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10-14-2003, 06:09 PM #1LoraineGuest
news article: Feds Examine Consumer Credit Services
If you're looking to get help getting out of credit card debt,
its "let the buyer beware" time in regard to nonprofit Credit
Counseling companies. According to this news article, there have
been an increasing number of consumer complaints about them,
including high fees, hidden charges, and little or no counseling
services. Here's part of the article, and the link to the whole
thing is at the bottom.
Feds Examine Consumer Credit Services
By MARY DALRYMPLE, AP Tax Writer
WASHINGTON - Debtors beware. Consumers who turn to nonprofit credit
counseling services could find themselves paying high fees and
getting little advice, government agencies said Tuesday in announcing
an investigation of the industry.
The Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Trade Commission,
pursuing an increasing number of consumer complaints, said some
nonprofit credit counselors do not meet the standards for
educational, tax-exempt status.
The two agencies said consumers sometimes are pushed into debt
repayment plans or consolidation loans — fixed payment plans to
help pay off debts — without help in learning how to budget, save
Complaints also have centered on high fees, hidden charges, even late
fees when counselors fail to pay a consumer's creditors on time. In a
few cases, counselors have not paid a consumer's creditors at all,
the agencies said.
"Many of these groups provide a valuable service to consumers, but
some use the tax code to skirt consumer protection laws," said IRS
Commissioner Mark Everson.