To ensure debt a collection practice is honest and does not cause any harassment for the debtors, the FTC has formulated specific laws. This law covers all aspects of debt management and collection by the creditors whether it is done by them, by their telemarketers or by a professional debt collection agency.
Knowledge and compliance of these laws is not only mandatory for the creditors and debt collectors but it is also a duty on your part as their customer to know about these as well. This knowledge will prevent you from being conned and ensure that you get the desired ‘relief’ from your debt as [promised by these debt relief companies.
Though will have a major part of such risks of being duped covered if you choose a debt relief company after conducting a thorough research and comparing services and charges of multiple companies. Knowledge of the TSR cannot be overlooked at any cost. Therefore, make sure that you visit s few sites such as Nationaldebtrelief.com and others to read the reviews and testimonials to make your informed decision in the end.
However, willful ignorance of the laws governing debt collection practices certainly cannot be your defense should you end up in a situation that you never expected.
The law and the attorneys
Most of the people take help of debt consolidation or debt settlement attorneys while dealing with their unmanageable debts. This they do thinking that the attorneys are exempted from the new TSR.
Well, this true to some extent but not entirely true as there is no general exemption of all the attorneys that provide debt relief services especially for those attorneys that engage in telemarketing.
However, most of these attorneys usually fall outside the rule and this is specifically for two reasons such as:
- The TSR applies only to the debt service providers who engage in interstate telemarketing and
- All those providers including the attorneys who meet face to face with the customers before they sign up.
However, to know more about such exemptions of attorneys from most of the provisions of the rule you are advised to read the Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule to check out whether or not such face to face exemptions apply to you.
Telemarketing calls types covered
According to the new Telemarketing Sales Rule there is a wide variety of telemarketing calls covered. Since the rule was enacted way back in 1995, all telemarketing transactions were covered and included calls for:
- The sale of credit repair services
- Any products that had a negative option feature
- Any prize promotions and
- Advance fee loans.
Any debt relief companies that initiate such calls to their potential customers or hire any particular agency to make such calls on their behalf are covered by the TSR as always.
However, the new rule expands such coverage and scope of the TSR and now covers the inbound calls of the debt relief services that are made by the potential customers to the company directly or any other appointed agency by them calling on their behalf. This is the new addition to the rule to its already existing coverage of all outbound calls made to the potential customers by the company itself or by its designated agency working on its behalf. A few examples of the type of calls covered by the new TSR are:
Calls in response to advertising:
Many consumers call up the debt relief companies in response to the advertising. These ads may come to them in different forms but all will be covered by the law. A few of the forms of such ads provided by the debt relief companies include:
- Those telecasted through different TV
- Broadcasted over radio commercials
- Home shopping programs
- Phone book
- Online ads
- Billboards and
- Ads in any other media.
Calls in response to direct mail promotions:
Consumer can also call a debt relief company in response to different direct mail promotions made through different modes urging people to take up their debt relief services. A few of these modes include:
- Door hangers
- Email and others.
According to the new rule, all calls and any transactions resulting from such calls whether it is for settling or consolidating credit card debts or any other unsecured loans are covered by it. Any calls or any mode of communication that encourages the customers and the recipients to make a call to learn more about the specific debt relief service will also be covered by the law.
Other forms of calls and services included
There are also a few other specific types of calls included under the umbrella of the new TSR.
- All those companies selling debt relief services as well as those helping them or working on their behalf are subject to all of the abovementioned restrictions of the TSR and in addition to that they are also expected to follow the restrictions laid down with regards to the Do Not Call provisions of the Rule.
- Additionally, all of the existing exemptions from the TSR apply to all those businesses that not only meet with their customers individually before signing them up for their services, but include those companies as well that does not necessarily deal with credit card debts. Any company that falls under the definition of “debt relief service” and provide any type of help for any type of unsecured debts such as medical debts are also covered by the new Rule.
- On the other hand, all those debt relief companies that promises providing relief from mortgage debts are not covered under the new TSR. But that does not mean they have a free upper hand and can do whatever they feel like. The specific debt relief companies are subject of a separate FTC rule called Mortgage Assistance Relief Services or MARS.
If you know about these laws you will be informed about the ways to deal with the situation once you start getting those annoying phone calls from the debt collector asking you to make the payments for your debts.