform to the new regulations in an attempt to preserve their cash machine: However, their poor customer service commitments and tendency toward business habits that created the need for the FTC to step in and regulate this industry have produced very poor ratings for themselves and a negative impact on the industry as a whole.
All this being said, there are some very good companies that perform Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services. These are the companies that go the extra mile for their clients and have earned a great reputation in the marketplace. If you are a consumer in need of or talking to a company about Debt Reduction, Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services, just google the company’s name and read as many reviews as you can find. The bad companies always overplay their hand and get exposed through bad reviews online. The good companies on the other hand may not have as many reviews but if they are good reviews, you may just have a winner.
Online Resources to Check Out
Some online resources to consider are www.consumerfinancereviewboard.org, www.americanfaircreditcouncil.org , www.bbb.org. The Consumer Finance Review Board or CFRB writes reviews of financial services companies based on existing online reviews and consumer input, they are primarily looking for the level of service provided to the consumer and the fulfilment of promises made to the consumer by the financial institution. The CFRB encourages the consumer to submit their experiences with the finance company being reviewed “both good and bad” to bring a non-biased picture of the financial company’s commitment to serve the consumer. The CFRB conducts research through public information, other review sites like the BBB, Consumer Affairs and other reputable sites when conducting a review. The CFRB rates these financial services companies on a star rating score from 1-star to 5-stars, 5-stars being the best. The CFRB has several reviews of companies that offer Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services. On the CFRB’s website you will find 1-star rating all the way up to 5-star rating for the companies that offer Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling services.
“The American Fair Credit Council or AFCC is an association of professional Consumer Credit Advocates organized around a few very simple yet powerful principles. These principles are as follows support consumers dealing with overwhelming credit and debt problems, promote and support industry best practices and to advocate for consumer-centric legislation at the State and Federal level that protects consumers through strong regulation and preservation of choice of debt relief.” The AFCC does not provide reviews but does list the company members.
The BBB has been revamped and now does a thorough background check on its accredited members as well as offers a platform for consumers to write comments regarding their experience with the listed company.
Federally Regulated Debt Relief, Debt Settlement, Debt Reduction, Debt Consolidation Conclusion.
The Federal Regulation of the Debt Reduction, Debt Settlement, Debt Relief, Debt Consolidation and Debt Counseling or Credit Counseling industry is a huge improvement for the American consumer: However, it is still up to the consumer to do some research regarding the company that will provide the best service through the debt relief, debt settlement, debt reduction, debt consolidation and debt or credit counseling process. We have provided some direction for your research, and we feel that this is a good place to start but ultimately it is up to you and how you feel about the company you choose to deal with.