- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I am writing to correct a misimpression that arose from William Ehart’s article about debt settlement companies (“Credit companies, scammers offer out for bankruptcy,” Business, Sept. 27). The article quotes me as saying, “The concern is that many consumers aren’t getting any services at all in the vast majority of [debt settlement] cases or not nearly the amount promised.” I made that statement in the context of a discussion of specific Federal Trade Commission law enforcement actions, and it was not meant to be a general indictment of the debt-settlement industry.

Unfortunately, a subsequent letter to the editor (“The benefits of debt settlement,” Letters, Oct. 5) from Chris Kesterson, president of the Association of Settlement Companies, further distorted my quotation. I simply did not say, as Mr. Kesterson puts it, that “most debt settlement companies aren’t providing any services to consumers.”

As mentioned in Mr. Ehart’s article, the FTC has proposed regulations for this industry in light of the problems highlighted by our law enforcement. At this point, the FTC has not reached any conclusions about the practices of the industry as a whole, and it is committed to a careful and fair examination of the facts. The public can comment on the proposal until Oct. 26 and can attend an open forum on the proposed regulations on Nov. 4.

ALLISON I. BROWN

Attorney

Federal Trade Commission

Washington

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