Many Ohio consumers find themselves in a situation where they have sought out the services of a debt settlement company, only to be sued years into the program, and almost all of the money they have paid has went to the debt settlement company’s fees.
None of their debt has been settled, the company cannot defend the lawsuit (even though many advertise as law firms), and the company refuses to refund the consumer any of their money. There is a remedy for this situation.
“…doing business in debt adjusting, budget counseling, debt management, or debt pooling service, or holding oneself out, by words of similar import, as providing services to debtors in the management of their debts, to do either of the following:
(1) To effect the adjustment, compromise, or discharge of any account, note, or other indebtedness of the debtor;
(2) To receive from the debtor and disburse to the debtor’s creditors any money or other thing of value.
Ohio Revised Code applies to any company engaging in debt settlement, debt consolidation, or any other incarnation of adjusting debts. There is an exception for debt adjusting incurred in the practice of law in this state, which is why many of the debt settlement companies began partnering with law firms. Although every case must be analyzed on its own facts, many of the times these law firms do not employ an Ohio licensed attorney, and thus, do cannot practice law in this State.
Although Ohio Revised Code 4710 does not ban advanced fees (the federal TSR does so), it limits the amount of fees a debt settlement company is able to charge an Ohio resident. Almost all debt settlement companies charge more than the statute allows.
A violation of certain provisions of the Debt Pooling Companies Act is also a violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. As such, if you can prove violations of the Debt Pooling Companies Act, you are entitled to triple your actual damages, statutory damages, attorney fees, punitive damages, and you are able to seek an injunction prohibiting the company from operating in the same manner in the State of Ohio.”