Important Notice To Our Visitors
Purpose of the Policy
The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website:
We may use the standard "cookies" feature of major web browser applications to provide optimal user experience. Our advertisers, upstream providers and/or associates may elect to display advertisements at this website. Although these advertisements may contain cookies, we do not have access to this information. You may choose whether to accept cookies by changing the settings on your browser. However, if you choose to disable the cookie function, your experience on this website may be diminished and some features may not work as they were intended.
Third Party Websites
This website contains links to other websites. If you choose to visit other websites, we are not responsible for the privacy practices or content of those other websites. It is your responsibility to review the privacy policies at other websites to confirm that you understand and agree with their policies.
This website allows visitors to send inquiries regarding our website and services. If a user voluntarily enters personally identifying information in the inquiry form or email, we will not use this information for any purpose other than to serve the needs of the party submittimg the information. This includes submitting the personal and identifying information to third parties in order to fulfill the requested services, inquiry and/or the intended purpose of the user for submitting the personal information. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we may disclose this personal information if required to do so by law or upon a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to conform to the edicts of the law.
Modifications to the Policy
We are an Information Service Provider.
We Do Not Provide Debt Relief Services.
Gelinas Associates, owner of this website and many other websites, is strictly a publisher and information service provider. We do not provide debt relief services, nor do we ever charge consumers or visitors to our websites any fees of any kind. Our objective is to provide our visitors with un bias information regarding debt relief, money management, debt consolidation, credit cards, financing, financial services, bankruptcy, legal matters and a host of other topics and subjects.
In achieving our objective and to provide us with revenues for our service, we do list various advertisements and resources for a variety of third party services and products, including debt relief services, debt consolidation, credit reports, credit cards and legal software.
It is important to understand that all of these resources are provided by third party companies and not by Gelinas Associates. The vast majority of ads displayed on this website are provided by Google Adwords, which are displayed arbitrarily by Google, and in which we have absolutely no control. Other resources displayed are paid advertisements and/or through third party affiliates, which provide us with revenues in some form or fashion. However, we DO NOT endorse any company advertising with us, including third party affiliates or paid advertisers. This include debt relief agencies that are associated with our 1800DEBT.COM toll-free number. This number rings into an independent third party call center, that we understand deals with a large number of independent debt relief agencies nationwide. Consumers who call this number are directed to one of the agencies depending on the amount of unsecured debt they possess, and also from the area code they are calling from. Gelinas Associates is not connected or affiliated with any of these agencies, nor do we have any control whatsoever over any of these debt relief agencies.
We strongly recommend that any and all visitors to this website use due-diligence prior to signing-up with any debt relief service, or contracting with any company, or purchasing any product or service accessed from our website, or for that matter, any website.
We disclaim all responsibilities for error or omission in advertisements or any other information contained on our website. Information on our website is believed to be accurate, but is provided AS-IS and for entertainment only. We are not a law firm or legal entity, therefore, you are encouraged to check with an attorney prior to making any legal decision or signing any contract.
As stated above, we DO NOT endorse any company, nor do we make any warrantee, guaranty or representation of any kind. As such, if you use our website, you agree to hold us harmless as to advertisers claims and/or subject matter. You, the user of our website, are solely responsible for conducting your own research and doing your due-diligence prior to engaging the services of any agency or company, or purchasing any product or service.
Read Prior To Signing Up
With Any Debt Relief Agency
FTC Issues Final Rule To Protect Consumers in Credit Card Debt
Amendments to Telemarketing Sales Rule Prohibiting Debt Relief Companies
From Collecting Advance Fees Will Take Effect in October 2010
Starting on October 27, 2010, for-profit companies that sell debt relief services over the telephone may no longer charge a fee before they settle or reduce a customer’s credit card or other unsecured debt.
“At the FTC we strive every day to make sure America’s middle class families get straight deals for their dollars,” Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “This rule will stop companies who offer consumers false promises of reducing credit card debts by half or more in exchange for large, up-front fees. Too many of these companies pick the last dollar out of consumers’ pockets – and far from leaving them better off, push them deeper into debt, even bankruptcy.”
Three other Telemarketing Sales Rule provisions to take effect on September 27, 2010, will:
require debt relief companies to make specific disclosures to consumers;
prohibit them from making misrepresentations; an
extend the Telemarketing Sales Rule to cover calls consumers make to these firms in response to debt relief advertising.
The Final Rule covers telemarketers of for-profit debt relief services, including credit counseling, debt settlement, and debt negotiation services. The Final Rule does not cover nonprofit firms, but does cover companies that falsely claim nonprofit status. Over the past decade, the FTC and state enforcers have brought a combined 259 cases to stop deceptive and abusive practices by debt relief providers that have targeted consumers in financial distress.
Advance Fee Ban
The Final Rule contains specific requirements for debt relief providers related to charging an advance fee before providing any services. It specifies that fees for debt relief services may not be collected until:
the debt relief service successfully renegotiates, settles, reduces, or otherwise changes the terms of at least one of the consumer’s debts;
there is a written settlement agreement, debt management plan, or other agreement between the consumer and the creditor, and the consumer has agreed to it; and
the consumer has made at least one payment to the creditor as a result of the agreement negotiated by the debt relief provider.
To ensure that debt relief providers do not front-load their fees if a consumer has enrolled multiple debts in one debt relief program, the Final Rule specifies how debt relief providers can collect their fee for each settled debt. First, the provider’s fee for a single debt must be in proportion to the total fee that would be charged if all of the debts had been settled. Alternatively, if the provider bases its fee on the percentage of what the consumer saves as result of using its services, the percentage charged must be the same for each of the consumer’s debts.
Dedicated Account for Fees and Savings
Another new provision of the Final Rule will allow debt relief companies to require that consumers set aside their fees and savings for payment to creditors in a “dedicated account.” However, providers may only require a dedicated account as long as five conditions are met:
the dedicated account is maintained at an insured financial institution;
the consumer owns the funds (including any interest accrued);
the consumer can withdraw the funds at any time without penalty;
the provider does not own or control or have any affiliation with the company administering the account; and
the provider does not exchange any referral fees with the company administering the account.
Disclosures and Prohibited Misrepresentations
Under the Final Rule, providers will have to make several disclosures when telemarketing their services to consumers. Before the consumer signs up for any debt relief service, providers must disclose fundamental aspects of their services, including how long it will take for consumers to see results, how much it will cost, the negative consequences that could result from using debt relief services, and key information about dedicated accounts if they choose to require them.
The Final Rule also prohibits misrepresentations about any debt relief service, including success rates and whether the provider is a nonprofit entity. The FTC’s Statement of Basis and Purpose, which accompanies the Final Rule, provides extensive guidance about the evidence providers must have to make advertising claims commonly used in selling debt relief services.
The Rulemaking Process
In August 2009, the FTC published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule and requesting public comments. Over 300 commenters, representing a wide variety of stakeholders, submitted comments in response. The Commission also held a public forum on the proposed amendments on November 4, 2009. The FTC developed the Final Rule based on the public comments, the record of the public forum and the FTC’s September 2008 Workshop on the debt settlement industry, recent testimony before Congress, and law enforcement actions brought by the Commission and the states.
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