16 CFR Part 310 Telemarketing Sales Rule- Debt Relief Amendments #543670-00086

Submission Number:
543670-00086
Commenter:
Mrs. Danielle Palmiero
Organization:
Century Negotiations, Inc.
State:
PA
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 310 Telemarketing Sales Rule- Debt Relief Amendments
For 11 years I worked sales in the Health Care industry, and during nursing home tours, the worst misconception people would comment on was how terrible “homes” were and how could someone pay to put a family member somewhere where the employees didn’t care about their residents? These misconceptions were generally fueled by inaccurate reporting and the media’s attention to the few companies with deficiencies – the companies that did not represent the majority of our industry. For the past year, I have been working in the debt settlement industry and I have been amazed that similar inaccuracies and poor media reporting have helped to fuel the misconceptions of debt settlement as well! As a manager, I have the opportunity to review client programs and listen to phone calls from clients that are seeking customer service support. What I hear are stories from consumers who are faced with hardship but want to fulfill their financial obligations. People who feel like they were at the end of a road with no options to help them survive and now have a support team available to guide them as they work toward stabilizing their financial future. I hear the tears of relief that someone is available to listen as well as offer options and solutions to the concerns as they arise. I could fill your website with case studies of clients that have successfully completed a debt settlement program and have given testimonials of how they would never have been able to do this without a program like debt settlement. Does every client complete as planned? No – but no industry is immune to some consumers that don’t fall into the expected outcome. It is for those clients though, that we are constantly regulating ourselves and evaluating every opportunity for improvement. By having an association like TASC, industry standards are established and companies are held accountable to prove their fair business practices and mission to uphold the client’s best interest. Just like my experience in healthcare, the few bad debt settlement companies have been focused and highlighted on by the media and by other debt management entities as a representation of the norm. This in an injustice to the thousands of consumer’s debt settlement has helped! Their stories deserve to be heard. In times of great economic distress, consumers need an advocate, a support system and options that work. The Debt Settlement companies, the members of TASC, we have proven that to our consumers! The proposed changes from the FTC will negatively impact our industry and most likely result in many debt settlement companies not being able to sustain their business. That means less viable choices for millions of consumers - denying consumers a chance to work toward financial freedom and increasing the rate of the economic crisis that we are faced with today. It would be irresponsible of a government to allow that to happen to its people!