Debt settlement has acquired a disconcerting reputation over the past decade. Following the economic downturn, debt relief services sprouted like weeds and made unscrupulous promises to consumers. As a result, many people found themselves in dire financial straits with little to no recourse against the companies that misled them into believing things that simply weren’t true.
Fortunately, the Federal Trade Commission stood up to the plate in 2010 and passed several rules and regulations to weed out unscrupulous players in our industry. And, it’s our belief that knowing these these rules is the first step towards protecting yourself against misleading and false debt settlement claims.
First and foremost, companies are required to tell consumers how long the debt settlement process will take and how much the total cost will be. Second, these companies aren’t allowed to collect advance fees for providing their service to you. If you’ve found a company you trust enough to proceed, it can only collect fees after the following have taken place:
- An agreement has been successfully negotiated with your creditor.
- At least one of your debts has been reduced, settled, or modified.
- You’ve made at least one payment to your creditors under the new conditions.
A few more rules the FTC set in place to protect folks seeking a debt settlement plan include:
- Prohibiting companies from making misleading or false claims to consumers.
- Requiring that dedicated accounts must be set up wherein fees and savings can be collected and used for payments to creditors, thus ensuring your money isn’t pooled with other funds and that you and your creditors are both protected.
- And, penalizing companies that pull funds out or exercise any control whatsoever over the accounts created in your name.
Over the past four years, we’ve watched these rules take effect. And we’re pleased to say they’ve resulted in the demise of many unscrupulous companies and the practices they employed. In fact, we’re proud to say that our International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA) accredited staff adheres to these rules at every stage of the debt settlement process.
We encourage you to contact us for more information regarding the debt settlement services we offer at Superior Debt Relief Services. Our accredited staff is happy to sit down with you and discuss a debt management plan that provides holistic solutions for taking unsecured debt.
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