Debt settlement is a viable option for consumers who are struggling with their unsecured debt, and we at the Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) know the industry’s reputation isn’t helped when people, such as those in William Ehart’s article “Credit companies, scammers offer out for bankruptcy” (Business, Sept. 27) speak out inaccurately against the financial tool.
The need for debt settlement exists now more than ever, especially as this service provides an alternative to bankruptcy for the millions of Americans who are weighted with the burden of unmanageable high-interest credit-card debt.
Thus, we are dismayed by Federal Trade Commission staff attorney Alison Brown’s assertion that most debt-settlement companies arent providing any services to consumers. On the contrary, the industry settled $2.2 billion in consumer debt to creditors last year.
We also find it amusing that Michael Bovee is quick to speak on behalf of the industry and attack its pricing methods. His company, which according to the Better Business Bureau has just one employee, doesn’t even perform debt settlement - only education - and yet he charges his customers 15 percent of the amount they save after doing the negotiation themselves!
Like any industry, we know there are bad apples in the debt-settlement world, and thats why TASC is doing everything to weed them out - from maintaining strict member guidelines to getting legislation passed across the country. Unfortunately, consumers in debt won’t see the benefits of using debt settlement when misinformation is propagated.
The Association of Settlement Companies