The Association of Settlement Companies, a debt settlement trade association, proclaims to be the watchdog of the industry and to “promote good practice in the debt settlement industry.” But I’ve got to ask myself, if TASC is so focused on working on behalf of consumers then way did the TASC President, Chris Kesterson, (seen left) just settle legal issues with the State of Vermont for violating the Consumer Fraud Act.
You would think that of anybody in TASC, that the very President would be very focused on staying out of legal trouble, but apparently, no.
Debt Settlement America, Inc., a debt settlement company based in Dallas, Texas, has entered into a settlement with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office that will result in refunds and payments to the State totaling over $120,000. The Attorney General claims that the company violated state law by engaging in the business of debt adjustment without a license, and by failing to comply with the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act. This is the ninth settlement between the Attorney General’s Office and a debt settlement firm in the past year.
According to Attorney General William Sorrell, Debt Settlement America violated the Consumer Fraud Act by not following the State’s three-day right to cancel requirements and by failing to have prior proof to support online claims about the results it could achieve for consumers. Debt Settlement America’s website stated that the company could reduce consumers’ debts to “less than 50 cents on the dollar.”
Debt Settlement America entered into contracts with 25 Vermont consumers and charged 10 to 15 percent of the dollar amount of the debt placed with the company. Those consumers paid the company a total of over $69,000 in fees.
Under the settlement, Debt Settlement America must pay full refunds to all of its Vermont customers and $50,000 in civil penalties and costs to the State. In addition, the company will pay $2,000 to any Vermonter who was sued by a creditor after signing up with the firm, and will offer to complete, without charge, negotiations with the creditors of its Vermont customers. For more information on the settlement, consumers can call the Attorney General’s Office at (802) 828-5507. – Source
Frankly, I’m beginning to think that if the very President of TASC can’t keep his own debt settlement company in compliance then I’m not sure we can trust anything the organization has to say about, well, anything. It would be one thing if this was maybe the first time at the regulator party, but it’s not for Debt Settlement America. Click here for more past articles about them.
If you’d like to learn more about what TASC seeming has to really promote then you will be interested in reading these articles as well:
- TASC – Just Another Marketing Gimmick
- TARF – The Association of Red Foxes
- TASC – Debt Settlement Lobby or Protector of the People?
- The Association of Settlement Companies – TASC – An Introduction
- TASC – The Association of Settlement Companies – A Closer Look