Consumer Credit Industry Criticizes Ohio, Pennsylvania Legislation on Debt Settlement

June 27, 2013 

Proposed legislation in Ohio and Pennsylvania would increase regulation of the for-profit debt settlement industry, but some members of the industry say the bills ignore the practices most detrimental to consumers. Ohio H.B. 173 would codify consumer protections adopted by the Federal Trade Commission, while Pennsylvania S.B. 622 would mandate licensure for individuals who offer debt-settlement services. The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies has contacted both state legislatures to voice its concerns. “Recent actions taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against abusive and even criminal debt settlement abuses would indicate that many consumers are still suffering because of the practices of some for-profit debt settlement companies, and these proposed bills will not help address the problem without substantial amendment,” declared association president David Jones. The group has recommended caps on fees, restrictions on enrolling consumers with financial conditions that may not yield a successful debt settlement program, and stiffer penalties for violations.
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