Today, the Federal Trade Commission came down hard on for-profit debt relief firms. The FTC’s new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule will prohibit debt relief companies from collecting advance fees, among other things. Here is some basic information about the new Rule.
Who: The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the Telemarketing Sales Rule, has developed the new rules.
The rule applies to all for-profit debt relief agencies that sell debt relief services over the telephone, including those that discuss settlement over the phone with prospective clients. In other words, they don’t have to be cold-calling consumers to be covered by the rule.
These final amendments are effective on September 27, 2010, except for the upfront fee ban, which is effective on October 27, 2010.
The Rule will:
(1) prohibit debt relief service providers from collecting a fee for services until a debt has been settled, altered, or reduced;
(2) require certain disclosures in calls marketing debt relief services; and
(3) prohibit specific misrepresentations about material aspects of the services.