The release below from the Vermont Attorney General seems to support the points I raised in my recent article, The Critical Flaw in The Attorney Model for Debt Settlement.
One of the debt settlement entities below that got the attention of the State of Vermont was a law firm. So much for attorneys getting to disregard the law.
The Mossler Law Firm says on their site in the section Why Do I Need a Lawyer?,
No one wants to hire a lawyer, but if you are struggling with crushing debt or are being hounded by relentless debt collectors, then having a lawyer representing you can save you much more than the legal fees. More importantly, effective legal representation can restore your peace of mind and your peace of home.
Seeking advice from a lawyer who has experience in this area of the law can help you take the first step toward regaining control of your finances. – Source
I bet there are some consumers in Vermont that might disagree. Let’s see how that turned out.
The release says:
Two companies that offer to negotiate debt settlements, a service also known as “debt adjustment,” will pay Vermonters and the State over $206,000 as a result of recent settlements with the Office of Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell.
The Mossler Law Firm, P.C. and SCF State Capital Financial, Inc. agreed to make refunds to Vermont consumers and pay civil penalties to the State to resolve claims that the companies violated Vermont law by engaging in the business of debt adjusting without a license and failing to comply with the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act’s three day right to cancel provision. The Attorney General also claimed that SCF State Capital Financial, Inc. further violated the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act by failing to substantiate claimed results it advertised on its website.
“Vermonters who might be considering the services of a debt adjuster should know if the company is licensed to do business in Vermont, as required by law,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “Consumers can also call the Consumer Assistance Program to find out if any complaints have been logged by other Vermont consumers against a particular debt adjuster.”
The Mossler Law Firm, P.C. of Carmel, Indiana entered into contracts with 51 Vermont consumers. It has agreed to cease all business in the State of Vermont and will refund approximately $79,500 in fees paid by Vermonters. It will also pay $60,000 to the State in civil penalties.
SCF State Capital Financial, Inc. of Hallandale Beach, Florida had contracts with 11 Vermont consumers. The Attorney General alleged that it did not have factual substantiation to support claims on its website that promoted its debt adjustment services such as “Debt free in 12 to 36 months” and “State Capital Financial settles your outstanding debt by eliminating 40-60% of your total outstanding debt through negotiations!” SCF State Capital Financial, Inc. will pay approximately $26,800 in refunds and $40,000 in penalties to the State. It will also offer to complete, without charge, negotiations with the creditors of its Vermont customers.
Both companies will pay $2,000 to any Vermont customer who was sued by a creditor after signing up with the company.
For more information on Vermont’s debt adjuster law, including other recent settlements and links to the Consumer Assistance Program and to the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance and Health Care Administration’s (“BISHCA”) debt adjuster licensing database, visit the Attorney General’s Office website’s debt adjuster page.
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