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by sitecore\kmcgrigg on July 30, 2010
On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission announced new rules to protect consumers from predatory and anti-consumer practices in the debt settlement industry.   

Effective October 27, 2010, for-profit companies that sell debt relief services over the telephone are prohibited from charging a fee before they settle or reduce a consumer’s credit card or other unsecured debt. The common practice of charging a fee in advance of any service being delivered often left well-intended consumers worse off than when they began. 

Provisions of the FTC’s new Telemarketing Sales Rule also include the following (effective September 27, 2010):

  • Debt relief companies will be required to make specific disclosures to consumers.
  • They will be prohibited from making misrepresentations.
  • The Telemarketing Sales Rule will be extended to cover calls consumers make to these firms in response to debt relief advertising.

MMI is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC); here is an excerpt of an NFCC release explaining their position on  the issue:

"Every day, consumers are bombarded with false and misleading ads on TV and radio for companies promising a quick and easy way out of debt," said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. "However, instead of providing real solutions, the FTC has found that many of those companies charge huge fees in advance while providing little in the way of actual assistance to consumers. The FTC's rule will curtail misleading debt settlement company ads, ban advance fees, and ensure that consumers receive information and disclosures before signing up and paying for debt settlement services. The NFCC strongly supports the FTC and its efforts to protect consumers from the predatory practices of debt settlement companies."

Taken in totality, the multiple provisions of the rule offer significant protections to consumers, helping them to more fully understand their rights and make informed decisions when resolving their financial distress.

For more information about the new Telemarketing Sales Rule, visit the FTC website. 


AnnaG says:
August 18, 2010

Just want to know if what is that new rules in credit cards...because as I have heard August 22 is when new credit card rules could be put into place. Most of the credit card businesses and banks are cutting credit limits, fees and rates on their credit in order to help bring these new laws into place. Most of the time when the economy is down so far, credit limits are cut like this. Credit scores are hurt for anybody who has this limit changed. There are choices for people who want to either stop their credit limit from going down or even make it go up.

Clean Credit says:
July 31, 2010

It's good to see these incremental reforms toward transparency and responsibility in the financial services industry. More would be better.

webbrowan says:
December 14, 2015

It is time that such a regulation is imposed to deter irresponsible finance companies from making the situation worst for debtors who are already heavily in debts. Without this new law, desperate debtors easily fall into the trap and become vulnerable to startup financial plans that are extravagant that have not even had any impact on their current problem.

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