It’s like deja vu all over again. A leading debt settlement company again runs afoul of state law.
Oregon’s John Kroger joins the list of Attorneys General who have successfully battled debt settlement companies whose business practices violate the law. He reached a settlement with Credit Solutions of America which bars them from the state for three years.
In addition to this ban, Oregon residents who did not receive the services promised to them are entitled to partial refunds of the fees that they paid. The settlement was in response to complaints that Credit Solutions charged high upfront fees and “frequently displayed a lack of effort on their behalf, which resulted in litigation and costs levied against consumers” (Kroger, Debt Settlement Company Reach Agreement).
Credit Solutions’ 800 Oregon customers can request refunds based on the success of the company on their behalf. Any Oregon resident that is denied a reasonable refund of these fees may contact the office of the Attorney General or call the hotline at 1-877-877-9392.
Credit Solutions has reluctantly agreed to stop soliciting Oregon residents for its programs. This ban will last for three years, at which time it is widely expected that new federal protections against debt settlement companies may be on the books.
The story is the same. These companies charge heavy fees and tell you to stop paying your creditors. However, they do nothing to protect you from the legal actions that result from defaulting on your debts. They still get paid while debtors have no money left in order to prevent harmful judgments. These judgments remain for 10 years, effectively blocking such goals as homeownership and increasing other borrowing costs.
Instead of believing the misleading advertising of the rogue debt settlement industry, debtors should contact a reputable consumer credit counseling organization. They may receive information on how to negotiate directly with their creditors, or they may be eligible for a debt management program. The worst thing you can do is ignore your creditors, which is exactly what debt settlement companies advise you to do.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."