Is Debt Settlement Legal
The short answer to a complex question is YES. Debt settlement is a legal solution used by thousands of Americans to help them avoid bankruptcy. The theory behind debt settlement is very simple: negotiate deals with credit card companies that are mutually beneficial for both parties. This ultimately leads in the credit card company receiving a lump sum payment, and the consumer paying off the entire debt for a percentage of the outstanding balance. The greatest advantage for the credit card company is that they avoid any future problems with collecting on the debt, and any concession made on the creditor’s part is most obviously tax deductible. The consumer is at no time breaking any laws or committing any illegal acts.
So, if the answer is so simple, then why is the question so complicated? The problem with debt settlement is not the legality of the practice, but the ethics of those who practice it, namely debt settlement companies. Unfortunately, a number of unethical debt companies have been found to take advantage of consumers’ financial strife to boost business.
They essentially promise clients unrealistic results and then charge them outrageous administration fees for services they never provide. Thus, we see that legislation is not so much to protect credit card companies, but in fact to protect unknowing consumers. For this reason, a number of states are requiring debt settlement companies to complete forms and register activity with the state’s Attorney General in order for them to be more easily tracked. This helps the government to identify unethical companies in a legal and ethical industry. The idea is to eliminate the companies that have.
So, if you are considering joining a Debt Settlement program, relax! What you are doing is legal, ethical, and morally correct; just make sure that the company you chose is also!