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The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) Makes Move That Will Eliminate Members

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) has just made an announcement below that will result in a significant reduction in their membership.

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) Makes Move That Will Eliminate Members
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Dear TASC Members,

I want to update you on an important decision that the Executive Board voted on yesterday.

We recognize these are trying times for our industry, and in trying times is when difficult decisions must be made. As you probably recall, TASC issued a press release on August 17, 2010 in support of the Debt Relief Amendments to the FTC TSR. While we do not agree with everything in the Rule, we ultimately decided at that time that in order to secure the future of this industry, we needed to take a stand in support of the rule of law and in support of consumer protection.

Today we are taking that stand one step further. We understand that different companies are interpreting the FTC Rule differently, and we understand that there may well be legitimate legal arguments for certain Debt Relief companies to claim exemption from the Rule. But we also understand that by trying to straddle the fence to serve two masters (both companies that are strictly complying with the Rule, in particular the Advance Fee Ban, and companies that are claiming exemption from the Rule), we are serving no one effectively.

With that in mind, the TASC Board voted yesterday that:

(1) Effective January 1, 2011, full membership in TASC shall be available only to those debt relief service providers that charge and collect fees for debt relief services only at the time debt relief services are actually provided to consumers in accordance with the FTC Rule; and

(2) That the directors of this Association be, and they hereby are, authorized and directed to consider and adopt standards of associate membership for vendors and other entities that support but do not provide debt relief services; and

(3) That the directors of this Association be, and they hereby are, authorized and directed to take such actions, including the revocation of membership and the licenses, privileges and benefits associated with TASC membership, as they shall deem necessary or appropriate to carry into effect the intent of the foregoing resolutions.

We firmly believe in the services we provide to thousands of Americans in need and the decision we have made, while difficult, gives us the best chance of being able to continue to provide those services to consumers who need them.

We will be in touch with you shortly regarding details of the auditing process (which will ensure compliance with the Advance Fee Ban) that will unfold in the months ahead, and we ask for your cooperation. But please know that if your company does charge Advance Fees through an exemption in the FTC Rule, you will no longer be eligible for TASC membership on January 1, 2011.

As always, please contact us with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Andrew Housser
Executive Board Member
The Association of Settlement Companies

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About Steve Rhode

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.
  • Debt Whistleblower

    Thanks Steve. I appreciate that. I’ll absolutely do all that I can to help. You really are doing an incredible job, and I know it is appreciated by others. Keep up the great work!

    I wish I had found your site back in the day when I was in debt; it would have made such a difference.

  • Steve Rhode

    What an awesome insight. Keep up the comments. I see you are new to the site but your help, advice, and feedback have been spot on.

  • Debt Whistleblower

    Well said, Steve.

    TASC was always a joke at the companies I worked for – even though we were always members of it. As my boss once said to me, when I asked about the membership: “It’s pay to play. You give TASC money, and they give you the letters after your name. It’s worthless otherwise, but it makes us sound good.” He then told me to ask potential clients, who were considering another company, if the competitor was a member of TASC.

    As soon as my company moved to the attorney model, we were told to go into TASC-bashing mode. “Oh, that company is a member of TASC? You know they’re just a pay-to-play membership, right?”

    Funny how things play out. The whole debt relief industry is being shaken upside down, and I can’t say I’m unhappy about it.

  • ComplianceSlave

    http://www.andrewhousser.com/
    Well, at least Freedom Debt Relief no longer charges up front fees- even though they did for years. No wonder TASC wouldnt change its stance…

  • http://www.ftc.gov ComplianceSlave

    http://www.andrewhousser.com/
    Well, at least Freedom Debt Relief no longer charges up front fees- even though they did for years. No wonder TASC wouldnt change its stance…

  • Joe_debt_jr

    Its Dec and TASC just woke up and that deserves a praise? In my opinion, this does not impress me at all since they are Trade Association had plenty of time to change. What is TASC or USOBA? A consumer watchdog or A money watchdog?

  • ComplianceSlave

    I agree. The party is over for TASC & USOBA. They were nothing more than a lobbying effort to maintain the status quo- As a performance based model we OFTEN against the front loaded fee model who’s “reps” would say “theyre not members of ______”.
    We would NEVER have been members of either. Those two associations were there to help companies continue to steal from consumers, knowing all along that the front loaded model was ponzi scheme that did nothing but extract huge sums from desperate consumers. We watched these companies grow HUGE with their 75% commissions to their sales affiliates while we actually had to settle our few clients debts in order to get paid over three years.
    This is a last ditch effort to survive. Sadly, the loopholers are STILL the big big players in our industry, still using affiliate sales companies they pay 75% of their fee to but the loopholers dont need them- They are all “lawyer models”… If law groups belonged to TASC or USOBA they would be admitting to being “debt settlement companies”, a clear voilation of the new federal TSR.
    Anyone want to guess how many companies there are doing debt settlement in basic compliance of the new law? I’ll guess 20. Good bye TASC & USOBA. There just is not enough $ to sustain you- No matter what.

  • Steve Rhode

    Kevin,

    First off, thank you for reading and commenting.

    The article in question is almost in its entirety, except for my one intro sentence, comprised of the statement sent out by TASC.

    The title comes from a statement an executive board member of TASC made on a conference call I was on with a number of debt settlement industry participants. I don’t wish to name who uttered it, it’s irrelevant.

    It’s hard to praise TASC or USOBA for their recent statements. The reality is that there was a new association with tougher standards that was forming and in order to protect their individual territory both TASC and USOBA, rather than folding into this new group, issued almost simultaneous press releases now saying they are basically kicking out members that don’t comply with the law of the land. The loopholers are in deep question right now and most will be found to not be in compliance with the law.

    What other choice did they have to protect their existence? It wasn’t a brave move on their part. It was the only move.

    Steve

  • Andy Faria

    I think this question was directed at Steve, but I feel like chiming in.

    The question, why no positive comments on TASC/USOBA finally growing a backbone?

    Both trade associations have failed the debt settlement industry miserably. This announcement should have been released in July 2009 when the FTC announced the proposed rule. Just think of the opportunity they had to tansition their members, and if they did, just think of how different things would be today.

    I have read every single comment reps from both trade associations made during the rule-making process. They fought it every step of the way and made themselves and their members look foolish. They wouldn’t even answer simple questions posed of them by regulators or provide any data. It was laughable.

    The best indicator of future performance, is past performance. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I can’t understand why any true performance based company would want to be grouped with ANYTHING that has to do with either TASC or USOBA. Both of their names have been beyond tarnished with consumers, press, and especially regulators. They’re no longer taken seriously because of their own actions.

    So to call it as I see it, both trade associations have realized that their membership base has been reduced to point of borderline extinction. This press release is nothing more than a desperate attempt to survive and doesn’t deserve any special attention or notice.

  • Kevin

    While I have never fully agreed with your stance on the Debt Settlement industry i have respected your views in what I perceived as an unbiased opinion by a person who cares about the consumer. This article shows that you may well be biased against TASC. They finally wake up and you make no positive comment supporting their decision. This is not the act of an unbiased journalist. Couple the lack of positive comments for TASC with telling USOBA they did a good job even though they did not go as far as TASC did is disappointing. I do hope you will correct this oversight and give both organizations the credit they deserve. I would most certainly respect and expect comments on why the sudden change and what the heck took so long. I only ask that you keep your word as calling it as you see it.

  • Kevin

    While I have never fully agreed with your stance on the Debt Settlement industry i have respected your views in what I perceived as an unbiased opinion by a person who cares about the consumer. This article shows that you may well be biased against TASC. They finally wake up and you make no positive comment supporting their decision. This is not the act of an unbiased journalist. Couple the lack of positive comments for TASC with telling USOBA they did a good job even though they did not go as far as TASC did is disappointing. I do hope you will correct this oversight and give both organizations the credit they deserve. I would most certainly respect and expect comments on why the sudden change and what the heck took so long. I only ask that you keep your word as calling it as you see it.

    • http://northeast-properties.com Andy Faria

      I think this question was directed at Steve, but I feel like chiming in.

      The question, why no positive comments on TASC/USOBA finally growing a backbone?

      Both trade associations have failed the debt settlement industry miserably. This announcement should have been released in July 2009 when the FTC announced the proposed rule. Just think of the opportunity they had to tansition their members, and if they did, just think of how different things would be today.

      I have read every single comment reps from both trade associations made during the rule-making process. They fought it every step of the way and made themselves and their members look foolish. They wouldn’t even answer simple questions posed of them by regulators or provide any data. It was laughable.

      The best indicator of future performance, is past performance. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I can’t understand why any true performance based company would want to be grouped with ANYTHING that has to do with either TASC or USOBA. Both of their names have been beyond tarnished with consumers, press, and especially regulators. They’re no longer taken seriously because of their own actions.

      So to call it as I see it, both trade associations have realized that their membership base has been reduced to point of borderline extinction. This press release is nothing more than a desperate attempt to survive and doesn’t deserve any special attention or notice.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Kevin,

      First off, thank you for reading and commenting.

      The article in question is almost in its entirety, except for my one intro sentence, comprised of the statement sent out by TASC.

      The title comes from a statement an executive board member of TASC made on a conference call I was on with a number of debt settlement industry participants. I don’t wish to name who uttered it, it’s irrelevant.

      It’s hard to praise TASC or USOBA for their recent statements. The reality is that there was a new association with tougher standards that was forming and in order to protect their individual territory both TASC and USOBA, rather than folding into this new group, issued almost simultaneous press releases now saying they are basically kicking out members that don’t comply with the law of the land. The loopholers are in deep question right now and most will be found to not be in compliance with the law.

      What other choice did they have to protect their existence? It wasn’t a brave move on their part. It was the only move.

      Steve

      • http://www.ftc.gov ComplianceSlave

        I agree. The party is over for TASC & USOBA. They were nothing more than a lobbying effort to maintain the status quo- As a performance based model we OFTEN against the front loaded fee model who’s “reps” would say “theyre not members of ______”.
        We would NEVER have been members of either. Those two associations were there to help companies continue to steal from consumers, knowing all along that the front loaded model was ponzi scheme that did nothing but extract huge sums from desperate consumers. We watched these companies grow HUGE with their 75% commissions to their sales affiliates while we actually had to settle our few clients debts in order to get paid over three years.
        This is a last ditch effort to survive. Sadly, the loopholers are STILL the big big players in our industry, still using affiliate sales companies they pay 75% of their fee to but the loopholers dont need them- They are all “lawyer models”… If law groups belonged to TASC or USOBA they would be admitting to being “debt settlement companies”, a clear voilation of the new federal TSR.
        Anyone want to guess how many companies there are doing debt settlement in basic compliance of the new law? I’ll guess 20. Good bye TASC & USOBA. There just is not enough $ to sustain you- No matter what.

      • http://www.EliminateCreditDebt.com Debt Whistleblower

        Well said, Steve.

        TASC was always a joke at the companies I worked for – even though we were always members of it. As my boss once said to me, when I asked about the membership: “It’s pay to play. You give TASC money, and they give you the letters after your name. It’s worthless otherwise, but it makes us sound good.” He then told me to ask potential clients, who were considering another company, if the competitor was a member of TASC.

        As soon as my company moved to the attorney model, we were told to go into TASC-bashing mode. “Oh, that company is a member of TASC? You know they’re just a pay-to-play membership, right?”

        Funny how things play out. The whole debt relief industry is being shaken upside down, and I can’t say I’m unhappy about it.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        What an awesome insight. Keep up the comments. I see you are new to the site but your help, advice, and feedback have been spot on.

      • http://www.EliminateCreditDebt.com Debt Whistleblower

        Thanks Steve. I appreciate that. I’ll absolutely do all that I can to help. You really are doing an incredible job, and I know it is appreciated by others. Keep up the great work!

        I wish I had found your site back in the day when I was in debt; it would have made such a difference.

    • Anonymous

      Its Dec and TASC just woke up and that deserves a praise? In my opinion, this does not impress me at all since they are Trade Association had plenty of time to change. What is TASC or USOBA? A consumer watchdog or A money watchdog?

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