Reigning in Debt Settlement Companies

New rule: No more up-front fees for debt fixers


Companies that claim to settle your debts for less than you owe can no longer charge up-front fees for their services. Instead, they have to wait to collect from consumers until they actually deliver on the promise.

The new rule goes into effect Wednesday and is part of the Federal Trade Commission's effort to clamp down on deceptive debt-settlement practices.

"Consumers who are very deeply in debt and don't know how to pay it down are trying to do the right thing by signing up with these companies, and they end up paying thousands and thousands of dollars in fees and filing for bankruptcy anyway," said Lauren Bowne, a staff attorney at the Consumers Union. "Now, that shouldn't happen anymore."

Under the new rule, settlement companies are required to tell you how much debt will be reduced by presenting agreements from your creditors. Then they must receive your consent to move forward. Only then do you pay a fee for their services.

To ensure you actually have enough money to pay off your debt, you do make one payment toward what you owe at the beginning of the process.

Comment: More info here. Sound advice from this link:

If you are having problems paying your bills, go to a reputable credit counselor ONLY. They do exist. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help you identify these firms at www.nfcc.org.

Wiki article on Debt Settlement


  1. This is great!

    Anyway just to share to you. A friend of mine who had a huge amount of debt went to a debt settlement company to help her lessen the amount of debt. After they have finished negotiating, her debt lowered to 40 percent. Negotiate debt settlement is one of the ways to decrease the weight over your shoulders.


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