CRN Supports Changes to the Telemarketing Rule Just Announced by the FTC
Yesterday, the FTC announced important changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule, http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/07/tsr.shtm. The changes are intended to protect consumers with too much credit card debt from abusive debt settlement practices. One of the most important changes is that settlement firms will no longer be able to charge consumers up-front fees to settle their debts as of 10/27/10.
Overall, I am thrilled that the FTC is reigning in abusive debt settlement firms. For too long, these firms have been allowed to prey on consumers with too much credit card debt. Sadly, in far too many instances, consumers who worked with such firms saw their financial situations grow worse, not better, because of the large up-front fees they had to pay, and many of those consumers eventually ended up in bankruptcy.
The rules will shape the industry and promote the best practices moving forward.
I am concerned that some settlement firms may charge a large fee at the back end of their work for consumers. I have always contended that the fee amount charged by a debt settlement service provider directly correlates to how long it will take an individual to be successful in settling all of their debts. Program duration is directly attributable to increased risk of aggressive collection efforts such as filing lawsuits against a consumer in order to collect.
When consumers are looking into debt settlement as one of the few legitimate options available to deal with crushing debt, it is IMPERATIVE that they still weigh the COST for the service.
I will be posting more detailed comments about the amendments soon. Stay tuned!