Thirty three local bar associations, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Bar Association have launched a Credit Rights education campaign. The campaign comes after the Federal Reserve put into effect new rules designed to protect credit card users from late payment and penalty fees. The Pennsylvania Bar Association is giving away a free brochure and posting new information to their website.
Gretchen Mundorff, the president of the PA Bar Association, says the effort is focused on informing the public about debt-settlement companies. She says they often promise too much to costumers and misguide them into paying more fees instead of helping. Mundorff suggested that rather than dealing with the companies, credit card users should look to lawyers, many of whom are offering debt relief services as a volunteer effort.
Mundorff also says the longer a credit card user stays in debt the worse the problem gets and the harder it is to fix in the future. She suggested that rather then wait to ask for help, do it sooner so the problem is easier to solve.
As of September this year, the FTC put rules into effect to regulate over-the-phone debt-settlement companies. These new rules include debt-settlement companies disclosing: how long it will take the company to get results, how much it charges for service, and the consequences for seeking relief. Additional rules make it illegal for companies, over the phone, to charge upfront fees.