A tipster (send in your tips here) just brought to my attention that the Association of Attorneys for Debt Resolution website is now active. See aadrsite.org.
Contact information is:
18300 Montfort Drive
Dallas, TX 75240
As part of the AADR membership information there is something called Attachment D – Disclosure Agreement. The disclosure agreement is to be listed on the member site, just like TASC requires. Here is what the disclosure statement says.
BY SIGNING BELOW, YOU ARE STATING YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND ALL THE ISSUES BELOW:
- You are enrolling into an attorney-client relationship after seeking the assistance of [Insert Organization]. Lawyer cannot and will not predict or guarantee specific results and individual results will vary. Lawyer is obligated to use his or her good faith efforts to timely negotiate the reduction or restructure of the identified accounts.
- You understand that saving sufficient funds to fund settlements is critical to successfully completing the program. It is important to highlight that you and you alone will be in control of all settlement monies and under no circumstances will [insert Organization] have custody or control of the funds you put aside to fund debt resolutions.
- You and [Organization] will establish a savings program you will need to maintain in order to settle your outstanding debts. Prior to retention, summaries of total settlement amounts, monthly savings and a timeline will be prepared. This will reflect the minimum amount that has been estimated that you will need to save to be in a position to resolve your debts. The actual settlement amounts, necessary savings and timeline required will vary based upon individual creditor(s) settlements, collection efforts, and other factors that may affect resolution or restructure of accounts.
- [Insert Organization] cannot force creditors to negotiate with Lawyers; however, most creditors and collectors will negotiate settlements. Lawyer will not make monthly payments to your creditors. Because monthly payments are not made, your creditor(s) may continue collection efforts on delinquent accounts. Such efforts to collect delinquent accounts may include phone calls, letters, charging off the account, sending accounts to collection agencies, attorneys, lawsuits and even garnishment of your wages if judgment is obtained. We will not be able to stop these collection activities and they may occur during the resolution negotiation process.
- The negotiation process will continue for many months. The time frame for resolution negotiation varies from client to client depending on circumstances. Some factors that may delay negotiations might be: (a) your financial hardship, (b) age and balance of accounts, (c) funds available to pay resolution, and (d) willingness of creditor to negotiate. No guarantees can be given; however, the more money you save the sooner you will be in a position to settle accounts. Any settlement must be agreed upon by both you and your creditor.
The Retainer Agreement defines how [insert Organization] will be compensated for its efforts and how any refunds will be made. Fees paid to the Lawyer for services rendered are not set aside or held in a trust fund. No monies will be paid from Lawyer to creditor(s) on your behalf.
- Communications with Creditors are handled on a case-by-case basis. Working with your Creditor(s) will be handled on case-by-case basis in order to best fit your circumstances.
- Making minimum payments. You have represented to the Lawyer that because of hardships, you are unable to meet the minimum payments required by your creditor(s). Because minimum payments are not made, you are breaking the terms of your agreement with them and your non-payment could be reported to consumer reporting agencies as late, delinquent, charged-off or past due. The failure to pay the minimum payment may cause the creditor to raise the interest rate on your account and impose other penalties. Your account balance will grow as your creditor adds accrued interest, late fees, over limit fees and penalties. Your balance may continue to grow after the retention of the Lawyer or until a settlement is reached. If negotiations are unsuccessful, you may be forced to pay the entire balance. After settlement with your creditor, a comment may be put on your credit report stating, “settled for less than full amount.” Participating in this program may have an adverse effect on your credit report or score.
- Settlement of $600 or more off what you owe may be reported to the IRS as Discharge of Indebtedness income. Please consider consulting your tax advisor to determine whether your circumstances permit you to exclude such Discharge of Indebtedness Income from your reportable income due to insolvency. Information on tax ramifications: a. consult a CPA or Tax Attorney, b. consult IRS website www.irs.gov; and c. review IRS Publication 908-“Bankruptcy Tax Guide” and IRS Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness (available on IRS website).
- The nature of the retention is limited. You understand that the Lawyer has been retained for the purpose of settling your unsecured debts and for no other purpose.
- It is your responsibility and right to communicate directly to the information provided below:
Upon request, you will receive from the Company our refund procedure and grievance policy. You have the right to report directly to AADR any concerns via email: [email protected]
This debt resolution program can be a very effective way to resolve your debt. This process contains factors beyond the control of your service provider. Your failure to complete this program will have negative consequences on your financial situation.
I have read and understand contents of this Disclosure Agreement.
From the way the membership application reads to me, even though members may be debt settlement processing companies and marketers, the fee section says that, “Fees shall be charged in compliance with State Bar rules and will be considered fair and reasonable.” I’m curious if this means that AADR feels that all members are somehow magically exempt from the Federal Trade Commission telemarketing sales rules?
The same application says, “Members, who are not solely marketing or generating leads, will demonstrate their ability to achieve resolution of consumer debt that are mutually agreeable to both the Client and the Creditor.” So I assume this means that marketing or lead generator members will not have a responsibility to confirm the consumer does have an ability to settle their debt. What do you think? Comment below.
And the site does not list its members like the TASC site does. Maybe they don’t have any members yet or they are just following the lead of USOBA and want to keep the membership listing secret.
You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.
I can always use your help. If you have a tip or information you want to share, you can get it to me confidentially if you click here.