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The Life Raft Plan to Rescue Consumers Abandoned by a Closing Debt Settlement Company

The Life Raft Plan to Rescue Consumers Abandoned by a Closing Debt Settlement Companyphoto © 2008 Thomas | more info (via: Wylio)I’ve suggested to several debt settlement companies that they participate in a life raft rescue plan I’d like to put together to help save consumers that may be abandoned as debt settlement companies fail. The response from the companies I’ve talked to has been good and I’d like your feedback on the plan as well.

If there are failures of advanced fee debt settlement companies, consumers are going to be abandoned in big numbers. Some of the companies that have been approached to purchase these failing companies have told me that the fees have been spent but only about 5% of the total debt has been settled. Not a good scenario.

The only solution at that point is for a consumer to start all over from scratch and pay fees all over or something else. The something else I’m suggesting is that the debt settlement industry rally around a rescue plan for consumers that have the funds to settle now but have been cut loose or abandoned by their debt settlement company.

This is not a marketing opportunity for participating companies. This is a rescue mission to demonstrate those left in the debt settlement world have the responsibility and willingness to clean up the industry and protect consumers.

There is no logical plan that would save everyone harmed but together we can save a narrow band of some.

My proposal is that for consumers that are ready to settle with cash on hand and can demonstrate they have been just abandoned by their previous debt settlement company that participating companies offer to negotiate the final settlement on those accounts for a flat rate of $199 per account.

Participating companies can limit the number of consumers they will take on.

I spoke with the FTC about this this morning and while they can’t make any specific statement about the fee, they were impressed a rescue mission was planned.

I’m asking for no money from companies to participate. All I ask is that companies post a link to the page I will create with the master list of debt settlement providers willing to do the right thing.

The Life Raft Plan to Rescue Consumers Abandoned by a Closing Debt Settlement Company
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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.
  • Angelo

    Im pretty sure I know who you are and I can understand why you are attacking me since you are pretty much out of a job now and I refuse to let you infiltrate the AACC. Sorry, no one is buying the “change of heart” ever since the upfront model no longer supports your lively hood, valiant effort fighting that till the end !! Good luck bashing my company and the AACC, if I hear of anyone looking for a compliance officer I’ll let you know…

    I wonder though …will you have the courage to reveal yourself now or will you continue to hide behind that oxymoron of a username?

  • LetsAllPunchEachOther

    “I am advocating for Debt Settlement and Debt Management companies to comply with state and federal laws.”

    Here is the answer Active Debt published from when you first went an assault against members of the AACC- http://getoutofdebt.org/26180/

    What laws are they breaking again?
    Why have you singled them out again?

    Their answers look very clear to me.

    That’s a company that never charged up front fees and you choose them to pick on? Get real-
    It’s so obvious that the outlawed model of charging fees without service is where you come from! So now you can grind your ax at some of the few companies that offer completion info, contracts on their webpages, fee information & HAVE NOW OFFERED TO WORK FOR NEAR FREE FOR THE PEOPLE HURT BY THE THOUSANDS OF OUTLAWED COMPANIES YOU USED TO WORK FOR?

    Keep posting- You still have no credibility.

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    I am advocating for Debt Settlement and Debt Management companies to comply with state and federal laws. It is equally important that even marketing companies stand behind compliant companies. The industry is going to continue to evolve, how it will evolve, I believe will depend on the compliant companies and the states. The FTC will obviously play an intricate role in making examples of non-compliant models with enforcement actions. Wouldn’t it be a great idea if a group of companies got together and worked with individual states on favorable legislation for performance based programs? Wouldn’t setting great examples as licensed companies create some type of interest from states in hearing what we have to say?

  • LetsAllPunchEachOther

    And, what have you done for the industry?

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    “If you do not like the rules than maybe you should look into another industry”? Let me re-phrase that, if any debt relief provider does not like, cannot or does not want to follow the rules, maybe you should look into another industry.

  • LetsAllPunchEachOther

    I went back over the answer to your 1st attack on some members of the AACC & Angelo clearly answered that they have not reached our to sell in any state in the last year. Above Sean says it again & offers you proof that referrals he receives are sent out other companies.

    It’s SO obvious you have some personal gripe with them. Why else would you tell Angelo “If you do not like the rules than maybe you should look into another industry”?

    Why are you attacking small, compliant companies? And ones that have answered your attacks? It doesnt make sense- This company basically offered to work for free to help people out when they were taken by a company that charged in front and is closing it’s doors (see title of this thread).

    You have a vendetta and its plain as day. There’s hundreds of companies you can protect consumers from & you choose one that isn’t selling new business. You have no credibility.

  • Angelo

    Harrumph, Harrumph!!!! See, now that’s the type of ethics and morals that this industry needs!!! You should have worked for USOBA hun, they could have used someone like you on their team to ensure that all it’s members were licensed in every state; following these very laws that you are so adamantly defending instead of lobbying to keep upfront fees…but then again, if you worked for USOBA you would have no credibility left in this industry and you would be the one looking into another industry.

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Really? Licensing? Yes, really. Licensing.

    I do not feel that I am personally attacking anyone. It is a shame you feel this way, it is nothing personal, I was just using AACC member companies as examples of companies that are not licensed or bonded in specific states. Which states again are you currently servicing again? You did not provide an answer in one of the other posts? It is ironic in a way that a group that was formed to put consumers interest first, which is great don’t get me wrong, was comprised of some companies that are technically not operating compliantly with state laws, which means you are operating in states illegally. I would have thought that it would be comprised by a group of companies that advocate state and federal compliance. There appears to be member companies that violate both federal and state laws…

    The bigger picture here is that regardless of the model, regardless of consumer complaints, regardless of your successes, no matter who you are, if you are a debt relief company which engages in debt adjusting practices, depending on the state, there are particular guidelines that need to be followed. Of course, being a performance based company with no complaints is definitely going to help you in case a particular state wanted to investigate your company. These are all what if’s and I certainly do not have a crystal ball.

    If you do not like the rules than maybe you should look into another industry, because believe it or not there are probably going to be plenty more rules and legislation’s that states will be passing sooner or later…

  • Angelo

    DRA, where were you when USOBA and TASC members were scamming millions of consumers by charging up front fees? Where was your uproar when USOBA finally acknowledged the new FTC rules months after it was in affect? Really? Licensing? We are offering to help consumers that are going to be abandoned for virtually for free and the best you could come up with is Licensing? If my unlicensed son took my car to take his grandmother to the hospital after being mugged I doubt any officer would give him a ticket.

    Im not downplaying the importance of compliance but I find it strange that you are shedding so much light on us and not going after the companies that are still charging upfront fees or hiding behind the attorney model. Doesn’t sound much like the characteristics of a “Debt Relief Advocate”. Almost sounds like a personal attack…so I ask you DRA…something on your mind dear?

  • ComplianceSlave

    Their clients were “overboard” the day they signed up

  • F N B

    Alex, Re; GHS Solutions
    Pehaps you can reach out to the clients of GHS Solutions. They will be laying off 112 employees
    soon. Get out the Life Raft clients overboard!!!

    http://articles.sun-sentinel.c

  • Mike Reilly

    That is the bottom line!

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    like you said Mike, rules are rules. No matter who the company, the model, how few complaints they have, everyone should play by the rules….that’s it…

  • Steve Rhode

    If you are who I think you are then our conversation was about if you had any issue with any company it should be talked about openly. It was not my job to defend any company, including any AACC member, when someone has a valid question or concern.

    There are three possible outcome from a discussion like that, a correction can be made, we all learn something, or nothing happens.

    I know the AACC member companies and feel they are people that if found to need to make some correction, would.

    At the end of the day it’s not if a problem is going to occur with any company in the debt relief space. The mark of a leader is in how the address it. If an issue is brought up about some state licensing and it deserves a second look, I can’t see that as a bad thing.

  • Mike Reilly

    “Steve has invited me on so that I can share my information as it may do some good for the industry”.

    WOW

  • Curious-er

    DRA, if you are involved in any regulatory capacity, it would be helpful, at least for me, to read your comments in that light.

    Thank you

  • SeanDSLegalPlan

    No keep posting… who ever you are.

  • Curious-er

    DRA, your comment confirms what I implied due to your not answering questions succinctly.

    You are not an attorney by your own admission. What is it you do within the debt relief world that qualifies you to read an interpret stuff like this with a depth and understanding that would then better qualify your caveat emptor warnings? I ask because you post in a manner as to be interpreted as an authority on the subject. Without some kind of understanding of your frame of reference it is difficult to place import upon your comments.

    I read your comments as prognostications. Like you’re an arm chair debt relief deputy come regulatory soothsayer. I am not saying this to offend; I actually think you mean tons of well when you comment on stuff like this. I just want to establish a bright line measure of how seriously to take your comments.

    You post stuff like New Era’s answer to states they do/do not do business in with an implication that they are hiding something. To do so in the way that you have shows some degree of an agenda on your part. Maybe that’s just me, but why do I say that? They did answer the question, and quite plainly. They direct the reader to their website for updates. One would assume a reader can then go to their site or call them direct to learn if New Era will be able to assist in their particular state. There would be nothing wrong with that.

    You stated: “I am simply reading the law and thought I would provide an example of how any regulator or anyone in that matter may interpret that law”.

    This is a prognostication. See what I mean.

    You go on to comment about Care One: “let’s look at Care One’s debt settlement program. Is Care One a Debt Settlement company? Are the consumers contracts under the name of Care One? Are they utilizing an Attorney DS model just so that they can avoid individual state fee guidelines? Which one of their labels is really the DS company? Is that the right thing to do by consumers?”

    Regardless of how CarOne is structured they are most assuredly mindful of their regulatory compliance structure in the jurisdictions where they do whatever they do. Do they utilize an attorney model debt settlement? I believe your questions to be rhetorical. If they do, are they doing it to avoid state fee guide lines? I doubt it. If they are using the model it is because they are in observance of state guidelines, and not for the nefarious purpose your comment implies. Is it the right thing to do by consumers? If by “right thing” you mean using a performance fee attorney model that observes both state and federal guidance, than yes. If meant in a different way, please indicate in what way.

    You comment: “Like there fellow neighbors at Cambridge once did?”

    Did Cambridge have past issues with bad management? Yer dam skippy. Big time! Yet, they survived and now thrive and due to the scrutiny from back then that continues to this day, Cambridge is quite likely the cleanest debt relief provider in existence. Did your comment about Cambridge even attempt to embody this known element of their rebuilding themselves? Not an iota. Why?

    You comment: “I am not an attorney, but this is how I interpret this- and look if anyone feels that I have provided wrong information or I am mistaken anywhere in any of my posts, please let us know.”

    Here we find more prognostications. You interpret…. So what. Why should your interpretations mean anything? You have given no quantifiable reason anyone should weigh what you say as anything other than an arm chair debt relief deputy (again, not to offend -the phrase has now grown on me since using it above). Have you provided wrong or mistaken information? To a degree. You are providing what I see as agenda skewed comments that are incomplete in substance which can mislead a reader, and which has prompted my questioning your depth of understanding into the subject matter. By the way, who is the “us” in the “please let us know” above? How many people are you?

    You then comment: “So, I would say if there is a licensed attorney that is practicing law in KY and his normal course of practicing law consists of many different areas- maybe criminal defense, divorce, wills, civil rights, corporate….etc and a client comes across the table looking for some help in adjusting their debt, I can see that the attorney in this case would be exempt as a debt adjuster because he/she is NOT PRINCIPALLY engaged in the business of debt adjusting.”

    You would say? So what. Why is what you say meaningful when you are not an attorney and anyone reading has no idea of your competency to interpret or even comment on such things? Have you read through the legislative intent? Is this quoted direct from the general assembly records or something? Where is the line for “principally engaged”? Is there a line? What are the measures for that line? Is the line blurry? If so, how blurry and why?

    You comment: “But for Law Firms or Attorney Models that pro-actively seek out obtaining clients for the purpose of providing debt relief services to, may be in direct violation of state laws.”

    Says who? Has there been a published case on this exact issue in KY with dicta relevant to your quote? If so, I ask again for citation. This appears to be a foretelling which relates to my soothsayer comment.

    You comment: “If anyone feels like they are unclear about state guidelines, do some research, contact state attorney generals and have an open discussion about how you interpret the laws and ask questions.”

    Great suggestion! In fact, this quote is the most valuable to readers out of anything I have read in any of your comments. My question for you is twofold; how do you know debt relief providers have not already done so; and have you done so?

    DRA, you have made what I read as several prognostications. I would like to make some of my own, and further reserve the ability to comment similarly in the future.

    The “199-ers” are not part of the problem and will unlikely ever be viewed as such in Kentucky or elsewhere.

    It will be many years before the KY courts provide the industry with a bright line ruling on a performance fee attorney model with regard to “principally engaged in”. I could be wrong in my foretelling, as it may never come, or if it does, will be wrapped up in an action against front loaded fee attorney model and will not directly speak to the attorney performance model.

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    That is a very interesting reaction. It is even more interesting that you rank 3rd for posts on a website that regularly exposes companies who may not be operating compliantly. Should I stop posting because you don’t like the information that I bring to the table? Should I change the title in which I post? What should it be? State Regulator?

    Is any of the information that I have provided in any of my posts wrong or incorrect? At no point have you argued that I am wrong with the information that I have brought to light. Sean, do you think that companies should not follow state guidelines if they are a performance based company? Can you provide a specific example for every single member company on how they comply with state laws? I have provided specific examples of why I believe they do not. Will the AACC members or ANY OTHER COMPANY that is interested in helping those consumers who were left out to dry be able to provide the licenses, bonds or registration requirements in order to do business in specific states? Will they be able to ensure consumers that they are charging the allowable fees in their state?

    I would also think that if a company is so passionate on a NO UPFRONT FEE model that they would actually be enrolling consumers into the program and help so many of those strapped consumers who are looking for relief from their debt.

    I am sorry if anyone feels that I am bashing any particular company or group that is not my intent. I believe I am providing useful information that is backed up by facts and information that is open to the public. Steve has invited me on so that I can share my information as it may do some good for the industry. Steve, do you disagree with the information that I have provided? Personally, I feel that it is important for the many different models that operate in the entire debt relief industry to comply with Federal and also STATE guidelines. Should no one be advocating state laws?

    Do you think the industry would have produced so many bad actors if everyone followed individual state laws?

  • Alex

    Hello DebtBet. (I would rather use your name so I apologize)
    Yes it is I who orchestrated this call for the INDUSTRY not for a group or another. And NO it was not about how to merge the groups but rather to see the interest in what State legislation is happening and how it will impact the INDUSTRY.
    It was an open forum and it included people from the industry including people from TASC, USOBA and AACC and even those who are not members of any organization. I take pride in being able to get people together and discuss real issues. The calls are wide open and as I believe we are. If you want to be added to the call, simply let me know ([email protected]) so you can participate. My involvement with the AACC is about helping the industry be more transparent, the consumers deserve it and I think it will be the only way to fix this industry.
    I am not a JohnnyComeLately into this industry, my 11 year tenure and our focus of putting consumers first, I think is well documented.
    I am not sure if you are in the industry or not, but my call was to reach out to the Legislators as a group of TSR compliant companies and to make sure it is about putting customers first.
    To further clarify the call Andrew was not on the call he was out of town. I only have one opinion and that is that we need to present this industry in a better light, if you heard the call you would have heard me say CLEARLY that we need to put the CONSUMRES FIRST!
    I personally do not like the lobbying aspect but realize it may be necessary, how we go about it is more important.
    Have some people lined their pockets on the backs of consumers needing help? YES!!!! I have been preaching that for years. Our own company has been affected by the fly-by-night companies and affiliates, so this is why I believe this industry needs better representation and putting the consumers in the fore front.
    If you do a little history check on us. New Era or better yet Dan Smith and Alex Viecco have ALWAYS been performance based. Not once in our career have we taken the money before services were rendered. I would venture to say that we were possibly the first if not one of the first to be TSR compliant. On July 29, 2010 when the ruling was passed we were 100% compliant by not charging a single cent until settlements were achieved.
    I am not trying to pat myself in the back but rather lead by example. Steve asked for transparency, we delivered it.
    I hope you get a better view of who I am and what my intentions were and continue to be.
    Sincerely,
    Alex Viecco
    Vice President/ Co-Founder
    New Era Debt Solutions

  • Errick

    No that’s not me I swear. I am hiding my identity but not permanently I hope.

    I only talk about CareOne because I have seen what they do. I am willing to bet most companies are the same, but I can’t really say.

    I have nothing against your rescue plan, except that I predict it will not go anywhere. These poor people, if they were ever a good candidate for debt settlement, have been wrung dry now.

    What I have been trying to say again and again because I think it’s important, that a debt settlement company can be in perfect compliance with every state and federal regulation, and still be an enormous scam. That’s Care One. Maybe that’s you too, if you’re doing this. They deliberately take less money from the client than they would need. They deliberately put their customers on a path to failure, because it has a higher margin than a path to success. They do it themselves in some states, and behind a law firm in others.

    And I can’t wear a skirt anymore because of my veins.

  • SeanDSLegalPlan

    Dear “Debt Relief Advocate”,

    What is your true agenda? Who are you again? What kind of a “debt relief advocate” would spend their time bashing companies that follow the FTC regulations?

    Again, I have invited you to our tiny office to meet our 5 employees and see our few hundred clients we have earned in our 4 years in business; To see that every contract we have written has NEVER charged up front settlement fees; Invited you to examine our books; Invited you to see our completion ratio & even invited you to randomly call 10 of our clients to see whether they are satisfied with our services- You declined.

    What kind of a “debt relief advocate” spends his time exposing companies involved the AACC? Companies that have their contracts on their website for anyone to see? Companies willing to help people that have already been scammed and are left with no where to turn? Companies willing to do their work at NO profit to assist these people?

    Now you are taking issue with some companies who have agreed to take clients from the “Front Fee” companies that do NOT provide any service and are shutting down & leaving their “clients” without any money, or any options- AT A FEE THAT IS AN 80% REDUCTION OVER WHAT THEY WERE PAYING! And a fee they will ONLY pay IF we do our job!

    Until you have the courage to reveal yourself & your agenda (which is NOT as a “debt relief advocate”) we will not engage your agenda- Obviously, you have an ax to grind here & I would guess you are upset that some companies can still earn a living and actually provide a service, while your “front fee” debt settlement model got shut down & you find yourself without the means to make your Porsche payment any longer.

    Lastly, I say again that Active Debt Solutions is NOT marketing our services but we do from time to time get leads- I can show you some leads that we could not offer service to because they were in a state where we do not have the ability to sell. I have emails (and so do the recipients) proving that we offered those leads to companies that are licensed in those states.
    Why would anyone take you seriously when you appear to be going after some of the few companies that make an honest effort to do the right thing? I have not seen any comments on any blogs FROM YOU regarding the “Mass Joinder” lawsuits that California just warned consumers about- and they are only signing a thousand unaware clients a month! Nor have I seen any comments FROM YOU on any of the “legal model” debt settlement companies that are still charging outrageous fees up front to THOUSANDS of your precious consumers each month! No, you spend your time bashing a company that wrote 2 new clients last year with NO UP FRONT FEES and charging a PERCENT of the client’s savings! Great job!

    For those other companies that are with us in offering an 80% fee discount (and are willing to take these poor people on with no profit margin) to HELP the consumers who were left out to dry by the companies that “debt relief advocate” used to own,-I say Great Job! At least someone is willing to make the effort to assist these people and in asking for very little in return! What are you doing for them?

    Debt Relief Advocate, Way to expose us for the vile, greedy bastards that we are! I’m sure the Attorney Generals in those states like Kentucky are very grateful for your work! You may get a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Great job Kojak!

  • Angelo

    …just ANOTHER skirt hiding behind an anonymous name.

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Who is Errick? Should he have an axe to grind with Care One? If so, why?

  • iamdebtman

    Debtbet, were you on that call? I struggle to believe you were because if your comment represents what you took away from the call, you must have dozed off.

    I was on the call. There was nothing spoken that left the impression there will be any effort to have USOBA, TASC & the AACC merge or build a new association.

    Actually, I did not hear AACC or USOBA represented on the call at all.

    Yes, there are concerns about fee cap regulation in several states. I would not say the discussion revolves around anyone’s wallet as much as I would say that most companies flat out would not be able to serve consumers in states with low fee caps. Connecticut has a 10% fee cap. See any companies signed on to help Connecticut consumers? Nope. Why? To do so would be to lose money. So… wallet concerns… yeah, but not in the sense your comment would imply when read by the casual observer.

    I just don’t think web comments like yours that make it seem like its all about profits should remain un-rebutted.

    I don’t think I heard Andrew on the call. I heard Bob.

    My take away from the call is that legitimate companies operating with a performance based fee model have legitimate concerns regarding a seat at the legislative table as industry stake holders who know what it costs them to help consumers better than any outsider who has never operated a company providing a debt relief service.

    Should there be discussions in this regard? Absolutely!
    Should those discussions be misrepresented my someone? Absolutely not!

  • Angelo

    Errick, is that you? Man, you really have some axe to grind with Care One lol!

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Curious-er- I am simply reading the law and thought I would provide an example of how any regulator or anyone in that matter may interpret that law…

    and if New Era is doing business in KY and they are not following the state fee guidelines nor are they registered, then shame on them. I mention them because I have seen New Era’s name in other states which tells me they have at least taken the time to look at specific states to determine which they should be licensed in or not. However, I am still not sure which states New Era currently operates in because last I checked on the AACC breakdown of there company they did not provide the state list and it said:

    “10. What states do you provide services in?
    We operate in most States and the list is always changing, please refer to our website for updates.”

    Which is interesting, why wouldn’t they disclose when all of the other AACC members have done so? The states are not all changing their laws over night, some change but over a period of time, maybe they may not want people to know where they are doing business so that state regulators can just look at the list and say “hey you say you are able to business in my state, yet I don’t see you registered or licensed here”

    Cambridge and Care One are Credit Counseling companies and they should be registered to do business in KY just like every other AACC member should be, but they are not so yes the MAJORITY of the members are not…

    I can definitely talk about Care One and Cambridge if you want, but that wasn’t where I was going with it but let’s do it-let’s look at Care One’s debt settlement program. Is Care One a Debt Settlement company? Are the consumers contracts under the name of Care One? Are they utilizing an Attorney DS model just so that they can avoid individual state fee guidelines? Which one of their labels is really the DS company? Is that the right thing to do by consumers? Is this the 2011 way of “Profiteering in a non-profit industry”? Like there fellow neighbors at Cambridge once did?

    So Curious-er to answer your attorney exemption question,
    as per 380.030(1) of KRS- Person exempt from classification as debt adjuster.- http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/380-

    (1) Any attorney-at-law admitted to the practice of law in this state by the supreme court of this commonwealth, who is NOT PRINCIPALLY engaged in the business of debt adjusting, when the person renders services in the course of his or her practice as an attorney-at-law.

    I am not an attorney, but this is how I interpret this- and look if anyone feels that I have provided wrong information or I am mistaken anywhere in any of my posts, please let us know. So, I would say if there is a licensed attorney that is practicing law in KY and his normal course of practicing law consists of many different areas- maybe criminal defense, divorce, wills, civil rights, corporate….etc and a client comes across the table looking for some help in adjusting their debt, I can see that the attorney in this case would be exempt as a debt adjuster because he/she is NOT PRINCIPALLY engaged in the business of debt adjusting.

    But for Law Firms or Attorney Models that pro-actively seek out obtaining clients for the purpose of providing debt relief services to, may be in direct violation of state laws.

    If anyone feels like they are unclear about state guidelines, do some research, contact state attorney generals and have an open discussion about how you interpret the laws and ask questions.

  • Debtbet

    Alex,

    According to your conference call you orchestrated earlier this week, apparently the idea is for TASC, the AACC, and USOBA to join forces to build a new association to fight regulators, current legislation, and pending legislation. I guess the main reason for this idea is to fight California and other states from putting fee caps on how much you can charge a consumer.

    So in doing this, more energy will be spent trying to protect how much money can you charge consumers (YOUR WALLET) instead of spending energy increasing your program completion ratio to prove to people what you charge is justified.

    Your and Andrew Housser had very compelling arguments on why in your opinion this was the best thing to do. Is this still the plan? If so will it be a new name and when can people expect to see the change made?

  • Curious-er

    DRA, Why the ata-boy in your comment for New Era? They are not on the licensed provider Kentucky list you linked.

    Bias much?

    I see 2 other AACC members on the Kentucky list, but you come off all authoritative in your post about the majority of… and glad hand Alex who is not on the list.

    While your cogitating, is there an attorney exemption for KY? Oh my… not so authoritative any more.

    Geesh.

  • Curious-er

    DRA, can you substantiate your claims with determination letters from Kentucky?

    You have shared your interpretation. What is it based on? What level of experience and expertise do you have that readers can use to weigh your comments? Should your interpretation be taken as gospel because your name is “Debt Relief Advocate”?

    Have you parsed Kentucky definitions and your interpretations and the varied debt relief models, or coaching, or budget analysis with TPTB in Kentucky, and in other states that you have commented on in the past, or will endeavor to comment on in the future?

    Are there any published court cases you have read from Kentucky where the judges ruling contains point by point specificity with regard to the definition and or permissible/non permissible activities governed by KRS 380.010?

    If so, citation please.

    Thank you in advance for your response to these questions.

  • Mike Reilly

    Tough to argue that, rules are rules.

  • Anisa Sharif

    Definitely agree with you Angelo. Suitability test is crucial with any client to make sure it even makes sense for them to keep going with debt settlement.

    I also believe we are going to lose money to build back the trust into clients that have been scammed. If money is the most we’ll loose to prove to the FTC there are companies out there with the interest of really just helping clients, than it’s well worth it. These clients have lost thousands in thousands in fees already, the least we could do is give them relief and show them there really are companies out there that want to help.

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Apparently since the majority of the AACC members do not follow individual state guidelines as to what they can charge for “debt adjusting” services. I think New Era and Care One for DM have been the only companies in the group that seem to be following state guidelines…Keep up the great work Alex and Mike…

    I will start off and provide my input on an example state to see if the $199 is allowed, just using the recent information from Kentucky.

    First, you have to determine how they define debt adjusting. Is it counseling? DS, DM, Financial Planning…?

    Debt Adjusting is defined in KRS 380.010- doing business in debt adjusting, BUDGET COUNSELING, debt management, debt modification or settlement, foreclosure assistance, or debt pooling service, or holding oneself out as acting or offering or attempting to act as an intermediary between a debtor and his or her creditors for a fee, contribution, or other consideration, or by words of similar import, as providing services to debtors in the management of their debts, to do any of the following:

    1. Effect the adjustment, compromise, settlement, modification, or discharge of any account, note or other indebtedness of the debtor;
    2. Receive from the debtor and disburse to the debtor’s creditors any money or other thing of value; or
    3. Solicit business and advertise as a debt adjuster

    Then you have to determine if you fall in the category of debt adjusting and take a look at what fees can be charged to the consumer:

    Let’s look at a quick example, again an example- of how KY may determine what debt adjusting is. I emphasize the words BUDGET COUNSELING because I am sure even the great Damon Day would agree that part of his role as a coach is to provide budget advise and budget counseling, and even if you provide budget advise or counseling in the great state of Kentucky and if anyone is cahrging greater than $125 within the first month of obtaining that consumer as a client they are technically violating the KY state statue, with the maximum Initial Set Up fee of $75 and a maximum Consultant fee of $50, which is all on a performance basis now and then you also have the greater of 8.5% of the amount paid to creditor or $30.00 per month again which is on a performance basis.

    Some of the states have strict fee caps, but if done right you can possibly be successful in…

    So if companies were looking to charge $199 per settlement at the time of settlement you would just have to make sure that the monthly fee’s are not earned on a monthly basis like your good friends over at Oak View Law group are charging right now every month…what is it $50 per month? Are any other performance based companies charging $50 per month? So if you are considering doing this for Kentucky citizens, it can be done, you can charge the $75 + $50 then the the greater of 8.5% or $30 per month as an accumulated performance base fee, but for every settlement after that, you just have to make sure that at least $30/month has equaled to at least your $199 benchmark..

    Oh, and I forgot that you also have to register your company with the Attorney General’s office and provide and annual audit and have a $25k surety bond..

    So BUYER BEWARE KENTUCKY CONSUMERS!!! You know what DS, or DM or Coaches can charge you for there services, contact the AG’s office to ensure that they are registered. A company who takes the time and due diligence to make sure they are in compliance should be able to provide the services you are looking for….

    Oh wait, here you go, there are only 43 registered debt adjusters in your state- http://ag.ky.gov/ag/agdownload

    So Active Debt, Debt Solutions Network and any other AACC company or whoever is going to participate, I would hurry up and get registered before Steve rolls out this $199 plan, because based on the states you claim to be doing business in like KY your name is not on the registered list…

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Apparently since the majority of the AACC members do not follow individual state guidelines as to what they can charge for “debt adjusting” services. I think New Era and Care One for DM have been the only companies in the group that seem to be following state guidelines…Keep up the great work Alex and Mike…

    I will start off and provide my input on an example state to see if the $199 is allowed, just using the recent information from Kentucky.

    First, you have to determine how they define debt adjusting. Is it counseling? DS, DM, Financial Planning…?

    Debt Adjusting is defined in KRS 380.010- doing business in debt adjusting, BUDGET COUNSELING, debt management, debt modification or settlement, foreclosure assistance, or debt pooling service, or holding oneself out as acting or offering or attempting to act as an intermediary between a debtor and his or her creditors for a fee, contribution, or other consideration, or by words of similar import, as providing services to debtors in the management of their debts, to do any of the following:

    1. Effect the adjustment, compromise, settlement, modification, or discharge of any account, note or other indebtedness of the debtor;
    2. Receive from the debtor and disburse to the debtor’s creditors any money or other thing of value; or
    3. Solicit business and advertise as a debt adjuster

    Then you have to determine if you fall in the category of debt adjusting and take a look at what fees can be charged to the consumer:

    Let’s look at a quick example, again an example- of how KY may determine what debt adjusting is. I emphasize the words BUDGET COUNSELING because I am sure even the great Damon Day would agree that part of his role as a coach is to provide budget advise and budget counseling, and even if you provide budget advise or counseling in the great state of Kentucky and if anyone is cahrging greater than $125 within the first month of obtaining that consumer as a client they are technically violating the KY state statue, with the maximum Initial Set Up fee of $75 and a maximum Consultant fee of $50, which is all on a performance basis now and then you also have the greater of 8.5% of the amount paid to creditor or $30.00 per month again which is on a performance basis.

    Some of the states have strict fee caps, but if done right you can possibly be successful in…

    So if companies were looking to charge $199 per settlement at the time of settlement you would just have to make sure that the monthly fee’s are not earned on a monthly basis like your good friends over at Oak View Law group are charging right now every month…what is it $50 per month? Are any other performance based companies charging $50 per month? So if you are considering doing this for Kentucky citizens, it can be done, you can charge the $75 + $50 then the the greater of 8.5% or $30 per month as an accumulated performance base fee, but for every settlement after that, you just have to make sure that at least $30/month has equaled to at least your $199 benchmark..

    Oh, and I forgot that you also have to register your company with the Attorney General’s office and provide and annual audit and have a $25k surety bond..

    So BUYER BEWARE KENTUCKY CONSUMERS!!! You know what DS, or DM or Coaches can charge you for there services, contact the AG’s office to ensure that they are registered. A company who takes the time and due diligence to make sure they are in compliance should be able to provide the services you are looking for….

    Oh wait, here you go, there are only 43 registered debt adjusters in your state- http://ag.ky.gov/ag/agdownloads/debtadjusters.pdf

    So Active Debt, Debt Solutions Network and any other AACC company or whoever is going to participate, I would hurry up and get registered before Steve rolls out this $199 plan, because based on the states you claim to be doing business in like KY your name is not on the registered list…

    • Mike Reilly

      Tough to argue that, rules are rules.

    • Curious-er

      DRA, can you substantiate your claims with determination letters from Kentucky?

      You have shared your interpretation. What is it based on? What level of experience and expertise do you have that readers can use to weigh your comments? Should your interpretation be taken as gospel because your name is “Debt Relief Advocate”?

      Have you parsed Kentucky definitions and your interpretations and the varied debt relief models, or coaching, or budget analysis with TPTB in Kentucky, and in other states that you have commented on in the past, or will endeavor to comment on in the future?

      Are there any published court cases you have read from Kentucky where the judges ruling contains point by point specificity with regard to the definition and or permissible/non permissible activities governed by KRS 380.010?

      If so, citation please.

      Thank you in advance for your response to these questions.

    • Curious-er

      DRA, Why the ata-boy in your comment for New Era? They are not on the licensed provider Kentucky list you linked.

      Bias much?

      I see 2 other AACC members on the Kentucky list, but you come off all authoritative in your post about the majority of… and glad hand Alex who is not on the list.

      While your cogitating, is there an attorney exemption for KY? Oh my… not so authoritative any more.

      Geesh.

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        Curious-er- I am simply reading the law and thought I would provide an example of how any regulator or anyone in that matter may interpret that law…

        and if New Era is doing business in KY and they are not following the state fee guidelines nor are they registered, then shame on them. I mention them because I have seen New Era’s name in other states which tells me they have at least taken the time to look at specific states to determine which they should be licensed in or not. However, I am still not sure which states New Era currently operates in because last I checked on the AACC breakdown of there company they did not provide the state list and it said:

        “10. What states do you provide services in?
        We operate in most States and the list is always changing, please refer to our website for updates.”

        Which is interesting, why wouldn’t they disclose when all of the other AACC members have done so? The states are not all changing their laws over night, some change but over a period of time, maybe they may not want people to know where they are doing business so that state regulators can just look at the list and say “hey you say you are able to business in my state, yet I don’t see you registered or licensed here”

        Cambridge and Care One are Credit Counseling companies and they should be registered to do business in KY just like every other AACC member should be, but they are not so yes the MAJORITY of the members are not…

        I can definitely talk about Care One and Cambridge if you want, but that wasn’t where I was going with it but let’s do it-let’s look at Care One’s debt settlement program. Is Care One a Debt Settlement company? Are the consumers contracts under the name of Care One? Are they utilizing an Attorney DS model just so that they can avoid individual state fee guidelines? Which one of their labels is really the DS company? Is that the right thing to do by consumers? Is this the 2011 way of “Profiteering in a non-profit industry”? Like there fellow neighbors at Cambridge once did?

        So Curious-er to answer your attorney exemption question,
        as per 380.030(1) of KRS- Person exempt from classification as debt adjuster.- http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/380-00/030.PDF

        (1) Any attorney-at-law admitted to the practice of law in this state by the supreme court of this commonwealth, who is NOT PRINCIPALLY engaged in the business of debt adjusting, when the person renders services in the course of his or her practice as an attorney-at-law.

        I am not an attorney, but this is how I interpret this- and look if anyone feels that I have provided wrong information or I am mistaken anywhere in any of my posts, please let us know. So, I would say if there is a licensed attorney that is practicing law in KY and his normal course of practicing law consists of many different areas- maybe criminal defense, divorce, wills, civil rights, corporate….etc and a client comes across the table looking for some help in adjusting their debt, I can see that the attorney in this case would be exempt as a debt adjuster because he/she is NOT PRINCIPALLY engaged in the business of debt adjusting.

        But for Law Firms or Attorney Models that pro-actively seek out obtaining clients for the purpose of providing debt relief services to, may be in direct violation of state laws.

        If anyone feels like they are unclear about state guidelines, do some research, contact state attorney generals and have an open discussion about how you interpret the laws and ask questions.

      • Angelo

        Errick, is that you? Man, you really have some axe to grind with Care One lol!

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        Who is Errick? Should he have an axe to grind with Care One? If so, why?

      • Angelo

        …just ANOTHER skirt hiding behind an anonymous name.

      • Errick

        No that’s not me I swear. I am hiding my identity but not permanently I hope.

        I only talk about CareOne because I have seen what they do. I am willing to bet most companies are the same, but I can’t really say.

        I have nothing against your rescue plan, except that I predict it will not go anywhere. These poor people, if they were ever a good candidate for debt settlement, have been wrung dry now.

        What I have been trying to say again and again because I think it’s important, that a debt settlement company can be in perfect compliance with every state and federal regulation, and still be an enormous scam. That’s Care One. Maybe that’s you too, if you’re doing this. They deliberately take less money from the client than they would need. They deliberately put their customers on a path to failure, because it has a higher margin than a path to success. They do it themselves in some states, and behind a law firm in others.

        And I can’t wear a skirt anymore because of my veins.

      • Curious-er

        DRA, your comment confirms what I implied due to your not answering questions succinctly.

        You are not an attorney by your own admission. What is it you do within the debt relief world that qualifies you to read an interpret stuff like this with a depth and understanding that would then better qualify your caveat emptor warnings? I ask because you post in a manner as to be interpreted as an authority on the subject. Without some kind of understanding of your frame of reference it is difficult to place import upon your comments.

        I read your comments as prognostications. Like you’re an arm chair debt relief deputy come regulatory soothsayer. I am not saying this to offend; I actually think you mean tons of well when you comment on stuff like this. I just want to establish a bright line measure of how seriously to take your comments.

        You post stuff like New Era’s answer to states they do/do not do business in with an implication that they are hiding something. To do so in the way that you have shows some degree of an agenda on your part. Maybe that’s just me, but why do I say that? They did answer the question, and quite plainly. They direct the reader to their website for updates. One would assume a reader can then go to their site or call them direct to learn if New Era will be able to assist in their particular state. There would be nothing wrong with that.

        You stated: “I am simply reading the law and thought I would provide an example of how any regulator or anyone in that matter may interpret that law”.

        This is a prognostication. See what I mean.

        You go on to comment about Care One: “let’s look at Care One’s debt settlement program. Is Care One a Debt Settlement company? Are the consumers contracts under the name of Care One? Are they utilizing an Attorney DS model just so that they can avoid individual state fee guidelines? Which one of their labels is really the DS company? Is that the right thing to do by consumers?”

        Regardless of how CarOne is structured they are most assuredly mindful of their regulatory compliance structure in the jurisdictions where they do whatever they do. Do they utilize an attorney model debt settlement? I believe your questions to be rhetorical. If they do, are they doing it to avoid state fee guide lines? I doubt it. If they are using the model it is because they are in observance of state guidelines, and not for the nefarious purpose your comment implies. Is it the right thing to do by consumers? If by “right thing” you mean using a performance fee attorney model that observes both state and federal guidance, than yes. If meant in a different way, please indicate in what way.

        You comment: “Like there fellow neighbors at Cambridge once did?”

        Did Cambridge have past issues with bad management? Yer dam skippy. Big time! Yet, they survived and now thrive and due to the scrutiny from back then that continues to this day, Cambridge is quite likely the cleanest debt relief provider in existence. Did your comment about Cambridge even attempt to embody this known element of their rebuilding themselves? Not an iota. Why?

        You comment: “I am not an attorney, but this is how I interpret this- and look if anyone feels that I have provided wrong information or I am mistaken anywhere in any of my posts, please let us know.”

        Here we find more prognostications. You interpret…. So what. Why should your interpretations mean anything? You have given no quantifiable reason anyone should weigh what you say as anything other than an arm chair debt relief deputy (again, not to offend -the phrase has now grown on me since using it above). Have you provided wrong or mistaken information? To a degree. You are providing what I see as agenda skewed comments that are incomplete in substance which can mislead a reader, and which has prompted my questioning your depth of understanding into the subject matter. By the way, who is the “us” in the “please let us know” above? How many people are you?

        You then comment: “So, I would say if there is a licensed attorney that is practicing law in KY and his normal course of practicing law consists of many different areas- maybe criminal defense, divorce, wills, civil rights, corporate….etc and a client comes across the table looking for some help in adjusting their debt, I can see that the attorney in this case would be exempt as a debt adjuster because he/she is NOT PRINCIPALLY engaged in the business of debt adjusting.”

        You would say? So what. Why is what you say meaningful when you are not an attorney and anyone reading has no idea of your competency to interpret or even comment on such things? Have you read through the legislative intent? Is this quoted direct from the general assembly records or something? Where is the line for “principally engaged”? Is there a line? What are the measures for that line? Is the line blurry? If so, how blurry and why?

        You comment: “But for Law Firms or Attorney Models that pro-actively seek out obtaining clients for the purpose of providing debt relief services to, may be in direct violation of state laws.”

        Says who? Has there been a published case on this exact issue in KY with dicta relevant to your quote? If so, I ask again for citation. This appears to be a foretelling which relates to my soothsayer comment.

        You comment: “If anyone feels like they are unclear about state guidelines, do some research, contact state attorney generals and have an open discussion about how you interpret the laws and ask questions.”

        Great suggestion! In fact, this quote is the most valuable to readers out of anything I have read in any of your comments. My question for you is twofold; how do you know debt relief providers have not already done so; and have you done so?

        DRA, you have made what I read as several prognostications. I would like to make some of my own, and further reserve the ability to comment similarly in the future.

        The “199-ers” are not part of the problem and will unlikely ever be viewed as such in Kentucky or elsewhere.

        It will be many years before the KY courts provide the industry with a bright line ruling on a performance fee attorney model with regard to “principally engaged in”. I could be wrong in my foretelling, as it may never come, or if it does, will be wrapped up in an action against front loaded fee attorney model and will not directly speak to the attorney performance model.

    • Anonymous

      Dear “Debt Relief Advocate”,

      What is your true agenda? Who are you again? What kind of a “debt relief advocate” would spend their time bashing companies that follow the FTC regulations?

      Again, I have invited you to our tiny office to meet our 5 employees and see our few hundred clients we have earned in our 4 years in business; To see that every contract we have written has NEVER charged up front settlement fees; Invited you to examine our books; Invited you to see our completion ratio & even invited you to randomly call 10 of our clients to see whether they are satisfied with our services- You declined.

      What kind of a “debt relief advocate” spends his time exposing companies involved the AACC? Companies that have their contracts on their website for anyone to see? Companies willing to help people that have already been scammed and are left with no where to turn? Companies willing to do their work at NO profit to assist these people?

      Now you are taking issue with some companies who have agreed to take clients from the “Front Fee” companies that do NOT provide any service and are shutting down & leaving their “clients” without any money, or any options- AT A FEE THAT IS AN 80% REDUCTION OVER WHAT THEY WERE PAYING! And a fee they will ONLY pay IF we do our job!

      Until you have the courage to reveal yourself & your agenda (which is NOT as a “debt relief advocate”) we will not engage your agenda- Obviously, you have an ax to grind here & I would guess you are upset that some companies can still earn a living and actually provide a service, while your “front fee” debt settlement model got shut down & you find yourself without the means to make your Porsche payment any longer.

      Lastly, I say again that Active Debt Solutions is NOT marketing our services but we do from time to time get leads- I can show you some leads that we could not offer service to because they were in a state where we do not have the ability to sell. I have emails (and so do the recipients) proving that we offered those leads to companies that are licensed in those states.
      Why would anyone take you seriously when you appear to be going after some of the few companies that make an honest effort to do the right thing? I have not seen any comments on any blogs FROM YOU regarding the “Mass Joinder” lawsuits that California just warned consumers about- and they are only signing a thousand unaware clients a month! Nor have I seen any comments FROM YOU on any of the “legal model” debt settlement companies that are still charging outrageous fees up front to THOUSANDS of your precious consumers each month! No, you spend your time bashing a company that wrote 2 new clients last year with NO UP FRONT FEES and charging a PERCENT of the client’s savings! Great job!

      For those other companies that are with us in offering an 80% fee discount (and are willing to take these poor people on with no profit margin) to HELP the consumers who were left out to dry by the companies that “debt relief advocate” used to own,-I say Great Job! At least someone is willing to make the effort to assist these people and in asking for very little in return! What are you doing for them?

      Debt Relief Advocate, Way to expose us for the vile, greedy bastards that we are! I’m sure the Attorney Generals in those states like Kentucky are very grateful for your work! You may get a Nobel Peace Prize!

      Great job Kojak!

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        That is a very interesting reaction. It is even more interesting that you rank 3rd for posts on a website that regularly exposes companies who may not be operating compliantly. Should I stop posting because you don’t like the information that I bring to the table? Should I change the title in which I post? What should it be? State Regulator?

        Is any of the information that I have provided in any of my posts wrong or incorrect? At no point have you argued that I am wrong with the information that I have brought to light. Sean, do you think that companies should not follow state guidelines if they are a performance based company? Can you provide a specific example for every single member company on how they comply with state laws? I have provided specific examples of why I believe they do not. Will the AACC members or ANY OTHER COMPANY that is interested in helping those consumers who were left out to dry be able to provide the licenses, bonds or registration requirements in order to do business in specific states? Will they be able to ensure consumers that they are charging the allowable fees in their state?

        I would also think that if a company is so passionate on a NO UPFRONT FEE model that they would actually be enrolling consumers into the program and help so many of those strapped consumers who are looking for relief from their debt.

        I am sorry if anyone feels that I am bashing any particular company or group that is not my intent. I believe I am providing useful information that is backed up by facts and information that is open to the public. Steve has invited me on so that I can share my information as it may do some good for the industry. Steve, do you disagree with the information that I have provided? Personally, I feel that it is important for the many different models that operate in the entire debt relief industry to comply with Federal and also STATE guidelines. Should no one be advocating state laws?

        Do you think the industry would have produced so many bad actors if everyone followed individual state laws?

      • Anonymous

        No keep posting… who ever you are.

      • Mike Reilly

        “Steve has invited me on so that I can share my information as it may do some good for the industry”.

        WOW

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        like you said Mike, rules are rules. No matter who the company, the model, how few complaints they have, everyone should play by the rules….that’s it…

      • Mike Reilly

        That is the bottom line!

      • Curious-er

        DRA, if you are involved in any regulatory capacity, it would be helpful, at least for me, to read your comments in that light.

        Thank you

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        If you are who I think you are then our conversation was about if you had any issue with any company it should be talked about openly. It was not my job to defend any company, including any AACC member, when someone has a valid question or concern.

        There are three possible outcome from a discussion like that, a correction can be made, we all learn something, or nothing happens.

        I know the AACC member companies and feel they are people that if found to need to make some correction, would.

        At the end of the day it’s not if a problem is going to occur with any company in the debt relief space. The mark of a leader is in how the address it. If an issue is brought up about some state licensing and it deserves a second look, I can’t see that as a bad thing.

      • Angelo

        DRA, where were you when USOBA and TASC members were scamming millions of consumers by charging up front fees? Where was your uproar when USOBA finally acknowledged the new FTC rules months after it was in affect? Really? Licensing? We are offering to help consumers that are going to be abandoned for virtually for free and the best you could come up with is Licensing? If my unlicensed son took my car to take his grandmother to the hospital after being mugged I doubt any officer would give him a ticket.

        Im not downplaying the importance of compliance but I find it strange that you are shedding so much light on us and not going after the companies that are still charging upfront fees or hiding behind the attorney model. Doesn’t sound much like the characteristics of a “Debt Relief Advocate”. Almost sounds like a personal attack…so I ask you DRA…something on your mind dear?

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        Really? Licensing? Yes, really. Licensing.

        I do not feel that I am personally attacking anyone. It is a shame you feel this way, it is nothing personal, I was just using AACC member companies as examples of companies that are not licensed or bonded in specific states. Which states again are you currently servicing again? You did not provide an answer in one of the other posts? It is ironic in a way that a group that was formed to put consumers interest first, which is great don’t get me wrong, was comprised of some companies that are technically not operating compliantly with state laws, which means you are operating in states illegally. I would have thought that it would be comprised by a group of companies that advocate state and federal compliance. There appears to be member companies that violate both federal and state laws…

        The bigger picture here is that regardless of the model, regardless of consumer complaints, regardless of your successes, no matter who you are, if you are a debt relief company which engages in debt adjusting practices, depending on the state, there are particular guidelines that need to be followed. Of course, being a performance based company with no complaints is definitely going to help you in case a particular state wanted to investigate your company. These are all what if’s and I certainly do not have a crystal ball.

        If you do not like the rules than maybe you should look into another industry, because believe it or not there are probably going to be plenty more rules and legislation’s that states will be passing sooner or later…

      • Angelo

        Harrumph, Harrumph!!!! See, now that’s the type of ethics and morals that this industry needs!!! You should have worked for USOBA hun, they could have used someone like you on their team to ensure that all it’s members were licensed in every state; following these very laws that you are so adamantly defending instead of lobbying to keep upfront fees…but then again, if you worked for USOBA you would have no credibility left in this industry and you would be the one looking into another industry.

      • LetsAllPunchEachOther

        I went back over the answer to your 1st attack on some members of the AACC & Angelo clearly answered that they have not reached our to sell in any state in the last year. Above Sean says it again & offers you proof that referrals he receives are sent out other companies.

        It’s SO obvious you have some personal gripe with them. Why else would you tell Angelo “If you do not like the rules than maybe you should look into another industry”?

        Why are you attacking small, compliant companies? And ones that have answered your attacks? It doesnt make sense- This company basically offered to work for free to help people out when they were taken by a company that charged in front and is closing it’s doors (see title of this thread).

        You have a vendetta and its plain as day. There’s hundreds of companies you can protect consumers from & you choose one that isn’t selling new business. You have no credibility.

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        “If you do not like the rules than maybe you should look into another industry”? Let me re-phrase that, if any debt relief provider does not like, cannot or does not want to follow the rules, maybe you should look into another industry.

      • LetsAllPunchEachOther

        And, what have you done for the industry?

      • Debt Relief Advocate

        I am advocating for Debt Settlement and Debt Management companies to comply with state and federal laws. It is equally important that even marketing companies stand behind compliant companies. The industry is going to continue to evolve, how it will evolve, I believe will depend on the compliant companies and the states. The FTC will obviously play an intricate role in making examples of non-compliant models with enforcement actions. Wouldn’t it be a great idea if a group of companies got together and worked with individual states on favorable legislation for performance based programs? Wouldn’t setting great examples as licensed companies create some type of interest from states in hearing what we have to say?

      • LetsAllPunchEachOther

        “I am advocating for Debt Settlement and Debt Management companies to comply with state and federal laws.”

        Here is the answer Active Debt published from when you first went an assault against members of the AACC- http://getoutofdebt.org/26180/active-debt-solutions-addresses-tipster-issue

        What laws are they breaking again?
        Why have you singled them out again?

        Their answers look very clear to me.

        That’s a company that never charged up front fees and you choose them to pick on? Get real-
        It’s so obvious that the outlawed model of charging fees without service is where you come from! So now you can grind your ax at some of the few companies that offer completion info, contracts on their webpages, fee information & HAVE NOW OFFERED TO WORK FOR NEAR FREE FOR THE PEOPLE HURT BY THE THOUSANDS OF OUTLAWED COMPANIES YOU USED TO WORK FOR?

        Keep posting- You still have no credibility.

      • Angelo

        Im pretty sure I know who you are and I can understand why you are attacking me since you are pretty much out of a job now and I refuse to let you infiltrate the AACC. Sorry, no one is buying the “change of heart” ever since the upfront model no longer supports your lively hood, valiant effort fighting that till the end !! Good luck bashing my company and the AACC, if I hear of anyone looking for a compliance officer I’ll let you know…

        I wonder though …will you have the courage to reveal yourself now or will you continue to hide behind that oxymoron of a username?

  • Mike Reilly

    I agree completely

  • Steve Rhode

    I wonder how many billions were taken on in the DS heyday and will never be settled. A billion is a big number but compared to what?

    I don’t think anyone ever said debt settlement doesn’t work. I’ve settled debts myself and know it can.

    I think the big problem is that as a collective industry it became infected with opportunists that enrolled anybody and made any promise. If the industry had focused on suitability on the front end and really policed itself you’d be looking at an entirely new landscape today.

  • Mike Reilly

    10-4 just wondering. Did you see that press release on Freedom? 1 billion in (face amount) debt settled since 2002. One company, who said DS doesn’t work? I wonder, how many billions have been settled by industry participants.

  • Steve Rhode

    No mystery. I came up with the price and asked a few companies, not all AACC members if they could “buy into” that low price. Some said yes, some said no. The list you see is the yes list.

    I have emails from other companies that want to participate at that price and I’m working my way through them.

    The price was the highest amount I felt consumers should have to pay to be rescued.

  • Mike Reilly

    Why the mystery?

  • Steve Rhode

    Actually they did not set the price.

    I’ve added you to the list.

  • Mike Reilly

    Steve, based on your post over at “Debt Articles” it appears the AACC founders set the $199 per creditor/settlement.

    Great bunch!

    I will quote myself from an earlier post and say “for the good of the team Emerge will take on what we can” I’m sure you know our web address.

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  • Chris

    Curiousity. What do you consider “a significant amount of debt” being settled to actually be?

  • Mike Reilly

    You have companies out there selling DIY kits for nearly twice that amount without consulting, are you asking anything from that group? Maybe free kits or $10 per with 5 free calls to show their support?

    Mike

  • Alex

    Hi Guys,
    Anyone who does actually settle significant amount of debt knows this is really taking a loss from the company by the time you take the cost of the staff to handle these clients, but unfortunately we all need to be part of the solution. I am sure we all realize that the people coming into this industry for the quick buck are either not on this site or have moved on to the next scam and here we are picking up the pieces.
    I know this will be a lot of work to help these already abused clients but we can do our share to whatever degree we all can to make a difference. I would suggest we all look at it as a way to help our fellow neighbors who have been robbed, we can’t take on all the problems but every little bit can help.
    All of us stand up companies will for sure want to be part of the solutions. Steve suggested an amount and some can and some can’t but I am very happy to see the interest in helping consumers. That should say something to the public about some of the great people in this industry.
    Thanks to all for helping carry the load!
    Alex Viecco
    VP/Co-Founder
    New Era Debt Solutions

  • Steve Rhode

    Michael,

    Companies are more than welcome to offer their own solutions. After talking with some others and getting feedback if the barebones $199 was something people could do, that’s where the stake was set.

    We have to remember, these are consumers that have already paid all the fees they ever thought they’d have to pay and may need a last minute rescue.

    The industry needs to clean up its own mess and at a fee that is manageable for the most amount of consumers that would need this emergency service.

    If you don’t think the fee is manageable for you, no harm, no foul.

    It might be a loss per case but how much is good PR worth to a company?

    Steve

  • Mike Reilly

    Steve, can you tell me how you came up with this figure? “a flat rate of $199 per account”.

    Let me share my experience in doing just this, my firm recently rescued a small portfolio of consumers that were abandoned by a local DS company. Not an easy task, I assure you. I will tell you it’s twice the work as compared to enrolling someone fresh. We cut our fees in all cases and eliminated them in some.

    It all starts with overcoming the consumers fear and anger (this process in itself is a time bandit).

    In each case, figuring out the status of accounts is also very consuming.

    The negotiation process (due to the double hardship) seems to take longer as well; clearly you want to use that to your advantage to get the consumer the best deal so, using the new hardship plays into the task at hand.

    I think you’re asking for a lot at $199 per account, especially for consumers early on in the process. For the good of the team Emerge will take on what we can but, I think you will get more boat builders if you consult with those that shows interest first to reach a general fee consensus.

    Just some thoughts

    Michael Reilly
    Emerge America

  • Steve Rhode

    Good idea. I’ll add the links to the DIY sections of the site as well.

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Although I can’t speak directly on behalf of Allison, though I am pretty sure as to why she cannot comment on the fee is because the FTC has left the debt adjuster/debt settlement/debt management fees up to the states. It would be up to each individual state to determine if that is an allowable fee. First, you will have to check with each individual state to make sure that the fee mentioned is allowed. As I have mentioned before, you are not allowed to exceed those state fee guidelines even if a specific statute was originally created for credit counseling. This option should also be available for only those organizations that follow state guidelines. It would also be extremely beneficial, that any of those organizations are able to provide more than just one option to the consumer, like DM, BK, and DS. Maybe on your master list, you will provide a portal to show the licenses that each company has….even law firms…

  • Debt Relief Advocate

    Although I can’t speak directly on behalf of Allison, though I am pretty sure as to why she cannot comment on the fee is because the FTC has left the debt adjuster/debt settlement/debt management fees up to the states. It would be up to each individual state to determine if that is an allowable fee. First, you will have to check with each individual state to make sure that the fee mentioned is allowed. As I have mentioned before, you are not allowed to exceed those state fee guidelines even if a specific statute was originally created for credit counseling. This option should also be available for only those organizations that follow state guidelines. It would also be extremely beneficial, that any of those organizations are able to provide more than just one option to the consumer, like DM, BK, and DS. Maybe on your master list, you will provide a portal to show the licenses that each company has….even law firms…

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Good idea. I’ll add the links to the DIY sections of the site as well.

      • Mike Reilly

        Steve, can you tell me how you came up with this figure? “a flat rate of $199 per account”.

        Let me share my experience in doing just this, my firm recently rescued a small portfolio of consumers that were abandoned by a local DS company. Not an easy task, I assure you. I will tell you it’s twice the work as compared to enrolling someone fresh. We cut our fees in all cases and eliminated them in some.

        It all starts with overcoming the consumers fear and anger (this process in itself is a time bandit).

        In each case, figuring out the status of accounts is also very consuming.

        The negotiation process (due to the double hardship) seems to take longer as well; clearly you want to use that to your advantage to get the consumer the best deal so, using the new hardship plays into the task at hand.

        I think you’re asking for a lot at $199 per account, especially for consumers early on in the process. For the good of the team Emerge will take on what we can but, I think you will get more boat builders if you consult with those that shows interest first to reach a general fee consensus.

        Just some thoughts

        Michael Reilly
        Emerge America

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Michael,

        Companies are more than welcome to offer their own solutions. After talking with some others and getting feedback if the barebones $199 was something people could do, that’s where the stake was set.

        We have to remember, these are consumers that have already paid all the fees they ever thought they’d have to pay and may need a last minute rescue.

        The industry needs to clean up its own mess and at a fee that is manageable for the most amount of consumers that would need this emergency service.

        If you don’t think the fee is manageable for you, no harm, no foul.

        It might be a loss per case but how much is good PR worth to a company?

        Steve

      • Mike Reilly

        You have companies out there selling DIY kits for nearly twice that amount without consulting, are you asking anything from that group? Maybe free kits or $10 per with 5 free calls to show their support?

        Mike

      • Mike Reilly

        Steve, based on your post over at “Debt Articles” it appears the AACC founders set the $199 per creditor/settlement.

        Great bunch!

        I will quote myself from an earlier post and say “for the good of the team Emerge will take on what we can” I’m sure you know our web address.

        Michael Reilly
        Emerge America

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Actually they did not set the price.I’ve added you to the list.

      • Mike Reilly

        Why the mystery?

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        No mystery. I came up with the price and asked a few companies, not all AACC members if they could “buy into” that low price. Some said yes, some said no. The list you see is the yes list.

        I have emails from other companies that want to participate at that price and I’m working my way through them.

        The price was the highest amount I felt consumers should have to pay to be rescued.

      • Mike Reilly

        10-4 just wondering. Did you see that press release on Freedom? 1 billion in (face amount) debt settled since 2002. One company, who said DS doesn’t work? I wonder, how many billions have been settled by industry participants.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        I wonder how many billions were taken on in the DS heyday and will never be settled. A billion is a big number but compared to what?

        I don’t think anyone ever said debt settlement doesn’t work. I’ve settled debts myself and know it can.

        I think the big problem is that as a collective industry it became infected with opportunists that enrolled anybody and made any promise. If the industry had focused on suitability on the front end and really policed itself you’d be looking at an entirely new landscape today.

      • Mike Reilly

        I agree completely

      • http://www.neweradebt.com Alex

        Hi Guys,
        Anyone who does actually settle significant amount of debt knows this is really taking a loss from the company by the time you take the cost of the staff to handle these clients, but unfortunately we all need to be part of the solution. I am sure we all realize that the people coming into this industry for the quick buck are either not on this site or have moved on to the next scam and here we are picking up the pieces.
        I know this will be a lot of work to help these already abused clients but we can do our share to whatever degree we all can to make a difference. I would suggest we all look at it as a way to help our fellow neighbors who have been robbed, we can’t take on all the problems but every little bit can help.
        All of us stand up companies will for sure want to be part of the solutions. Steve suggested an amount and some can and some can’t but I am very happy to see the interest in helping consumers. That should say something to the public about some of the great people in this industry.
        Thanks to all for helping carry the load!
        Alex Viecco
        VP/Co-Founder
        New Era Debt Solutions

      • Chris

        Curiousity. What do you consider “a significant amount of debt” being settled to actually be?

      • Debtbet

        Alex,

        According to your conference call you orchestrated earlier this week, apparently the idea is for TASC, the AACC, and USOBA to join forces to build a new association to fight regulators, current legislation, and pending legislation. I guess the main reason for this idea is to fight California and other states from putting fee caps on how much you can charge a consumer.

        So in doing this, more energy will be spent trying to protect how much money can you charge consumers (YOUR WALLET) instead of spending energy increasing your program completion ratio to prove to people what you charge is justified.

        Your and Andrew Housser had very compelling arguments on why in your opinion this was the best thing to do. Is this still the plan? If so will it be a new name and when can people expect to see the change made?

      • iamdebtman

        Debtbet, were you on that call? I struggle to believe you were because if your comment represents what you took away from the call, you must have dozed off.

        I was on the call. There was nothing spoken that left the impression there will be any effort to have USOBA, TASC & the AACC merge or build a new association.

        Actually, I did not hear AACC or USOBA represented on the call at all.

        Yes, there are concerns about fee cap regulation in several states. I would not say the discussion revolves around anyone’s wallet as much as I would say that most companies flat out would not be able to serve consumers in states with low fee caps. Connecticut has a 10% fee cap. See any companies signed on to help Connecticut consumers? Nope. Why? To do so would be to lose money. So… wallet concerns… yeah, but not in the sense your comment would imply when read by the casual observer.

        I just don’t think web comments like yours that make it seem like its all about profits should remain un-rebutted.

        I don’t think I heard Andrew on the call. I heard Bob.

        My take away from the call is that legitimate companies operating with a performance based fee model have legitimate concerns regarding a seat at the legislative table as industry stake holders who know what it costs them to help consumers better than any outsider who has never operated a company providing a debt relief service.

        Should there be discussions in this regard? Absolutely!
        Should those discussions be misrepresented my someone? Absolutely not!

      • http://www.neweradebt.com Alex

        Hello DebtBet. (I would rather use your name so I apologize)
        Yes it is I who orchestrated this call for the INDUSTRY not for a group or another. And NO it was not about how to merge the groups but rather to see the interest in what State legislation is happening and how it will impact the INDUSTRY.
        It was an open forum and it included people from the industry including people from TASC, USOBA and AACC and even those who are not members of any organization. I take pride in being able to get people together and discuss real issues. The calls are wide open and as I believe we are. If you want to be added to the call, simply let me know ([email protected]) so you can participate. My involvement with the AACC is about helping the industry be more transparent, the consumers deserve it and I think it will be the only way to fix this industry.
        I am not a JohnnyComeLately into this industry, my 11 year tenure and our focus of putting consumers first, I think is well documented.
        I am not sure if you are in the industry or not, but my call was to reach out to the Legislators as a group of TSR compliant companies and to make sure it is about putting customers first.
        To further clarify the call Andrew was not on the call he was out of town. I only have one opinion and that is that we need to present this industry in a better light, if you heard the call you would have heard me say CLEARLY that we need to put the CONSUMRES FIRST!
        I personally do not like the lobbying aspect but realize it may be necessary, how we go about it is more important.
        Have some people lined their pockets on the backs of consumers needing help? YES!!!! I have been preaching that for years. Our own company has been affected by the fly-by-night companies and affiliates, so this is why I believe this industry needs better representation and putting the consumers in the fore front.
        If you do a little history check on us. New Era or better yet Dan Smith and Alex Viecco have ALWAYS been performance based. Not once in our career have we taken the money before services were rendered. I would venture to say that we were possibly the first if not one of the first to be TSR compliant. On July 29, 2010 when the ruling was passed we were 100% compliant by not charging a single cent until settlements were achieved.
        I am not trying to pat myself in the back but rather lead by example. Steve asked for transparency, we delivered it.
        I hope you get a better view of who I am and what my intentions were and continue to be.
        Sincerely,
        Alex Viecco
        Vice President/ Co-Founder
        New Era Debt Solutions

      • F N B

        Alex, Re; GHS Solutions
        Pehaps you can reach out to the clients of GHS Solutions. They will be laying off 112 employees
        soon. Get out the Life Raft clients overboard!!!

        http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-03-18/business/fl-ghs-layoffs-20110318_1_debt-settlement-firm-debt-management-ghs-solutions

      • http://www.ftc.gov ComplianceSlave

        Their clients were “overboard” the day they signed up

  • Chris Schornak

    We definately need to help out in a situation like this. Debt Solutions Network is behind Steve’s idea 100%, and I think a lot of other companies will be also.

  • Chris Schornak

    We definately need to help out in a situation like this. Debt Solutions Network is behind Steve’s idea 100%, and I think a lot of other companies will be also.

  • Angelo

    There will be a certain percentage of those Errick but any responsible company offering any type of rescue plan should perform a suitability test and if BK is the best option then so be it, but there are plenty of consumers (especially those who enrolled within the last 12 months) who can still use a hand. I know you think that consumers should just negotiate their owe debt but that’s just not realistic, most dont have the stomach for it.

    There’s no money to be made at $200 per account but it’s a great way to show the FTC, regulators, AG’s and the consumers that we’re NOT all the same.

  • SeanDSLegalPlan

    We have been discussing it & we agree that the actions may leave MANY with no other reasonable option.
    At practically no margin I think you will find little effort to direct a candidate to program that won’t work for them- Even you may agree with that!

  • Errick

    It is a great thought, and I hope I’m wrong, but I think you’ll find it more typical than anecdotal that the client is financially exhausted and only their small and simple debts are settled. As you know, I contend that was the intent of most companies all along. It is bankruptcy for them.

  • SeanDSLegalPlan

    We are very open to the idea- We currently have rescue program available at a huge discount (amounts to about cost). I think the fee amount may be reasonable.

    I wonder why it would be limited to potential clients with cash on hand to settle an account? would it not make sense to avail a “program” to them, including an accumulation account for future settlements?

    Either way, it’s a great thought and we are looking forward to the discussion.

  • Anonymous

    We are very open to the idea- We currently have rescue program available at a huge discount (amounts to about cost). I think the fee amount may be reasonable.

    I wonder why it would be limited to potential clients with cash on hand to settle an account? would it not make sense to avail a “program” to them, including an accumulation account for future settlements?

    Either way, it’s a great thought and we are looking forward to the discussion.

    • Errick

      It is a great thought, and I hope I’m wrong, but I think you’ll find it more typical than anecdotal that the client is financially exhausted and only their small and simple debts are settled. As you know, I contend that was the intent of most companies all along. It is bankruptcy for them.

      • Anonymous

        We have been discussing it & we agree that the actions may leave MANY with no other reasonable option.
        At practically no margin I think you will find little effort to direct a candidate to program that won’t work for them- Even you may agree with that!

      • Angelo

        There will be a certain percentage of those Errick but any responsible company offering any type of rescue plan should perform a suitability test and if BK is the best option then so be it, but there are plenty of consumers (especially those who enrolled within the last 12 months) who can still use a hand. I know you think that consumers should just negotiate their owe debt but that’s just not realistic, most dont have the stomach for it.

        There’s no money to be made at $200 per account but it’s a great way to show the FTC, regulators, AG’s and the consumers that we’re NOT all the same.

      • http://www.pcsdebtrelief.com Anisa Sharif

        Definitely agree with you Angelo. Suitability test is crucial with any client to make sure it even makes sense for them to keep going with debt settlement.

        I also believe we are going to lose money to build back the trust into clients that have been scammed. If money is the most we’ll loose to prove to the FTC there are companies out there with the interest of really just helping clients, than it’s well worth it. These clients have lost thousands in thousands in fees already, the least we could do is give them relief and show them there really are companies out there that want to help.

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