FTC to Hold Public Workshop to Examine Debt Settlement Industry; Agency Seeks Comments, Original Papers, and Participation

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The Federal Trade Commission staff will host a workshop on September 25, 2008, to explore growth in the for-profit debt settlement industry and to examine its impact on consumers and businesses. “Consumer Protection and the Debt Settlement Industry” will bring together consumer advocates, industry representatives, state and federal regulators, and others with relevant expertise to provide information on a range of issues, including the economic and market forces that have led to the emergence of the for-profit debt settlement industry, current business practices in the industry, the regulatory and legislative environment, and the outlook for the future of the industry.

The event, which is open to the public at no charge, will be held in the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. There will be no pre-registration. All attendees will be required to show a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license. Members of the public and press may view the event Webcast on the FTC’s Web site, www.ftc.gov. Any person may submit written comments on the topics to be addressed, as well as any original research, surveys, and academic papers. Comments and papers must be received on or before August 15. For specific information on submitting comments, please consult the FTC Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/debtsettlement/. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via e-mail to vbudich@ftc.gov or by calling Victoria Budich at 202-326-3764. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and a way to contact you if we need more information. Please provide advance notice.

The FTC staff also invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists as soon as possible. Interested parties should include a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed at the workshop and their complete contact information. Panelists selected to
participate will be notified by August 25, 2008. Prospective panelists should submit their materials to debtrelief@ftc.gov.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(Debt Settlement Workshop)

Contact Information

Frank Dorman,
Office of Public Affairs

Sara Gottovi or Leah Frazier,
Bureau of Consumer Protection