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United States Organizations for Bankruptcy Alternatives Chosen to Participate in FTC Panel

October 20, 2009 11:43 pm ET

The United States Organizations for Bankruptcy Alternatives (USOBA), a trade association dedicated to the advancement of consumer protection in the debt settlement industry, announced today that two of its leaders have been invited to participate in a Federal Trade Commission public forum on the proposed amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule regarding debt relief services. USOBA Executive Director Jenna Keehnen and Legislative Chairperson John Ansbach will participate in the forum, scheduled for November 4, 2009 at the FTC’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

Keehnen and Ansbach believe the FTC’s proposed amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule may leave the tens of thousands of Americans struggling to get out of debt with fewer options. One of the proposed amendments to be discussed at the forum includes an “advance fee ban” for the debt settlement industry. It would prohibit companies from receiving compensation for the services they provide until all debt has been settled. Such a move would require debt settlement companies (many of whom are small business owners) to work for free for a year or more, a requirement few could meet.

USOBA has a history of working with the FTC to discuss creating greater consumer protection and best practices guidelines within the debt settlement industry.

“We’re honored to be chosen to participate in this panel, because we know just how the proposed regulations may negatively impact debt settlement companies, in spite of their good intentions for consumer protection,” Keehnen said. “We intend to be a voice for leading debt settlement companies at the forum—we work constantly for increased consumer protection, but also understand how the regulations on the table will remove choice from consumers struggling with debt.”

Ansbach added, “Debt settlement is an important, viable option for Americans drowning in debt. We’re looking forward to working with the FTC to provide Americans with strong consumer protections, and at the same time ensure debt settlement companies can operate in a way that is guided by best practices, and is operationally sound.”

Details about the FTC public forum can be found at

USOBA is dedicated to providing its member companies with important, industry-related information, including compliance requirements, as well as advocating on behalf of its membership for fair and appropriate industry regulation that maintains the utmost in consumer protection. USOBA members are provided a USOBA State Law Summary guide, the only one of its kind in the industry, to better ensure and promote national compliance. This guide contains the laws and regulations, state by state, and has been reviewed by regulators and legislators. For further information, please visit

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