The Rally in Raleigh November, 2010. Aftermath.

This past weekend my first ever Rally in Raleigh was held in order to bring together members of the debt relief industry to try to engage in a conversation on how to make the debt relief industry a safer and better place for consumers.

Alex Viecco from New Era Debt Solutions offering some feedback as everyone listens.

The following people attended.

  • Damon Day, DamonDay.com
  • Scott Johnson, U.S. Debt Resolve
  • Andy Faria, Northeast Settlement Group
  • Alex Viecco, New Era Debt Solutions
  • Angelo Anzalone, Active Debt Solutions
  • Jordon Olsen, SilverLeaf
  • Sean Ryan, Active Debt Solutions
  • Ashley Eichelberger, SilverLeaf
  • Jason Byrum, SilverLeaf
  • Dan Smith, New Era Debt Solutions
  • Mike Croxson, CareOne
  • Robert Zangrilli, Franklin Debt Relief
  • Jim Buttonow, EasyIRS.com
  • Michael Reilly, Emerge America
  • Steve Anello, Emerge America
  • Rod Ebrahimi, ReadyForZero.com
  • Jenna Keehnen, USOBA
  • Anisa Sharif, Personal Credit Solution
  • Sonia Garrison, Center for Responsible Lending
  • Diane Chen, CESI Debt Solutions, CEO
  • Lynne Weaver, North Carolina Attorney General Office
  • Ignacio Thayer, ReadyforZero.com
  • Linda Remsberg, NoteWorld, President
  • Bard Luippold, NoteWorld
  • Chris Schornak, Debt Solutions Network
  • Allison Brown, Federal Trade Commission

The meeting lasted all day and in fact we ran out of time to continue the discussions. But a great big thank you is owed to NoteWorld for taking all the participants hanging around on Saturday night out for a wonderful dinner. It was utterly delicious.

The meeting was videotaped and sections will be posted as we work on making them available.

I would say that the size of the meeting, small, allowed all the participants to not only get to know each other, but also to have an ample opportunity to express opinions and ask questions. In my book I would classify it as a very successful get together.

Some Pictures from the Meeting

Listening intently.

A great picture of the wide spectrum of the participants. From left to right, debt coach, software developer, debt settlement company, consumer policy maker, credit counseling company.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

Charles, a consumer, asking the group how people find a good debt relief provider to work with.

Lynne Weaver, Esq. from the North Carolina Attorney General office sharing some important information.

The group listening to Allison Brown, Esq. from the Federal Trade Commission answering questions from the group.

I’ll be posting more information specifically on the sessions and topics we discussed.

Overall I’d have to say the Rally in Raleigh was very successful and I hope to do it again in the future.

I’d like to thank the City of Raleigh for being such a great backdrop, Anthony Bourdain from the television show “No Reservations” for walking through the lobby and taking pictures with some of us, NoteWorld for picking up dinner on Saturday, the glorious weather, and most importantly the people that traveled long distances to attend and openly shared their opinions and feedback.

Some Feedback from Attendees

The biggest benefit for me was realizing regulators are not to be feared if you’re a good company. They’re actually our biggest allies and they want us to communicate with them because they’re understaffed and need help identifying bad players. I plan on starting some dialogue with the Allison Brown and Lynne Weaver moving forward. Knowing this has not only opened up the possibility of enrolling clients in North Carolina for my company, but I have more peace of mind knowing that as long as I’m being honest and doing my best for our clients, I don’t need to have the constant fear of being targeted by a regulator just for being a debt settlement company. – Robert Zangrill, Franklin Debt Relief

Steve, first off let me say that it was a pleasure meeting you and your staff, I believe what you are doing is of paramount importance to consumers, as well as current and future industry participants.

The Rally in Raleigh in my opinion was a great success. Wow, there are actually players in the industry who care! Most interesting, aside from the individual perspectives, was the deep discussions with the NC Attorney General and the FTC. As I have posted on your site recently, ” this industry is in for some big changes”. Great meeting, I look forward to future gatherings. – Michael Reilly, Emerge America

For me, the most beneficial aspect was hearing varied perspectives from actual industry professionals and learning about what the biggest industry pain-points are and what people are doing about it. The way debt relief products and services should be marketed for example, seems to be a big issue and open topic particularly with respect to the new FTC ruling. It was nice to see industry ‘insiders’ going out of their way to help each other, there is still a lot of confusion and misinformation reaching consumers (a reflection imho of the same issues on the inside). – Rod Ebrahimi, ReadyForZero.com

As Rod mentioned, we both found the event was well-executed, and I found that the guests and questions were timely and relevant. It was pretty unique that people could hear from regulators in such a forum. I think you did a good job of stepping back and asking hard questions, and I know they were hard because not everyone could agree on definitive answers 🙂

Being a new entry, the biggest benefit for me on the trip was talking with experienced people: in an industry where misinformation is common, a few minutes talking with someone clears through a lot of it. – Ignacio Thayer, ReadyForZero.com

Not only was the meeting beneficial, but the whole aspect of getting together with those who shared the common interest of helping consumers really strengthened our core values. It was interesting to see how we all felt about the FTC law and to have so much insight from different views. – Anisa Sharif, Personal Credit Solution

Well, we certainly thought the whole thing was terrifically valuable. We owe you a debt of gratitude Steve for facilitating the event.

The AG from NC and participation of the FTC, Noteworld & even Jenna at USOBA were outstanding. We simply can not thank you enough for bringing all of that together.

I need to tell you I kept saying to Angelo that it felt surreal to be in a meeting like that, in our industry & surrounded by so many like minded people. I don’t consider (most) of the participants our competition, rather, I came away with a feeling of cohesiveness and unity. It’s nice to know I can call Damon, Andy, Alex or Scott and get some help with questions we sometimes struggle to find out ourselves. – Sean Ryan, Active Debt Solutions

First and foremost. THANK YOU. I think you guys did a terrific job. I thought it was very well handled and I was impressed with the direction of the conversations. As we all know it is so hard to get everyone in one room to agree. Even if they do. Everyone wants to hear it their way, but after I spoke to people I believe everyone was on the same page. – Alex Viecco, New Era Debt Solutions

The meeting was worthwhile and some very important topics were discussed. Alison Brown from the FTC brought a powerful message that really needs to reach more people. Every decision debt settlement companies are making right now are more important that any they have made previously. Everyone is watching and everyone is on notice. – Jenna Keehan, USOBA

I want to thank you for not only this weekend, but for all the guidance you have provided us all along. Northeast Settlement Group is relatively new to the debt relief industry and the chance to meet with like-minded professionals, regulators, and consumer advocates was absolutely priceless. This weekend was an incredible learning experience for myself and I have been extremely busy all day implementing what I learned. – Andy Faria, Northeast Settlement Group

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the “Rally in Raleigh” event held in North Carolina.

This event was hosted by Steve Rhode, the “Get Out of Debt Guy”. www.GetOutOfDebt.org.

This was a gathering of like-minded companies and individuals that want to clean up the many abuses found in the debt relief industry.

Although I’ve known Steve Rhode for many years, this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him in person. With Steve there are no hidden agendas. He is a man that is very passionate about helping people get out of debt and protecting consumers from the bad players in the debt relief industry. – Dan Smith, New Era Debt Solutions

Thanks for a great meeting. It is rare that industry competitors can get together and collaborate, all of the betterment of the consumer.

Clearly, Saturday was the foundation of a collaborative, long-term initiative in bringing best practices to the consumer. Those attending showed courage and leadership in putting consumers before profits.

What I liked most about the conference is that it was all about the consumer. Many had differing opinions on how to address the industry brand, but all agreed that the consumers’ best interest should be the primary focus. It was refreshing to see so much integrity in an industry that is not known for its ethics. – Jim Buttnow, EasyIRS.com

I want to thank you for putting this great event together on a short notice and really bringing us together for the greater good we are all after.

I think the room had some amazing energy of likeminded people with the consumer at the forefront. It is refreshing to bring me back several years to a time where all of the industry was about making a difference and helping consumers only to be overtaken by greedy, self serving individuals. I feel the industry has been re-set and it is time to go back to the basics and really allow “ethics” to rule the industry. – Alex Viecco, New Era Debt Solutions

I can’t thank you enough for putting together such a great meeting, it was a pleasure to be a part of a movement to restore truth in Debt Settlement. Active Debt has been an advocate of banning up front fees for over 3 years and in the past we have felt as if we were alone in our beliefs that charging upfront fees is harmful to consumers and a proven failed model. Like you, we believe that when done ethically and properly Debt Settlement is a great tool for helping consumers get out of debt. Well, it was great to finally be able to share ideas and thoughts with like minded colleagues and there’s hope in knowing there are others who feel the same. More importantly thank you for all you do to expose the “pirates” that have damaged the credibility of our industry, it’s truly priceless. Keep up the great work!! – Angelo Anzalone, Active Debt Solutions

It was absolutely worthwhile. Two big reasons why. It was great to openly discuss the debt settlement industry with a small group of like minded people. I don’t know of any other place that happens.

Secondly, listening to the AG’s office and FTC was a privilege. Getting access like that was amazing. I learned a lot and now have a very healthy and respectful impression of our government officials. – Chris Schornak, DSN

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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.
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