San Diego, CA. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) visits the high profile debt settlement operator The National Consumer Council and shuts them down. Ameridebt, another large credit counseling firm who also delves in debt settlement, announced its filing bankruptcy. Ameridebt has stated that they have 90,000 clients (industry observers believe the number is closer to 70,000).
This leaves thousands of consumers across the country will find themselves at risk, having spent a lot of money at these firms who either can no longer fulfill their obligations to manage their debts or who are seriously impaired in being able to continue.
"We're very concerned about consumers whose accounts are in some sort of legal status or who may getting there fast due to the impairment or shutdown of their agency" said Dianne Wilkman, President of Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management (www.credit.org).
Client cases at some of the card issuers are being heard by national independent arbitrators and their decisions are binding. Dependent on several factors, outcomes could include lien, judgment, garnishment or bank attachment. Customers may have the opportunity to make arrangements to repay the loan contractually or through a Debt Management Plan prior to these potential outcomes being filed.
Another option consumers can take is to contact a sector certified, reputable credit counseling agency to get their Debt Management Plan transferred over.
This is a tricky issue since getting approved into a Debt Management Plan entitles one to re-aging of their accounts with most creditors - a significant benefit, but federal rules allow creditors to re-age only once in 5 years.
The ICFE recommends the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org) and Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies (aiccca.org) networks.
Credit card issuers are telling these credit counselors that they will be standing by to help consumers transfer over to good agencies as best they can.
Calling the NFCC toll free number at 800-388-2227 will connect you to the nearest agency. The Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies also has a toll free referral number: 800-450-1794.
Consumers should tell the new agency they should not be charged another enrollment fee for transferring and they should hang up if the new agency does not want to help out in this way.
Consumers should be advised to keep in touch with their creditors. Many highly reputable counseling agencies, such as Springboard, based in Riverside, CA., will not charge any consumer with another agency an enrollment fee and in many cases should be able to lower their monthly fees for debt management plan administration since it has a very low fee structure.
For more information about transferring a debt-payment-plan (DMP) or credit and debt counseling contact:
Paul Richard, RFC Executive Director Institute of Consumer Financial Education PO Box 34070 San Diego, CA 92163
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