Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced an agreement with Credit Solutions of America (CSA) that cracks down on the Texas-based debt settlement company’s alleged practice of charging high upfront fees and encouraging consumers to quit paying their creditors.
“CSA’s existing Oregon customers may be entitled to a partial refund if they are not satisfied with the service they get,” said Attorney General Kroger.
CSA is the largest debt settlement company in the country and has a national client base. Oregon consumers complained that CSA charged very high up-front fees and encouraged clients to stop paying their creditors. There were frequent allegations that a lack of effort on behalf of CSA resulted in litigation and costs levied against consumers.
Oregon’s new law prohibiting such up-front fees was a very important tool in obtaining a resolution to this case. House Bill 2191 protects consumers by limiting fees the companies can charge, preventing misleading advertising, and requiring better disclosures, among other things. The law also requires debt management companies to register with the Department of Consumer and Business Services. For more information or to check whether a company is registered, call the DCBS Division of Finance and Corporate Securities at 1-866-814-9710 or go to http://www.cbs.state.or.us/dfcs/debt_mgmt.html
As a result of this settlement, four Oregon consumers will receive a total of about $2,600 in restitution. In addition, 800 Oregon consumers who are current clients of CSA are promised a refund of pre-paid fees proportional to any success the company had in resolving their debt if they are not fully satisfied with services rendered by CSA. Oregon consumers with questions can contact the Department of Justice Consumer Hotline: 1-877-877-9392.
The company also agreed not to solicit additional clients in Oregon for three years, complete existing files and withdraw from doing business in the state for three years. CSA is ineligible to apply for or conduct business in Oregon until three years from the date of settlement. The Oregon Department of Justice and the Department of Consumer and Business Services worked in conjunction to resolve the case and have decision-making authority with regard to CSA’s future re-entry. This veto power will be exercised in light of CSA’s conduct in the states it continues to do business in during the interim.
Several other states have filed complaints against CSA. – Source