PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Marty Jackley said today that consumers will soon have more protection from debt relief services. Recent amendments to the Federal Telemarketing Sales Rule will prohibit Debt Relief Companies from charging a fee before they settle or reduce a customer's credit card or other unsecured debt. These amendments will take effect in late October. But three additional provisions take effect today. These provisions will:
- Require debt relief companies to make specific disclosures to consumers. This means that before the consumer signs up for the service the provider must disclose fundamental aspects of their service, including how long it will take for consumers to see results or how much it will cost.
They must also state any negative consequences that may result from using them, such as damage to the consumer's credit worthiness.
- Prohibit them from making misrepresentations. This includes success rates and whether the provider is a nonprofit entity.
- Extend the Telemarketing Sales Rule to cover calls consumers make to these firms in response to debt relief advertising.
"Consumers need to continue to avoid offers of "guaranteed lower" monthly credit card or loan payments," said Jackley. "But with these new provisions to the telemarketing sales rule these debt relief companies are going to have to be more accountable."
These Rule changes cover telemarketers of for-profit debt relief services, including credit counseling, debt settlement, and debt negotiation services. The Rule changes do not cover nonprofit firms, but do cover companies that falsely claim nonprofit status.
If you have been a victim of this scam or would like additional information contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Wilbur, (605) 773-3215