I have been in the credit card debt relief industry for over a decade now, and have actually seen lots of changes take place; some changes that benefit consumers and some that do not. In this short article I will discuss the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of the "debt settlement law firm" strategy to obtaining from debt. Numerous recent modifications in the debt settlement industry have actually made customers very puzzled; this post will open your eyes to the truth of the matter. A fair warning in advance this is going to be a long and helpful short article, so if you're not truthfully major about discovering a solid solution to your debt issue then stop reviewing right now.
Current FTC Changes
On October 27th 2010, the debt settlement industry was turned upside down by some major modifications that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) had actually put into location. These applications by the FTC will change the way debt settlement business can perform company permanently; and actually are a benefit to the customer who comprehends them correctly.
There were two significant modifications, the very first is the advance fee ban, and the second is full disclosure; both being essential subjects to understand.
Let's very first analyze the Advance Fee Ban so you have a good understanding why this was implemented and what it has done to the market as a whole. The FTC stepped up to act versus the settlement industry after years of complaints from consumers about being swindled and scammed. Numerous companies were run by people, who had their own pockets in mind first, not the debtor who requires assistance.
Exactly what brought in a lot of businessmen to the debt settlement industry was the ability to make quick money with very little work. Prior to the FTC changes business were permitted to charge their entire settlement cost prior to ever even speaking to a creditor to negotiate settlement. Needless to say this caused numerous troubles, and untold varieties of naive customers were paying big charges upfront only to have the business never ever complete the task; therefore leaving them in a much worse circumstance than they were currently in.
After years of fielding grievances the FTC lastly boiled down and made it prohibited for debt settlement business to charge fees prior to settling. This is fantastic information for consumers, significantly decreasing the risk of getting in a debt settlement program; at least where losing upfront charges are concerned.
However for most of companies in the industry this was TERRIBLE news; but for the legitimate and business smart companies it is in fact GREAT news. It was bad for all the "fraudster" operations; no longer might they simply blatantly rip people off, now they had to EARN their cash by negotiating good settlements for their clients. Nearly overnight you saw over 90 % of companies bail out of the market. Even some truthful business stepped down, just due to the fact that they did not have sufficient operating capital to continue carrying business without charging their charges upfront.
For the honest, sound companies in the industry this was good news, because:.
A) Now there are legal teeth (FTC regulations) to rid the industry of bottom feeding "rip-off" business.
B) It implies less competition for them; permitting them to concentrate on exactly what they do best, save individuals money and get them out of debt quickly.
The second significant implementation on behalf of the FTC was "Full Disclosure". Complete disclosure merely indicates that an agent of a debt settlement company must:.
A) Explain all of the various debt relief alternatives offered to consumers, not simply debt settlement.
B) Fully divulge both the advantages and disadvantages of the debt settlement process.
The issue was that many company sales representatives would just lie, or easily not notify potential clients about the unfavorable elements to the settlement process such as: prospective claim, creditor harassment, adverse credit scores and that the creditors were not earning up until settlement (some companies really trick people into thinking they are remaining current with their creditors throughout a debt settlement program).
So you could be doubting this point where I am choosing all this and exactly what it concerns "debt settlement lawyers", just continue on and you will be enlightened.
The Law Firm Fee Loophole & Deceiving Spin!
At this point in time the only method for a debt settlement company to collect a cost for their service wants they reach a negotiated settlement on behalf of their customer; and this is the means costs ought to always have been collected, and fortunately is now the only method to be gathered.
However, law firms and lawyers have found a way around this ... for the moment at least. Since today it is still legal for a "debt settlement lawyer or law firm" to gather their charges prior to they settle your debt. Remember they are not debt settlement business so for that reason the FTC rulings have not affected them yet.
The majority of attorney settlement version programs are very pricey, many times charging a percentage of the overall debt quantity a client owes and a percentage of the amount of cash conserved when the settlement is reached; typically costing more than a settlement business's fee.
There are a few things you have to recognize about what a debt settlement law firm is attempting to sell you on to validate gathering huge upfront charges. Initially they provide you the impression that they can really represent you in court if a lender were to file suit versus you, and 2nd numerous "claim" to be able to stop collection calls.
For beginners if you are being sued by a company outside the state the lawyer practices in then they can not protect you, they can merely refer you to another law firm (by which obviously you have to pay even more legal charges to be defended). 2nd even if the lender is in your state the law firm in the huge majority of cases will charge you additional costs to appear in court; making the truth that you paid extra legal charges ahead of time mean basically nothing.
Furthermore while some law firms do send letters to your lenders to help stop harassment, they can not really ensure you that the calls will be stopped. It's actually as easy as that, among the disadvantages to debt settlement is creditor harassment; no true means to totally avert that exists.
Now the tricking spin many sales reps are sharing to naive customers is that their "attorney settlement program" is the only legal technique to a debt settlement program. Which to say the least can be very confusing to customers, oftentimes incapacitating the customer with worry of doing anything; specifically if they do not have the cash to pay the law firm up front.
This is really misleading of these companies; the only truth in their statement is that they are the only entity who has the LEGAL ability to TAKE YOUR MONEY in advance prior to they settle your debt, and that is the only reality because statement!
So What Can You Do?
This news might very well leave some people feeling even more lost and uncertain about exactly what move to make to reduce a terrible debt circumstance. Fortunately I have a few options that I can present to you.
The very first is an answer to the trouble of lawsuit. Most of individuals who do join a law firm doing this since they feel they are getting some legal security; for that reason getting rid of perhaps the single most significant disadvantage to debt settlement.
The truth is suits are a possibility; the creditor can demand an overdue account. The truth is that by far the majority of people undergoing settlement do not really get taken legal action against; merely due to the fact that the lenders do not have enough money and time to pursue all the people who owe them money. And the truth is oftentimes even when they do get a judgment it is still difficult to collect money from some people; the old adage goes "can not get blood from a rock".
Also remember each state has various laws worrying how collectors can pursue claims for credit card debt; with some states like Texas having really debtor friendly laws in place, while others like Georgia do not. BUT there is another solution that makes it possible for a debtor to benefit from the FTC rulings without any upfront fees and still have affordable true legal defense.
This option is "debt settlement insurance coverage". Some debt settlement companies can refer you to other organizations that can offer an insurance protection program (not available in all states). These plans are generally extremely budget-friendly and really offer the essential legal security to represent you in court to defend you versus the match; at no additional cost then exactly what the insurance plan expense in the first place.
This actually gives the customer the best of both worlds, for that reason offering them a sincere way to leave credit card debt and limiting any legal consequences; all while staying clear of needing to submit bankruptcy.