The American Fair Credit Council is an organization of consumer advocate companies that provide assistance to those with overwhelming credit card debt. Its goal is to promote “best practices” through a strict Code Of Conduct by which each member company must abide by.
History of American Fair Credit Council
The American Fair Credit Council was officially announced on June 16, 2011 with over 50 member companies. However, the organization actually began as The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) in 2005 with the same vision of fair, consumer protective legislation. TASC was mostly responsible for educating state legislators on the benefits of debt settlement and how licensing would prevent further abuses by industry bad apples.
After TASC faced criticism for opposing federal regulation that banned fees prior to settlement, the association realized it was time for a change in the organizations core principles as well as a brand new name.
Code Of Conduct – Member Company Guidelines
The Code of Conduct for the American Fair Credit Council was particularly put in place to distinguish itself. The guidelines are meant to support consumer friendly business practices that would set apart members of the association from other industry companies.
The association’s most significant guideline is that member companies must operate within the Federal Trade Commission regulation of October 2010. Specifically, members must comply with the part of the rule that prohibits the collection of any fee prior to a settlement being reached. This is important because a wave of companies have claimed, to what they believe, as a valid and lawful exemption to the rule by being Attorney Debt Settlement Companies.
Other notable guidelines include:
- Members shall not accept any form of compensation from creditors.
- Estimates used for programs are based on historical data that can be substantiated.
- Disclosure of both the pros and cons of debt settlement.
Can You Trust AFCC Members?
The core principals of the association are Fairness, Trust, Clarity, Advocacy and Legitimacy. Although members shouldn’t be solely trusted on this aspect, being a member of the association is an additional credential.
You may also want to look at other factors such as Better Business Bureau Rating or complaint volume, number of complaints on the internet, offering programs with no fees prior to settlement, among others.
What Else Is The AFCC Involved With?
The AFCC is actively involved around the country in educating state legislators on debt settlement programs. Some states have proposed fees that would essentially eliminate debt settlement as an option based on the unreasonably low fee restrictions making it unprofitable for companies to assist consumers.
By educating state legislators on the benefits and risks of debt settlement consumers will continue to have multiple options to pay off credit card debt.