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Why Do TASC Member Debt Settlement Companies Appear to Fail Their Own TASC Audit?

I don’t know how in the world I landed on this press release from The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC, but I did and I wasn’t looking for it. The press release contained a very interesting statement. – Source

The audit process is investigating and confirming member compliance with organization bylaws which dictate business practices and ethics standards. In addition to a review of Web site content, member audits include “secret shopper” calls placed by a third-party acting as potential customers. If a TASC member is found to be in violation, they risk being removed from the association in 60 days if the offending behavior is not amended.

The Web site review, conducted internally by TASC, will search for specific requirements, such as openly available terms and conditions. Another requirement is the posting of a hyperlinked TASC seal, which directs potential customers to a privacy policy and the non-profit’s educational Web site. The online audit also looks for restrictions, such as marketing verbiage that misrepresents the debt settlement services offered.

“TASC wants to send a message that we will not stand for negligent debt settlement companies,” Birnbaum said. “It’s our responsibility to consumers and to reputable member companies to enforce strict compliance across the board.”

Should any violations be found, the member company will be provided notice and 30 days to remedy the issue. If after that period the violation continues, the member will be placed on 30-day probation with indication of probationary status on the public TASC Web site. If after that period the violation remains uncorrected, the member will be removed from the association and lose membership rights, including the privilege of displaying the TASC seal online. – Source

What I was hoping for was a promise of openness and transparency for consumers to be able to read the TASC member company debt settlement programs terms and conditions. Now that would be a welcome change and very valuable for consumers in my opinion.

Having access via the member’s web site to read the debt settlement program terms and conditions would allow consumers to make smart, informed, and intelligent decisions about which TASC member debt settlement company they wanted to work with before applying or giving up personal information. If the terms of the program are going to be completely open they would include the fees that will be charged as well. This is all information that consumers need to make the best choice for themselves.

Or, the alternative meaning of the press release statement would be that the member agencies have a link to their site terms and conditions. In my option, if that’s what TASC meant, that’s totally meaningless and does not help consumers when selecting a debt settlement program to work with from a TASC member agency.

Now, TASC may say that the press release is from 2008 so it doesn’t matter anymore. Or they may say that they didn’t really mean consumers should see the actual debt settlement program terms and conditions. Either of those responses would be disappointing and in my opinion only support a lack of transparency which does not help consumers.

So I went and looked at the current members of the TASC board that have web sites that advertise debt settlement programs. – Source

Do TASC Board Members Have Debt Settlement Program Terms & Conditions Available on Their Web Site for Consumer to Read?

John Philbin – Debt Remedy Solutions: Can’t Find Them.Source

David Prince – Square One Debt Settlement: Can’t Find Them.Source

Wesley K. Young – Century Negotiations: Can’t Find Them.Source

Chris Kesterson – American Debt Exchange: Site AmericanDebtExchange.com would not load.

Chris Kesterson – Debt Settlement America: Can’t Find Them.Source

Andrew Housser – Freedom Financial Network: Can’t Find Them.Source

Joanne Garneau – Nationwide Support Services: Can’t Find Them.Source (Could not find TASC seal either.)

David Leuthold – Century Negotiations: Can’t Find Them.Source

The irony here is in my opinion credit card companies offering credit products online do a much better job that the sites above did in displaying product terms and conditions.

So of the sites that worked, I could not find one site that listed the debt settlement program terms and conditions from the TASC board members above. Why do you think that is?

Why Do TASC Member Debt Settlement Companies Appear to Fail Their Own TASC Audit?
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Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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