Debt Settlement Industry Praises SMU Study

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Research shows debt settlement programs 'create the greatest consumer welfare of any approach'

create the greatest consumer welfare of any approach.

A recent academic study confirms what The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) has been saying all along: the debt settlement industry is the best method for reducing consumers' unsecured debt. TASC today praised the study by Southern Methodist University Associate Professor of Marketing Richard A. Briesch, who found that debt settlement programs, especially compared to credit counseling, "create the greatest consumer welfare of any approach."

"Dr. Briesch's research affirms solidly what we have already known, that debt settlement is a viable and appropriate method of helping today's financially strapped consumers receive the much needed help they deserve," Chris Kesterson, President of TASC, said.

Other key findings of the "Economic Factors and the Debt Management Industry" study include:

  • Credit counseling fees and payments for a consumer account can exceed 29 percent of the consumer debt, levels that are "exorbitant"; and
  • The debt settlement company has an increasingly higher value to customers with higher account balances and higher total debt.

The report can be found at

About Dr. Richard Briesch
Dr. Briesch is Associate Professor of Marketing at Cox Business School at SMU. He received his BS degree in Applied Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University, MBA from Rice University and PhD from Northwestern University. His articles have appeared in journals such as: Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Retailing, Marketing Letters and Journal of Business and Economic Statistics. He has won the Davidson award, the Cox School's research excellence award and outstanding teaching award.

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


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