Debt Settlement Industry Takes Pre-Emptive Steps Toward Regulation

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The Association of Settlement Companies announces new guidelines similar to those found in pending legislation

They will address the concerns of regulators and critics while matching language found in upcoming legislation.

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC), the non-profit watchdog organization for self-regulating the debt-settlement industry, today announced new guidelines for its members that are similar to those found in pending legislation throughout the country.

TASC has been working actively with state legislatures and regulators to get fair legislation passed to encourage responsible conduct among its members and to ensure debt settlement remains a positive, viable debt relief solution for consumers seeking an alternative to bankruptcy.

"These guidelines were written based on feedback we've received from our industry and its practices," Chris Kesterson, President of TASC, said. "They will address the concerns of regulators and critics while matching language found in upcoming legislation."

Kesterson went on to cite California Assembly Bill 350 (Debt Settlement Services Act) as an example of the model the guidelines followed.

Guidelines include:

  • Fee caps and a cap on setup fees. In addition, fee collection should be over at least half the length of the program.
  • A complete review of a client's financial hardship and a budget analysis should be performed in order to determine if a debt settlement program is appropriate.
  • Programs should never exceed 48 months in length. A disclaimer is required if a program lasts more than 36 months.

TASC expects these guidelines, along with their strict enforcement, to become mandatory for all members within the year. New companies will now have a provisional status until they have been secretly shopped twice within a 30-day period so that the membership committee can verify that they are compliant.

A copy of these guidelines can be found on http://www.tascsite.org.

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 http://www.tascsite.org.    

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Ann Marie French
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