Debt Settlement Industry Sues Pennsylvania

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Department of Banking creates unconstitutional law; hurts consumers, suit claims

The Association of Settlement Companies

Now, a critical debt relief option is not available and the Department of Banking--in a meeting with TASC--indicated it was unwilling to delay any enforcement until the rules were promulgated.

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) and two Pennsylvania debt settlement company members filed suit recently against the Department of Banking of the State Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to have a newly enacted law affecting debt settlement companies declared unconstitutional.

The new law requires debt settlement companies to be licensed pursuant to regulations that will be disseminated by the Department of Banking. Consequently, debt settlement companies must stop doing business in Pennsylvania beginning Feb. 6, 2009, the effective date of the new act.

While TASC supports regulation of the industry, including a licensing process, the problem in Pennsylvania is that it typically takes up to two years to promulgate rules and regulations, Wesley Young, Legislative Director of TASC, said.

"We provide a valuable service, especially at a time when financially distressed consumers need help," Young said. "Now, a critical debt relief option is not available and the Department of Banking--in a meeting with TASC--indicated it was unwilling to delay any enforcement until the rules were promulgated."

The lawsuit brings several claims including allegations that the new law violates the due process rights of the businesses, violates Equal Protection rights in the unequal application of law to varying debt relief businesses and interferes with existing contractual relationships between consumers and debt settlement companies. It also claims that the statute as written is defective and grants the Department unconstitutional authority.

The lawsuit was filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, case No. 11 MD 2009.

About The Association of Settlement Companies
The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) promotes fair business practices, consumer protection and industry standards for the debt settlement industry. TASC, founded in 2005, serves to protect consumers through an organization seal that represents best practices and standards of reputable companies. The organization also protects its member companies through lobbying efforts at the state and national levels, as well as awareness initiatives to educate consumers on debt settlement as a financial solution. All TASC member companies pledge compliance to strict association bylaws governing business practices and ethics. For more information, visit TASC Web site

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