SCS/SB 216 - This act requires debt settlement providers only to provide debt settlement services under a debt settlement plan when performing the services for a fee.
Debt settlement services are defined as the negotiation, settlement, or alteration of the terms of payment of a consumer's debt with the consumer's creditor without receiving or holding money from a consumer for the purpose of distributing that money to the creditor.
Under the plan, the provider may only charge reasonable consideration not to exceed 4% of the principal amount of the debt in enrollment fees and 20% of the principal amount of the debt in aggregate fees. The balance shall be collected in equal payments over a period determined by the provider as long as the last payment is due no sooner than the median month in the plan. Upon completion of the plan, aggregate fees shall not exceed the amount the plan reduces the principal amount of the debt originally enrolled in the plan. The debtor may voluntarily prepay fees, and the provider may collect fees on a pro rata basis once the provider obtains reasonable offers.
Debt settlement providers are required to carry insurance in the amount of at least 1 million dollars.
The Attorney General is charged with the enforcement of these provisions and injunctions and orders for restitution may be issued for violations.
This act is similar to SB 1108 (2008).